Originally Published: Tuesday, 17 August 1999 Author: Arthur Thomas
Published to: Internal News/General Announcements Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

The Abiword word processor

Abiword is an Open Source word processor. The project has grown considerably since then with 18,000 downloads this last July.

Abiword is an Open Source word processor. Backed by Sourcegear corporation and triggered by Netscape's release of the Mozilla source code, a few developers took a good look at the opportunities and challenges Open Source possessed. The developers noticed that while there were many Open Source applications for server platforms, there was a lack of Open Source applications on the desktop. Deciding to remedy that void, the AbiSuite project was launched, with Abiword being the first piece of the puzzle. The first release was made at the 1998's O'Reilly Open Source Developer Day. The project has grown conciderably since then with 18,000 downloads this last July.

The current release of AbiWord is 0.7.4 and a 1.x release is still in the future. The goals for the 1.x release are in place and being checked off one by one as the applications matures. On the top of the list is to finish up headers and footers. As quoted on the AbiWord Roadmap page, "Version 1.0 is the beginning, not the end." Here you can see that this truly is only the beginning from the feature list for the next 3 major releases. Post 1.x releases will contain WordPerfect import/export, Word 97 export, and HTML import capabilities (Word 97 import and HTML export are already implemented in the current release.)

While the GNOME organization has included Abiword in it's GNOME office suite, the group has recognized the fact that Abiword is cross-platform and not tied into any one window manager or operating system. In fact, there are even binaries for Windows 95/98/NT as well as Solaris, BeOS, and Linux. There is also mention of other operating systems which should not have a problem compiling Abiword. These include the three BSD's , HP UX and Irix. A MacOS port is in the works. This is perhaps one of AbiWord's most finest features. A user will be able to learn this software and use it no matter which operating system is used. Gone will be the days of converting documents from one format to another.