FAQ: Role of AbiWord
A: Its too bad nobody tried to answer before now. Whether AbiWord is useful for you or not surely depends on your personal circumstances.
For me (rhk), I advocate AbiWord for the following reasons:
- I want to see strong competition for Microsoft. _For lots of reasons I wont (at least initially) go into here -- among them I am a strong believer in the benefits of competition, and the drawbacks (to the public) of monopolies._ Therefore, I am an advocate for Linux. AbiWord may be the best (and I believe, will become the best) word processor on Linux. In addition, it is a cross platform word processor, so it can be used as a Linux advocacy tool -- get Windows users started on AbiWord on Windows (if necessary), then as you try to move them to Linux they wont have to change word processors.
- I believe AbiWord comes closest (and is evolving to become closer) to a Word workalike. I used Word for many years and like it a lot. Word doesnt run on Linux (except in a Windows emulation environment like Wine), so I needed a word processor on Linux, preferably as much like Word as possible.
- OpenOffice.org and Star Office by Sun Microsystems are alternatives that also work on both Windows and Linux (as is WordPerfect, iiuc), but they are too large and over-complicated for some peoples tastes.
Some of the functionality I like about Word is implemented or in progress for AbiWord. _I must confess that I dont use AbiWord very often -- since moving to Linux and some other changes in my life, I do far more things with a mail client and a web browser than with a word processor._
- styles, stylesheets (awt, iirc) and templates (awt): the ability to predefine styles much like one would in something like Latex -- styles for headings, paragraphs, ...
- (collapsible) outlining: I havent actually tried this out yet, but I understand quite a bit of progress has been made _ahh, but its apparently quite different as it deals with lists rather than dealing with the entire document—a collapsible outline in Word, when collapsed (to show the appropriate number of levels), looks quite a bit like (and has the same content as) a table of contents—in Word, each heading in the document (with manual exceptions) becomes a heading in the collapsible outline_
- things like automatic tables of content (I think this has been implemented)
_Please choose your words carefully. Please try to be as objective and neutral as possible. There is no excuse to say bad things about our competitors no matter how much we might like to—it is immature and unlikely to actually help anyone._