One of the most common concerns among those plan to switch to linux is if they are going to have the software they need for their work, study or entertainment. In this article we will discuss a category in which the Penguin's operating system is quite well provided for: writing applications.
Personally, I do not share the habit of many broadcasters of establishing equivalence tables between free and proprietary software titles, since I believe that theFree software titles are good enough and have distinctive features that make it unnecessary to define them from other titles.
Table of Contents
From paper to bits
With applications to write in Linux we are referring to programs that are used to write and correct texts. We are going to leave out 2 types of programs for the moment: those based on LaTeX and those for creating desktop publications, since these are more focused on presenting the text than on writing it.
At the time when handwritten writing was more frequent than now, one could find three types of writing support in stationery stores.
In the first place, we had what in Argentina we called scorers. A series of leaves joined at the top completely smooth in which one chose the position in which to start writing and the format was given by hand, making the underlining and bullet points by hand.
The next rung were both hard and soft cover notebooks. They included formatted sheets, either ruled, grid, or staves. There were also those that allowed keeping the accounts with columns for Debit and Credit.
The top of the pyramid corresponded to the agendas. These included sheets formatted and arranged alphabetically or chronologically to save phone numbers and remember appointments.
Over time, loose sheets appeared with an adhesive that allowed them to be attached and removed from any surface.
This format would be replicated by modern operating systems.
Linux writing apps
Since the first operating system with a graphical interface was designed for handling laser printers, it is no coincidence that one of the first programs to take advantage of these features was a word processor.
Over time the first version of Windows would arrive including a notepad. Legend has it that this notebook arose from a failed word processor that was to take the place that would later become Word. Bill Gates decided to recycle the code.
In general, in Linux we have the following writing applications:
- Memo pad: In principle it is the simplest of the text editing tools since it only brings basic functions for writing, copying and pasting. Some allow a basic form of formatting by enclosing portions of the text in code. A simple Notepad that you can install is Paper, that allows a basic formatting and the color scheme adapts to the color of the background.
- Text editor: The text editor includes tools to differentiate and establish hierarchies between different parts of the text. Editing features such as word search and replace are also added. Each of the desktops includes its own editor, so you just have to look for it in the menu.
- Word processor: The word processor is usually part of an office suite that also includes a spreadsheet and presentation program. It differs from the editor in that you can incorporate elements such as images, tables or graphs and even embed documents from the suite. Some also add basic features for creating desktop publications. Most Linux distros include LibreOffice Writer pre-installed and as an alternative (I only choose it because I hardly ever talked about it) WPSOffice.
- Integrated development environment: It is an editor designed for programmers. In other words, it not only allows you to write text, modify or replace it, but also has tools that automatically correct the layout and auto-complete the code depending on the chosen programming language. Perhaps the best IDE for its relationship between benefits and respect for privacy is VS Codium
Today the boundaries between this type of program are completely blurred. Some text editors include code editing functions while several integrated development environments have extensions that incorporate spell checking functionality making them a more than decent word processor.
Which option to choose in each case? The truth is that this depends on each user. You just have to download, try and keep the one that suits you best
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