re Symphony, you ask:
Is there a reason you consider it worth a try?
. We have several lawyers and clerks. Some are completely novice to computers and others are used to word perfect/word. All of those folks use Symphony 1.1 (until I get 1.2 to work). Symphony is easy for them to use and they like it. Terribly unfair to Star Office, which is a better and more reliable, but bigger, program. Go figure. Those who are good at linux like Star Office better. Symphony won't read or write to WP though, which necessitates that someone handle the conversion from wpd to odt, so they can use it. It would be better for me if they all used Star Office as it at least reads wpd files.
re lyx, you note:
It's a techie tool
You might be right as to short documents, though I use it for everything I can, including letters. However, it really shines in long documents. It automatically prints a table of contents. It is very easy to get around in Lyx. And to organize, without giving the appearance of the document much thought. But the folks who run it are a sadistic bunch, I fear, taking delight in punishing any deviation from their preferred (default) way of doing things. So I just go with the defaults. They do the job. The end product always looks great.
"It, to me at least, is a great "thinking" document, along the lines of Wordstar Dos."
Explain what this means to you.
I will try: Wordstar dos displaced Perfect Writer and Wang and others, including WordStar CPM, but in turn was killed by Word Perfect - because Word Perfect figured out that the secretaries were really running the show. Before that we dictated to a secretary or, later, into a machine. The secretary made something usable out of it. After dictating went out of style, WordStar was king. And when the attorneys started getting personal computers, they used WordStar Dos to put down thoughts (much as they earlier did when dictating) while still relying on the secretaries to pretty it up. When the secretaries all started using Word Perfect, the attorneys lost out and started using WYSIWYG word processors themselves. Instead of putting down thoughts, they started organizing those thoughts themselves. Indenting quotes. italicizing, etc.. Even doing their own table of contents. Time consuming and wasteful to some degree. And more than one client bitched that at her crazy hourly rate, the attorney was just "churning" the case. They wanted the attorney to have the secretary/clerk do all that formating at a much lower hourly cost. And just about any lawyer use of computers was quite unacceptable then to those then clinging to old protocols. Lyx came along and now lets the attorney sort of "dictate" again. Once down the learning curve, the attorney doesn't have to do much organizing ...just throw down thoughts. Instead of having the secretaries pretty up the final document, Lyx kind of does that for you if you are willing to live with its defaults.. Its probably not as good for "thinking" as Word Star dos was, but its a pretty good compromise.
These are just my personal observations. I am sure many will see things differently. But, I note its sort of full circle now. Long the attorneys were using Word Star dos and the Secretaries Word Perfect, The secretaries won. They will probably win again, for few of them use Lyx, and Lyx won't convert to Word Perfect or odt or Word. The difference is that with Lyx, the attorney can sometimes at least put out a pretty good document that does not need further computerized editing by staff.
As wcs says, Kile (also in the repositories) is very good. Its a lot like lyx but just didn't fit my bill as well. Probably would if I used it more, but I am tired of all the changing. I suspect the best word processor for just about anyone is the one with which they are most comfortable, especially if it reads and writes to other formats without doing too much damage to the formatting. Lyx, by this standard, is never going to conquer the world.