You May Be Surprised to Know
Linux has within it several solutions for making documents, even large documents like books.
Linux tools generally have a philosophy of re-usability. While some of the
newer products, like Open Office or Libre Office, are made to deliver the
complete environments that computer users are used to, most Linux tools follow
a more modular approach.
For example, in word processing the most common fundamental unit is the
Postscript files are read and written by most of the word and
image processing utilities. Postscript is a handy medium because it is so
Postscript -- The Underlying Standard
Postscript files are ASCII files, an you can load them into a text processor
and actually read and even manipulate some of the control statements (if you
know what you are doing). Postscript can also embody bit maps, but even these
appear as a sequence of seemingly meaningless characters.
Products that directly output postscript files often use a vector type
notation for characters, allowing the fonts to be re-written by a display or
print utility to any size without distortion. Graphical information is usually
Open Office, Koffice, and even Abiword, the WYSIWYG word processors in
Linux can all produce postscript output. Tex and LaTex produce an intermediate
file type called a dvi file, but the dvips utility converts these files into
postscript. And Lout, another text markup language, outputs postscript
Even Graphics Utilities Can Use Postscript
Most graphics plotting packages in Linux, like Gri, pgplot, xmgrace, and
gnuplot to name but a few, can all output postscript files. Xpaint, a Linux
drawing program, and GIMP, an image rendering program can both import and
export postscript files. The postscript utilities packages provides many
programs for working directly with postscript files.
Many printers have a mode specifically for handling postscript files
efficiently. And the gv utility is a handy postscript rendering and printing
program for use with files produced by any of the numerous postscript file
Linux is Rich, Not Poor, In Document Processing Capability
So if you thought a move to Linux would lead to a more limited capability
for creating documents, you can rest at ease. Linux has at its disposal
virtually all of the accumulated document handling products from the Unix
world, as well as the newer WYSIWYG products more familiar to many users. Linux
doesn't offer a reduced set of document tools, but a vastly expanded set.
You just have to be willing to learn about them.
The Google Option
If you are just wanting to try Linux and don't want the burden of perhaps
installing an unfamiliar word processing or office product, you do have an
interesting choice. If you don't have a Google email account, you can go to
Google.com and sign up for a free
Google email (Gmail) account. With the account you also get (free) about
15 GB of cloud disk space. This can be expanded to very large amounts of
cloud space very inexpensively.
Once you have an account, you can go to Google in your web browser and
select the Docs application. The application will open in your browser
and present a modern, likely fairly familiar looking, word processing
application. It is a highly functional application, able to import and export a
number of popular document formats. You can create simple to complex documents,
embed images, etc. You can print your document from the browser, and every
change you make as you edit your document is automatically saved on your
allocated cloud storage. If you run out of cloud storage, you can either choose
to pay a small fee to greatly expand the storage, or download your documents to
your local drive.
The Google Office products include the Documents application, a quality
Spreadsheet application, and a Presentation application. All are accessable
through most modern web browsers. Incidentally, that's any modern web browser
on any operating system. It isn't a Linux only application, but available from
most anywhere. So even if you try Google Office through Linux and decide that
Linux isn't for you, you may find that Google Office is for you, even if going
back to your previous operating system.