Sad to report, the switch to Linux did not work out well for me, so I have switched back to Windows for the time being. I actually like working in Zorin OS (the Linux distribution I chose) and would recommend it to anyone who wants to experiment. There were problems, however. For one thing, I couldn’t persuade it to print out. It is supposed to, but it didn’t. For some unknown reason, the driver failed to install properly despite several attempts. Then, there was the question of available word processors. Most Linux distributions list Libre Office as their default productivity suite (word processor / spreadsheet / presentation app). In addition to that, Zorin also offers OnlyOffice, which I preferred because it worked more like Word, which was what I was used to.
Both of these apps have many thousands of satisfied users, but I am afraid those numbers do not include me. I have never liked the former. It isn’t that it is a bad program. That would not be true at all. It is just that the way it manages everything in a way that feels alien to me. To be fair, I suppose that we are not well suited to each other. The latter, OnlyOffice, feels much more intuitive to me, but it has some glaring omissions. There is no word count, nor can it display two pages side by side. These are not critical omissions, although they are irritating. Apparently, you can add plug-ins to fill the gaps but this is easier said than done. What really finished me, however, was Headers and Footers. These are the additional lines at the tops and bottoms of pages, containing the title and page number. Try as I might, I could not get them to work reliably. I point no finger; the fault may lie with me. No matter how much I tried, though, they crashed sooner or later. I don’t have this problem with Word. I can only assume that its inherent reliability is one of the things that you pay for.
So, it is back to Windows 10 and Microsoft Word handling the Master Copy and the printed editions, with Atlantis Word Processor making the epub. It is a temporary situation. I have begun to save my pennies with the intention of becoming a Mac Mini owner later in the year. Of all the computers I have ever owned, my old iMac was the best from a writer’s point of view. There is something about the Mac OS operating system that just feels so right for an author, which is why so many of us use Macs. Mine gave up the ghost in 2016 and I couldn’t afford a replacement, so I went back to Windows at a lower cost. Circumstances have changed since then, though, despite the present situation with gas prices. I still have some lingering debts to clear, but a new Mac should be mine within a few months. Santa Claus brought me a smart new keyboard and mouse for Christmas, and I already have a perfectly good monitor, so they will work well with it. Furthermore, it will print, no problem and Word will run directly on it. Atlantis won’t, but all Macs come with Apple’s word processor, Pages, built in and I can use that to make the epub instead. Pages is a very nice word processor, actually, and you can try it for yourself even if you don’t have a Mac. You can sign up for a free iCloud account and use the online version. It isn’t the full app, but is surprisingly usable.
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