Really did love using Bazaar, it was a great gateway to DVCS for people used to things like SVN and CVS. It had one of the best models for foreign data (bzr-svn was great when stick with SVN) and Bazaar Explorer is a fantastic tool. Sadly it's too esoteric to consider switching any new project to.
Pretty neatly sums up why I've switched to git.
Not because I like git, but because bzr is as good as dead.
I agree, and sad as it is, I must say that having used Bazaar for six years, and more recently having used Git a lot at work, I find myself missing a lot of Git functionality when I use Bazaar: being able to commit part of a changeset (with even sub-hunk granularity), being able to commit --amend, being able to rebase interactively (which I basically use for amending recent-but-not-most-recent commits), git reflog, and a few other nice things. None of these are intrinsic to Git; if Bazaar was still being developed we could easily have gotten all of these features. But we never will, so I think reluctantly I will start using Git for my personal projects.
Another aspect of this is GitHub: ignoring the technical merits of the platform, I think there's a dangerous network effect brewing. From what I've seen, GitHub is fast becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook of computer programmers. Apparently when interviewing, people expect to see candidates' GitHub profiles to check out their coding style and history. If you're not on GitHub, you aren't "in" the open source community any more. I think it's quite sad that a community founded on principles of free choice and customization has become so centralized and dependent on a single proprietary platform for hosting and communication, a platform that requires users use a single revision control system. I'm afraid of being locked into Git such that if something better comes along, we can't switch on technical merits because of network effects.
For years, I've watched how my wife writes papers (using word). Every day or so she copies over her file to another with the date added to the file. She spends a lot of time looking for the current version of the file, and every month or two she accidentally forks by editing the copy rather than the "trunk" file, or accidentally edits a file on a USB key or attached to an email.
People other than software developers badly need a simple, friendly version control system to keep them sane (although word and endnote can lead to insanity by themselves). I've been thinking about introducing her to the Mac version of bazaar explorer. Maybe she would cope with that, and it might protect her from herself. (Unfortunately, with no useful diff for word files, much of the benefit of version control is lost.) But there's no way she would cope with git.
Dropbox automatically versions files. So does Google Drive.
Yeah, I think (disclaimer: I work for Google) Google Docs is the ideal solution here. Failing that, Word docs in Google Drive or Dropbox as Jono suggests. Then you get the added bonus of not having to worry about backups.
But if you do want versions locally (outside of the cloud), yeah Bazaar is much more noob friendly than Git. Especially for working with multiple computers or people (since you can go into bound mode and not worry about having to push or pull, just commit and update like SVN). But I really hesitate to recommend it to others now, since it is so obviously unsupported by Canonical and unused by anybody in the industry or open source community.
For editing papers, a really small change could very easily help (without your wife having to change software or anything): Only ever edit MyPaper-MASTER.doc. Copy it daily to MyPaper-YYYYMMDD.doc. No more losing what copy is the master, etc; it just means you have to have one master copy and stick with it (beit on a USB key or stuck on a single computer).
Agreed, better file naming would help. But it wouldn't solve the main problem, which is that my wife's mental model is wrong. She thinks of the paper as being "in" word, not as being "in" a folder. Word encourages this misperception in a misguided attempt to be helpful, by providing a list of recently opened files. So if she uses Save As to save the document, it shows up in this menu, and she can open the wrong file. Likewise, sometimes she accidentally keeps editing after doing a Save As. Of course, I've warned her about these pitfalls, but when you think of the document as being "in" word, this point doesn't fit well. Word also encourages screw-ups by not distinguishing source file from object file, so when she emails someone a copy of her document, she emails the source, which is easily accidentally edited. Again, the concept of "source" vs. "object" doesn't mean anything to her. Unfortunately, neither of these problems is helped very much by better naming the file. Or, for that matter, by using version control.