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AbiWord Weekly News #41, (2001, week 17, released 2001.04.27)

Welcome to the reinstated AbiWord Weekly News. The newsletter has been extended with a few extra features, which should hopefully make it an even more interesting reading than the previous incarnations. In particular, we will focus more on bug status since the average user is unlikely to be checking the bug database on a regular basis.

This week the release of AbiWord 0.7.14 was finally announced after having been simmering for about a month. We all wish for a quicker release next time.

We have also started taking semi-nominations for bugs people would like to see given high priority for the 0.9.x and 1.0 releases.

It's also worth mentioning the work Martin has been doing in the past weeks on the styles dialog. Pretty nifty stuff which we're sure will make the feature matrix look even better.

Finally, we're doing rather good on sourceforge's download top 10 - we're number 6, averaging something like a couple of thousand downloads a day.

In this issue:

Editor(s) of this issue: Jesper Skov

CVS Stats

2001.04.20 - 2001.04.27
Who Commits In summary
jskov 29 Save properties of empty paragraphs, selection of pilcrow, improvements of debugger helpers, web improvements, and fixes for a slew of old bugs in the backend.
dom 18 Image pasting, styles dialog improvements, spelling improvements, margin support for pages, web updates and various bug fixes. Also human readable text export (David Given).
hub 15 JPEG import (disabled for now), MacOS X improvements (code and build system), and Word field import improvements.
samth 6 Build system changes, and web updates.
plam 4 Top/bottom margin control like the existing left/right margin controls.
thomasf 2 Encoding manager fixes.
mpritchett 2 Fixes.
msevior 2 Styles work.
phma 1 British English strings (Alan Horkan).
rms 1 Swedish updates.
tomas 1 Compile bustage fix.

Patch of the week goes to Martin's styles dialog work. As Sam points out, this is probably the last real feature to go into the tree before we start 0.9 development (where the tree will be closed for new features).

Project Of the Week

POW (Project Of the Week) and the new uPOW (User Project Of the Week) is a cynical attempt at atracting 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.

Type POW Summary
uPOW2001.9Determining Locale Status
POW2001.9Speed up bulk spell checking
uPOW2001.7Host for AbiWord BugDay
uPOW2001.6Update Feature and UI matrices
POW2001.5Bug-buddy support for AbiWord
POW1999.47Make translated dialogs fit
uPOW1999.42Usability Test #1
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 able to program to do this.

Bug Counts

These are the bug counts for the past 4 weeks:

Date:        Submitted:    QA:           Open:
2001.04.06   92 ( +16%)    128 (  +7%)   182 (  -3%)
2001.04.13   17 ( -81%)    152 ( +18%)   240 ( +31%)
2001.04.20   11 ( -35%)     57 ( -62%)   232 (  -3%)
2001.04.27   23 (+109%)     58 (  +1%)   228 (  -1%)

Bug Votes

As a user of AbiWord, you are able to vote on bugs you'd like to see closed. The process is quite simple:

  1. Create yourself an account if you don't already have one.

  2. Bring up the bug list.

  3. Click on Bug IDs to read bug details.

  4. If you find an interesting bug you'd like to have fixed, cast your vote by clicking on the "Vote for this bug" link on the bug description page.

    You have 30 voting points you can cast in whatever proportions you'd like on anything between 1 and 30 bugs. But note that developers will likely prioritize a bug with 30 single votes than a bug with a single 30-unit vote. So vote with lower unit counts to make your voice heard!

The current top 10 is:

1271 25---Postscript print formatting incorrect and inconsistent
824 10---Abiword does no recognize the dictionary
1046 10---Some localized strings truncated in Windows version
1056 10---Redraw performance is dog slow. Sometimes unacceptably slow.
1314 7---Abiword does not accept WM_UNICHAR keyboard input
1162 6---Abiword does not remember window size on Windows
1277 51.0Illegal exit on Page Setup - alter paper size
1016 4---PDF output would be nice
1293 4---[RFE] WMF import needed
1261 4---Need to support footnotes

Target Milestones

We have just started nominating bugs for the next two big releases. You (as a user or developer) can have your say on which bugs to nominate by casting your vote on bugs as described above. The current milestone distribution is as follows:

Milestone Bug count
Without nomination 260
Nominated for 0.9.x 9
Nominated for 1.0 31
Nominated for future 16

Closed Bugs

In the past week, the following 27 bugs have been closed (i.e., closed and verified fixed):

542, 452, 565, 612, 833, 877, 887, 905, 909, 934, 978, 1097, 1199, 1209, 1282, 1298, 1299, 1301, 1316, 1337, 1341, 1348, 1353, 1358, 1362, 1363, and 1369.

On the Mailing List

Traffic on the developer mailing list has picked up quite a bit over the last months. We're now at about 400-450 postings a week. This week, interesting topics included:

  1. Graphic images in AbiWord - A very long thread, spawning several subthreads, discussing what graphics formats to support and how to implement this support.
  2. Smart Quote fix - Michael D. Pritchett fixed an initialization bug in the Windows and QNX EncodingManager class, which had caused a lot of weird (random) behavior. Thomas Fletcher later made the same fix for BeOS and Mac.
  3. Page Margins - Dom gave us per-page size default margins, replacing the old 1in hardwired setting.
  4. Bug Nominations - Jesper hoped to raise some interest in bug triage by letting users help nominate bugs for the next releases by voting.
  5. Encryption - Tomas Frydrych started a thread with some heated arguments against and in favor of adding encryption support to AbiWord.
  6. Release Manager - as people may have noticed, the 0.7.14 release was stalled for about one month after the CVS branch was made. Dom cried out in frustration for someone to take on the job as release manager. We definitely need to streamline the process for next release. Martin made a list of interesting issues.
  7. Human Readable Text - David Given gave us a new exporter, providing easier to read text by adding simple markups.
  8. Porting AbiWord - David Given also started another interesting thread, asking how difficult it is to port AbiWord to a new platform.
  9. POW status updated - Jesper got fed up with the stale POW pages and rewrote it and updated it.

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