The AbiWord version (2.9.2) that is installed (with Lubuntu in my case) has many bugs! Does anyone know if/when Ubuntu will switch this back to the stable version (2.8.6)?

  • I very much doubt that will happen. In any case, you can also sign up to the Lubuntu mailing list and ask there. – user25656 Jul 5 '13 at 18:14
  • If you feel liking fixing things yourself, check out this thread and the suggestion to install the version you mentioned from a ppa. Note that I haven't tried any of this. – user25656 Jul 5 '13 at 18:27

We've had abiword 2.9 for 3 releases now, but it seems that it may have been added by accident. Assuming that's the case, the most reasonable course of action would probably be to offer 2.8 for the next release, and offer a backport allowing users to install it.

This could be accomplished in one of two ways:

  • offering a differently named package that provides 2.8 even when 2.9 is available (for example, the package could be called abiword-2.8 instead of abiword (if it's not built in a way that allows both to be installed at a time, its dependencies could reflect that, forcing at most one of abiword and abiword-2.8 to be installed).

  • downgrading the version provided by abiword (in a subsequent release) to 2.8, but naming it with a higher version number so that it actually gets installed on a system that already has abiword 2.9.

    The version string for the latest (and only) abiword package in Raring is 2.9.2+svn20120603-8; saucy-updates currently has 3.0.0~svn20130523-1ubuntu2. Packages of later versions supersede (i.e., by default get preference for installation over) packages of earlier versions.

    But if a package providing abiword 2.8 were given version string 3.0.0+actually2.8.6, the package manager would see it as a later version. (This could be provided in a PPA too, if someone wants to do the work--I've found AbiWord to be surprisingly difficult to compile, at least when I try to include all the features that one could reasonably expect to be present. An official package would probably not be called that because it doesn't fit with the naming conventions for packages--Ubuntu-specific versions like this have ubuntu in their names--but I believe this could be accomplished within the accepted naming conventions.)

Speaking of a PPA, vasa1 has pointed out that there is (at least) one. Lionel Le Folgoc's PPA provides abiword 2.8.2 (and it uses a version scheme like that described above: the version string is 2.9.2+svn20120213really2.8.6-0ubuntu0.1~ppa1). However, that PPA unfortunately only provides abiword 2.8.2 for Precise. (If you select a different version in the "published in" drop-down menu on that page, it will not appear.)

With all that said, a downgraded Ubuntu package for abiword will probably not be offered officially. This is because:

  • The development version of abiword gets better and better (overall, and in terms of stability) with each release. Most or all of the bugs you've experienced are probably fixed in a later development release. This is why it's silly to include a frozen development version in a stable Ubuntu release--it will have lots of bugs that will then never be fixed unless the SRU proccess is undertaken. That process has not happened for abiword in the last few Ubuntu releases. But it also means that offering the next development version will fix most of the bugs.

  • I'm not sure when AbiWord 3 will have a stable upstream release (i.e., a stable release from the AbiWord project itself, which can then be packaged for official downstream inclusion in OSes like Debian, Ubuntu, and other GNU/Linux systems). But it seems likely a release--or at least a beta--is forthcoming. Hopefully it will be released in time to make it into Saucy. The change of version number from 2.9... to 3.0... hopefully means that a release is coming soon.

  • GTK+ 2.0 is still packaged for the latest versions of Ubuntu, but there is a push to port apps to GTK+ 3.0, since that may provide better integration with today's desktop environments, and because eventually GTK+ 2.0 might be deprecated for removal.

I've tried to give a reasonable answer that incorporates relevant facts ("good subjective"). This is CW so it's easier for anyone to update/improve. With that said, if you want to start or participate in a full-blown discussion of this topic, someplace like Ubuntu Forums would be better.

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