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Starting a list of word processors and office suites for Linux (or for Linux and other platforms). May also list spreadsheets. There were some good lwn.net discussions listing office suites / word processors.

These are not ranked in any particular order.

I started this as just a list, but have added my impressions based on my limited experience with some of these programs (where I have no experience I have refrained from expressing an opinion).

See AboutThesePages.

Contents

Office Suites

  • Open Office and Star Office (open office is free beer, Star Office was, but will not be)
  • Hancom (it's not free beer)
  • SOT Office 2002 -- it says "based on Open Office" -- I've never looked at
  • KDE
  • GNome

There are some others, one is Applix or something like that (not free)?

I have a feeling I'm going to like the KDE suite better than GNome in general, but I think my preferred word processor will be AbiWord, and Gnumeric might become my preferred spread sheet.

Word Processors

  • AbiWord -- will be the best, but currently doesn't support tables or collapsible outlining, and several other things. See AbiWord. AbiWord is multiplatform (Linux, Windows, others), multilanguage, bidirectional (and right to left, top to bottom, all kinds of wierd stuff). AbiWord is incidentally part of the GNOME office suite, but is also "supported" where GNOME doesn't exist. (On Linux there are GNOME and gtk+ (IIUC) builds, among others.)
  • KWord -- tried briefly -- more "frame oriented", and
  • Hancom has one -- tried it briefly at the 2002 Linux Expo -- mainly asking if it had collapsible outlining -- no one was aware or able to show me such a feature (IIRC).
  • Open Office / Star Office: I've tried 5.2 a little, and touched 6.0. Not bad, they do support outlining, but I guess I shouldn't call it collapsible (more like the way LyX, KLyX, LaTeX support outlines). One of these might be the most capable alternative to Word on Linux (at this time).
  • LyX, KLyX, LaTeX -- interesting, and I tried using LyX / KLyX for quite a while and have some notes. Supports an outline, more like Word97's "online view" rather than collapsible. I don't like it for various reasons, some almost frivolous:
    • Can't put two spaces after the punctuation at the end of a sentence (someone on a mail list "corrected" me once, but I forget the correction -- I suspect that I could insert nonbreaking spaces to help deal with the problem ( ), but this may prevent a line break.
    • Cumbersome -- you edit in one thing (KLyX / LyX isn't too bad) but then invoke other programs to get printed documents in various formats (and to preview the text in its finished form). (See DocBook and LinuxDoc for similar approaches, and actually the man (and info?) pages are handled in a similar fashion -- man pages are created in one form and converted to something else (maybe plain text) for display, using a program similar to nroff.)
    • Uses and advocates the WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean) vs. the WYSIWYG "paradigm". Good, but what I had pretty much evolved to in using Word -- a style for each "functional" use of text -- thus you specify what the text represents (a link, a (program) command, a quotation, a heading), and the styles determine the look to "complement" that function. Seems to be the appropriate approach in most cases, and XML (and XHTML?) are steps in that direction. (You might say the same thing about HTML, but that would be misleading -- in HTML you tend to specify the formatting rather than the function of the text.)

Spreadsheets

  • Gnumeric -- at a glance, seems quite capable -- part of the GNOME office suite.

Presentation Managers

They exist in Linux, haven't tried any. KDE has one, is it Kpresent?

PIMs

They exist in Linux, haven't tried any.

Databases

I've used things like dBase (III, III+, and IV), Paradox, AskSam, xyindex (slightly OT), Access (with VBA), and VB with the Microsoft SQL thingie. MySQL and Postgres seem fundamentally different (except perhaps from VB plus SQL) -- dBase, Access, etc. are applications (or application generators) that include a database system. MySQL and Postgres are sort of "builtin" to Linux -- just very different and will take some getting used to. MySQL and Postgres can be (are) used with all kinds of other applications sort of "transparently" -- when you go to do something in dBase, Paradox, Access, etc, you are in a special environment.

HTML Editors

Drawing Tools

  • Dia -- tried it once, briefly -- it will be a while until I switch from Visio
  • K<something> -- tried it once, briefly -- briefly -- it will be a while until I switch from Visio
  • JHotDraw (and the TWikiDrawPlugin for TWiki) -- quite primitive compared to Visio, but I used it to create drawings for WikiLearn from within TWiki -- see EmailOverviewSketch and EmailServerSketches -- reasonably useful for the purpose

Editors

(Not really part of an office suite, but I thought I'd mention a few and my preference -- I've actually tried quite a few, forget all the ones I tried -- do I have another page that lists these?)

  • Nedit (my favorite "GUI" editor so far), has macros, syntax highlighting, regexps, "soft" word wrap (continuous), does not have folding, and the styling looks a little clunky (presumably because it is based on Motif/lesstif).
  • The editors in KDE are usually reasonable -- forget all the names, kedit, kate, kwrite, advanced, etc., but the "standard" one includes syntax highlighting, and IIRC, the advanced one can deal with hex
  • IIRC, nedit was the only (GUI) editor I tried that had soft wrapping or at least it was the best -- some of the things I tried had really garish backgrounds and fonts, or things like light text on a dark background, which really is not usable for me. (Somewhere I described the problem that I suspect exists in at least some antialiasing algorithms which results in white text on a dark background appearing much less visible than black text on a whit background -- might have been only on a maillist or bug report -- I think it might have been to the nedit or mc mail lists.)

  • jstar (and similar -- command line "wordstar" work alikes)

  • emacs and vi(m) -- just listed here for completeness (even though I've not otherwise tried to be complete. I spend some time trying emacs, and then dropped it in favor of LyX/KLyX (apples and oranges, I know -- that was just the sequence of events). I can't imagine ever adopting emacs. I am forced to occasionally deal with vi(m), so am learning a little. The most important things -- learn how to quit and save your work. Something like ":wq" in vim, and ??? in emacs.

Notes

Resources

Recommended

I've read these, possibly not thoroughly or completely, but enough to believe that they are very useful generally for the subject of this page:

Recommended for Specific Needs

I've read parts (or all) of these, possibly not thoroughly or completely, but enough to believe that they are useful for specific items related to the subject of this page:

Skimmed or Visited Briefly

I have not read these thoroughly, and certainly not enough to list them as recommended, but I list them here as they may be useful, and for further evaluation in the future:

Recommended by Others

These links have been recommended to me, or I've found reference to them, but haven't read them (possibly haven't even visited them):


Contributors

  • RandyKramer - 30 Apr 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>

Rants (Ignore)

See MyRantings.

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Topic revision: r2 - 2002-09-03 - RandyKramer
 
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