Any good link explaining why we should stop using microsoft word?


I’m not sure I hate any piece of software more than MS Word.

Windows Vista was terrible, but it was always avoidable. iOS restrictiveness and hard to deal with my own photos, but at least there is Android and all its improving clunkiness. Windows Explorer and File Systems in general for still relying in such an old file concept, but it’s hard to come up with something better. And I thank God flash is dying already. 1st world problems, right? Anyway…

This link already explains it all, I think. But it is, like most things GNU, too much text (ok, maybe not as much as this other one). I was hoping maybe for an HTG article or even a video with these arguments, or even more.

Anyone knows of any related thing?

Or maybe I just found a topic to start researching / writing:stuck_out_tongue:


While Word has a lot of issues it also has features that nobody else seems to want to implement or at least not in a way that makes sense for business or writers. Change tracking and comments are just done really well in Word and nobody else comes close.

Google Docs is great but really limited. Pages has a lot of other issues including not even working properly with older versions of Pages, and the whole open office thing is just clunky in a lot of ways.

There just isn’t a good alternative that works as well across the board.

And then when you consider that almost every business already has been using Word for years, you have not just a training and compatibility problem but you have a library of billions of documents that were created in Word.

Also consider that Excel is what almost every business runs themselves with and it makes no sense to use a Word alternative when you need to use Excel.

And no, the alternatives to Excel are not even close for real business needs.


I don’t know what this guys gripes are. For 0.00x % of the users that use GNU, the world is not going to change.

Word is an excellent product and the open source a la Libre Office (which I have used) or Open Office are no match.

There is a free Word Viewer from Microsoft. But then I guess the guy has to make the Wine to work properly.

The first sentence on the GNU website is:

GNU is a Unix-like operating system that is free software—it respects your freedom

I like to preserve my freedom to use Word and the other wonderful MS Office products.


Personally I’m a Pages guy, but that requires a Mac, so it isn’t really a general solution.


The Windows 10 beta is free and is relatively stable.


Hey, thanks for both posts! Appreciate it. :slight_smile:

Disclaimer: here I’ll be almost always just guessing based on anecdotes. Still need to do a lot of research, trying to convince myself if it’s worth it.

I was not even talking about Office, Excel or PowerPoint here… Maybe there is a good point at least to Excel and even Access. I doubt anyone can properly defend PowerPoint… I was also not talking about alternatives, I wanted to be more philosophical, but… I do research a lot of alternatives for some time now.

Google Docs fail to work offline, that’s all. It has much better comments and change tracking is “good enough” on both. Far from being like git (and too bad penflip isn’t there yet). Scripting with gDocs is also much better. And the real time online collaboration, oh boy, that’s by far the big plus to me.

I think the main barrier is indeed supporting legacy. “Training”. Or at least spending time learning and adapting. Indeed. You had the experience migrating forums here, and that’s supposedly easier than migrating someone out of an offline platform. I bet it was a nightmare.

But I also believe no third software have any more issues importing older doc files than Word itself already have. It doesn’t look like an issue to me.

Inbox from gmail is out, and it is not as feature full as gmail, but it’s way more awesome. Discourse is also incomparable with other forum software. True, maybe Google Docs is not all that much of a step forward from Word, but it’s already quite enough. For most people, at least.

Since we’re on guessing mode here, I’d guess most people who do use Word don’t really go all the way. Specially on Excel. And I’d also guess whoever is going too far on Excel usually could do better with any programming language. Newer Office versions have even tried to simplify the way-too-many features it had. I’d like to see some kind of research on this. I’d bet most folks would be fine using a good wysiwyg HTML editor.

Besides all that…

I guess that GNU link doesn’t explains it all in the end. And I agree that GNU guy is being a bit hypocritical requesting people to use any other tool… It is a very thin line to which where one’s freedom begins and the other one ends. There should be no freedom to choose not to get vaccinated, for instance. But that line isn’t so clear yet on this whole DOC’s conundrum.

What he means about freedom there is because DOC files are hard for any software to deal with because it requires reverse engineering and a lot of work, since MS don’t open the format. On top of that, it always results in an unnecessarily large file, which implies it’s bad engineered.


Maybe there is a good reason why there’s no big improved alternative from Word and the same good reason why no good links explaining a reason we should stop using it… Maybe the reason is indeed lack of alternatives. For now, that’s the conclusion I’m getting into, anyway.

Finally… I shouldn’t care. Why do I care? I don’t use MS Office myself for over a decade and never missed it at all. My experience on comparing it comes from friends, office and wife. I guess I wanted them to be free out of Word, which I find really annoying for many reasons. But most people don’t. I’m really not that sure why I care.


Docs works offline when using chrome.


So - where are we going with this discussion. I suggest that everybody use what they like and what fits their requirements.

Btw - I am also a big PowerPoint fan. I have tried Impress but gave up because of a lack of functions. Try to make a presentation like this with Impress. This is a screen capture of the actual presentation.


I don’t think that is true at all. Excel is a critical tool for business that performs functions that would be tough for even good programmers to implement quickly. You can easily do things with data in seconds that would be insane to do any other way.

Having spent 15 years in the corporate world, I can absolutely state that anybody who doesn’t understand why people use Excel has probably never worked in operations, finance, or management.


Have you tried offline gdocs, though? It sucks hard. It’s beyond an unannounced beta stage and it shouldn’t even be released yet, imho.

A slideshow with music? Seriously? OpenOffice indeed is terrible. LibreOffice is a bit better, but I haven’t used it more than once. I prefered using flash over PowerPoint. And now there’s prezi, which will make much cooler presentations and it’s cross platform.

You can do that presentation with a number of applications, not hard to do it at all.

Yeah, I hear that a lot. Big reason why I wasn’t bashing excel at all. By “too far” I meant “farther than what google spreadsheet can do”, which is a lot. And probably less than Excel, from what I heard.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Excel, though. And I got no clue on what value there might be in integrating it with Word, as you may have implied earlier. If it’s just “use Word because it comes with Excel”, I think that’s fair enough. Although I’d argue it’s only good almost exclusively because the alternative, offline gDocs, sucks.

And I’d still at least agree with GNU guy: if you’re going to share a Word Doc, please do it in a good sharable format. In fact, I agree with the sentiment. But if less than 10% of everyone have problems with DOC, then you probably shouldn’t care of making that extra effort, as little as it may sound. Or should you? Well, I’m quite confused now! :stuck_out_tongue:

The true reason Microsoft is so hated isn’t because of openness. It’s because of blue screens of death, slowness and, probably above all, bad timing. In any case, I don’t really want to open that can of worms… Just pointing that I do appreciate Microsoft at some level.

Maybe a bit analogously I also hardly eat at McDonald’s because I don’t find it’s a good source of body energy for the price, let’s put it this way, but I appreciate how awesome their customer care is and I do find the food quite tasteful. It’s costly because of logistics, and that is, sometimes, worth the price.

No idea! :slight_smile: But I can tell you that if this doesn’t change pace soon enough, I will probably waste some time doing a lot of research there. Last time I remember doing something like this, it was a lot of work, but I was lucky that topic was probably lacking in good alternative sources and so it was worth it (unlike my prior attempts on talking about word processing).


I can’t think of a reason we should stop using Word…

Don’t you just hate receiving Word documents in email messages? Word attachments are annoying, but, worse than that, they impede people from switching to free software. Maybe we can stop this practice with a simple collective effort. All we have to do is ask each person who sends us a Word file to reconsider that way of doing things.

The very premise here is flawed, for two simple reasons:

  1. Word works very well for the job it’s designed for: writing. It’s not a desktop publishing tool, and it’s never going to be one. But it’s great for building text documents and for collaboration among members of a team (especially when combined with Office’s online tools.)

  2. This thesis is based on the idea that sending a Word attachment precludes the use of Open Source tools to read the attachment. This is patently untrue. I can open .doc and .docx files in several different programs, including no-download tools like Google Drive.

Are there flaws in Word? Yes, there are. Word’s handling of block elements leaves a lot to be desired, and I would love to see some serious improvements in that respect.

However, as the thesis of this argument is invalid, I can’t think of any reason to propagate the author’s flawed argument.


I can. There’s no other tool for the PC that’s as capable and reliable as PowerPoint for its job. It’s a tool I use regularly, and when used properly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Who uses DOC these days? DOCX is the new standard, and it’s an open format.


Didn’t know about that. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

<-- fuckin’ stupid

Makes quite a few argument points against Word null, in my opinion.

Sure there is. prezi for one. Google slides is also quite enough. There’s also ClearSlide and SlideDog which are, from all I see on PowerPoint presentations, most likely enough to get to the same point.

This is a terrible way to handle arguments. It can easily fall into a cherry picking fallacy, among few others.

But, I agree DOC don’t impede anyone from switching to free software. Especially if DOCX is open. What he did mean there was they do make it harder because some free software won’t open any kind of DOCs. Because it’s hard for software developers to make it possible. I’d bet even while being open, but now I don’t know anymore.

That’s the “Argument from Personal Incredulity”. How about better alternatives? I can easily live without Word, why couldn’t you?

Also, I find it extremely sad there’s still no simple kind of VCS for regular people writing documents (reason I cited penflip earlier). I bet, if there isn’t one already, soon there will be a better alternative for that as well.


You haven’t presented any reasons that other people should stop using Word, other than that you don’t like it.

My counter is “I like it, and I need it for my job.”

That’s not arguing from personal incredulity. You are using your own opinion as an argument, and I’ve simply pointed out that this goes both ways. If you don’t like Word, that’s fine - but that’s your choice. The rest of us will make that decision based on our own experiences, not based on whether you like something or not.

You’re completely wrong here. It would be cherry picking to argue one point out of several, and then try to say I’m right because of this one thing. However, when the argument really boils down to one point, and you can prove that point wrong, then *bang*, you win the debate.

RMS bases his entire argument on one point. He doesn’t try to argue Word’s capabilities, its reliability, or its cost. He only argues its interoperability: that he can’t read word docs with open-source software. This was patently untrue in 2007, and it’s even more untrue now.

So if you can refute that one point, his argument is without merit.

His comments about spreading viruses are non-sequiter, since he’s not required to install Word to read a .doc file.

So let’s analyze this: the author writes an argumentative paper. He’s got a thesis and supporting evidence. He then has a conclusion, which is basically “we must shame the rest of the world in to doing things our way.”

The thesis: Some people cannot read word DOC files. Therefore everyone else must stop using Microsoft Word to generated documents.

He then presents supporting evidence: the assertion that the .DOC and .DOCX file formats are not readable by other word processors. However, he provides no references for his supporting evidence.

Finally, in lieu of a conclusion, he offers a call to action: everyone who objects to receiving a Word attachment should issue a notice to the sender, asking him to stop using Word.

Like all argumentative essays, the thesis is supported by arguments and evidence (that no one can read DOC files), and the conclusion is based on the validity of the thesis and the veracity of his evidence.

So you can invalidate his paper by refuting the logic in the thesis (IF this, THEN that.) or by challenging the evidence.

The logic in the thesis is basically “IF I can’t read your file format, THEN you must choose something else.” That’s fairly sound, assuming the evidence is satisfactory.

So what’s the evidence? That .doc files can’t be read satisfactorily. However, I can think of several tools that will allow me to read .DOC files, and I can do so without spending a dime: Microsoft Office’s online site, Libre Office,, free Word Viewer, Google Docs. And that’s just on desktop systems. I also have 3 different tools on my iPad that can read and generate .DOC files.

Then RMS goes on to argue about Word viruses. Does anyone else see the fallacy there? isn’t going to catch a virus based on a Microsoft Word exploit. Someone as educated as RMS should know this, so he’s obviously using fallacious logic to bolster his point. We call that “lying” where I come from.

As far as I can tell, what RMS is really arguing here is this: “because I don’t want to take the effort to read your communications, you must change your practice to adapt to my whim.” This isn’t an argument of fact. This is a statement of laziness. He wants the sender to do more work so that he can do less work.

In conclusion:

Word won’t be eliminated everywhere.
Reading .doc files isn’t that hard.
RMS’s essay doesn’t prove why you should not use Word. It simply demonstrates RMS’s love for open source.


How about each person use what they want to use. Problem solved. No arguments. LOLOLOLOL :))))))))))))))))))))))))


Yeah, that’s really kinda my point. I use what I like because I like and/or need it. So don’t tell me to use something else for your convenience. :slight_smile:


I am sure it was mentioned above at some point but one can download viewers for free for word, excel and powerpoint from Microsoft’s website so when one receives those pesky attachments they can read them.


I worked for a company that because of very minor differences in formatting insisted that all documents be created, read and edited in MS Office software. It was rare but the open source office software would have minor variations inside the file created my MS Office.

While I am a linux user and prefer linux over windows I do not now or ever will subscribe to the idea that everyone should be forced or coerced to use the same software. There are just too many options available to users of Mac, Windows and Linux. It comes down to respecting each person’s right to choose what they want to use on their machine for me. Who cares if Tom is using Word and he sends me an attached word file. I can view it many ways.


That’s a very good point. And that’s one of the reasons you can’t expect Word to be dumped in favor of FOSS substitutes.