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The StartX Files: An AbiWord to the Wise
Wouldn't You Like to Be a Pepper, Too?
July 2, 2001
I went to the store an hour ago, to get my weekly case of pop (or soda, if you are so inclined). This is a ritual for me, right up there with baseball players who will only wear the same pair of socks throughout a hitting streak. Only my ritual smells better.
For me, the drink of choice is Dr. Pepper. This is not so much a product endorsement, mind you, as a way of life. (International readers, please bear with my parochial Americanism for a bit and substitute the carbonated beverage of your choice in your neck of the woods.) Now, in this particular situation, there are a number of carbonated beverages in the US formulated to imitate the taste of the One True Beverage. They are pretty easy to spot, with names like Mr. Pibb and Dr. Thunder. Tonight in the store I saw a new one: Dr. Fresh. And after a couple of days of poking around AbiWord, I knew this drink had a strange kinship with this open-source word processor.
AbiWord, for good or ill, has clearly positioned itself in terms of functionality against the Microsoft Word product. Not that there's anything wrong with that. After six years of putzing around with different word processors, I have generally found that these applications fall into one of three groups: Word-derivatives, WordPerfect-derivatives, and Everything Else. AbiWord falls into this first group. It is, in this stage of its life, the Dr. Fresh to Word's Dr. Pepper.
This may not be something we want to hear, since All Things Microsoft are Evil, blah, blah, blah. But, I figure if AbiWord wants to be in this position, then its only fair to hold it up to the product its trying to emulate.
If you don't wait for the hoary details, the short answer is: it will not be a poor imitation at all, once it a full 1.0 release is made.