AbiWord Weekly News #134, (2003, week 10, released 2003.03.10)

Welcome to this issue 134 of the AbiWord Weekly News.


      AWN #133 is out there, and Seth continues his trek to making the independent abi file conversion utility.   We return you to your previously on time AWN releasals.

This week in development

      Fixes to the Linux/PPC build comes in from one unknown hacker, while another name, Larin Hennessy, makes quite the noticeable splash.   Snapping back to the release outline for AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom results in a hard feature freeze.   Finally, Hub knocks off two more posers on the Release HackDown for 1.0.5

Silliness of the Week

      Mark, you were going to explain Morgan Le Fe and a particle that I'm almost certain most people in Martin's field don't study.   Do get on that, I thank you.

This Issue

      And remember, I give you an email address so you can talk to me, in case you're not on either mailing list.

In this issue:

Editor(s) of this issue:  E. A. Zen

      If you're interested in using AbiWord for the first time, receiving a more up-to-date version, any particular version or special release, feel free to visit the new  Latest Releases page.

DISCLAIMER:  It should be generally noted that anything said before the "In this issue:" line is purely editorial.


Traffic on the  developer mailing list has settled at about 200-400 postings per week.   This week, interesting topics on the developer list included:

  1. [Patch] Use XAP_App::getDefaultEncoding in xap_Strings.cpp [Was Commit: fix caller of wctomb instead] :   Anthony Fok has tracked down a major error that has been afflicting non-UTF Chinese locales.   Kudos on the patch and the work of locating the individual commits.

  2. abiword from HEAD crashes when started on win32 :   Jordi comes back to find that CVS HEAD crashes on start up, which is related to the new true WYSIWYG units work.   Mikey tells us that Dom's work around involves turning the rulers off before starting the application (via profile presumably).   Just a thought for other sufferers of CVS HEAD on Windows.

  3. imp_msword page number, header, footer? :   Seth has interests in importing headers, footers, and page numbers for his new utility.   This is just him checking in on the validity of beginning this task himself right now.

  4. statically linking plugin .o files? :   Seth, in his on going stripped down converter project, expresses interest in certain plugins for image and file conversion.   Dom offers advice on how to implement his current conception of the project...he recommends, of course, the one with the least re-writing of the code.

  5. Build fixes on Linux/PPC :   Chad contributes a patch for building on Linux PPC.   Dom commits the "more correct version" of the patch, so, Linux PPC users are welcome to test build-ability of CVS HEAD.

  6. Commit: some of Larin's work :   Dom commits a bit of patchery from Larin Hennessy, who appears to be a DIT*.   Larin learns some of the ropes in via the "but I won't commit" process.   Additionally, we learn some of the joys of reverse engineering, e.g. ugly magic.

  7. Re: Announce: 2.0 release plan :   As mentioned in Announce: 2.0 release plan, a hard feature freeze has gone into affect; however, it should be noted, despite the release plan being followed at this point, neither January 22nd's soft feature freeze nor February 22nd's 2.0alpha1 release has occurred.   The next major milestone, in case you are keeping track, is the strings and documentation freeze on March 30th.

  8. Plugin Status Page on TWiki :   The great thing about Twiki is that anyone can help!   Randy has located the latest Plugins Page on Twiki, and he's interested in getting some more feedback and review on this particular subject.   Marc points out that import and export of plugins in such fields should be considered separately.

  9. CVS compilation missing XftDrawGlyphs :   John Coppens brings us another reminder that XFT is a requirement for what will be AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom.   If you're having issues, perhaps you should visit here.

Traffic on the  user mailing list is sporadic at best.   Often, a good topic comes up, but users tend to only respond to the original poster rather than the list (as well), which limits what I would add, as the only lone threads I post are announcements of importance or points of great interest.   This week, interesting topics on the user list included:

  1. AbiWord-1.1.3 on Mandrake 9.0 :   John Mellor gets jiggy with the latest developers' build on Mandrake 9.0, only to find the numerous problems that will afflict him on first run.   Mandrake users should wait until the mythical 9.1 with XFT2 and other fun things are already available.   Above all, as Frank says, "Remember of course that this is a development series...."

  2. Problem: Lines longer than page width :   Alfonso Muņoz-Pomer Fuentes is having some character related issues in the latest CVS HEAD.   Brady Hegberg has a couple familiar suggestions that have worked on other problems, though, with their own side effects.

  3. Does "make distribution" work for you? -- AbiWord 1.0.4 sources on Linux :   Martin Keienburg, whom you would know if 133 was published on time, is having troubles trying to make his own .deb package.   Two points that come up are 1) use the checkinstall tool after configure and 2) circumvent the GNUMakefile via make -f Makefile distribution

  4. vi key bindings in AbiWord on Windows XP :   Sivakumaran Raman scares me.   Vi on Windows?   That's just not right.   If you have a solution as to why what was in the FAQ failed, feel free to write in (to the list, that is).

  5. Aiksaurus thesaurus plugin for 1.0.4 :   John Mellor wishes to use AbiWord 1.0.4 with certain plugins, including, of course, Aiksaurus.   Since Rui didn't make the Aiksaurus plugin for Mandrake 9 this time around, John's mix of packages and source have resulted in a great and inconvenient nightmare.

  6. Euro money sign :   Bernard Lambey would like an easy way to get the Euro money sign (€) in AbiWord on Linux.   Unfortunately, short of character maps or key bindings, there isn't an easy way on Linux (e.g. like Windows alt+nnn).

*DIT:  Developer In Training


CVS Stats

      Track who put in how much and why.   And, while you're at it, consider whether you'd like to keep your own cvs build as well.   Tables...ooh....

CVS checkins 2003.03.02 - 2003.03.08
Who Commits In summary
hippietrail 193 C -> C++ cast conversions, Const-correctness, the usual few typo fixes and comment changes, add to plugin .cvsignore files
dom  95 fix openUrl vs openHelpUrl issue, remove unused fns, patch from Anthony Fok to get perl bindings compiling again, patch from Anthony Fok to remove encoding manager and get Chinese working, remove virtual in fv_View, remove annoying assert,
"brought to you by string classes, references, and the word 'const'"
numerous gnome compile and build fixes, attempted to get kjd tinderbox to build again, replace static_cast with reinterpret_cast, fixes/updates for the latest gucharmap cvs build, free map and delete ints, justification for forced page break runs too, casting fixes for PPC as adapted from work by Chad Thomas, 2 patches from Larin Hennessy, fix segv when pressing down on last line of gettysburg.abw, In his own words*:
1) Add new GnomeSpell capable class. GnomeSpell is the Gnome CORBA-based frontend to Aspell. I need to do the configure magic to get this working.

2) Speedups in the Pspell class - no need for UT_convert, malloc, or free thanks to the String classes

3) Move the "could not load dictionary" message to a higher, shared place. Was essentially duplicate code

4) Add a new class method which attempts to educate the spell checker about word replacements. Ispell has a dummy do-nothing implementation. The Pspell and GnomeSpell classes have implemented this method. This method doesn't currently get used at all, but I'm going to fix that shortly.

make tbox green again, use correctWord API, numerous memory leak fixes, dead code elimination, free those last few bytes needed to make Unix startup+shutdown cleanly, few cast patches from Larin and another patch from Larin, remove metas (^M), whitespace patches from Larin, fix crash caused by a race in the incremental loader - typing in a window before a view has been created, remove Xft bits lying around
OpenWriter:tidy up some things for wlach so we can get working, read streams in sanely sized chunks instead of all-at-once, fix up some segvs, column breaks started
Bugs: 4575 and 4648
msevior  23 major speed up with Property caching code in fv_View, first fix of FJF's Table bugs, remove selection dirt, added ruler markers for tables upon creation, endnotes note change to the types you ask for, endnote now appear at the end of the doc, fixes for tables broken over many pages
Bugs: 4416 and 4657
uwog  19 insert table dialog gladification, diving make libglade support by Mark Gilbert, nl_NL updates, insert Page Numbers gladification/HIGifying Bug: 4664 (and there was much rejoicing)
phearbear*  18 new hack on the renderText routine--we now use AlphaMap if possible, other uninitialized array, font rendering fixes, fixed bug in toolbar resizing--3 Column view now works fine, menus no longer steal focus away from the document area, dynamic help update, C++ cast fixes for compilation, fix for glade diving make on platforms not having glade Bugs: 2467 and 4665
mgilbert  15 change the binary name and creation scheme to be consistent with auto* build followed by leagues of work in repairing the damage
wlach  11 substantial refactoring of OpenWriter export and add support for exporting span properties, C -> C++ casts by Larin Hennessy, WordPerfect: remove unnecessary marshaller class, fix bad formatting job
fjfranklin   9 build fixes
plam   9 don't try to justify when neg amount of space available Bug: 3280
biesi   1 don't const_cast in StarOffice import
hub   1 no longer hardcode the include path for png.h for project builder
jskov   1 fix comment typo in RTF importer

*In his own words:  most of the summaries are, but I didn't want to clean it up.
*phearbear:  system-related work is QNX unless stated otherwise.

Weekly Prize Patch

      Dom, with the help of all those of you who donated to help keep AbiWord great, re-established the Weekly Prize Patch.   Established at $45 pre-charges (read: the financial companies cut), the prize is awarded by the decision of Martin and Dom, both of whom must agree on the winner.   Though neither Dom nor Martin may vote for themselves, they posses to "trumps" that allow them to vote for the other, therefore nullifying that other's vote.   Most importantly, winning is entirely dependent on how lagered-up Martin and Dom are at the time in question.

And the award goes to:

No One

No one received the Patch Prize between the second and eight of March.


      The concept of a "Project Of the Week" is to single out tasks of major interest that outside developers might be interested in providing assistance to.   Until a "best way" of listing POWs comes to mind, they shall be listed in a short description.   Any user interested is welcome to assist in tackling these POWs.   If you know someone who's interested, you can link directly to a POW, in order, they're pow5 (at the top) through pow1 (at the bottom).   Reminder to developers, I can't post them if you don't submit them.   Additionally, feel free to announce if one of these is finished (in case you don't mention it on the list or in the cvs).   Oh, and in case you didn't notice, they're a great way to get money from Dom, really!

Description:  This bug contains a compilation of numerous spelling-related bugs.   Interested parties can do simple work, like Q&A to see what's still there, to more complex work, like dialogue fixin' and locale conversion   If you have a current Abi and some time, you, too, can help
Advertisement:  My spelring dilog isn nt ther
Recommended Outline:  Whatever's easiest for you
Comments:  All in all, there's something for everyone in there.
System:  Any and every OS.
AbiVersion:  Current (1.0.4, I would guess, dev and cvs releases may occur as well)
Challenge level:  Variable
Current Heros:  You must be magical to know how to fix this

NameProject Blue Ant.
Description:  Perform component-specific tests, document procedural changes and open bugs as necessary.
Advertisement:  Play the game and get a hero credit; more recognition than QA!
Recommended Outline:  Email abiwordtesting@matthewcraig.com and include available system types, AbiVersions and previous testing experience.   Receive testing instructions which will take one to two hours to complete.
Comments:  No experience required.   A good way to be introduced to AbiWord contribution efforts.
System:  Any and every OS.
AbiVersion:  1.0.4 only (for now at least)
Challenge level:  *.... 1 star out of 5
Current Heros:  "Some of the most active were Mikey Cooper, Tom Purl and Eric Blom."

^_^ More People find More Bugs ^_^
        Back to normal POW status.   However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and we'd love to see you help!   After the hyperbolizing this POW, interest has been dwindling, and there really is a lot left to get done.   Personally, I think it's the holidays; however, you can't go by me, because I was going to add ASCII breasts to get more attention.   On that subject, if any cute geekettes want to pose nekkid with an Abi the Ant tattoo, contact Mark Gilbert.
^_^ More People find More Bugs ^_^

Name:  Style and/or Diction Plugins (bug 3281) (do either/or or both!)
Description:  build a plugin to allow AbiWord to check style and diction
Advertisement:  me got no grammar fixer, help mes can't you?
Recommended Outline:  Create a plugin for AbiWord that allows the checking of style and diction.  The source code for the gnu style and diction tools is available here: http://www.gnu.org/software/diction/diction.html
      As a prototype you might be able to hack something using the AbiCmd plugin to wrap the style and diction tools.  The AikSaurus (Thesaurus) plugin should also be a helpful guide.
      When you get the basics working you could try to get AbiWord to display green squiggle underlines to mark errors, or otherwise work on a good user interface.
Comments:  A great way to start playing with the AbiSource
System:  Any OS will be fine.
Challenge level:  ***.. 3 stars out of 5
Current Hero:  The mastery of Kung Fu has yet to appear.

Name:  Fix Windows printing boogs (bug 3239)
Description:  Tackle some or more of the various bugs that cause issues in attempting to print under Windows
Advertisement:  ????????????????????????????? (no, that's really the ad!)
Recommended Outline:  You must become magical to know how to fix this.
Comments:  "The problem is that printing on Windows is broken with several brand of printer drivers (see dependent bugs). It appears that with standard PostScript driver it does not happen. It appears also that version 0.9.6 had less problems than 1.0.1 so we might find out where the regression is bu diffing.
    "Please, be sure to read all the bug reports. Even partial fix are accepted.
    "Fixes must be done against STABLE tree and possibly ported to HEAD (the later can be done as a second step)."
      This comes from Hub
Notice:  This may already have been fixed with the libiconv upgrade, stay tuned!
System:  Windows
Challenge level:  ****. 4 stars out of 5
The MoFos who had the Huevos for this POW:
Johnny Lee
(crash on print)

Daniel Jensen
(text work around)

Name:  More Windows Maintainers
Description:  Mike, Jordi and Jeremy could always use help
Advertisement:  Help free people from the oppression of MSWord today!
Recommended Outline:  You must become magical to know how to fix this.
Comments:  Wouldn't be a bad idea to start with the printing bug...
System:  Windows
Challenge level:  ****. 4 stars out of 5
Current Hero:  Jordi Mas

Bug Update

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.   Ah, another release, another change of what bugs are on the "Most Wanted" list.

Top 20 Problems
ID Votes Milestone Summary
3525  90 --- font incorrectly printed and spaced
 376  80 2.0 File associate problems for all file types with Win32Slu......
4057  60 --- Thesaurus Shift+F7 keybindings shortcuts consistency
 428  44 2.0 Hitting return at the beginning of a paragraph changes fo......
2362  30 1.0.x AbiWord only prints across half of page
3970  30 --- changing layouts can lead to showing other location than ......
4049  30 --- Crash on open file from floppy or network drive.
3778  29 --- Hanging indent setting ignores units
2868  25 2.0 character widths are not calculated correctly for some fonts...
2421  20 2.0 TM, Bullet, Euro, Smart Quotes and other symbols originat......
3488  20 --- Weird crash when editing
1394  17 2.0 on-screen landscape actually prints portrait in Win95
2924  15 --- printing abw documents defaults to black pages
3083  15 Future [META] Redesign smart quote system
3216  15 1.0.x [Tabstops Cannot be Set in Second (or Third) Column
3801  15 --- Incremental loader seems to struggle with large files
4538  15 2.0 Crash when cutting and pasting
1865  13 --- Header/footer not loaded properly from .doc
2962  13 2.0 Printer problems with Lexmark printers on Windows
Top 20 Requests For Enhancement
ID Votes Milestone Summary
2183 289 Future Fully Support OpenOffice's XML file format
1374  96 Future [RFE] print odd and/or even pages only (for front & back ...
1950  94 Future Wish for automatic Table of Contents
3668  76 --- Support for window tabs instead of separate windows
2565  72 Future Add true MS Word .doc export capability
2490  71 2.0 Finish Cocoa Frontend
2321  70 --- [RFE] Maths/Equation Editing, as a plugin maybe?
1144  67 Future Improve KWord import/export filters
 515  41 Future columns change should only affect selected text
1929  37 Future Hyphenation is missing in AbiWord
2365  36 --- AbiWord needs 'view codes'
2186  30 Future The insert page break setting is lost for custom styles
2219  27 Future AUTONUM wanted in [ Insert/Field/Number ] menu
2164  25 Future Ability to set default print command anywhere
2296  25 Future doc import: footnotes
2169  24 Future Line numbering
3233  21 2.0 New Language preference menu
3419  20 Future [RFE] Add microspacing feature (tracking) for characters
3393  18 --- Table of Contents, Table of Images, Table of Index genera......


Resolved Bugs

      In the past week, the following Bugs have been verified as fixed.   The listed Bugs have all been put in either CLOSED or RESOLVED mode as FIXED.   Can you believe I said QA will return next week when it's been here (or not been here) for three weeks?   Final reminder, owners are the squishers and qa are the flushers (in case there's some question).

      One other note, and this will apply across the bug area when the idea of credit comes up,

Bugs Resolved This Week
Resolution Number
Resolved 14
Verified 54
Closed  5
This Week's Bug Squishers:
Verified Name
36 Dave Null
13 Sam TH
 5 Hubert Figuiere
 4 Dom Lachowicz
 4 Frank Franklin
 3 Patrick Lam
 2 John L. Clark
 2 Martin Sevior
 1 Mathew Craig
 1 Mark Gilbert
 1 Tomas Frydrych
 1 Joe Cash (field cock-up)

Flushed Bugs

      What you see here are either invalid bug reports or duplicates.   So, basically, I'm showing everyone else how doofy you are sometimes.   On average*, confirming duplication or non-validity takes four minutes and thirty-five seconds.   That's the equivalent of 8LLOC of time for Dom.   Any other questions why development isn't as fast as you want?

Non-Bugs Flushed this Week
Flushed Number
Invalid  9
Duplicate 21
Won't Fix  4
This Week's Most Active Bug Flushers:
Verified Name
19 Dave Null
14 No One
 1 Mark Gilbert

Caught Bugs

      Bug spotters, beware, we're watching you!

Bugs Found this Week
Caught Number
Unconfirmed 0
New 6
ReOpened 1

Release HackDown

      This is an AbiWord Weekly News original concept:  The Release Hackdown.   In the table below, you can watch what bugs are being fixed in preparation for the very next release.   Check the key at the bottom to understand formatting.

      No pressure, guys, I'm sure only 2000 or so people will be watching to see what you do weekly.   That breaks down to about 285 people daily and 12 people hourly, so, it's like being peeked at once every five minutes, literally.   "Isn't that veird!?"


      This documents the progress of various bugs and features Hub hopes to have ironed out by 1.0.5.   May the source be with him, always.

HackDown to 1.0.5
Bug ID Description
2223 cannot open psiWord files (re-opened)
2715 crash on zoom
3239 [META] Windows printing bugs
3453 Crashes repeatably while attempting to edit header
3488 Weird crash when editing
3561 Crash on embedded AbiWord in Evolution
3625 Multi Substitution waste memory
3632 editing the numbering style of a roman numeral list hangs/crashes
3645 Page setup has a problem with margins in millimeters
3678 [STABLE]Crash when editing this Word document
3697 [crash] blank AbiWord document viewed as text (View Source)
3755 AbiWord crashes during import of this MS Word document
3766 Dvorak Keyboard
3858 export wrong content when choosing export to "Simplified Chinese GB_2312-80" encoded text
4068 Crash when mouse leaves selected header
4070 [META] crash on load bugs
4093 Program Terminates on Open
4097 Save dialog file extension weirdness
4125 .doc file does not import correctly (BiDi issues).
4183 Save/reload puts spurious characters in simple file in 1.0.3
4283 // comments expose lots of bugs
4304 crash when changing font of certain text (e.g. page numbers)
4363 [STABLE] Abi crashes after document open/close if text selected
4449 EV_EditBindingMap::removeBinding() leaks
4481 Format > Tabs dialog box completely broken
4531 Page breaks ignored in RTF
4559 section break handling is broken
4647 AbiWord 1.0.4 crashes with zh_CN Chinese font locale
4650 AbiWord.exe Entry Point Not Found
4656 AbiWord 1.0.4 does not compile with gcc-3.2.2 and perl-5.8.0

  1 Unconfirmted
13 Unapproached
13 Assigned
  5 Resolved

*Strike-out bug numbers and greyed text are resolved.
*Bold bug numbers and bold text are assigned.
*Italicized bug numbers and italicized text are unconfirmed.
*Normal bug numbers and normal text have not yet been approached.


      On our way to two-point-oh, affectionately referred to as, AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom.

HackDown to AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom
Bug ID Open of Total Description
2145  2 of  3 FCC 508 accessibility regulation compliance
2921  2 of  2 abi can leak memory [tracker bug]
3064  6 of  7 [TRACKER] AbiWord Performance
3239 27 of 38 [META] Windows printing bugs
4425  0 of  0 squash all warnings
4465 24 of 36 [META] Spelling bugs
4466 12 of 22 [META] "Motion" Bugs
4467  9 of 11 [META] Find/Replace bugs and enhancements
4488  2 of 13 [META] Help System Bugs
4627  14 of  15 [META] Copy/Paste bugs

      Hats off to Hub for taking out two more on his long road to 1.0.5.

      See Announce: 2.0 release plan for more details on the intended route towards AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom.

      Open Source, Open Books.   Approximately once a month, don't hedge bets, I'll get this updated by asking (read: whining at) dom.   In the meantime, whenever you want to see how much is in and where it gets diverted, just peek down here.

Current Balance: $1616.00
Interest earned: $7.00

Expenditures: $860
$400 to pay for Martin's Boston Gnome Summit Trip
$400 to buy Andrew Dunbar a new computer
$ 60 to misc./entertainment expenses at GNOME summit, GUAD3C, other, paid out of dom's pocket
$135 Patch Prize (those already successfully awarded)
-   $ 45 Will Lachance
-   $ 45 Marc Maurer
-   $ 45 Ruud Vring

Unique contributors: 58*
paypal: 57
check :  3
cash  :  1
*58: plusse 3 repeat offenders whom we love dearly

Contributions: $2723.00
Less paypal and other banking fees: $115.00

PLEASE!  Help promote AbiWord development by donating money. The money goes 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 cinamod@hotmail.com in the "Referral ID" field, which results in a one-time $5 donation from PayPal to AbiWord development if you verify your account. Note that only donations of $3 or more are of interest. Sorry, this is due to the fees imposed by credit card companies and PayPal.