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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Taking control of your documents

It's always a mystery to me how bioinformaticians, who are generally steeped in computer culture, can be Microsoft users. Not that Microsoft's software is necessarily bad, (although I maintain that it doesn't come with all of the tools built in that bioinformaticians need, depending on what form of bioinformatics you're doing), but for those who have been immersed in the high tech environment, Microsoft's well documented business practices and bad-neighbor behaviour seem to be somewhat unenlightened. That led me to leave the MS ecosystem in search of more friendly environments nearly a decade ago.

Ever since then, I've been trying to move people away from Microsoft products and towards either the truly open Linux ecosystem, or the proprietary (but less open) Apple Macintosh ecosystem. (I run 3 linux machines and a mac laptop at home.) As part of that move - and probably the most important one, I always suggest people take control of their documents and not hand them over to Microsoft's trust.

One of the great proponents of this is Rob Weir, who has a vested interest in the process, but is able to provide a fantasticly objective perspective on the subject, in my opinion. (Microsoft employees frequently disagree.)

Anyhow, I just thought it was worth linking to a particular article of his, on that subject. Even if you don't want to move away from your Microsoft supplied word processor, he gives advice on how to keep your documents as open as possible. I highly recommend you give this article a quick read - and maybe take some of Mr. Weir's advice.



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