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Thursday, August 31, 2006

cult of microsoft

My question for the moment is: do I maintain this spreadsheet in Open Office or Microsoft Excel? My main computer runs Linux and the OO software works pretty well and interacts nicely with the Linux world. Excel is on my laptop which involves annoying transferring of files, plus the fact of a small screen that I don't really want to work on.
Annoying, very specific issue to my situation in some ways. What's not specific to my situation is the fact that OO spreadsheet can read Excel documents, but Excel can't read OO documents. But most people I need to collaborate with use Excel.

I call it a cult because I think that lack of interoperability is one of the issues that could be used to distinguish cults from religions. A cult tries to pull you in and not let you interact with ideas that don't fit nicely within its small worldview. They can't attract and retain enough people just on the merits of their product, and so they cut off exits, or at least build high walls so that its extremely clear who is in and who is out.

Actually, thinking about it, OO isn't perfect. If they can read Excel documents, why can't they write them? This would remove the interoperability issue. Not that it should be all their job. I guess the corresponding point about cults would be that for someone flexible enough, they could move in and out of all but the most jealous cults.

(Oops, just realized that OO can write Excel documents... problem solved.)


Anonymous said...

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Boaz said...

thank you anonymous!
you inspired me to do random searching through the blogs. wow. people's lives. lots of them.