As much as I tout console applications, people always seem to complain of very few full-featured word processors for the Linux command line. That might be an issue of perspective though.
I have mentioned WordGrinder in the past, which is a good substitute but most people dismiss because they want something with more features. And WordGrinder hasn’t seen any love in almost two years, so it may not be going anywhere.
For my own part, I use vim with word-wrapping enabled. That’s what I’m typing on right now.
But for all its power and eccentricities, that usually gets shouted down as “not a real word processor” either. Most other text editors suffer the same abuse — just not as complete as is required.
That’s the real issue here: Each person is going to want something different out of a word processor. So let’s face it: If this is what you want, this is what you want.
Yes, you can still download the good old Word 5.5 from Microsoft, free of charge, and run it under DOSBox. It’s got all the bells and whistles you probably wanted, can open early versions of its own proprietary file format (I really doubt docx will do the trick here), has mouse support, is ugly as sin and probably endears you to the evil empire as soon as you click on the download link.
But if it’s a word processor you want, and you want a text interface, and you want it to do all the little flashy blinky things that your imaginary word processor does … then yes, I suppose you could always drop back and punt (is that the expression?) and use this to console your console affections.
It doesn’t do the trick for me though: It requires X, all its trappings, plus a hefty measure of graphical support to draw what is essentially a terminal box on the screen.
Only one computer in the house has the power to handle all the underpinnings it would take to use Word 5.5, and then I would suffer a guilty conscience too. Just to read a .doc file.
No, for the time being I shall continue to use antiword and vim together to read or edit Word files, and I will leave the eternal search for the holy grail of Linux console word processors to other people. I am satisfied with what is available now.
P.S.: If you want to use Word 5.5 in DOSBox, install DOSBox first, download the file above and trigger DOSBox from an emulator with
Word will decompress itself (answer yes to any overwritten files), and then you can enter SETUP.EXE from the command line. Follow the installation wizard, enter WORD.EXE and voila! a whole new world of word processing glee will ensue!🙄