I have been thinking about this for a while, but thought about it again today: there is one very important piece of software missing in GNOME, and it’s a word processing app.
Sure, there are other FLOSS apps for word processing, including LibreOffice and OnlyOffice.
But those are:
— Not well integrated in the nicely designed GNOME desktop, not feeling like a GNOME app, not following the GNOME human interface guidelines whatsoever.
— Complicated. They have so many options and buttons and panels. They are competing with Word and other text processors that are for professional use (i.e. writing and formatting text as a main activity).
Other OSs do have a built-in simple word processing apps: macOS has TextEdit, and Windows has WordPad, though they are both terribly outdated and could use some love from Apple and Microsoft. KDE has Calligra Words but I’m not familiar with it.
What we therefore miss on GNOME is a simple word processing app. Something for everyday/everyone’s usage. For pupils and students to write their homework in, for people to write administrative and love letters in, for kids to write stories and make books in, for parents to make birthday invitations in, for amateur poets and artists to make fanzines in.
If I do a parallel with another kind of app, we need the app in between Text Editor (or Apostrophe) and LibreOffice which would be what Gthumb is to Image Viewer and GIMP.
Something simple, that enables you to typeset text on pages and format it, insert some images and tables, print or export to PDF, open and save ODTs and DOCXs, but without all the advanced features and complexity that people expect from Word or LibreOffice.
I think this need is often covered by Google Docs. And as much as I despise Google as a company, I do think Docs is a very good reference of a word processor that managed to balance just the right amount of features with a simple interface.
There is of course a word processing app in the GNOME world, and it’s Abiword. But it’s interface look very outdated now, both in general and in regards to the current HIG, and it might not be as simple as it could be.
I know that a text processor is not the simplest app, especially — I imagine — the typesetting and layout engine as well as the opening of many file formats. But maybe a lot can be reused from Abiword and/or LibreOffice? The whole page rendering and file handling could be for instance taken from Abiword and a whole new Adwaita UI designed from scratch and built around it in GTK4? I have no idea, I’m not a developer.
Simply wanted to share that I believe we’re really missing this in the GNOME desktop and, that if enough people are in, it might happen some day – but the conversation has to start somewhere
So, what are your thoughts about a possible “GNOME Write”?
(p.s. And some day, it could be joined by simple spreadsheet and presentation apps – but I do think word processing is much more useful to many more people on a daily basis, so should be focused on first. But imagine: a whole GNOME Office with modern Adwaita-style apps! Actually I don’t want to call it Office haha, because the whole point would be that those are much simpler apps than an usual office suite!)