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All for 1.0, and 1.0 for all

Many linux packages reach the magic release level.

After many years of development effort and an often-painstaking approach to adding features, a number of important Linux packages have reached or nearly reached the magic 1.0 release level.

A version 1.0 doesn’t mean much in the commercial software world. In fact, the wisdom goes that with Microsoft products, wait for at least version 3-plus–such as 3.11, the first really usable version of Microsoft Windows.

In the open-source software world, though, 1.0 is a big thing. That’s because developers start releasing products with version numbers such as 0.2 and 0.4. Users may see years of pre-1.0 versions. The version 1.0 is only assigned when the developers feel the product is really ready for prime time and has the full set of features a 1.0 product should have.

That’s why it’s a great sign that three important packages recently hit the 1.0 mark, including the OpenOffice.org office suite, the AbiWord word processor, and the Mozilla Web browser.

The OpenOffice.org suite, billed as an almost drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office, recently hit the magic 1.0 mark. The OpenOffice.org suite supports Windows, Linux, and Solaris, with work underway to support MacOS X. In the clearest differentiation from commercial software versions, OpenOffice.org’s 1.0 version corresponds to the commercial StarOffice 6, available from Sun. You can download the source code or pre-built executables from the OpenOffice site.

In addition, the small, fast, and very handy word processor AbiWord hit 1.0 and even a follow-up 1.0.1 version. Like OpenOffice.org, AbiWord supports a number of platforms, including Windows, a variety of Linux architectures, FreeBSD UNIX, MacOS X (under the Darwin X11 package), and QNX. AbiWord sports a user interface very close to that of Microsoft Word, which makes it popular for users migrating from Windows. The small size and speed are also benefits. If you just need a word processor and not a full office suite, download AbiWord.

Outside the office software arena, the Mozilla Web browser is now at release candidate 2 for the mythical 1.0 release. Mozilla has been creeping along with minor version number upgrades, such as from version 0.9.7 to 0.9.8. The 1.0 release has been a long time in development, and Mozilla adds some handy features for stopping pop-up and pop-under ads. Netscape uses the Mozilla source base to make the Netscape 6 series of browsers, such as version 6.2.2.

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