11.0226 influencing software development

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 12 Aug 1997 23:44:10 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 226.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 1997 00:20:59 +0100
From: Ken Tompkins <ktomkin@earthlink.net>
Subject: Word Processors for Humanists


I have read the recurring statements on Humanist about word processors
for humanists, what capabilities we want, etc. I can remember you and others
suggesting that we need to identify what we want and try to influence those
who produce them to incorporate our ideas.

It is with that as background that I draw your attention to a statement in
the most recent issue of _Lingua Franca_. In an article on Richard Stallman
and the Free Software Foundation, there appears the following:

"Now that hundreds of thousands of people make use of free software, what's
next? A web browser, for one. Stallman also plans to develop word processing
software. It's a tantalizing notion, one that might bring Stallman's ideas
more directly into the mainstream. Instead of waiting the years it takes
for Microsoft to release ( and charge for) a new update of its popular
Word program, users of Stallman's software could email directly to the FSF
site. Scientists could modify the program to deal with complex
mathematical notations, while humanists might help develop the ultimate
poststructuralist thesaurus. These specialized versions would each be
available for downloading on the Internet. All that would be missing would
be the shrink wrap and the styrofoam." (pp. 47-48)

So, there is a possibility, at last, that we might get the program we want.

ken tompkins
Ken Tompkins
Richard Stockton College of NJ

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