Why You Should Choose Microsoft Word Over vi

Fake News written by James Baughn on Friday, March 26, 2004

from the at-least-they-didn't-touch-emacs dept.

In a major new case study sure to grab the attention of Pointy Haired Bosses everywhere, Microsoft announced today that the Total Cost of Ownership of Microsoft Word is 94% lower than that of the open-source equivalent, vi.

"There's simply no comparison," said a Microsoft researcher. "We cannot believe that anybody would seriously use something so primitive as vi in this day and age. The same can be said about all Linux distributions, which universally bundle vi."

The report, entitled "Using Anything But Word Is Truly Absurd", lists several reasons why vi is inferior to Microsoft's innovative solution:

  • vi produces files with "non-standard" line endings that can cause problems with DOS/Windows based software.

  • Smart quotes, Wingdings, and other special characters are not available in vi.

  • While automation is available on vi/Linux systems, it does not match the scripting power available to Word document macros, such as allowing scripts to delete files, send unlimited emails, and repartition the hard drive.

  • vi depends on a very user-unfriendly interface based on 1970's technology that does not include such basic features as wizards, animated agents, and toolbar icons numbering in the thousands.

  • Licenses for vi and Linux include viral attributes that could undermine your business plan. (Is it any coincidence that you can't spell "virus" without "vi"?)

  • Word can easily export to various file formats, such as HTML and XML, while vi requires that you manually enter the arcane tags and code for these formats.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," boasted the co-author of the report, an employee in the Microsoft Department of Spreading Truth About Our Competition. "We didn't even get into the more bizarre aspects of vi, such as being forced to use weird commands involving colons and exclamation points to get anything done. When I first sat down and tried to learn vi, I was immediately reminded of Microsoft Bob -- the only Microsoft product that employees are allowed to disparage. But in reality vi is even more incomprehensible..."

The report gives examples of some companies that have succesfully deployed Word after considering vi. One Fortune 100,000 company president is quoted as saying, "After performing a what-if analysis using Excel, we were convinced that exclusively using Word for all documents instead of vi would save our company $650 per year. And based on our accounting calculations using Microsoft Money, that's exactly what's happened."

Another president for a small company said, "I thought we could save some money with a small-scale installation of Linux. But when I tried to get my nephew -- our IT guy with MCSE certification -- to learn vi, he nearly pulled all his hair out from frustration just trying to save a simple file. Obviously, our experiment with Linux was a disaster."

Indeed, the Microsoft report cites research indicating that vi users have 12% less hair than Word users. "This cannot be coincidental... it's obvious that vi users are more likely to pull out and damage their hair," the report states.

In response, one industry pundit said, "It's not immediately clear what methodology was used for this 'research'. But the fact that Microsoft produced the report means that it must be accurate... if you can't trust Microsoft, who can you trust? Certainly you can't trust the open source community. Their main mouthpiece, Slashdot, can't even avoid posting duplicate stories. What makes you think their credibility is any better?"

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