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A lean, mean word processor for Windows

Tired of document bloat? I gave AbiWord another look because I thought it might be useful for a quick side project a friend of mine suggested (it requires quick-and-dirty creation of PDFs, I know how to make PDFs out of XML documents, and AbiWord is XML-based). It’s still not quite ready for my everyday use (I can create documents that crash it on reload), but I expect it to get there pretty quickly. One feature that impressed me is the ability to save its documents in GZIP-compressed form. While BZ2 is more effective, for text documents the size AbiWord will be creating, the difference is probably negligible, and GZIP is more widespread anyway. I created a document containing a couple of fairly long paragraphs and a lot of formatting and saved it. Then I saved it in compressed form. It was about 33% the size of the original. Nice. It opened flawlessly.
I’m also impressed with its CPU usage. I got the Win32 version, brought up Task Manager and watched AbiWord’s CPU usage as I typed. Even with spell checking on the fly turned on, CPU usage stayed below 2 percent. This is a dual Celeron-366 system, so on slower systems it’ll probably be higher, but just for comparison, I tried the same test with NoteTab. It typically ran between 2 and 5 percent. So, we’re talking a real word processor for the price of a text editor. Nice.

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