AbiWord Weekly News #89, (2002, week 17, released 2002.04.29)

Welcome to issue 89 of the AbiWord Weekly News.

This week there have been some really long threads on the future development of AbiWord, primarily about the backend enhancements necessary for tables and improved rendering/i18n. Plans for the near term seem to be in place, and I suspect people have already started hacking.

As for AbiWord 1.0.0, there are still no Win32 binaries. But maybe it's not so bad, since a nasty undo bug was found and fixed this week. Hopefully AbiWord 1.0.1 binaries will be available in the not too distant future.

Finally, this week I've added two buttons at the end of the newsletter that will allow you to donate money to ANW and/or AbiWord development. The payment happens via PayPal. I know some people have issues with PayPal, but it is the only payment form that makes sense for something like AWN where I'd be happy if people donate as little as $0.10 per issue. So post your complaints on a postcard, please. Should you have ideas for how to improve AWN (and make you more likely to pay), please let me know :)

In this issue:

Editor(s) of this issue: Jesper Skov

CVS Stats

CVS checkins 2002.04.22 - 2002.04.28
WhoCommitsIn summary
hub 19 Added CVS ignore files, StarOffice importer (from Christian Biesinger). Fixed Bugs 3201 and 3211 (patch from reporter).
dom 18 Format painter, tmpdir patch (from tucker), ut_iconv warning fix (from biesi), fix menu graying for file->revert, fixed Bug 3205, es-ES string fix, attempt to fix win32 plugin link errors, updated stylesheet, added docs search, and look in homedir for dictionaries.
fjfranklin 14 Improve autoconf gnome detection, added zlib detection, fixed Bug 3180, and fixed png detection.
jeremyd 11 win32 plugin link fixes, and AbiPaint/AbiGimp unification.
plam 9 Compiler fixes (from Andrew Venier), fixed Bug 1234, help file justfication fix, password dialog fix (from biesi), and fixed undo bug.
jskov 7 Wrote simple testing infrastructure script, and some AbiCommand fixes and features.
msevior 3 AbiWidget/Bonobo tweaks.
uwog 3 Make SDW import build under linux.
tomas_f 2 Added byteLength() method to the utf8 class.
paul 1 New test document (sample phrases in various languages).

Project Of the Week

POW (Project Of the Week) and the new uPOW (User Project Of the Week) is an attempt at attracting new developers and entice help from users by lowering the bar of entry to doing something constructive for AbiWord. A POW will describe a goal and often outline how to get there.

Presently we have a few unclaimed POWs. Please see the POW status page for more details.

uPOW2001.17Where to send AbiWord announcements
uPOW2001.09Determining Locale Status
uPOW2001.07Host for AbiWord BugDay
uPOW2001.06Update Feature and UI matrices
POW1999.47Make translated dialogs fit
uPOW1999.37CS folks wanted...

Bug Update

Here's the AbiWord bug update for the last week. If you can spare some time, please help us triage the bugs - you don't need to be a programmer to do this.

Bug Statistics

Bug stats graph

Bug Votes

These are the week's Top 20 Bugs in the categories problems and requests for enhancements. Influence next week's results by casting your own votes.

Top 20 Problems
1030333FutureInstalling AbiWord messes up fonts in other applications (e....
140285FutureCan not use other than original type1 fonts
376791.2File assosciate problems for all file types with Win32Slurp
1124691.2Does not honor config/-geometry request
1406481.0.xxhtml documents fail to open: "Bogus html document" msg
1747421.2background colour of text selection is always grey
2598361.2Abiword installs bogus fonts of dubious heritage
1194301.2alt+xxxx does not insert special symbols
181820---Font reverts to Times New Roman when it shouldn't
2421201.2TM, Bullet, Euro, Smart Quotes and other symbols originating...
1394171.2on-screen landscape actually prints portrait in Win95
229915FuturePrints incorrect margins with split page.
37215Futureconsolidate identical platform code
2868151.2character widths are not calculated correctly for some fonts...
1474111.2libiconv Korean broken
2962111.2Printer problems with Lexmark printers on Windows
2275101.2dbk not valid after save
118410FutureDoc import not 100% correct
133310FutureInserting a word is O(n) in the number of words in the docum...
Top 20 Requests For Enhancement
12767631.2Table support
1261419FutureNeed to support footnotes and endnotes
2321213Future[RFE] Maths/Equation Editing, as a plugin maybe?
2183110---Fully Support OpenOffice's XML file format
137466Future[RFE] print odd and/or even pages only (for front & back pri
236549FutureAbiWord needs 'view codes'
195042FutureWish for automatic Table of Contents
192936FutureHyphenation is missing in Abiword
114432FutureImprove KWord import/export filters
229627Futuredoc import: footnotes
51525Futurecolumns change should only affect selected text
127023FutureAbiword should graphical columns ala wordperfect 8/9
808211.2Tables not imported from RTF
216921FutureLine numbering
236020FutureResizing bitmap images
229420FutureTool palette instead of toolbars
152520FuturePreferences -> Toolbars, Button Style, Both
246219Future[rfe] Add true EPS (Encapsulated Postscript) support
1262181.2[RFE] need to rewrite RTF import

Closed Bugs

In the past week, the following Bugs have been closed. The listed Bugs have all been put in QA TO VERIFY mode as either FIXED or WORKSFORME and have been verified by the people listed below. Other causes of closing a Bug (e.g. as INVALID) are not tracked since they usually do not represent a fixed problem.

Bugs Closed This Week
Bug IDDescription
436You cannot click next to an image to position your cursor th
1028AbiWord --help claims AbiWord supports "--disable-crash-dial
1046Some localized strings truncated in Windows version
1101Solaris Built-in iconv IS broken.
1429lists in documents exported as RTF
1708Numbered headings should use "hierarchical" numbering
1720Allow images to be saved from document
1801autoconf build insists on using peer libiconv
1908Preview as Web insecure
2008blank paper when printing on QNX 6.1
2010non-breakable space print as degree sign...
2023Wrong Selection after Application of a Style
2039Better import autodetection
2126automake1.5 incompatibilities
2140Wrong endian dictionary installed on PPC build
2270'make install' does not install ttftool/ttfadmin
2272XIM doesn't work with Gnome version of Abiword 0.9.5
2439assert/crash when loading password-protected Word docs from
2589ttftool crashes with some TTF
2614Bad list behaviour (including steps to reproduce it)
2692Last page prints very small.
2712space bar appear as degree symbols at printing
2774abiword insists that plain ASCII files with .doc extension n
2828Certain (illegal?) characters can be entered/saved, but not
2869not printing what document shows
2914Source tarball is missing files
3148full justification does not align on the right
3176Bad undo
3202configure doesn't detect lack of bonobo
3211AbiWord Crashes Importing Word Documents
This Week's 5 Most Active QA Helpers
1Luis Miguel García

To get your name in neon, help QA the Bugs. If you want your name rather than your email address to appear, drop me a line.

Latest Releases

Here are links to the latest official releases of AbiWord for various architectures and operating systems.

AbiWord 0.99.5- Release Notes
AbiWord 0.99.3- Release Notes
AbiWord 0.99.2- Release Notes
AbiWord 0.99.1- Release Notes
AbiWord 0.9.6- Release Notes
AbiWord 0.9.5- Release Notes
AbiWord 0.9.4- Release Notes

These are links to snapshot builds of AbiWord for a subset of the supported architectures/operating systems.

Note that the snapshot builds may not work (at all!), but are likely to include more features and have fewer bugs than (older) official releases. Use the official releases for "production systems" and the snapshot builds for testing and when you want to help with Bug triaging.

AbiWord Snapshots
Linux (GNOME+GTK)i386http://pinohuis.dhs.org/uwog/abiword/Provided by Marc Maurer. These are updated daily. Plugins, clip art, fonts and help files are available too.
Win32i386http://abiword.pchasm.org/Provided by Jeremy Davis. These are updated twice a day. Plugins are available too.
Win32i386http://www.niksbiks.dk/Software/Abi/Provided by Nikolaj Brandt Jensen. These are updated about once a week. BiDi builds are available too.

On the Mailing List

Traffic on the developer mailing list has settled on about 200 postings per week.

You may also find interesting threads on the user and documentation lists (unfortunately the archive for the latter is broken at the moment).

This week, interesting topics on the developer list included:

  1. Next Generation Layout classes: Martin posted a summary of suggested changes for the layout classes. Later he followed up with similar suggestions for the piece table classes. And finally with a suggestion for the steps to get the stuff implemented.

  2. undo and combining characters: Paul started what became a massive thread on an important localization issue. This is a related thread on selection of combined characters.

  3. User's guide translation: Hub asked people for help translating the new documentation to different languages. If you feel like helping out, please let us know!

  4. undo broken in 1.0 - abort 1.0.0 announce 1.0.1?: Seeing as a bad bug was found in AbiWord 1.0.0, we should see a new 1.0.1 version out soon.

  5. Pango portability (or rather the lack of it): Tomas has started looking at Pango. Initial impressions were not good, but I believe he (and others) are now fairly happy with the idea of trying to make Pango fit into AbiWord, and help improve Pango where necessary. Also see this thread.

  6. Commit: format painter: Dom added a new cute feature. But as Randy pointed out it might be better to use styles.

  7. New development plans: Another long thread. This time started by Hub, discussing how to handle the source repositories in the future, and how to spin releases. The thread even contain a few commitments to QA of releases in the future.

  8. vedapad - devanagari support in abiword: Arvind Kidambi posted interesting stuff about using AbiWord with Indian Devanagari script.

  9. commit -- Unicode sample in various languages: Paul added a document demonstrating AbiWord's unicode capabilities.

Special Interest -- AbiWord on the Macs, by Hubert Figuiere

I will talk about the MacOS port, a project in which I have personally invested time, money and energy. This port has been wanted for years now, as MacOS probably has the 2nd or 3rd largest user base after Windows and UNIces (all platforms).

The Mac port was started a long time ago, before I started to work on the project, but it was stopped due to lack of developers. I myself went to AbiWord via the Linux version, and I decided to start working on the MacOS port. Initially, it was targeted at MacOS 8/9, needing to port the support libraries and to create a new build system, as MacOS 8/9 did not come with standard GNU tools. That was in 2000.

When Apple release the first public beta of MacOS X, in September 2000, I decided to move the port to MacOS X using Carbon, after having to decided to buy a PowerBook that supported MacOS X (without AbiWord in mind, I wouldn't have bought a MacOS X compatible machine I think). Carbon is a largely-source-compatible-with-MacOS-9-API for MacOS X, so I found it natural to use. As build system, since MacOS X come with GNU tools, including the compiler, I ported the diving makefile and the new autoconf build systems to that platform.

Month after month, the port was moving toward a MacOS X only thing, using Carbon APIs. Month after month, I got annoyed with Carbon and suffered under it. By the end of November, someone pointed to the missing piece: Apple had release an Objective-C++ compiler.

Let me first explain why that was a missing piece. AbiWord is written in C++ and is based on its own framework that is written in C++. On the other side MacOS X has 2 API sets. Carbon, which is a pain, and was designed to be used from C code. No problem with a C++ codebase like AbiWord's. And Cocoa, which is the renamed and improved version of OpenStep's API. Cocoa is designed to be programmed using either Java or Objective-C and features a really powerful set of tools to perform rapid development; the problem is that none of these languages fits within a C++ framework like AbiWord's. So Cocoa could not be used.

But Apple released that Objective-C++ compiler. What does that mean? That we can mix Objective-C code needed to use Cocoa's API and C++ code needed to use AbiWord's framework. It has some limitations, but nothing that affects us. So I decided to move the MacOS X port to Cocoa and from December 2001 to mid-February 2002, I wrote a Cocoa port that was more advanced than the old one. Less time, more features. You understand why I made the switch. Of course, we lose the the MacOS 9 port potential, because unlike Carbon, Cocoa has no chance to run on that graphical shell, but in fact I personally don't mind as the future of the Macintosh lies within MacOS X.

Since then, for several reasons, I almost stopped working on that port. But it is just on hold... I'll restart it in the Abi1.2 tree (for the upcoming 1.2 version), but I don't know exactly when.

At your discretion, pay $0.10 (or more if you want) for the AWN you have just been reading. The money go to the editor, Jesper Skov (jskov@zoftcorp.dk).Help promote AbiWord development by donating money. The money go to a general AbiWord "fund", presently hosted by Dom Lachowicz (cinamod@hotmail.com).
In order to donate money, you must have a PayPal account. If you do not already have one, the links above will allow you to open one. Please consider putting jskov@zoftcorp.dk or cinamod@hotmail.com in the "Referral ID" field, which results in a one-time $5 donation from PayPal (to AWN or AbiWord respectively). Note that if you donate by a credit card transaction (as opposed to from a PayPal account), only donations of $3 or more are of interest. Sorry, this is due to the fees imposed by credit card companies and PayPal.