While many of you have already used OpenOffice, as a free replacement for Microsoft Office suite, in 2002 a new project began to rise up from the open source community. AbiWord is part of a larger project known as AbiSource, which was started by the SourceGear Corporation. The goal of the project was the development of a cross-platform, Open Source office suite beginning with AbiWord, the project’s word processor.
AbiWord released a new version (2.9.1) of its text processing software, a version that brings a lot of improvements and new features making it a true contender for Microsoft Word. I have to mention that this version is a development release, and is not considered ready for production use. For a stable version you are encouraged to download AbiWord 2.8.6.
Anyway, version 2.9.1 is worth mentioning because it represents a milestone for the next 3.0.0 stable version in terms of new features and improvements. For the first time AbiWord comes with paragraph borders and shading support. This can be controlled through a new Borders and Shading dialog. The Resource Description Framework information can now be saved and loaded in both OpenDocument (.odt) and AbiWord (.abw) files.
With AbiWord you can now share online documents through the Telepathy service. By using any Jabber/XMPP account, you can collaborate in real-time with other users on a shared document. In addition you can also export any document into an e-book format thanks to the experimental EPUB plugin.
AbiWord 2.9.1 is a cross-platform application available at the moment for PCs running Windows 2000 or later, or Linux. The development team also mentioned that the next stable version will be also available for Mac OS X.