We are all familiar with Microsoft Word and Excel. Most of us are familiar with Open Office, or Libre Office as the current non corporate controlled fork is called. However, very few people are familiar with Gnumeric and AbiWord, and that is a shame.
Gnumeric is a open source replacement for a commercial spreadsheet (*cough* Excel *cough*). It is available for Windows and Linux. Does it do everything that Excel does? Of course not. Does it do everything that you need it to do? Most likely. When I changed over to the Xubuntu operating system a few weeks ago, Gnumeric was the default spreadsheet program that was installed. Instead of immediately downloading Open Office, I decided to stick with Gnumeric for a while. I still don’t see any reason why I would need to switch back to anything else. It does all the normal day to day spreadsheet stuff just fine, and pretty much exactly like Excel or Open Office. There is no ramp up time involved to switch. Stuff words exactly like you would expect. It imports .xls files just fine. Also, Gnumeric starts up lightening quick. If you need a spreadsheet, and won’t be getting into heavy duty scripting type applications, give Gnumeric a try. It’s free as in speech, and free as in beer.
AbiWord is an open source Word Processing application. It reminds me a lot of MS Word 2000, which was perfectly functional and missing all the bloated crap that Microsoft has since shoved into the Office suite. My word processor does not need to make me a bacon sandwich. As long it can spell check bacon for me, I am happy. AbiWord seems to handle all the basic word processing tasks just fine. As you can see below, it looks like what you expect a word processor to look like. The common functions all work the same way as they would in Word or Open Office. It can save your files in the common Word formats, so you can share documents with your less enlightened brethren that are still paying $200 for software to write letters. It too is available for Windows and Linux.
AbiWord and Gnumeric are perfectly functional programs that will handle 98% of the word processing and spreadsheet tasks that average home / small business user will need to complete. Give them a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.