What does Personal mean?

What's the difference between AbiWord and AbiWord Personal?

Whatever you want it to be.

One of the cool things about AbiWord is that it is Open Source and released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Among other things, this means that you have the right to make and distribute as many verbatim copies of AbiWord as you like.

Even better, being GPL means that you also have the right to take the source code to AbiWord, make whatever changes you would like, and create a new personal version of AbiWord, also under the GPL. (For a better understanding of your rights to GPL software, read it -- as software licenses go, it's pretty readable. As always, when in doubt, ask a lawyer.)

To put it another way: Say you take a copy of AbiWord, get the matching sources and then build a new personal version of AbiWord. If you do not make any other changes, then the *only* difference between the two programs will be the artwork. Otherwise, they are identical -- feature for feature.

If you add tons of cool features, then your copy of AbiWord Personal will have those cool features. We of course hope that you will send those changes back to us so they can be incorporated into future versions of AbiWord for everyone else, but under the GPL you never have to unless you want.

Why have two names?

To avoid confusion.

In order to help people recognize when they have a copy of AbiWord that we built here at AbiSource, we use a different name and a different set of artwork.

Since it is illegal to use those trademarks for any other purpose without a specific trademark license from us, we have had to keep them out of the AbiWord sources. Thus, any time anyone (including us) builds software from our sources, it gets labelled AbiWord Personal, and uses non-infringing graphics. Only the official builds we release use the name AbiWord.

To put it another way -- every copy of AbiWord Personal is potentially (but not necessarily) unique. Each was built:

  • at a specific point in time,
  • by a specific individual,
  • from a specific copy of the AbiWord sources.

We can not tell you in advance what is in that copy -- you will have to look at the software (and perhaps the source code) to tell for sure.

By reserving the name AbiWord for versions of the software that we build and release, it allows everyone to know that those versions of the software are known quantities.

Which is better -- AbiWord or AbiWord Personal?

That depends on you.

If you are a Linux user, just ask yourself whether you prefer even-number stable kernels (2.2.x) or odd-numbered development kernels (2.3.x). Each offers its own characteristic benefits and which is better for you depends on you and how you use it.

In general, folks who prefer stability will probably be happier with AbiWord, whereas folks who want cutting edge features and are willing to deal with the occasional rough edge will prefer AbiWord Personal.

If that all sounded like a bunch of gibberish, you want AbiWord. :-)