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GNU is Not Unix Software Technology

AbiCollab Takes On Google Docs and Zoho Writer 82

msevior writes "Just released today, the free software AbiWord word processor, employed by the One Laptop Per Child project, tightly integrates with a new collaboration Web site to enable easy real-time collaborative editing of documents. AbiCollab.net also enables documents to be stored online, allows format conversion on the fly, stores the history of the docs in svn, provides direct links to HTML-ized docs that update as you save them, and allows easy sharing of docs amongst friends and groups. All in all, new competition for Google Docs and Zoho Writer, but featuring a real word processor rather than an app in a browser."
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AbiCollab Takes On Google Docs and Zoho Writer

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  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:26AM (#29895513)

    The submitter, msevior, is one of the Abiword devs, long-term.

    I used Abiword several years back. I think I used every linux word processor ever made for a while several years back. Finally settled with Open's. Think it was because of compatibility issues with the rest of the world (the Real one, the one I live in) who used MS, I honestly can't recall. Has Abiword gotten better in that regard? I do know that I'm a bit too far down the road with Open, which has garnered a satisfying momentum and robustness in its own right, to switch now. Unless Abiword is a helluva lot less expensive than Open. Oh yeah, they're both free. Never mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:39AM (#29895619)

    You collaborate across jabber with no use of abicollab.net. It's integrated with telepathy on gnome too...

  • Re:Slashvertisement! (Score:5, Informative)

    by msevior (145103) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:45AM (#29895651)

    In answer to your questions:
    1. Because it allows collaborative editing for documents hosted on a website. Press "save" in abiword of a document loaded from the site and it is saved back to the site. Just like google docs and zoho.

    2. Because some people do need to work together to create documents. Ever had a document emailed to you that requested changes? Now you just connect straight on the service.

    3. Your assumption is incorrect. Sharepoint does not allow the deep, instant collaboration between arbitrarily sized collection of people provided by abiword+abiword. Certainly not at the price offered by abicollab.net ether ($0.00).

    One of the most touted features of OLPC is the "Write" word processor which allows children to work on documents together. Now everyone with a Windows or Linux computer can do that in a fully fledged word processor.

  • by excelsior_gr (969383) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:55AM (#29895751)
    Have you ever tried to write a document like an article with many co-authors, an interdisciplinary project report or proposal? Being able to simultaneously change the document saves a LOT of time. Over here, we go with LaTeX and SVN.
  • by msevior (145103) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:32AM (#29896181)

    We hear you. This can easily be arranged. The service can be deployed on a smallish server that could easily handle several hundred simultaneous collaborative documents (enough for a high school for example) or scale up to handle what we expect from the whole web. Most of the processing grunt needed is actually in the clients. This a huge advantage compared to Google apps which rely on the server for their CPU cycles.

  • Re:Slashvertisement! (Score:3, Informative)

    by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:38AM (#29896265)

    "...but featuring a real word processor rather than an app in a browser" Seriously, what on earth is that supposed to mean ?

    This isn't a slashvertisement; by "app in a browser," they mean the dazzling display of massive AJAX that is characteristic of Google Apps. AbiCollab is not this; if you looked into it more, you'd see you actually need a plug-in to make this work.

    Thus, AbiCollab really isn't an "app in the browser" in the traditional sense of a Web application--it's a desktop application hosted by a Web browser via a plug-in. That is what they meant. Of course, whether this is a good or bad thing is another story, since unlike Google Apps, you can use this only on platforms that are supported by some desktop application (and that have the AbiCollab plug-in).

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:57AM (#29896559) Homepage Journal

    This article talks a little -- but not too much -- about how it works:
    http://www.abisource.com/wiki/AbiCollab [abisource.com]
    It seems to use "gocollab", or that was a previous name?

    In 2005: http://gnomejournal.org/article/31/gocollab----peer-to-peer-document-collaboration [gnomejournal.org]

    The next major version of GNOME Office will introduce a new way of handling the problem, called GOCollab. GOCollab will basically marry the already built-in revision systems of Abiword and Gnumeric with a P2P network comparable to file sharing applications like Gnutella or eMule. This means that neither Bob nor Jane nor anybody else needs a central server to be set up and run, and most of their changes to a document will be merged together automatically.

    I am sure you can replace AbiCollab.net with your own server. Would be nice though if the websites code was Open Source.

    Here are some screenshots of the website in action: http://abisource.com/release-notes/2.8.0.phtml [abisource.com]

  • Re:Slashvertisement! (Score:2, Informative)

    by uwog (707498) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:30AM (#29897087) Homepage
    No, MS Word does now allow collaborative editing of Word documents (they do for spreadsheets and presentations).
  • by uwog (707498) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:50AM (#29897379) Homepage
    Haha, blame the design people. Apparently they really care about how a tittle piece of text looks :) I'll kill the flash off as soon as possible, but we were on a deadline.
  • by uwog (707498) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:36AM (#29898887) Homepage
    We are working on making a downloadable "server component" available. Until we do, you'll indeed have to trust us to keep our servers online.
  • by megabyte405 (608258) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @12:08PM (#29899327)

    AbiCollab (the feature of AbiWord) has a number of backends for you to use in collaboration. One is Jabber-based, one is TCP, and one is the "AbiCollab.net Service" - so you can run it either centrally hosted or peer-to-peer.

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.