Console based Word Processors?


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May 2, 2022
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I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, and a bit curious. Back in the early-mid 1990s I used WordPerfect 5.1 and 6.0 (text based) over DOS. I'm curious if there was ever a Linux based (or cross-platform) console word processor with even near the same capabilities?

I'm not talking about text editors, like vi or nano. I'm also not talking about typesetters like Latex. I'm talking about true word processors.

And ... surprise me!

Google tells me to suggest wordgrinder.

I've obviously never used it. In modernity, I'm not gonna do word processing in the terminal.
I usually use markdown and pandoc if I am forced to use the terminal to produce office-compatilble outputs. I wouldn't bother in navigating around a curses-like interface to word processing, honestly.
To me, vi and emacs qualify. I can just about everything I can do in Word. Even some things Word can't do.
Remembering Wordperfect for linux, it had a number of features like "reveal codes" and "tables with block protect" which enabled useful manipulations of text. But once getting into using the "reveal codes" feature for formatting text, it became reminiscent of a typesetter. Moving then to a linux typesetter like groff to produce similar output had the advantage of far less overhead but the initial disadvantage of the learning curve.
It's interesting to me that there wasn't a defacto word processor for Unix-likes until the GUI was commonplace. Seems like a big gap in Linux tech for the time.

Google tells me to suggest wordgrinder.
Yeah, that's what I get, too. It's a more modern, by release date, word processor.

Remembering Wordperfect for linux ...
Yeah, that was a new factoid I learned recently. Didn't know they did that. But that was before I came on the Linux scene.
a new factoid
Alas, not a factoid, but a fact. In my part of the world at the time Wordperfect for MS was used extensively in the legal profession much more than Word on MS machines. The reason was that it was superior for the configuring of macros which legal people used extensively in the creation of various forms and documents they used. There was a small cohort of experts in the use of these Wordperfect macros who serviced a great number of legal firms from small to large. The linux version of Wordperfect was however, boutique because industry didn't commonly use linux on the desktop but it had largely the same functionality. I'm only aware of university students who used it at the time. Interestingly, the Wordperfect 8 disk for MS machines (still on a shelf in my den) includes a sizeable directory full of fonts which are actually all downloadable and still usable on linux machines.