Tuesday, July 05, 2005

On the unremarked and curious decay of software

MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh

From a reader comment in Macintouch:
[MacInTouch Readers] Creating long documents with cross-references, many tables, and heaven forbid - figures - is not really possible on the Mac nowadays. MS Word, even splitting files and trying every trick, is unstable and crashes frequently. This seems to occur across our university and there is much gnashing of teeth.

In the past we tried Framemaker 6 (Win) with Virtual PC. It was too slow. However, in desperation have just tried the combination (VPC 7.02 running Win XP and Framemaker 6 for Win) on a17' 1.67 GHz Powerbook. It was fast enough and stable enough for me to create a 200-page document with 6 chapters, multiple cross references, proper numbering, etc. It is disappointing that this can't be done on the Mac but now there is a solution.
15 years ago one could create a complex 200 page document using WordPerfect 5 for DOS. It wouldn't be all that pretty on the screen, but it would print out well.

I don't think this is an isolated issue. Many software solutions that were created in the 1980s no longer have consumer equivalents. Quite curious really.

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