I hate “Track Changes” with a passion

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

May 27, 2015

The world of open source has commoditized many things. It’s the key reason my wife and I could move off of Windows and onto Macs without the world knowing or caring. Key apps we use are Chrome and LibreOffice. These tools are free and open. It takes no effort to crank a PDF of a document.

Then we run into the situation with editors. Much of the writing world has invested itself in MS Word’s tools like Track Changes. And so we get back an edited manuscript loaded with tracked changes. “Maintain the changes!” “Submit your chapullmebackin nges and I’ll merge them”

Hence, I have to keep a copy of MS Word for Mac on all my computers.

Today my wife got her manuscript chopped up by her line editor, the last of a series of edits. She couldn’t edit it on her MacBook Air. I could on my MacBook Pro as well as the Mac Pro tower. So I relinquished my throne so she could work on the tower computer. I suppose working on software from the sofa isn’t the worse thing. What burns me up is that between all three of these computers were three versions: 14.0, 14.1, and 14.4.

I have no clue what’s wrong!

We need something better than track changes. And we need the writing community to rise up and demand such freely available tools so the pox of MS Word can be lain in its grave. I have done my part by writing Learning Spring Boot in Asciidoctor and leaning on Packt to adopt it wholesale. But I fear that day may never come. And so I hang my head and weep.


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