Is FreeBSD simple enough for Novices, Will FreeBSD accept Office 98 + Publisher?

Roland Smith rsmith at
Sat Apr 28 06:20:23 UTC 2007

On Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 10:20:27PM -0400, james thompson wrote:
>  How difficult is FreeBSD to use in place of MS windows, say compared to 
>  Apple OSX? 

Setup is difficult to compare, since OSX always comes pre-installed, and
has a limited range of hardware to contend with.

FreeBSD is more difficult for a novice, because you have to learn a lot
before you can use UNIX effectively. OSX hides all the gory details that
FreeBSD administrators have to deal with.

OTOH, FreeBSD (and UNIX in general) is a very powerfull toolbox. OSX
hides this toolbox under a lot of eye-candy. Mastering that toolbox
takes more effort that dealing with the eye-candy, but it is well worth
the effort, IMHO.

Windows OTOH comes with an empty toolbox.

> I believe it may be able to run Offide 98; can Office 98 with 
>  Publisher be ran on FreeBSD? 

Maybe it can be run under the wine emulator. See

But there is an excellent free alternative:
(which incidentally runs on a lot of operating systems, including
Windows, FreeBSD and OSX)

> I want to use FreeBSD to compose articles, and 
>  combine them into a Book for publication, as a Home Office Operation by a 
>  person with little experience beyond windows.

For you it would probably be best to stick with OSX, because it it a
good combination fo ease-of-use for a novice and powerfull tools that
you can learn at your leisure.

But beware that office suites might not be the best tool for writing a
book. MS Word ('97 and 2000) has trouble with large documents. Adding
lots of pictures will make word extremely slow and will crash it and
corrupt your file at some point.

For books and articles I can recommend the TeX typesetting software
with the LaTeX macros. I've written a 300+ page book with 100+ figures
and tables, and several 40+ pages reports with dozens of pictures,
tables and mathematical formula in LaTeX.

Comparing LaTeX to Word/Writer is like comparing UNIX to Windows. The
former has a steeper learning curve buyt is much more powerfull.

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