I am a heavy MS Windows user. I use it to code and write. But tomorrow I'm doing something different. I plan to spend the whole day in Ubuntu. For those who aren't inclined since I threw on my geek hat, Ubuntu is an open source distribution of Linux. Its supported by an army of coders who keep it up to date so folks out there can run various software. (Open source and otherwise.) My laptop is a dual boot system so I plan to use this opportunity to see if I can thrive on the other side of the fence using free tools to do my writing.
What is the purpose of this experiment? Well, I have a few goals:
- What free tools I can use as author on Ubuntu (i.e. OpenOffice) that would be practical for my day-to-day work writing, editing, and plotting.
- What are the pitfalls I'll encounter? (I know I'll be screaming...)
- Will OpenOffice support the track changes and comments from Word? Will there be a document map for me to jump between chapters? Will the formatting differences be a problem? How long will it take me to start a fresh document with page numbering, header, footer, etc.
- Will any of the popular Windows tools work in Linux well? (i.e. yWriter)
- Will the final product of work, meaning adding/editing a large manuscript, transition well back to Windows?
With the economy making it hard to pay for the tools of the trade, I'm curious how things will go when I use OpenOffice/Ubuntu. (I've used Google Apps before and that's another post waiting to happen...) I don't use the software that often so this will definitely be a newbie experience to see the differences.