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AbiWord - Word Processing For Everyone (Almost)

By chipr in Technology
Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:17:08 AM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

AbiWord is a word processing program. It is a freely available, open source package licensed under the GNU General Public License. It is available for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Windows. Did I mention it's free?

Microsoft Word, for better or worse (some say worse), is the current standard for word processing. So, is AbiWord destined to be an MS Word killer? The answer is, "No," and that's both good and bad.

AbiWord is a small program. Relative to word processing programs you may be familiar with, it is downright miniscule. You may see that as a good thing: a nice tight program that eschews the bloat of commercial crapware. You may see this as a bad thing: a lightweight toy that lacks the features you want in a word processor. Either view is reasonable, and the one you hold most likely will determine your satisfaction with the program.

I recently had to produce a ten-page report for a client. I decided to make that my test of AbiWord. My test setup was AbiWord version 0.99.5 running under Red Hat Linux version 7.2 on a 700MHz Athlon with 512MB. Numerous tasks were running during the editing session, including Mozilla, Apache, MySQL, and thousands (well, maybe not that many) of terminal windows.

I found AbiWord completely satisfactory for routine tasks, such as reports and letters. Its GUI interface should be familiar (and comfortable) to anybody who has worked with one of the other popular packages.

Here are some of the things, familiar from other word processors, that I was pleased to find in AbiWord:

  • It supports "styles," such as "Normal" or "Heading 1." Styles allow you to structure a document ("call this a heading") and avoid ad hoc formatting changes ("make this line bold and big"). If you make changes to a style, it will reflect those changes in the text.

  • It has rulers. Margins, indents, and tabs (a variety of choices) are easily set by clicking and dragging on the rulers.

  • It has toolbar buttons to do routine tasks, such as block indent, bullet lists, cut/paste, and the like.

  • It offers a number of views of the document, including normal layout, print layout, and web layout.

There are some features unique to AbiWord that I found particularly nice. They include:

  • The documents are saved to disk as readable XML files. Even the figures (yes, you may embed graphics) are converted to BASE64 coding for saving. This means all the usual Unix/Linux text-handling tools can operate on an AbiWord document. I was delighted to find I could place my documents under version control, using the RCS system commonly found on Unix/Linux systems. I could even embed RCS keywords (e.g. $Id$) in the document.

  • You can produce a variety of output formats, including PostScript, PDF, RTF, and HTML. You can exchange documents with MS Word users with RTF.

I found some deficiencies, which isn't completely surprising for a program that hasn't even had a version 1.0 release yet. Some of the problems I found were:

  • Although you can embed graphics into documents, you have extremely limited control over the formatting, and you cannot flow text around them.

  • No tables. (But they are promised for a future release, once a stable 1.0 is done.)

  • When I tried moving an RTF file to MS Word, it made the trip nearly--but not completely--correct. The indentation on bullet lists in the document was off.

  • I ran into a problem (solved by upgrading to latest release) and tried to get help. Unfortunately, I couldn't raise anybody on their IRC channel.

  • If you are an old-timer (like me) and still use two spaces at the end of sentences (like me), you may discover a problem. If a line ends with a sentence, a space gets carried down to the next line, and it is indented from the left margin just a smidge.

If your word processing needs are modest, then I feel comfortable recommending this package. Just make sure you get the latest version. I first tried the version shipped on Red Hat 7.2, and encountered some problems that were solved by loading the current release.

For more information, visit the AbiWord web site. [http://www.abisource.com/]


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Which would you prefer to write a letter?
o AbiWord 22%
o Microsoft Word 14%
o Word Perfect 5%
o emacs 23%
o Cross fountain pen 13%
o Smith/Corona 1%
o Crayola royal purple 18%

Votes: 106
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o AbiWord
o open source package
o GNU General Public License
o AbiWord web site
o Also by chipr

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AbiWord - Word Processing For Everyone (Almost) | 76 comments (61 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
Using plugins would be good (4.20 / 10) (#11)
by jesterzog on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:26:31 PM EST

I've been watching AbiWord from a distance for maybe 18 months now, and it's come a long way.

One of the big problems with feature rich apps like several popular word processors is that most people only use a tiny amount of the features. People also often use different features from the other people though, so it's hard to cut out the less used ones without alienating users. What I'd really enjoy though is having a completely cut down word processor that supports a variety of plugins. This way I can turn it into the one with everything I want without going overboard on bloat. I hope that this is the place Abiword ends up in the long term.

It's nice to have something that's not total bloatware, but there are still a few things that keep me from using it regularly. (Notwithstanding that people keep sending me MS Word documents that break in it.) Graphics handling and tables are the main things at the moment for me. Once they're working well I'll be using it a lot more.

jesterzog Fight the light

AbiWord does use plugins (4.55 / 9) (#13)
by binaryalchemy on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:38:03 PM EST

See here. They already have ones for two dictionaries, two translation systems, a ton of image formats. There are some other nice ones not listed on that page, including one to use Gimp for image editing and a thesaurus.
Defending the GPL from a commercial perspective is like defending the Microsft E
Parent ]
As a Windows user... (3.60 / 5) (#20)
by codespace on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:19:15 AM EST

I'd love to use AbiWord, and have it installed on my WindowsMe system right now. However, there's a marked lack of Windows-usable plugins. All I saw on their official site was a bunch of RPM packages, and that's not something I can use.

today on how it's made: kitchen knives, mannequins, socks and hypodermic needles.
[ Parent ]
windows plugins (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by squee on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:50:28 AM EST

Abiword on windows cannot use plugins from different versions so they have to be totally rebuilt for almost every release.

I have a copy of Abiword for windows and have the following plugins currently installed:
Outlook Express EML Exporter
Babelfish plugin
Free Translation plugin
URLDict plugin
Wikipedia plugin.

I previously had the Image magic plugin installed but i dont have current version of it. The image magic plugin allows you to use a huge variety of image formats.

[ Parent ]
But.... But... (4.33 / 3) (#58)
by codespace on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:02:43 PM EST

The official site's plugins page only lists one Windows plugin, and that's ImageMagick. Where'd you get the rest of these plugins?

today on how it's made: kitchen knives, mannequins, socks and hypodermic needles.
[ Parent ]
plugins (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by squee on Fri May 03, 2002 at 08:15:39 AM EST


All the downloads are here,
but like i said most of these have to be rebuilt for every new abiword version and at the moment it can take up to a week before we can get windows binaries built for the releases.  

[ Parent ]

Free. [OT] (2.18 / 11) (#15)
by nr0mx on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:49:24 PM EST

Did I mention it's free?

These days it is mandatory to qualify this statement. Did I mention it's free ? Free, as in Free Beer.

Why the low votes? (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by enry on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:06:36 AM EST

Kazaa is free, but has spyware. Yahoo e-mail is free, but you get pummeled with ads. MS OS is free when you buy a PC, but the cost is hidden.

[ Parent ]
Low votes due to error, most likely (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by locke baron on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:51:42 PM EST

The low votes, I'd say, are due to the fact that the comment's author implies that AbiWord is free as in Free Beer, when it is in fact free as in Free Speech...

Just my guess, though.

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
It is pretty good (3.11 / 9) (#19)
by seeS on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:15:50 AM EST

I've used it before and found it works quite well. It has big problems with remote X terminals though :/
Where's a policeman when you need one to blame the World Wide Web?
Two Spaces (3.77 / 9) (#21)
by Dolohov on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:21:18 AM EST

Hmph. I've always seen that as a courtesy to the reader, that you don't jam everything together, and spatially set sentences aside. There's nothing "Old-timer"ish about it, if you ask me (Or Strunk or White, as I recall).
Of course, that's exactly what an old time would say, isn't it? *sigh*

Two spaces: that's how I learned to type too. (3.60 / 5) (#29)
by vrt3 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:13:10 AM EST

When I learned to type in prehistoric ages (only 15 years ago, but we were still using mechanical typewriters), we were learned to use two spaces at the end of each sentence. Later I learned that that's the way to do it on typewriters or when you're using a fixed-width font; variable width fonts don't need two spaces because there is typically less space between the letters and thus less space needed to distinguish words and sentences.
When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]
Come to think of it (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by Dolohov on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:52:57 AM EST

I think I've heard that explanation too. On the other hand, I seem to recall that TeX defaults to two spaces, regardless of font.

[ Parent ]
LaTeX spacing (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by Zeshan on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:25:55 PM EST

I'm not sure about TeX, but in LaTeX, extra spacing is given between sentences by default unless one uses the \frenchspacing command.

The actual number of spaces one types is ignored.


[ Parent ]

Answer: (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by 90X Double Side on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 01:13:55 PM EST

"Use only one space after periods, colons, exclamation points, question marks, quotation marks—any punctuation that seperates two sentences

On a typewriter, all the characters are monospaced; that is, they each take up the same amount of space—the letter i takes up as much space as the letter m. Because they are monospaced, you need to type tow spaces after periods to seperate one sentence from the next. But…

On a [computer]… the characters are proportional; that is, they take up a proportional amount of space—the letter i takes up about one-fifth the space of the letter m. So you no longer need extra spaces to seperate the sentences… the single space between sentences is enough to visually seperate them, and two spaces creates a disturbing gap"

(unless you’re using a fixed-width font, of course)

from: Williams, Robin. The Mac Is Not a Typewriter. Berkeley: Peachpit Press, 1990. pg. 13

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

Nevertheless (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by cpt kangarooski on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:07:21 PM EST

There are precious few hard and fast rules where grammar and typography intersect.

Why do Americans put periods inside of quotation marks? Because otherwise the period would be 'lonely.' I swear I'm not making this up.

I've had to start getting into the habit of using two spaces, because that's what's expected generally for legal documents. (where there are also some weird typewriter-derived rules for handling ellipses) I just accept it, and thank God that we don't use the long s character anymore. (or elſe I'd ſurely go ſtark raving mad)

All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

Old Timer? (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by Slothrop on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:36:08 PM EST

I'm 24, and I always assumed that this was the correct way to type. It was actually one of the things that bothered me about Abiword. All in all, I thought that it was very good overall. Snappy and clean on my old computer. I thought that it worked very well, but all that I was using it for was papers, collge essays, and other simple documents, so I didn't really need the columns and tables stuff.
Provide, provide!
[ Parent ]
learned behavior (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by knightbg on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:15:55 PM EST

i too use 2 spaces at the end of sentences, just cause that's what mommy told me the first time i typed anything, oh probably ten years ago. it's just a habit at this point; when i type a period my thumb just reaches down and taps the space bar twice without my even thinking about it. really... recently i tried testing my typing speed on a typing tutor type program and kept choking because i would put 2 spaces at the end of the sentence, thus throwing me off by a character.

[ Parent ]
Useful app (2.55 / 9) (#22)
by spacejack on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:36:33 AM EST

Helps me read documents some of my clients needlessly prettify with Word. Undoubtedly, MS will eventually add some kind of AI "designer" that will reformat your plaintext into some godawful robo-design, and then spit out a cryptic binary that nothing will be able to decipher but Word. Until then however, I'll keep using AbiWord and continue not to have bought Orifice.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that 99% of the people using MS Word would be better off just using Notepad?

Notepad is not enough (3.25 / 4) (#24)
by BlowCat on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 01:20:27 AM EST

Most users need some formatting. Not everybody can hire a layout professional to polish their documents. Wordpad would be fine if it were not so buggy. Abiword is close, but last time I tried it it could not import styles from RTF correctly.

[ Parent ]
try with latest version (3.75 / 4) (#39)
by hub on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:10:20 PM EST

Please, give a try to the latest version. Lot of things have been fixed in that area.

If you are experiencing problems with RTF, then you might report that problem using our bugzilla bug report system. It is really helpful to receive that kind of feedback.

[ Parent ]

sorry (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by spacejack on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:42:45 PM EST

Poorly worded rant. I was talking more about internal communications than the final piece you're sending out to the public or whatnot.

[ Parent ]
wordpad maybe but not Notepad (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by squee on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:20:35 AM EST

Wordpad gives you the basics, bold, italics, underline and a variety of fonts, and RTF. I used it quite a lot before i found Abiword

if wordpad had spellchecking i think it would be enough for most people.
Any volunteers to make a crossplatform/win32 GUI for ispell/pspell? (See how the standalone version Aiksaurus the abiword Thesaurus does this for example).

[ Parent ]
Windows Write and the uselessness of WordPad (4.00 / 3) (#55)
by LodeRunner on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 04:41:36 PM EST

Back in the days of Windows 3.1, a lot of users used Write, the editor that came with it, and were pleased with it. WordPad is apparently more featured, but nobody uses. The reason? Justified text.

They removed the single thing "normal people" like the most. You can write a simple one-page document in Write and make it look professional, but there is no possible way you can do it on WordPad because this feature is missing. The first time I saw WordPad on Windows 95, I immediately had this "Word, shareware edition" feeling...

"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner
[ Parent ]

yeah, it's decent. (3.00 / 6) (#23)
by pb on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:37:12 AM EST

I looked at AbiWord as a possible means of converting Word DOCs to HTML; I wouldn't recommend it for anything complex, (obviously tables are broken :) but for a simple word processor, it's great.

Oh, and if you really want to convert Word DOCs to HTML, all you need is Word and HTML Tidy. For Word 2000, the HTML Export Filter (v2.0) helps a lot too. Oh, and HTML Tidy is an amazing tool; using it, the HTML practically writes itself. :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
Also... (2.00 / 2) (#47)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:43:16 PM EST

"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
Yeah... (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by pb on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:36:08 PM EST

That's actually why I got Abiword in the first place, because it was easier to download/install that than to build wvware on cygwin...

(as you likely know, Abiword uses wvware to save as html. :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
For Structure, try Lyx (4.54 / 11) (#25)
by SlickMickTrick on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 01:57:59 AM EST

I recently had to write up several assignments, the most notable of which was a reasonable Maths assignment, and a large Physics assignment.

As an old MS Word user who now runs on Linux, I was looking for a package similar to Microsoft Word, but has better handling of equations. The last Maths assignement I wrote in word had the word equation editor corrupt the file.

Well Lyx does everything I ever wanted a word processor to do. It maintains document structure, and enforces a single style onto the entire document, without the user having to do any manual formating. Something I'd always believed you could only get from using a typesetter, or LaTeX.

I'd seen people type documents in LaTeX before, and it didn't look like a lot of fun, attempting to visualise what an equation written with escape codes looks like. However the graphical equation editor in Lyx gives you the graphical feedback you need, without the bloat I'm used to with word processing apps.

Mind you, Lyx may be perfect for structured documents, but it would fail to perform the role most people want of a text editor, and hence why it will never win over MS Word and co. Modern word processors are glorified typewriters; you move the caret to where you want to typing, and you start typing. You want to make a header, you increase the font size and go to a new line and start typing.

LaTeX (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by chbm on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:25:31 AM EST

Something I'd always believed you could only get from using a typesetter, or LaTeX.

Did LyX stop using (La)TeX ?

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
no [nt] (none / 0) (#72)
by alge on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 01:48:10 PM EST

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
LaTeX is fun. (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by whee on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:30:05 AM EST

There's one thing LaTeX can get you that LyX cannot --- complete editor control. You can use Vim, Emacs, Notepad or cat for all it cares, and your output will look just the same. There's also the added advantage of not really caring what your text looks like, because you can assume it'll look good.

Also, handling LaTeX on its own gives you a little more flexability in terms of packages. I'm not completely sure about this, but I believe that LyX only 'supports' a handful of packages, that is, it can render only those packages in WYSIWYM mode. This doesn't exactly help when you want to insert a LaTeX-generated Karnaugh map in your document for example, as there would be a gap in the displayed preview.

As for visualizing equations, that's pretty much dead on. I liken it to my switch to a RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) HP calculator from the standard TI. At first, it's really confusing and a pain to do anything, but soon it becomes second nature. At some point, you learn to see equations and pick them apart so that you can insert them into whatever markup language you happen to be using. I find working with a well defined markup language much easier to deal with than a GUI; Things are the way they are because you defined them to be that way, not because you mis-clicked or hit tab an extra time or something odd.

I'd have to agree with you that 'word processing' (I hate that term. TeX based applications can do much much more.) applications using TeX will never become the norm or widespread outside of the 'educated' fields --- where people just won't accept things they don't like and will seek alternatives. I'm constantly getting comments about the work I turn in for various college courses (all formatted with LaTeX and good ole Vim), and when they ask what I used, the typical response I get to that is `Oh... uhh...' The only people who seem to know about it are those in mathematical fields who publish to journals and the like (Although I've seen them use Word of all things for math tests. Strange that they would downgrade themselves.)

I never liked the output that any word processor spewed. We don't need more word processors, we need more typesetters. User-friendly typesetters would be vastly superior to the drudge of word processors.

[ Parent ]
Um (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:28:51 PM EST

There's one thing LaTeX can get you that LyX cannot --- complete editor control.
LyX is just a graphical LaTeX editor. :)
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
Parent ]
Un-um (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by jackyb on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:40:12 AM EST

Yes. And as he went on to say, it only supports a number of LaTeX packages, not all, so you only get perfect WYSIWYG if you do all your composition in LyX.

[ Parent ]
um (none / 0) (#73)
by alge on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 01:50:51 PM EST

you have latex-mode in lyx. I believe you can do anything that lyx doesn't support graphically there just like you would do it in any other editor.. urgh. not sure, though. (=

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
TeXmacs (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by seanm666 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:25:16 AM EST

Likewise, I've been writing all of my coursework assignments in LaTeX and been very impressed with the results. I initially thought that is was going to be very hard to learn, but once I got started I was pleasantly surprised that it is relatively straightforward.

Similar to LyX is TeXmacs which does the same thing but is based around Emacs so for people familiar with that it is much nicer to use. I don't regularly use either myself so can't comment on which is better, just thought I'd suggest it for those that prefer editing LaTeX graphically and might want to give it a try.

[ Parent ]

TeXmacs (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by oliv on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 04:59:38 AM EST

Similar to LyX is TeXmacs which does the same thing but is based around Emacs

TeXmacs is not based on Emacs, it is inspired by TeX and GNU Emacs. It does not use (La)Tex either, only the fonts.

[ Parent ]
No tables? (2.86 / 15) (#26)
by streetlawyer on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:11:39 AM EST

Sorry, I don't see how anyone can consider a word processing program which can't handle tables to be anything other than a toy/programming assignment.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
A toy (3.16 / 6) (#27)
by rusty on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 04:09:58 AM EST

A toy word processor is the best choice when all you need is a toy word processor. I don't do much "word processing" myself. For what little I do, Abiword suits my needs perfectly.

It's not a word processor for people who use real word processors heavily. Don't even bother thinking about switching to it. It's a word processor for people who normally do all their input in a text aditor.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Toys are not bad (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by epepke on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:29:18 PM EST

Remember the tunneling electron microscope a student built a few years ago, mostly using Legos? I saw this on television once; it was great. I've also seen some of the prototype heart machines in museums. One used an Erector set. I myself developed an isosurface algorithm using Tinker Toys and some rubber bands. (I started off with a knife and some Cheddar cheese, but I found I couldn't remember the parts I ate.)

Nothing wrong with a toy.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
and serious work (3.33 / 6) (#38)
by hub on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:07:04 PM EST

Sorry, but how can you tell that it is a toy ?

I have written lot of really productive stuff, including my résumé, a conference paper, slides for that conference and our user's guide is written with AbiWord too.

Perhaps should you learn to either use a word processor or write your own, no ?

[ Parent ]

because it doesn't have tables (2.87 / 8) (#45)
by streetlawyer on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 01:32:51 PM EST

So what? I've produced "really productive stuff" on a Remington typewriter. Doesn't alter the fact that a wordprocessor without tables is missing a vital feature. What you've got there is not a word processor; it's a text editor.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Word processors (3.83 / 6) (#49)
by broken77 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:28:14 PM EST

Word processors haven't always had tables. They have been around for many years, and only with the invention of the modern GUI have they have such advanced things as tables. I guess you've never used something like Wordstar before? AbiWord is definitely a word processor. Just because it doesn't have all the features you want doesn't make it any less of a word processor, it just means you're not satisfied with what it can do.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Oh give over (none / 0) (#61)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:23:44 AM EST

Yeah yeah. And a Ford Model T is a "car" in the sense that it has an internal combustion engine and four wheels. But if you own one today; it's a toy. It's not a practical conveyance, because it doesn't have a synchromesh gearbox, a modern carburettor or an electric starter.

You also ignore the fact that given the development of modern APIs for GUI programming, it is considerably easier to write a word processor today than it was in the days of Wordstar. So I stand behind my claim that AbiWord should sort out tables before they presume to bother the world with claims that they are offering "word processing".

Oh yeh, and when I used Wordstar it did have tables, albeit that the markup language was rather cumbersome.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Ford Model T (3.66 / 3) (#65)
by Zeshan on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 05:30:32 AM EST

Surely you're not denying that the Ford Model T is a car ?


[ Parent ]

surely (1.00 / 1) (#66)
by streetlawyer on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 05:33:39 AM EST

Surely you're not missing the point?

I can't believe it's not butter!

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Who's missing the point? (2.00 / 2) (#70)
by broken77 on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 03:00:31 PM EST

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

John Saul Montoya is back (4.75 / 4) (#67)
by jsmchaser on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 07:02:26 AM EST

Gosh man, what a surprise. John Saul Montoya flaming a piece of open source software for no good reason.

I hate to break this to you, John Saul Montoya, but the word does not revolve around your belly button. Probably a pretty big revelation. Open Source developers have better thing to do with their time than deal with idiots like you who do not have the basic mental capacity to go to the software's web sites and see which features are planned for future releases before posting the above kind of idioticy.

John, listen to me. GO BACK TO USING WINDOWS.
GO BACK TO USING WORD. This software obviously leaves you happy; One particular OSS anternative doesn't.

The open source community does not need users like you. It would seem, like the majority of computer users out there, that you may not have the skills to administer a Linux or other open source system. Which is fine. It takes as much time to learn to use Linux effectively as it does to learn an easy foreign language; 6-12 months of work on average.

Now, before learning Linux well, using it can be a very frustrating experience. I see that you had some frustrations installing Mandrake.

And, I agree that Linux zealots who think the average Windows user can switch over to Linux are deluded.

However, being an asshole towards the Mozilla, AbiWord, and other open source developers will not make things better for you. All you will do is piss people off; you have a consistant pattern of doing this.

And, yes, adequacy.org is, like, really stupid. It isn't funny. It isn't intelligent. It is just, well, abusive and lame. Is it supposed to be funny? I honestly can't say.

John, I don't know you personally, so I can't see your body language. I would guess, however, that you need attention; flaming open source developers is certaintly a way of getting it.

Obviously, I don't hate YOU; I actually have a great deal of compassion for you once I get over the anger your abusive postings cause. What kind of sad person has nothing better to do than create an imaginary "street lawyer" persona online?

John, I am convinced that the attention you are looking for will not be found here on the internet. The sort of attention you need will be found elsewhere; I hope you find it; I wish I could help you more, but I can't and I won't.

For the record, I agree that AbiWord ought to have tables; unlike you, I think AbiWord can make a 1.0 release before implementing tables. And, yes, tables are planned for the next major release. The only thing I don't agree with is the abusive nature in which you asked for tables.

I shall stay anonymous; maybe John now has the attention he deserves.

[ Parent ]
Your workrate is lousy (1.00 / 1) (#75)
by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 03:48:01 AM EST

After launching a troll account dedicated to flaming me "at every opportunity", you appear to have managed precisely one flame in the last three days. You're really going to have to raise your game.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Ummm...Tables? (2.00 / 2) (#69)
by Waldo on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 11:21:21 AM EST

I've used word processors as much as the next guy for about 15 years now. I've never in my life used or wished that I could have used tables.

[ Parent ]
Innaccuracies, clarification please (4.00 / 5) (#31)
by squee on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 07:00:28 AM EST

# You can produce a variety of output formats, including PostScript, PDF,
RTF, and HTML. You can exchange documents with MS Word users with RTF.

PDF? That is not 100% accurate. I will have to ask what he used to genereate the PDF.
Abiword does not natively support PDF, but does allow export to Postscript which can then easily be converted to PDF using various unix tools.

You also could probably export to LaTeX and convert that using pdflatex.

Shame He fails to make clear that everything from wordpad up supporst RTF (naive users may not realise). For a very long time Abiword has supported RTF, after much pressure from the users Abiword added a fake .doc export which was really just an Rich Text Format document with a .doc extension (which Word must understand perfectly for historical reasons, word also must import plaintext renamed to .doc)

Any bugs in the RTF should be reported to http://bugzilla.abisource.com the RTF export is pretty much 99% complete.

# I ran into a problem (solved by upgrading to latest release) and tried
to get help. Unfortunately, I couldn't raise anybody on their IRC channel

shame he did not try a bit harder, or even mail the list. The developers are very helpful but are all volunteers and cannot be expected to be on IRC all day every day. Anyway, the first thing he would have been told would have been to upgrade.

gnome (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by damiam on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:44:16 AM EST

Gnome-enabled builds of AbiWord have "Print to PDF" option.

[ Parent ]
abiword has come a long way (4.00 / 4) (#41)
by jbridge21 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:26:52 PM EST

I started using it three or four years ago, at version 0.7.5 or somesuch. It has always been adequate for my simple word processing needs, but all the features that have been added since then have improved it a great deal.

Just a little nitpick, version 1.0 actually is out. It was released five days ago (on 18 apr) and it is what I have installed on my computer now.

1.0.0 (3.50 / 2) (#48)
by fringd on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:44:25 PM EST

1.0.0 has branched but is not yet officially released as far as the weekly news at abisource.com is concerned.

but i'm stilled hyped to hear that they're almost there :)

[ Parent ]

i don't know about binary packages (3.50 / 2) (#50)
by jbridge21 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:31:11 PM EST

But the source was up on the SourceForge project page.

[ Parent ]
Mandrake package for 1.0.0 is up (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by thebrix on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 05:03:36 AM EST

And can be got via www.rpmfind.net. You may also need expat (XML library).

[ Parent ]
New poll choice (1.66 / 3) (#44)
by snub on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 01:32:33 PM EST

What's a letter?
"Shredded cabbage and mayo go good together."
Cole's Law

A bit of clarification (4.00 / 3) (#51)
by Rand Race on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:32:39 PM EST

AbiWord is available for Darwin and will run under OS X with an XFree86 window manager running. It is not, however, what I would call an OS X application. As it will not read fonts activated by Font Reserve it's really quite useless for me as anything but a novelty since I can't afford the overhead of loading 4500 fonts at startup. It also seemed quite sluggish on my TiBook G4/400/512MB system. No biggie however, I use Textedit for basic wordsmithing and Quark or InDesign if I want it to look a certain... nay, specific way. Alas Word will still reside on my Macs in case a client can't send anything else and for that reason I do hope for an Aqua-ized version of AbiWord (or a font manager that will recognize XWindows apps) somewhere down the road.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Cocoa version (4.50 / 4) (#68)
by hub on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 08:20:38 AM EST

There is a Cocoa version under way for MacOS X.

[ Parent ]

AbiWord Experience (3.66 / 6) (#56)
by taerom on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:17:06 PM EST

I really like AbiWord, and in fact I use it for a lot of my writing when I'm throwing together quick <10 page documents. The lack of tables can be limiting, and I see no obvious way to have headers and footers with automatically incremented page numbers, etc. But for documents that require such elements, I usually use LyX (www.lyx.org) instead anyway.

However, one of the coolest features for me is the ability to read and write PalmDoc and Psion Word documents. I use both a Palm handheld and a Psion handheld, so it's really nice being able to use AbiWord with documents for both of these machines. Just one of those nice "little touches" that you don't usually find in commercial software. :)

psion (none / 0) (#71)
by nedrichards on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 11:22:27 AM EST

yeah they integrated the psion/linux converter libs well. Open Source rules for that sort of thing.

[ Parent ]
Abiword is the best word processor ever (3.33 / 3) (#57)
by patina on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 06:26:01 PM EST

Abiword is fast and light. I loathed using MSWord and WordPerfect after about 5.1. And I can't stand Star Office or even OpenOffice. They are all of them bloated and ugly and get in the way of writing. Using Abiword is a pleasure. It epitomizes the maxim: do one thing and do it well.

AbiWord - Word Processing For Everyone (Almost) | 76 comments (61 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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