AbiWord Weekly News #163, (2003, week 39, released 2003.09.28)

Welcome to this issue 163 of the AbiWord Weekly News.


      Now you know never to get your hopes up.

This week in development

      RTF import capability has been sped up like you wouldn't believe, thanks to Johnny Lee.   The BeOS port verges on oblivion; get the word out; one week to find a maintainer.   Languages with accented characters are known to be having issues on Win32.   And!, assuming I can get this to work, we have an important poll, or something Mark wants to know....

Request for User Assitance

      If you, or someone you know, could assist in the following languages, it would be greatly appreciated:

Hausa (Niger)[ha-NE]
Hausa (Nigeria)[ha-NG]
Marshallese (Nauru)[mh-NR]
Flemish (Belgium)[nl-BE]
Chinese (Singapore)[zh-SG]
  If you can help, please contact either Jordi Mas or Pierre Abbat.


      I promise squat.   The polling script, due to laziness, is stolen from a site a found while spending a whole 2 minutes looking for a polling script (as I haven't scripted in 8mos, which was just long enough to make me go, "err...."   I believe the writer's name is Tom Kohnen.

      Future polling scripts will be by me, and will be more integrated.

      The poll is here.

Silliness of the Week


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.   Actually, everything I say is purely editorial.   You kind of get used to it.


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. Commit: 5291 ,
    5291 RTF import slow and
    Light at the end of the tunnel Was Re: 5291 - A Task Force :   From time to time, I'll tell you, "If you really want a good understanding of what goes into making a word processor work, go here."   No more true is this particular series of events originally relating to improving the import speed of RTF.   Robert Wilhelm starts this soon-to-be enormous wad of threads by suggesting a fix to the pre-existing framework.   Later, in 5291 RTF import slow, Robert pins down the primary mathematical issues that relate to the PieceTable.   Dom explains in Re: 5291 - A Task Force that each item is compared to all preceeding items to prevent duplication, or mathematically speaking O(n^2), where the comparisons refer to the hash output of each strings kept in the map for the PieceTable.   It is in Re: 5291 RTF import slow that Hub begins the investigation and theorising stage that will eventually replace the pre-existing technique already used.   Mike Nordell, hacker of yester-version, explains that the handling has been an issue that was brought up twice in the earlier stages of AbiWord: why properties are strings instead of enums and drawing performance.   He also pitches in the first major suggestion for change.   In Re: 5291 RTF import slow - the solution :-), Martin demonstrates the first functional solution.   After some discussion, with some emphasis on memory usage, Martin, in 5291 - A Task Force, outlines a several options for improving the framework, resulting in much hypothesising on various aspects.   Johnny Lee gets the golden crown, however (if only there were a patch prize), when he brings the wicked document down from 120 seconds to 62 seconds (22 actual processing, 40 building).   To see a full description, visit his Memorial to 5291.   Needless to say, commit: (HEAD) Re: Light at the end of the tunnel Was Re: 5291 - A Task Force was Martin committing this mighty addition.

  2. removal of BeOS support :   If there is no one to fully maintain the BeOS port in the next week, it will be removed from the development tree.   This means there will be NO MORE AbiWord for BeOS.   Last call!   Anyone?

  3. Commit: start of a "floating style pane" :   Dom begins the framework for a nifty graphical feature to render selected text into a selected style.   I'm told there is already such a feature in OpenOffice and Microsoft office...as seeing I don't use those however, I'll take Dom's word for it ;o)

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, e.g. solutions to problems in a preceeding thread..   This week, interesting topics on the user list included:

  1. Fwd: Re: Spanish dictionari y AWN #162 [ciber@celasmaya.edu.gt] and
    spanish spell check :   This is a reminder that AbiWord has a known issue with the spell check dialogue on the Win32 platform that results in malformed accented characters.   If this or a similar error is a problem for you, please consider subscribing to bug 5527

  2. Abi 3.0 should target compatibility issues :   As Hub once said, "We accept US checks, French checks, Australian checks, USD, AUD, EUR and GBP bills mostly.   You can also pay with PayPal or Kagi.   The more you send us, the more we'll listen."   Also, the AbiWord team will accept patches when done in the preferred  diff -u  format for Do-It-Yourself-ers.   PayPal link available at the bottom of ever AWN!   This raises the question, "If this were Star Wars, would Alan play C3PO?"

  3. Abiword 2.0 for Windows :   Remember that graphics bug Jordi was all up on just before the 2.0 release?   Anyhow, here's yet another reminder that a 2.0.x release for Windows hasn't happened yet, but you are welcome to use a nightly build to try out if you'd like.   In the meantime, here's your One Bug Hackdown.

  4. Looking for msvcp70.dll :   Speaking of the Win32 nightly builds, if you come across a missing DLL, you can get a copy at Jeremy's DLL Hell page.   Place the DLL in the executable's directory (same folder as abiword.exe), or possibly, as Stephen recommends, C:\Windows\System (or the equivalent on your machine).

  5. Multi-page printing :   Keith Powell has a question that many of you would love to know the answer to: How do I print every other page?   Well, GnomePrint can do that with a single option...unfortunately, Abi seems yet to have figured out a way to pass it.   Currently, this bug affects all platforms.


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 2003.09.21 - 2003.09.27
Who Commits In summary
Dom Lachowicz 116 string xml escaping/unescaping, start of some work for a floating style pane,
gnome :
wv : patch to wvHtml and wvText,
enchant: re-implement utf8 stuff that raphael took out, bunch of fixes, remove c++-isms, should work with utf8 now
Bugs : , 5813, 5829, 5834, 104577 (RedHat),
Martin Sevior  60 quick printing, footnotes display in normal mode, small cleanup, fix not clearing of runs sometimes, an implementation for ::finalize so abiword links, basic XHTML table import, fix printing of tables with cells containing images or colours, binary search for UT_Vector from Johnny Lee, Can patch prizes be award retro-actively?, fix ruler flicker after InstaZoom™, various speed ups for big docs
Win32: stub out some virtual functions, nice little public domain CRC class from cryptlib, make file for crc32 class,
Frank "Jimmy" Franklin*  25 special 'meta' case for -comment-replace XHTML template instruction
FriBiDi: include <fribidi.h> not <fribidi/fribidi.h>, attempt to fix tinderbox by adding fribidi to gtk+ pkg-config line
Hub Figuiere  15 Cocoa: format footnotes dialog
Bug: 5795 (for Cocoa and GTK)
Kenneth "Jeremy" Davis*  14 don't use unix utilities not listed in build document unless absolutely must, partial fix for bug 3862, add support on Windows for CP437 & cp850 (DOS and Windows console codepages) and be more lenient with contents of text documents, use "?" for bad control characters in them
NSIS: change so compile time define determines if crtlib win95 only or all, fix some download check for connection logic, remove extra colon, add optional support for CPP lib as well (for VC7 build)
Marc Maurer   4 update Nederland, fix crash when switching to fullscreen when 3 columns were turned on,
Raphael Finkel   1 Enchant: added to the Usage note, added flag -L to output line numbers, changed line tokenization to use g_unichar_type() to discriminate various kinds of Unicode characters
row   1 speed up fp_Container::clearBrokenContainers

*Frank Jimmy Franklin:  If Ken Davis can by Jeremy....
*Kenneth "Jeremy" Davis:  system-related work is Win32 unless stated otherwise.


      I'm hoping to do some POW-related stuff in the following couple of weeks.   First, I must figure out, from a really old POW page, what's still POW, and if any new stuff should be added.   Go me!

Bug Update

Bug Market


      This week's activity: ResoUnconf +10 (14 : 4), VeriNew +1 (3 : 2), ClosAssi -2 (1 : 3),

      With the first 2.0.x release out, the bug activity dropped significantly, with ClosedAssi being the only one in the negative.   Louis Bugkeyser noted that the activity dropped, but that, surprisingly, did not result in all markets being in the positive.   Alan Bluespan is quoted to have said, "Haha, you fat bastard, haha."   Nelson Muntz's attorney has released a memo stating that Alan Bluespan has violated the DMCA.   Matt Groening's attorney has released a memo stating that Eric Zen has violated the DMCA.   James Baughn's attorney has released a memo stating that Eric Zen has "stolen his bit."   Eric Zen has released an AWN 48 hours later than it usually starts.

      For information about how to view the chart, please read 142's Special Interest.

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
 376  82 2.0.x File associate problems for all file types with Win32Slu......
3778  46 --- Hanging indent setting ignores units
4745  31 Future Change colour of foreground text for screen only
5293  31 --- Delete a selected multiline text leaves part of the text ......
2362  30 2.2 AbiWord only prints across half of page
4031  30 Future Hebrew status line message is not displayed correctly
4722  30 --- When using -p or --print the output isn't usable
5252  30 2.2 Contrast between cursor (caret) and background is ruined ......
5852  30 --- office cards
2868  25 2.0.x character widths are not calculated correctly for some fonts...
4020  24 --- UTF8 strings not shown in list of spelling alternatives
2421  23 2.0.x TM, Bullet, Euro, Smart Quotes and other symbols originat......
4733  20 --- File paths with ampersands kill preferences
5061  20 --- Cursor and letters overlap
1679  17 --- List changes should keep selection
3216  15 2.2 [Tabstops Cannot be Set in Second (or Third) Column
3801  15 Future Incremental loader seems to struggle with large files
1865  13 --- Header/footer not loaded properly from .doc
3635  12 --- Format/Document/Margin/Units doesn't respect locale
Top 20 Requests For Enhancement
ID Votes Milestone Summary
2183 451 Future Fully Support OpenOffice's XML file format
3668 126 Future Support for window tabs instead of separate windows
1950 117 Future Wish for automatic Table of Contents
1374 109 Future [RFE] print odd and/or even pages only (for front & back ...
2321 105 --- [RFE] Maths/Equation Editing, as a plugin maybe?
4038 102 --- Outline View Support
2490  99 2.0.x Finish Cocoa Frontend
2565  82 Future Add true MS Word .doc export capability
1144  72 Future Improve KWord import/export filters
4057  70 --- Thesaurus Shift+F7 keybindings shortcuts consistency
2366  44 2.2 implement floating frame
 515  41 2.0.x columns change should only affect selected text
1929  40 Future Hyphenation is missing in Abiword
2365  40 --- AbiWord needs 'view codes'
2164  36 2.2 Ability to set default print command anywhere
1851  31 Future [rfe] Ability to create an ALL CAPS style, and Small Caps......
2186  30 Future The insert page break setting is lost for custom styles
2219  27 Future AUTONUM wanted in [ Insert/Field/Number ] menu
2169  24 Future Line numbering

      Since this wasn't tracked, I'll just refer you to Hub's message that regaurds the milestone changes.

Release HackDown

      To return eventually!   In the meantime, Dom has a thingy for 2.2.

Abi's Relatives

      I had hoped to actually receive news by, oh, I don't know, people actually keeping pages uptodate or emailing me or starting their own newsletters.   Bastards.


      AbiWord uses several libraries, and other sub-applications, to give it that extra bit of polish.   Here, you will learn whatever news I scrape together or has been sent to me in relation to them.   I wanted to do more this week, but not so much.

Open Text Summariser

      Contacted Nadav, maybe we'll get a scoop next week.


      As of the 26th, libwpd 0.6.3 and wpd2sxw 0.5.2 released.   New since last update: different character face properties (redline, outline, blink, etc.) and assorted bugfixes with table colouring and lists.   Additionally, libwpd is now being used by the City of Largo to assist with their OpenOffice.org migration.   Of particular is interest is this set of expectation documents: judge for yourself how well libwpd is doing.

      I'd like to thank whomever is in chage of news over there for giving me something to steal.   Thank you, ~username.


      There was some unspecified patching to wvHTML and wvText modules.   Dom and news; we've had this chat.


      Fresh from the AbiCVS, I'ver learned that UTF-8 has received quite the bit of fixing up.   It's great to see Raphael and Dom get along so well ;o)


      AbiWord is crucial to the use of or coordinates with a number of full blown applications.   Ok, I only know of, like, two.   Well, there was that screen play thing, but that went straight out the window.   And there was AbiMoz, but some other application has taken its place.   I'm sure, once AbiWord 2.0 is seen to all, there will be more to see.   Screw the Ant, it's AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom!!!

GNOME Office Suite

      Since I don't know of applications outside of AbiWord that use AbiWord, I'll be doing this Gnome Office business.   These people should have newsletters, so, I can steal crap from them.


      Jody's never short of news documentation.   I love Jody.   Lots of stuff to steal this week!

      Thanks to the wonderful and appreciated user feedback, Gnumeric's 1.2.1 release may soon be on the way.   The two biggest tweaks came from row height autosizing when not actually necessary and calling _() in the value parsing routines, an individual performance blower that need not be thought about too hard by those who understand it.   More excitingly, the CVS now holds the much appraised ssconvert utility.   This fun wrapper is much like AbiCommand, allowing you stdio use of Gnumeric and its incredible capabilities.   It's basic but functional for converting file types.   It will probably get moving now that Jody's caved in, err, hashed out this wonderful li'l utility.


      The newest thing from this week was discussion about Mergeant, specifically making it usable as part of the Gnome Office.   With that focus in mind, Rodrigo has begun work on improving the interface.   There are rumours of screenshots to be available once it's worth a peek!


      In search of "What's the buzz; hey, what's a happening," I found an important quote from Sven, "I still plan to work on criawips a GNOME presentation program, but this is ATM less important than gnome-de.org and gnoppix are."   The referred to comment comes from the GNOME mail archives, specifically, Application received from Sven Herzberg.


      Look, a place to talk about the AWN

Abiword Weekly News

      I'm home.   I'm expecting a change to the Top20-XXX soon.   As has been known for eons, the link in it doesn't actually work unless you have the right cookies from previously visiting bugzilla.   I look forward to seeing what I do with this.   After I get that going, I may be looking at getting to that POW business.

Latest Releases

      I'm doing this Thursday, whether or not any releases have occurred.


      AbiWord?   Windows users...well, some of you interested in psion documents, at least, may rejoice   Recently released-ish, was 1.0.7a.   Not actually knowing Windows, I'm going to quote Jeremy.   If you don't get it, head to the linked to website and ask him; I've emphasized the bits I've added:

      Although the 1.0.x branch is no longer supported, an updated Windows build (1.0.7a) is available for those who are having problems loading Psion Word documents [it is identical (to 1.0.7) otherwise].   Refer to 1.0.7 release for plugins (as they are compatible I did not rebuild them).   Also, plugins are now available for nightly Windows builds -- I'm still working on it, so for now not all are available, and they are only available in raw DLL form (no fancy installer).   As always, I make no guarentees nightly builds will do anything (particularly useful, just like GPL says).

Open Source, Open Books.

Last Updated: April 10, 2003

      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.

      Word of caution, numbers lightly fudged due to (hopefully) temporarily incomplete data.   Like a consultant's suggested price, you'll find hidden meaning in the data if you stare long and hard.   Surgeon's General's Warning:  Staring long and hard may have psychotropic affects; keep out of reach of people who like that sort of thing.

      I cannot promise the time of de-fudging, nor can I promise there will be de-fudging any time soon. However, I feel confident that there will be some de-fudging going on.

Current Balance: $1604.34
Interest earned: $8.64

Expenditures: $950
$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
$225 Patch Prize (those already successfully awarded)
-   $ 45 Will Lachance
-   $ 45 Marc Maurer
-   $ 45 Ruud Vring
-   $ 45 Patrick Lam
-   $ 45 Dom Lachowicz

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 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 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.