Word processing for everyone? AbiWord: A free, cross-platform answer to Word

MSNBC: May 13 ó It works on most major OS platforms and supports many languages; it’s able to read and write most documents in Microsoft Word’s.doc format, as well as twenty others; its authors claim it can do most of what Word can; and best of all it’s free. It’s been in the works for years, but is AbiWord really that good?
My spin: There’s a niche debate in some hi-tech circles on using main business appliations that are not from Microsoft – for that matter not from Corel or Lotus/IBM either.
I’ve downloaded and used hundreds of shareware and freeware programs from sites like Download.com and Shareware.com and have used many tools – clocks, Internet tools, file management utilities, and etc. However, I could never fall in love with using some “other” application for my word processing, database and other main appilcation needs. (For databases, on a smaller scale, Microsoft Access and File Maker Pro are about the best there is).
If you’re running a business and want to get real work done AND also will be sharing that work with others, it’s best to stick with Microsoft Office applications. Listen I’m no fan of MSO apps – they are too large and often have more features than you really need and they crash so often. I’ve used Corel Word Perfect since version 5.0 (maybe even 4.2) of the DOS version – I loved it then and I use the Windows version now. HOWEVER, I’ve realized that MOST people are using Word…and when they send me files or I send them files, the competing word processors mess things up – so I have both word processors on my machine!
Having said that, I find myself more and more just using plain text documents – so even Eudora’s little word processor (the best email programs) or the one on my Handspring Visor work just fine for me!
What do you think?

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook