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AbiWord beats OpenOffice to a Grammar Checker

Hemos posted about 9 years ago | from the hats-off dept.

Software 350

msevior writes "The recently released AbiWord-2.4 (downloads for Linux, OSX and Windows here ) is the first Free Word Processor to offer an integrated Grammar Checker. We can can do this because we're a pure GPL'd application and so can easily collaborate with other Freely licensed applications like link-grammar, gtkmathview and itex2mml which provide AbiWord-2.4 with a superb Latex-based Math feature. Sun's license requirements for OpenOffice.Org make it much more difficult for such collaborations to occur."

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Usefulness? (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | about 9 years ago | (#13797544)

Yay for F/OSS bloatware! (No offense to the poster)

Now if only they could have a floating thumb tack that gives you help whenever you don't need it.

Do people honestly use grammar check? Hasn't it been proven that no grammar checker works well enough to provide a wide cover of the English language?

Personally, when I write an article or something for wide dissemination, I'll send it to a group of writers I know and trust. Peer editing. They do the same when they need a human review. I'm sure there are websites to help others do similar swaps.

The MS Word g/c pisses me off bigtime. I have to disable it or go crazy.

For me, a grammar check is a bloat feature that doesn't add worth to a word processor. This is especially true for technical documents.

Is this a feature needed solely to promote the package (like the "often used" cruise control on every car) to the masses?

I'd rather have a thin distribution that works quickly without consuming massive amounts of RAM and processing power.

Am I alone?

Re:Usefulness? (5, Insightful)

free space (13714) | about 9 years ago | (#13797598)

A grammar checker would be a good idea if:
- It is well implemented, from what I hear, Wordperfect's Grammatik used to be almost always correct and very useful,as opposed to Word's grammar checker that 's here just so that Microsoft can say "we have a grammar checker"

- It didn't try to 'improve your style'. I hate it whenever Word tries to encourage me not to use passive.Also my pet hate when Word underlines all my headers and says "fragment: consider revising" ...what the heck you dumb program! It's a freaking header! must all my headers be complete sentences?

- It can be easily turned off, and doesnt fill your page with green lines under every sentence.

it won't be as good as peer review or a professional proofreader, but it may spot that embarrasing mistake before you send that critical report to the customer at 11 pm..

Re:Usefulness? (0, Offtopic)

thedcm (917676) | about 9 years ago | (#13797659)

GP

Re:Usefulness? (1)

legirons (809082) | about 9 years ago | (#13797666)

It didn't try to 'improve your style'

You typed "colour". Would you like me to change it to "color"?

Re:Usefulness? (1)

aklix (801048) | about 9 years ago | (#13797740)

Actually, Word's Autocorrect feature has come in handy for a High School Senior Prank. Other than that it's only good for capitalizing my I's. I'm not going to bash just m$, the word finishing feature of openoffice.org, who's idea was that? Overall though OOo is more stable than Word. After a SP2 upgrade I had to reinstall M$ Office. Not with OOo.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

legirons (809082) | about 9 years ago | (#13797822)

Yep, OpenOffice (and Word, etc.) would be a lot better if there were a single button to turn off the 132 different ways in which it can interfere with your work.

e.g. after you think you've deleted the whole list of autocorrect options, and there's still something making it capitalise the "For" in "for(1..10){}"

Re:Usefulness? (1)

afd8856 (700296) | about 9 years ago | (#13797838)

I really like the autocomplete feature from OpenOffice. So much that when I need to write something more than a page I use Writer. Not everybody likes it, and it needs getting used to, but to me it seems that it really helps and speeds my typing. One of the better features is to have it act like a spell-checker, if, for example, your language doesn't have a dictionary.

Re:Usefulness? (4, Interesting)

iangoldby (552781) | about 9 years ago | (#13797706)

I hate it whenever Word tries to encourage me not to use passive.

You can turn this off you know. If I had MS Word installed on this machine I'd tell you how, but I don't think it is too obscure.

Personally, I find the grammer checker quite useful and I believe that the passive voice is Evil(TM). Most people who use passive seem to believe that they need to in order to take the focus away from the person doing the action, and that this is particularly important in scientific publications etc.

All I can say in response is that there are a great many almost unreadable scientific papers out there that are over-wordy, constructed portacabin-like from pre-fabricated sentences, which contain nothing to keep the reader engaged. If that is the price of using the passive voice, then I don't think it is worth paying.

Can I recommend you take a look at George Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language [google.co.uk] ? Although written in 1946, he still has a lot that is relevant to say about writing clear and engaging english. (Sorry, I've gone off the original subject a little, but I think this essay should be required reading for anyone who does any kind of formal writing.)

Re:Usefulness? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13797715)

Most people who use passive seem to believe that they need to in order to take the focus away from the person doing the action, and that this is particularly important in scientific publications etc.
Okay then, translate "The window has been broken" into active voice.

Re:Usefulness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797742)

Okay then, translate "The window has been broken" into active voice.

"The window broke."

Drrrr

Re:Usefulness? (5, Funny)

God'sDuck (837829) | about 9 years ago | (#13797744)

Okay then, translate "The window has been broken" into active voice.

"Windows is broken."

Re:Usefulness? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13797783)

Yes, that's exactly how passive perfect tenses are done in Latin. But can you do "The window is being broken"?

Re:Usefulness? (1)

gaj (1933) | about 9 years ago | (#13797797)

"The window breaks"?

Re:Usefulness? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 9 years ago | (#13797814)

The window is breaking.

Re:Usefulness? (2, Insightful)

iangoldby (552781) | about 9 years ago | (#13797760)

As someone else already pointed out, you could say "The window broke." If you wanted to stress that windows don't just break on their own, you would say "Someone broke the window." Or you could say "The window has been broken for 3 weeks" if the length of time was your emphasis. In that case you are using the passive for a reason. (I only said it is Evil(TM), not that you should never use it.) It all depends on context.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13797831)

(I only said it is Evil(TM), not that you should never use it.)
The former often implies the latter, especially on slashdot. Mea culpa. And I agree that the passive is usually awkward and/or unneccessary, but Evil(TM) is a bit too harsh a word--Evil(TM) should be reserved for things like Microsoft, the DMCA, and software patents..

Re:Usefulness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797780)

"Something has broken the window."

A point of using active is that active promotes being more succinct and specific. This isn't always as important in artistic writing, but, in research-oriented writing, it is important. The gist is that naming what performs the verb allows writing to be more useful by being specific (and, well, simply by answering for the reader who or what did the action).

Re:Usefulness? (2, Insightful)

free space (13714) | about 9 years ago | (#13797869)

Thanks for the Orwell article, guy is a genius :)

I agree with you on the evil of excessive use of passive ( and more so on the unreadablity of moderm scientific papers!).There is is no denying that clear,specific writing is very important.

My problem with Word, however, is that it behaves towards writing style like the automaton it is, assuming that every passive voice is evil and marking it for review and so on, so I spend half my time shutting false alarms instead of fixing real problems in the document.
Microsoft could have done better if it either:
1) Used some sort of AI to differentiate between bad style and what appears to be bad style. If you put a page of a Charles Dickens novel in Word, it will mark it as full of problems.Software companies can do better than that.

2) Allowed me to correct style problems in a less intrusive way, instead of distracting me with all those green lines. Maybe they could make a 'review' tab with all the grammar errors in the document , grouped by type and sorted by severity.

3) Just stopped checking the styles and let me judge my work or get someone to review it.I know it can be turned off, but my point was why provide it if it wasn't satisfactory in the first place.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 9 years ago | (#13797714)

"I hate it whenever Word tries to encourage me not to use passive.Also my pet hate when Word underlines all my headers and says "fragment: consider revising" ...what the heck you dumb program! It's a freaking header! must all my headers be complete sentences?"

Doing things such as writing complete sentences, not running on and avoiding using passive voice are useful if you would like people to read what you write and understanding it instead of throwing it in the trash.

easier to read sentence are. fragments more difficult. peer review doesn't always work. if your peers are just as poor.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

free space (13714) | about 9 years ago | (#13797774)

I agree with you on the importance of writing style. My problem with Word is that it's supicious of everything I write, even if it's perfectly readable.
Fragments are fine for things like newspaper headlines or technical documemtation, which is part of my job. It's bad that whenever I write something like "Unit Statistics" in its own line Word rushes out to correct me. A lot of minor annoyances like this make its grammar checker unusable, IMO.

Re:Usefulness? (0, Troll)

karmaflux (148909) | about 9 years ago | (#13797721)

I hate it whenever Word tries to encourage me not to use passive.Also my pet hate when Word underlines all my headers and says "fragment: consider revising" ...what the heck you dumb program!

You need all the help you can get.

I hate it when Word encourages me not to use the passive voice. Also, I hate it when Word underlines my headers and says, "Fragment: consider revising." What the heck, you dumb program?

There you go.

Re:Usefulness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797834)

Actually, though it is more common in French than in English, a grammatically interrogative form can be followed by an exclamation mark to express ... exclamation. "Don't you know that!" It looks a bit AOLish in English though.

Re:Usefulness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797911)

The translation from "Word tries to encourage me" to "Word encourages me" is lossy. The first version conveys that Word may not be successful; the second skips that possibility. Style suggestions should not damage meaning.

Re:Usefulness? (2, Informative)

elebrin (844422) | about 9 years ago | (#13797606)

I agree.

However, I use ABIword as my primary word processor. It loads faster in both Windows and Linux (for me), it consumes less memory, and the interface is a decent clone of Word, so that others have fewer problems with it when they use my machine.

so... its benefits outweigh its problems for me.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

Saven Marek (739395) | about 9 years ago | (#13797617)

Do people honestly use grammar check? Hasn't it been proven that no grammar checker works well enough to provide a wide cover of the English language?

Well many other languages have much simpler or more strict grammars than english so it is relevant for those, and with localisation for other areas that isn't a problem. By that I mean that maybe it works brilliant for 90% of languages but sometimes english isn't the best for everything.

In this case it is some other language that gets the benefits.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

Klivian (850755) | about 9 years ago | (#13797719)

Well many other languages have much simpler or more strict grammars than english so it is relevant for those, and with localisation for other areas that isn't a problem. By that I mean that maybe it works brilliant for 90% of languages but sometimes english isn't the best for everything. It's most probable to be the other way, making it even worse for non english languages. As it most likely are developed to work with english as the primary language, making it nearly impossible to localize to other languages.

Re:Usefulness? (3, Informative)

agraupe (769778) | about 9 years ago | (#13797707)

Do you drive much on the highway? If so, I don't see how you could disparage the use of cruise control; there's nothing I hate more than someone floating between two different speeds, 20 km/h apart, and it's not like cruise control makes you a worse driver or something. Although for the average commuter, it's useless, it is crucial for the many 5-hour-plus drives I make.

Re:Usefulness? (2, Funny)

uncqual (836337) | about 9 years ago | (#13797864)

Besides, cruise control lets you catch a little sleep while you drive.

Grammar check is perhaps a misnomer (5, Insightful)

Julian Morrison (5575) | about 9 years ago | (#13797710)

Actual uses of grammar check:

- As a partner to spell check, find correctly spelled but misplaced words (eg: there and their).

- Find common brain-farts such as reduplicated words.

- Remind blame-ducking idiots that the passive verb makes their evasions obvious. Mistakes were made, my foot!

- Point out incongruities and neologisms, which some people might not know aren't cultured english, such as excessive verbing of nouns.

These are all tasks that require an ability to parse grammar, and they're actually useful.To call them "grammar checking" would be too strong, but I can't think of a better descriptive name.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

Spacejock (727523) | about 9 years ago | (#13797836)

I use a grammar checker as a final-final catch for stupid mistakes like 'the the' and other extraneous words which a spell check won't find. Yes, some of the suggestions it makes are ridiculous, circular or just plain unnecessary, but a couple of times it's picked up one of my silly errors and that makes it all worthwhile.

Would I rely on a computer to correct and improve my grammar? No thanks. Ditto a spelling checker - I just use it for typos.

Re:Usefulness? (1)

Dan_Bercell (826965) | about 9 years ago | (#13797906)

Its nice to send a document to a group to look over, however its not feasible for most of the documents written in business these days. Please dont forget more features are good, if you dont think so use old versions of word processors... One usefullness of Office is Outlook uses Word as its email editor, therefore you get the spell checker and grammar checkers... nice when you compose 30+ emails per day.

Good for you but no thanks (-1, Redundant)

wombatmobile (623057) | about 9 years ago | (#13797545)

I don't want a grammar checker. Prefer my brain. Thanks.

Re:Good for you but no thanks (1)

scrwvwls (881589) | about 9 years ago | (#13797660)

Can't say I prefer your brain.

Oh, wait a second...

Re:Good for you but no thanks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797684)

I don't want a grammar checker. Prefer my brain. Thanks.

Warning: Sentence fragment.

Sure (5, Funny)

slashflood (697891) | about 9 years ago | (#13797548)

[...] integrated Grammar Checker. We can can do this because [...]

:-)

Re:Sure (4, Funny)

Surt (22457) | about 9 years ago | (#13797629)

They do it by dancing the can can, I don't understand your problem with this claim? I mean sure, you have to get the DDR keyboard mod to do your coding, but those aren't so expensive as to make this claim implausible.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797634)

LOL.. good catch.

Re:Sure (1)

thedcm (917676) | about 9 years ago | (#13797658)

LOL

LaTeX (2, Interesting)

poopdeville (841677) | about 9 years ago | (#13797554)

What does LaTeX have to do with checking English grammar?

Re:LaTeX (1)

Cunk (643486) | about 9 years ago | (#13797665)

Nothing. Where does the article say that it does?

Re:LaTeX (1)

poopdeville (841677) | about 9 years ago | (#13797887)

From FTBlurb:

[Abiword] is the first Free Word Processor to offer an integrated Grammar Checker. We can can[sic] do this because we're a pure GPL'd application and so can easily collaborate with other Freely licensed applications like link-grammar, gtkmathview and itex2mml which provide AbiWord-2.4 with a superb Latex-based Math feature.

They say that as if LaTeX were relevant.

Pfft. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797561)

I'm laughing at all you AbiWord and OpenOffice users from my tower of Notepad!

-1 flamebait (1, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | about 9 years ago | (#13797570)

The GPL discourages collaboration. If you want to encourage collaboration you need a license like BSD. The GPL allows restricted collaboration, but only between GPL fans. The BSD license allows collaboration for everyone.

Re:-1 flamebait (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | about 9 years ago | (#13797591)

GPL can use BSD code, but BSD code cannot use GPL code.

-1 flamebait: Back in the day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797620)

I'm not certain why they even bring it up. Collaboration has been happening for decades. Just because the GPL came along doesn't mean we haven't been able to before.

Re:-1 flamebait (1)

AkaXakA (695610) | about 9 years ago | (#13797622)

Exactly. The excerpt is such a pure flame it's rediculous.

Why can't we keep it a healthy, friendly competition? Having AbiWord, KOffice and OOo all competing with each other (and, to a lesser extent, with MS Office) is only good. The main reason OOo's grammar checking might be behind is the fact that Star Office already had one...!

Re:-1 flamebait (0, Offtopic)

mmjb (866586) | about 9 years ago | (#13797741)

Having AbiWord, KOffice and OOo all competing with each other (and, to a lesser extent, with MS Office) is only good.


A lesser extent? Depends whether you mean on a userbase or feature perspective.

I think MS would be naive not to regard OSS suites as eventual direct competition for MSOffice - and therefore be influenced by that competition already. How much more should a word processor be able to do? MSOffice already does way too much for most people - and has done for at least a couple of versions.

With no practical feature improvements to make on their own product, MS ought to be looking over their shoulder to see free word processors fast approaching to cull their cash cow.

Now (as per Firefox vs MSIE, for example) to overcome market share...

-1 Redundant (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797635)

BSD is dying, netcraft confirms it.

Re:-1 flamebait (0, Redundant)

thedcm (917676) | about 9 years ago | (#13797657)

GP.

Re:-1 flamebait (4, Informative)

eludias (124857) | about 9 years ago | (#13797667)

While theoretically correct, the practice is different: everyone is allowed to collaborate when the software has a BSD license. However, since it is not mandatory to publish the code, it really doesn't matter that much.

For example, the ASUS WL-500g (Linksys like router with USB port) its firmware is recompilable and hackable by you and me since it is (mainly) GPLed code. The newer SL1000/SL5000 (vpn routers) contain several BSD modules which ruin the party:

[From: http://website.wl500g.info/beta/firmware.php?fid=3 3 [wl500g.info] ]

Changelog:
SL1000 and SL500 GPL source code
Before using the source code, please note:

1. The router's firewall and VPN are licensed 3rd party code and are not subjected to GPL terms.
2. Several software modules are derived from BSD codes, which ASUS won't release. ...and therefore:

[From: http://wl500g.info/showthread.php?t=3417 [wl500g.info] ]
There are no chance to build something useful from this sources.

Re:-1 flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797676)

The GPL discourages collaboration. If you want to encourage collaboration you need a license like BSD. The GPL allows restricted collaboration, but only between GPL fans. The BSD license allows collaboration for everyone.

No, that's not true ... If *you* want to be able to integrate other project's code, BSD-Licensing surely is *NOT* the way to go. *You*, with your BSD-code can't integrate *any* code that's not BSD-licensed itself, while other, e.g. GPL-licensed-projects, can integrate *your* code.
So if you intend to integrate code from opther sources, BSD-licensing is *not* the way to go - with a GPL-License you'd have much more code to choose from.

Re:-1 flamebait (4, Insightful)

horza (87255) | about 9 years ago | (#13797700)

The GPL discourages collaboration. If you want to encourage collaboration you need a license like BSD. The GPL allows restricted collaboration, but only between GPL fans. The BSD license allows collaboration for everyone.

If you are feeling altrustic, then BSD allows maximum freedom for your code. If you want the world to benefit from your code, but don't want someone ripping off your work and hiding it in a commercial project without paying you anything, then GPL gives you great protection. Even after you release something under the GPL you can still license it to a commercial closed-source enterprise for a fee, like MySQL. It only becomes a nuisance when the project grows and has many contributers as you then need to ask permission from each contributer before you can relicense. On the flip side BSD encourages more forking where the new code is not merged back into the main tree as there is no incentive. If the appropriate license is chosen then I don't think either will encourage collaboration more than the other as the license should reflect the goal of the project. A group writing printer drivers which their respective companies have agreed to make Open Source for pragmatic reasons may not want the same license as a loosely-knit group of graphics programmers wanting to release 3D modelling system. There are plenty of other licenses [opensource.org] that can be used, though GPL, BSD and Apache licences currently have the greatest mind-share. There is no such thing as a best license, only the most appropriate one.

Phillip.

Re:-1 flamebait (1)

blechx (767202) | about 9 years ago | (#13797813)

It also allows people not to collaborate.

Re:-1 flamebait (0, Troll)

Gnuosphere (855098) | about 9 years ago | (#13797860)

The GPL discourages collaboration. If you want to encourage collaboration you need a license like BSD. The GPL allows restricted collaboration, but only between GPL fans. The BSD license allows collaboration for everyone.

You are using the word "collaboration" in a deceitful manner. Kind of like the way George Bush uses the word "freedom".

More accurately would be...

The GPL encourages collaboration. If you want to encourage collusion you need a license like BSD. The GPL prevents collusion within a collaborative community. The BSD license allows anyone to collude to work against freedom.

The BSD mentality is really twisted. How many hits of the bong does it take to come up with this perspective?...

"The GPL is restrictive! You should have the freedom to take away people's freedom or else you don't truly have freedom!"

I'm amazed that this posting received an "Insightful" remark. Insight into what exactly?

Re:-1 flamebait (1)

baadger (764884) | about 9 years ago | (#13797872)

So release your code under the 'public domain' and get it over with already?

Grammar checker? No thanks (4, Insightful)

g_dunn (921640) | about 9 years ago | (#13797578)

Even advanced grammar checkers still work very poorly compaired to sitting down, reading it yourself, and then having an english inclined friend do the same.

I suppose LaTeX support is nice for the math geeks, though you would think that they are already using a program with support for it if they need it.

Re:Grammar checker? No thanks (-1, Redundant)

thedcm (917676) | about 9 years ago | (#13797656)

GP!

Re:Grammar checker? No thanks (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | about 9 years ago | (#13797802)

I suppose LaTeX support is nice for the math geeks, though you would think that they are already using a program with support for it if they need it.

I am a math geek, and unsurprisingly I do indeed use LaTeX. I am quite happy to see the TeX style math support in AbiWord though: not for me, but for others. As a math geek I read a lot of math, and seeing the ugly, badly rendered, hard to read, amateurish garbage produced by some word processors pains me. I'm realistic though. There are a lot of people who only need a little math and aren't going to learn how to write documents in LaTeX just for that. To have someting like AbiWords new equation editing is a good thing: it doesn't render quite as well as LaTeX, but it is streets ahead MS Word and nicer than OO.o currently manages: it's actually somewhat readable.

Personally I would prefer people use this OO.o macro [ucl.ac.be] which allows embedding of rendered LaTeX in an editable way, but to be fair you still need to know a little LaTeX to really be ale to use it (unlike AbiWord's offering).

Jedidiah.

Re:Grammar checker? No thanks (3, Insightful)

ndogg (158021) | about 9 years ago | (#13797823)

Grammar checkers are nice for catching the stupid mistakes like "We can
can do this..."

Re:Grammar checker? No thanks (2, Interesting)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | about 9 years ago | (#13797866)

Even advanced grammar checkers still work very poorly compaired to sitting down, reading it yourself, and then having an english inclined friend do the same.

But out here in the real world, we don't often have the luxury of asking an English-inclined friend to doublecheck our work for us. If you had a job, and asked your coworkers to doublecheck your grammar on a simple document, you would probably get laughed at.

I often need to write a document quickly. I doublecheck afterwards, but common typos (it's vs. its, then vs. than, which vs. then) are easy to miss.

The computer helps me to do this work. That what a computer is supposed to do.

great project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797587)

I hope gnome office will beat openoffice!
Sun is weird:)

This just in (2, Funny)

Transcendent (204992) | about 9 years ago | (#13797590)

Microsoft Office beats AbiWord to a grammer check. More at 11.

...oh wait.

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797731)

It also redraws correctly and can keep up with my typing speed. Not trolling here, but the OS X build of AbiWord plain sucks.

Re:This just in (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | about 9 years ago | (#13797803)

Unfortunately I have to agree. Nice step for Open Source but Microsoft Word is still my editor of choise. They just now are getting grammar? And their spell checkers are still luke warm, (spelled tomorrow tomarrow and Abiword couldn't come up with a suggestion). Microsoft office will fix a majority of things for me on the fly. And its usually right. For work, I would buy Office 03 on my own buck just to get the reviewer tracking features which make editing incredibly easier, particularly when having coworkers review it. I'm sorry but Microsoft Word is just the better product. Open source word processors, while usable, are just playing catch-up to Word and are years behind still.

Actually Link Grammar checker is not GPL... (4, Interesting)

pwagland (472537) | about 9 years ago | (#13797592)

From the Link Grammar website...
As of December 2004, we are releasing the parser under a new license; the license allows unrestricted use in commercial applications, and is also compatible with the GNU GPL (General Public License). You can view the license here. We are also releasing version 4.1b, which is identical to version 4.1 (released in 2000) except that the licensing statements reflect the new license.
Meaning that it is most likely no easier for abiword to include it than it is for openoffice to include it.

Re:Actually Link Grammar checker is not GPL... (0, Redundant)

thedcm (917676) | about 9 years ago | (#13797655)

GP =)

WOW incedible. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797603)

How spectacular..... KWord had it for years....

multiple languages (2, Interesting)

marsperson (909862) | about 9 years ago | (#13797608)

One of the great things about open office writer is the possibility of installing as many spell checkers as you want, in any combination you want (unlike MS word, where if you're either stuck with combinations MS think should solve everybody's problems (english, french, spanish), or pay an arm and a leg for a third party add-on).

So, does anyone know what localizations of Abi will include a grammar check?

How does Sun's license affect using LinkGrammer? (5, Informative)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 9 years ago | (#13797609)

From the Link Grammer link you provided:
http://bobo.link.cs.cmu.edu/link/ [cmu.edu]
As of December 2004, we are releasing the parser under a new license; the license allows unrestricted use in commercial applications, and is also compatible with the GNU GPL (General Public License). You can view the license here. We are also releasing version 4.1b, which is identical to version 4.1 (released in 2000) except that the licensing statements reflect the new license.

Sun's license for OpenOffice is LGPL
http://www.openoffice.org/license.html [openoffice.org]

Re:How does Sun's license affect using LinkGrammer (1)

tpgp (48001) | about 9 years ago | (#13797796)

How does Sun's license affect using LinkGrammer?

You are of course perfectly free to make sonamchauhanoffice, incorporating code from openoffice.org and linkgrammar.

However, because Sun bases its proprietary StarOffice on openoffice, code where the copyright can't be assigned to sun for relicensing is unlikely to make it into their repository.

Eh? (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 9 years ago | (#13797664)

OpenOffice is LGPL'd and makes use of Mozilla, Java, Python and no doubt a large swathe of other libs and utilities. I don't see how the licence has been an impediment thus far.

I'd be more concerned that if it were GPL'd that it couldn't use some or all of the above. Now arguably, OO does need to shed some pounds so if it dumped Python and / or Java that might be no bad thing, but that's a different topic altogether.

MS Word and AbiWord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797668)

Please don't mod this as flamebait, because I'm not posting as biased or anything. I just want to suggest the same kind of comparison between MS Word and AbiWord. MS Word isn't that bad at grammar checking, although it is definately not complete. I haven't used AbiWord, but I'm willing to bet that it isn't complete either.

Oh, the hypocrisy... (2, Interesting)

crazy blade (519548) | about 9 years ago | (#13797670)

...mod me flamebait, but I can't help myself. So, what's happening here is that:

The submitter praises GNOME's premier word processor in that it can surpass OpenOffice.org because it is GPL'ed, whereas the inflexible LGPL license of OpenOffice.org cripples development.

And what license is it that GNOME's distributed under?

Anyways, I don't get why the licensing issue was brought up, but let me state my congrats to the Abiword, GNOME and OpenOffice.org teams for their good work!

But which will be first to... (3, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | about 9 years ago | (#13797672)

...have a GOOD grammar checker?

Cool!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797675)

Awesome, now the race begins to see who provides the easiest feature to disable it. Those things annoy the hell out of me...spellcheckers are nice though.

GPL grammer checker is still possible (1)

Newtonian_p (412461) | about 9 years ago | (#13797678)

Even though GPL'd code can't be committed to OpenOffice.Org's main LGPL'd code base. Anyone can release a GPL only fork of the office suite with a built in GPL grammer checker.

LGPL code can be inserted into GPL code but not the other way around.

Re:GPL grammer checker is still possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797853)

Anonymous Coward uses Rune Bottle on OpenOffice.org(LGPL).
OpenOffice.org(GPL) obtained.

Grammar checkers produce bad marks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797682)

Grammar checkers like simple grammar. Give them a complex sentence and they complain.

Essay marking programs, on the other hand, love complex sentences. Simple sentences will get you a bad mark.

Therefore, you shouldn't use a grammar checker to check your essays.

My experience with grammar checkers is that they are often worse than useless. I had a couple of foreign students whose writing I could barely understand. After I put their work through a grammar checker, it was complete gibberish.

Anyway, the lack of a grammar checker will not keep me from using OpenOffice. I suspect that is true for most people.

Having a choice is good (1)

IvyKing (732111) | about 9 years ago | (#13797697)

Since the OSS "office" programs are moving to a common file format (.odt), having a healthy competition between the various offerings may end helping all of them. The more people who have a reason to switch away from M$-Orifice to an ODT application, the better the "market" is for all ODT applications. I'd really like to see the word processor "market" evolve to where the text editor "market" has been for the last couple of decades where there is still real choice in editors (my fave being NEdit).

Perhaps the worst aspect of MS's monopoly is the lack of effective competition to spur real innovation and product improvement. Note, for example, the almost complete lack of improvement in Internet Exploder between the decline of Netscape and the rise of Firefox.

Sickening (0, Troll)

EvilStickMan (684609) | about 9 years ago | (#13797701)

<sarcasm> Way to fight for the man! No, I mean it - not only did an open source project show an improvement, but it was the right kind of open source project! I feel so much more wholesome as a geek, knowing that the good guys won the grammar race! Just goes to show that some open source projects are more equal than others, w00t!</sarcasm>


Get a life, dude. No one cares how great your shoddy product is compared to OpenOffice. Infighting like the crap your "Story" fosters is exactly the opposite of what the open source industry needs to become mainstream. Why not just say "My office package implemented a grammar checker! Try it out for yourself!"? THat's many times better than "We got the grammar first! OpenOffice su><0rz! W3 B3 1337!"


To be honest, I've already forgotten the name of your office suite, so your ploy to downplay the successes that OpenOffice has already encountered has failed utterly. At least, for me. Why not try creating a community, rather than flaunting your successes like a 3-year-old with a candy bar?

Equation Editing (3, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 9 years ago | (#13797702)

I dunno about MathML, since I've never used it, but the equation editor that comes with OO.org models itself after what Word Perfect had back in the early 90's. Much much more efficient to type equations this way vs. markup or gui tools. For example:
x=sqrt((a+b)over(c+d))
would render as you expect (dunno how to show the result easily in slashdot, sorry). Very powerful stuff, especially if you are trying to type equations from notes and such...no need to take your fingers off the keyboard.

Re:Equation Editing (1)

Helios1182 (629010) | about 9 years ago | (#13797743)

Very much LaTeX/TeX as well.

Re:Equation Editing (4, Informative)

piquadratCH (749309) | about 9 years ago | (#13797804)

For example:

x=sqrt((a+b)over(c+d))

would render as you expect (dunno how to show the result easily in slashdot, sorry).
This would look like this [imageshack.us] . Of course, you don't want to actually see those grouping brackets. That's why Math uses braces for grouping elements (x=sqrt{{a+b}over{c+d}}). Here [imageshack.us] 's the result.

A Writer's Experiences (3, Interesting)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | about 9 years ago | (#13797708)

I'm a pro writer, so I live inside word processors. AbiWord is my tool of choice these daya on both Linux and Windows.

I turn off real-time grammar checking, because it distracts me from the act of writing. In my experience, grammar checkers are often incorrect in their analysis, particularly if you write fiction and technical works (as I do.) Unusual terminology and structure can give these checkers indigestion.

That isn't to say that I don't use grammar checkers. When I've completed a draft of an article, I often run the grammar checker manually to make certain I haven't missed anything obvious or silly. But I can't stand them in "real time", where I feel like I'm back in high school with the teacher looking over my shoulder and nit-picking every keystroke.

If it works, it's not AI (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 9 years ago | (#13797912)

``In my experience, grammar checkers are often incorrect in their analysis''

And they probably always will be. Languages aren't purely rational, and this makes grammar checking an AI-hard problem. To fully judge whether the grammar of a sentence is correct, the checker would have to understand the sentence (at least partially). Even if you could get the checker to perfectly judge whether something is grammatical, there are always ungrammatical utterances you'll want to write.

Of course, it still helps to catch the common cases of people mixing up 'it\'s' and 'its', 'you\'re' and 'your', 'then' and 'than', etc. etc. On the other hand, there is a severe danger of overreliance on the software ("Computers don't make mistakes"). In the Netherlands, for example, compound words are written together, not separated by a space (so it's "footballcoach", not "football coach"). That is, until the spell checker in Microsoft Word started telling people that they had to separate them! Needless to say, this confused countless people, and it took a long time for the damage to get repaired.

LinkGrammar helps nobody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797712)

LinkGrammar by itself--and the version in Abiword--will just mark a sentence it regards as incorrect. It doesn't tell why, and it returns too many false positives.

Besides, clear grammar reflects clear thinking. No grammar checker short of having full intelligence can fix sloppy thinking.

Abiword owns (2, Interesting)

pardasaniman (585320) | about 9 years ago | (#13797713)

I just thought I'd drop my 2 cents and say that abiword is my favourite word processor.. It is so easy to use and fits in GNOME like a glove. OpenOffice really is a big mess code-wise. Abiword has much more volounteers than Openoffice. (OpenOffice devs are paid) I think in the long-run, Abiword (and Koffice) will be the office tools of choice because of the fact that they can move faster with their smaller code-base, as well as rely on other GPL tools more. Abiword is lightweight, and as a result keeps less prone the upgrade cycle. (YES, I'm referring to the linux upgrade cycle, the kind where applications continue to get bigger, and new computers are required.. It appears better than the windows one, but it is still an annoyance when I think that my 900Mhz computer has the same function which my 166mhz one used to. )

When will Abiword support OpenDocument? (2, Interesting)

RoLi (141856) | about 9 years ago | (#13797718)

Is there a plan or rough schedule for OpenDocument support?

Re:When will Abiword support OpenDocument? (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about 9 years ago | (#13797862)

All I could find was this [abisource.com]

So I guess the answer is yes & no, Their are plans to support it with a plugin (like other plugin file filters word etc.), but no plans for making it the default. So it's really not clear if they will support it well or anytime soon.

Re:When will Abiword support OpenDocument? (4, Insightful)

Nadir (805) | about 9 years ago | (#13797870)

2.4 supports import of OpenDocument: from http://www.abiword.com/release-notes/2.4.0.phtml [abiword.com] :

OpenDocument support

Support for the OpenDocument file format has been donated by INdT, Nokia's Technology Institute. Currently the OpenDocument import filter is basically complete, with support for styles, headers/footers, lists, image wrapping, text boxes, tables, footnotes/endnotes and tables of contents. OpenDocument export is planned as well and will be added during the 2.4.x series.

Yeah who cares (1)

gschwim (413230) | about 9 years ago | (#13797723)

I dont need no grammer checker at all. My grammer like myself is perfect.

Re:Yeah who cares (1)

02bunced (846144) | about 9 years ago | (#13797881)

My grammer like myself is perfect.

That should be:

My grammer, like myself, is perfect.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13797727)

A post about grammar checking on slashdot. So you're either trying to run your new feature through the gauntlet by submitting your product to the largest concentration of grammar nazis on the net, or you're masochistic.

devils advocate... (0, Troll)

joshsnow (551754) | about 9 years ago | (#13797735)

We can can do this because we're a pure GPL'd application and so can easily collaborate with other Freely licensed applications like link-grammar,gtkmathview and itex2mml

Translation:

We can can do this because we're a pure Stallman'd application and so can easily collaborate with other Stallman licensed applications like link-grammar,gtkmathview and itex2mml.

Doesn't sound so free when you say it like that, does it? ;)

Yeah, but what about the crashes? (1)

ValourX (677178) | about 9 years ago | (#13797824)

AbiWord would be awesome -- moreso now that it has a grammar checker -- if it didn't crash almost every time I try to open or save a document, and sometimes just because it feels like crashing randomly. Then there's the fact that no distro has the latest AbiWord build in its package tree.

And to those who don't think a grammar checker is necessary: you don't do much writing, do you? Grammar checkers will not -- and never claimed to -- make anyone into a world-class writer. What they WILL do is catch typos that get by the spell checker. So for all those times that you type "on" instead of "one" or "to" instead of "too," the grammar checker will catch them. That is why it is valuable.

Re:Yeah, but what about the crashes? (1)

Red Alastor (742410) | about 9 years ago | (#13797907)

Then there's the fact that no distro has the latest AbiWord build in its package tree. What are you talking about ? I'm apt-getting it as I write (version 2.4.1) on Ubuntu 5.10

Grammar check feature is not for everyone (1)

night_sky_nsci (838533) | about 9 years ago | (#13797863)

So, Mr. I'm-a-tech-savvy-/.er-with-perfect-grammar (err...), you hate how the grammar checker doesn't like your technical writing style. First of all, if you're that tech-savvy, turn that feature off or don't use Microsoft Word, brought to you the software maker you love to hate and troll for eternity. Like a previous commenter pointed out, WordPerfect Grammatik was pretty good at spotting errors at the right places.

In my opinion, grammar checker was never intended for checking your technical documents; rather, it is intended for every-day writing, documents that don't necessarily warrant the troubles of finding a person to proofread it for you, but still embarrassing nonetheless if a grammatical oversight happened to be present, e.g. a memo to your co-workers.

I hope people who whine and complain about how annoying the grammar checker can realize how lucky they are to possess such command of the English language (or any other languages in which the checker is available). Having immigrated to Canada 8 years ago with very little prior knowledge of English -- if at all -- I experienced first-hand how painful a 400-word mini-essay can become, and how embarrassing it is to get it back painted red with the unsparing wrath of the correction pen. Even the MS Word grammar checker helped me immensely to minimize these corrections, and while I sometimes still struggle with finding the right preposition to use, I can honestly say it played a significant role in my study in English: it is widely accepted that writing is the most difficult part to master in a language.

The news of a GPL'd word-processor to incorporate a grammar checker opens up a positive alternative for those who still struggle to compose the grammatically correct documents on the computer, and that's A Good Thing(tm). Many people can benefit from it, and if you don't like it, TURN IT OFF.

(Cue /. grammar zealots to find a grammar mistake here and mod me -1.)

Two ways of looking at it (0, Flamebait)

Moonwick (6444) | about 9 years ago | (#13797877)

Sun's license requirements for OpenOffice.Org make it much more difficult for such collaborations to occur.

Or, you know, it could be AbiWord's license requirements that make it so difficult.

I would recomand using tex4ht instead of itex2mml (1)

Lakedemon (761375) | about 9 years ago | (#13797882)

The advantages of tex4ht over itex2mml (or latex2html) etc are :

1) tex4ht can convert standard TeX/LateX/AmsTex/etc code when itex2mml use a dialect of LaTeX :

Using itex means you have to learn another (La)Tex API (for some commands at least)

2) tex4ht is a much more versatile, flexible and powerful utility :

Indeed, it allows conversion of
(La)TeX documents or formulas to Mathml/xhtml/html+gifs or jpgs or pngs/open office documents/pdf/a few other document types.

3) it is smarter because it lets the (La)Tex engine preprocess the document and it then uses the special dvi produced to make the conversion....whereas itex2mml tries to guess what the user want from the document WITHOUT letting (La)Tex process it.
Lol...it uses an (light) implementation of a "basic/castrated" Tex Engine

One consequence is that Tex4ht can generally use the macros defined by the user when itex2mml fails beautifully at it
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