I have on my computer the command line tools abc2abc, abc2midi, abcm2ps and abctool (which I think uses the others). And of course a simple text editor to actually write the notation.
Basically, programs like ABCExplorer use abc2midi, abcm2ps and ghostview at the back end. It might take a little longer to learn to use the programs separately from the command line, but they are much more powerful tools when used that way.
I speak as someone with experience of both ABCExplorer and the command line tools.