Microsoft Office evolutionary angst: Change or go away.

Summary:Complaining about Microsoft Office's ribbon is like complaining about moving a car's light dimmer switch from the floorboard to the steering column. Change with the times or go away.

I read the following article, Microsoft is Tipping its Cash Cow, a little while ago and thought that I can't allow it to go uncommented on. The article is by technology journalist veteran, John C. Dvorak. Though I'm not sure why he needs the "C." with a name like that, but he seems to want that moniker, so be it, I'll play along. The article, in case you don't want to read it, is basically John's (and wife's) shared dislike of the Microsoft Office ribbon. Like it or not John, John's wife and anyone else out there, you have to change with the times. Well, I suppose you don't have to change, you can still ride a horse, pedal a bike, use film cameras*, or resort, as he put it, to OpenOffice.

Wow, John, really, is resort the precise word you wanted to use there? I'll bet that "resort to OpenOffice" comment got you a lot of pageviews from the open source folks. It's a good thing that PC Magazine doesn't allow comments, because you'd have a lot of them.

I don't have a problem with John per se but it is interesting to note that people have told me that I write like him. I'm not exactly sure how to take that except as a compliment. John's been in this business for a long time and he hasn't stayed relevant by being an anachronistic old curmudgeon. Or has he?

I digress.

My point is that his opinion about Microsoft's ribbon is completely understandable but wholly incorrect. The ribbon is a good thing. It works. I mean, do you complain when you step into a new car and the windshield wiper controls aren't where you expect them to be? Do you only drive old cars? Do you only want a television that has a dial that you turn or are you OK with a remote control--a wireless remote control. And John, I know you remember dials and wired remote controls just as I do.

You have to change with the times. Software isn't static. It's a product like anything else you buy. It's going to change. Did you complain when Windows 3.x became Windows 95? Oh, I heard lots of grinching about that little transition, believe me. Not from John, but from just about everyone else.

Change is good. There are people who don't like OpenOffice too. By the way John, the official name of the product that you resort to is, Apache OpenOffice. Try to keep up, will ya?

You've got to learn the new fangled stuff or retire from the business John. There's just no two ways about it. Get with the program (pun intended). Install Microsoft Office 2013 on your Windows 8 (which he also hates) laptop and get busy writing more fodder for me to comment on.

Hey, this is fun, now I understand why I command such rancid comments from my readers. So, go for it, comment away. I'll try not to smack you back too hard for doing what comes natural.

John, there's nothing wrong with the ribbon or Windows 8. They're different. Once you get past the new grille and taillights, you might actually enjoy using it. And John, just like Boston (the band) said, "Don't look back." Yeah, I know you know who they are too. It's time to put the hands back on the clock and change with the times.

What do you think? Change or go away? Talk back and let me know.

*I still use film cameras so I'll let that one slide--pun possibly intended. I also use a QWERTY keyboard and not a Dvorak one. Yeah, I know, there's no connection. I just thought I'd throw that in for free. You're welcome.

Topics: Microsoft, Software

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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