AbiWord Weekly News #180,
      (For the week ending January 24th, the 4th week of 2004)

Welcome to this issue #180 of the AbiWord Weekly News.


      Arafat Medini appears to be last week's Arabic contributor, for those who would like to know.

This week in development

      AbiWord 2.0.3 released and also successfully ported to Irix, pre-built binaries for Mandrake users now available, lots of users assisting and considering development, Martin begins work on Table of Contents, and now you can meet our own Tomas Frydrych at the LinuxUser and Developer Expo in the UK!

Request for User Assistance

      Attention Indic and Arabic users!   We need more of you to attempt to use and report bugs on CVS Head.   As we continue to improve the glyph-shaping engine, we will need to know what is working and what is not.   You, our users, are an essential part of our community development.   Please participate in helping us improve the application all of us are using.

      In case you haven't guessed, the fact that the plea below, languages, has remained unchanged is because no-one has even told us they're trying to help.   However, we were told that two were not that different (if at all) from a close linguistic relative.   That said, please-oh-please give us assistance.

      Hi there.   We're looking for people who can help keep AbiWord accurate and uptodate in a number of languages.   Please look over them and see if ither you or someone you know might be able to assist us.   Remember, your contribution is not only welcomed or encouraged but is also documented, for an easier-to-brag experience.   The languages we are looking for are listed below:

  • Afrikaans[af-ZA]
  • Armenian[hy-AM]
  • Assamese[as-IN]
  • Chinese (Singapore)[zh-SG]
  • Cornish[kw-GB]
  • Corsican[co-FR]
  • Croatian[hr]
  • Esperanto[eo]
  • Estonian[et]
  • Farsi[fa-IR]
  • Flemish (Belgium)[nl-BE]
  • Frisian[fy-NL]
  • Georgian[ka-GE]
  • Hausa (Niger)[ha-NE]
  • Hausa (Nigeria)[ha-NG]
  • Hindi[hi-IN]
  • Icelandic[is-IS]
  • Korean[ko-KR]
  • Macedonian[mk]
  • Marshallese (Nauru)[mh-NR]
  • Occitan[oc-FR]
  • Thai[th-TH]
  • Urdu[ur-PK]

      Due to the traffick of people who are trying to help with picked up languages, those who are interested in helping us are encouraged to join ither mailing list.   Please read the instructions for the list you are most interested in joining to get the correct address.   Joining, as you'll find out, is a simple three step process.   First, send a letter to one email address; second confirm you sent the letter by sending a reply, and third...oops, there is no step three.   Ok, so, excluding all the minor steps of what to click and/or type, it's really a simple two-step process.

      There are just two important reminders in using the mailing lists which all users are expected to do.   If you want your message to even make it to the list, you message will need to be in plain text only.   Due to an insurgence of a certain virus a while back, all HTML email is rejected for reasons of sanity.   Webmail users will have to figure out how to turn on plain-text only before sending email.   Second, you are required to send the language in Engrish or English.   For those of you who don't speak English well enough to send Engrish, it is recommended that you send the letter in both your native language (identify your language please) and after that, in the same message, send it in a machine-translated version of your message, like BabelFish, in case no-one who speaks your language is available to translate your message for the list.   Failure to follow these proceedures in the past have led to frustration and resentment.   We apologise in advance for any inconvenience these two requests may cause you.

Silliness of the Week

      I'm back on it now.   I'm also having Alan Tudyk arrested for attempted murder via mass media.   “River's Cra-a-a-zy” almost had me choking on my drink, and a carbonated beverage going through a person's nose is not pleasurable.

      Anyhow, as you had to have noticed, I'm officially one verion of AbiWord behind, but maybe that'll mess you up feirce.   For those of you who want to know why I don't lump all of the news letters together, I'll explain it quite simply:   It's the same amount of work with no clear advantage.   I pick and summarise mailing list threads; I sort and summarise CVS commits; I summarise bug activity, and then, I hunt down news from everywhere else.   So, here I am, presenting you with a one-week-at-a-time perspective on our progress.   Now, I'm not sure how I went from missing two weeks to six, but intend to fix that as I go.   An AWN should pop up on an average of once every three days (two a week-ish) until caught up.

      Now, for those of you interested in the Irix stuff, click here and go down a paragraph.

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 50-100 postings per week.   This week, interesting topics on the developer list included:

  1. commit: nested tables break across pages and some stylelist stuff.
    commit: Work on Stylist.
    commit: More Stylist work.
    commit: Complete Stylist Dialog.
    Commit: stylist dialog work :
    →   Martin begins work on two fronts:   The first is making nested tables break sanely across pages, and the second is to begin working on the stylist functionality and, of course, its related dialogue.   On the subject of stylist dialogue, have you seen it, yet?
    §   Features always need updating!   Ask Microsoft...or vim!
  2. Commit: bug 2164
    Bug 2164 fix for PRINTER :
    →   Dom tackles an enhancement about choosing Unix printer commands.   Raphael clarifies a misunderstanding about the device-name “PRINTER”.   Marc has since backported this featurette to 2.0.
    §   Wow...it must be great to wonder, “Hey, what printer should I use today?”
  3. My development plans.
    commit: Basic stuff we need for Table Of Contents.
    commit: Fix 6331 and some more stuff for TOC.
    commit: TOC classes compile. :
    →   New Feature!   Martin has begun work on fulfilling the 6th most popular feature request, a Table of Contents manager plugin.
    §   Expect some pretty pictures in future AWNs!
  4. Removal GR_Graphics::xorLine and GR_Graphics::xorRect
    Commit (HEAD): XAP Feature + XOR fix :
    →   Hub has implemented an alternative to the graphics xor calls.   Xor comes into play when the user has images in their document.   The new graphics management requires fewer resources to work, and is, therefore, much faster.   Of course, the fact that MacOS X doesn't implement xor/equivalent drove Hub to creating the fix.
    §   Additionally, according to Hub, “Xor is Evil™”
  5. ATTN: Tree closed for 2.0.3 release
    ATTN: AbiWord 2.0.3 Tagged / Tarballs Up / Tree reopened
    Commit (BOTH): 2.0.3 ChangeLog
    ATTN: AbiWord v2.0.3 Released :
    →   Marc continues his lead role in stable by releasing 2.0.3.   If you haven't heard that already, you can download it from the Latest Releases page.
    §   If you haven't heard that already, you may want to review the paintings on the cave wall for ||*_*|||, or, in Australia, two goats and three sheep.
  6. Braille plug-in :
    →   Miguel Canteras is interested in creating a Braille plugin for AbiWord.   For users interested in the basics of how filetypes are handled in AbiWord, you may have some interest in Dom's reply.
    §   And, if you want more information, someone is always present, if even AFK, in #abiword @ irc.gimp.org.
  7. Typos in Abiword 2.1.0 :
    →   Johnny Lee uses typo.pl to look for problems in the development tree of AbiWord.   Dom makes many of the needed fixes (except for the BeOS-related ones, which he considers obsolete), and Marc transfers the applicable ones to 2.0.
    §   Did you catch the shameless plug?   No?   Ok, but this is the last time, TYPO: because your blind.
  8. The Linux User & Developer Expo 2004 (2)
    Linux User Expo London; more info :
    →   Attention UK users, Tomas Frydrych looks to be available for the LinuxUser and Developer Expo!   That's right, on April 20th and 21st, well, at least the 21st, you'll have a chance to meet the man who made bidi and glyph happen in your favourite cross-platform word processor, AbiWord.   And, if you're really lucky, Conglomerate's Dave Malcolm may also be in attendance; however, it looks too early to say anything for sure.
    §   But...will Alan be there?   Stay tuned next week: Same AntTime, Same AntNewsLetter!
  9. Little patch for a printing Problem
    Commit: fix printing of fields :
    →   Two post-script related fixes to AbiWord's printing method.   First up, first-time-committer/long-time-user Michael Rosenbruch goes at this blank-page-printing problem by finding a mismatch in the grestores against the gsaves.
      Second, Dom fixes a problem concerning the lack of character widths being passed to the output.   Both of these fixes have been backported to 2.0 by Marc.
    §   I wanted to do the unix-shell joke concerning the first; unfortunately, bash now only complains about missing tokens.
  10. Commit (STABLE): require fontconfig >= 2.0 :
    →   A minor notice for those interested in compiling AbiWord:   It is now only required to have fontconfig 2.0, not 2.1.   This sanity exists now in both Abiword 2.0 and 2.1
    §   See, it's also funny!
  11. Win32 Stable char widths still wrong! :
    →   Ryan Pavlik sends in a report about the issues with character width in current AbiWord releases for MS Windows.   An issue to be watch for in the future.
    §   My psychic sense tells me this will be fixed by 2.0.4.   Yes...psychic.

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.   Happily, the user list is becoming more active!   This week, interesting topics on the user list included:

  1. mandrake packages :
    →   Mandrake users may thank Marcel Pol for his package building good time.   You will find urpmi information in this thread; you will find 9.2 i586 rpms of AbiWord here.
    §   This will save Marc embarrassment in the future ;o)
  2. spell-checking troubles :
    →   Marcel has a problem trying to make his locality stick between languages.   It becomes most notable on reloading a document.
    §   This added in hopes of getting an answer on the list.


CVS Stats

      Keep track of the latest developments, from bug fixes to requested enhancements.   You'll find it easy to watch the progress made by the developers or individual developers involved.   Perhaps you'll even be encouraged to try a development build of either branch.

Developments for 2.0 from January 18th through the 24th, 2004
Who Commits In summary
Kenneth “Jeremy” Davis 71 Bringing 2.0's Windows Installer (NSIS) in line with 2.1 commits of last week, plusse additional fixes and corrections.
Nullsoft Scriptable Installer System, version 2:   support detailed extra help only if help button plugin available, add Norwegian localization support, support additional languages during installation (see this list), minor uninstaller fixes, backport plugin installer corrections for working with NSIS 2 installer

Marc Maurer 15 Numerous backports and several fixes, plus the changlog for 2.0.3.
Cross Platform:   fix printing of fields From Dom Lachowicz
Unix:   correct use of PRINTER environment variable From Dom Lachowicz, fix unix-non-gnome build, add missing grestores for the GnomePrint output From Michael Rosenbruch
WV:   fixes wrong language code sq-AL From Jordi Mas
Redhat Package Manager:   require fontconfig >= 2.0, instead of >= 2.1
English, United States:   2.0.3 ChangeLog & add Arabic translator
5143:   (From Ryan Pavlik)) — Inserting tabstop deactivates keyboard
5880:   (From Johnny Lee) — very slow in setting language on entire document

Dom Lachowicz  1 A fix to printing and merging functionality.
Cross Platform:   fix printing/merging problem

Developments for 2.1 from January 18th through the 24th of 2004
Who Commits In summary
Martin Sevior 68 Stylist, Table of Contents and a few of those Sevior miracles that always make into the code.
Stylist:   the code to load the styles into a useful tree in the XP layer, some work on stylist GUI, bugs fixed in the XP layer of Stylist, finish the Stylist dialog for unix
Tables:   nested tables span pages
Table of Contents:   some basic PieceTable stuff we will need, layout and container classes are in the compile chain and now build
Cross Platform:   the code to load the styles into a useful tree in the XP layer, some work on stylist GUI, bugs fixed in the XP layer of Stylist, some basic PieceTable stuff we need for Table of Contents, layout and container classes are in the compile chain and now build for Table of Contents
Windows:   some work on stylist GUI, fix a Win32 compiler warning (thanks to Johnny Lee)
MacOS X:   some work on stylist GUI
Unix:   some work on stylist GUI, some success with GtkTreeView, finish the Stylist dialog
QNX:   some work on stylist GUI
5880:   (From Johnny Lee) — very slow in setting language on entire document
6331:   Cursor Offset while editing header/footer

Hubert Figuiere 29 Graphics XAP feature and more work toward AbiWord's MacOS X port.
Cross Platform:   implement XAP Feature, fixed build for non MacOS X, remove superfluous XAP_Frame * AP_App::newFrame(AP_App *)
MacOS X:   get rid of XOR when the XAP Feature tells, fix draw image, remove XOR, fix spelling dialog--show the text and almost works, honour open file command, add XAP_Feature to allow app running without any frame, load an empty doc in the frame, fix allocation problem: the frame window was in an autorelease pool never released, removed dead code, small change for l10n
Project Builder (& AbiProject Builder):   fix absolute path
Make:   convert xpm to png using ImageMagick
6317:   (incomplete) — (Mac) issues when building abicocoa

Dom Lachowicz 18
Cross Platform:   flaws caught with typo.pl From Johnny Lee, fix printing of fields
Windows:   flaws caught with typo.pl From Johnny Lee
Unix:   correct use of PRINTER environment variable, flaws caught with typo.pl From Johnny Lee, fix return value, make the stylist dialog prettier, gnome-printing patch From Michael Rosenbruch
Distributed Files¹:   change Spainish of Finland template file to Finnish of Finland template file
2164:   Abillity to set default print command anywhere

Marc Maurer 12 Lots of languages, some work for the Stylist dialogue and 2.0.3 preparations
Unix:   enable hinting within the Stylist dialogue
English, United States:   2.0.3 ChangeLog & add Arabic author
Arabic, ?:   new From Arafat Medini
Finish, Finland:   update From Ismo Mäkinen
Spanish, Spain:   update From Francisco J. F. Serrador
Malay, ?:   update From Sharuzzaman Ahmat Raslan
Shqip, Albanian:   update From Besnik Bleta

Kenneth “Jeremy” Davis  8 Mostly work with the installer plus forward porting of a bug fix from Jordi
Nullsoft Scriptable Install System, version 2:   Albanian translation From Besnik Bleta, English typo correction From Besnik Bleta, minor uninstaller fixes
6308:   (From Jordi Mas) — Crash on restoring minimized window, if one open windows are closed, before restoring

Jordi Mas  2
WV:   wrong language code
5143:   Inserting tabstop deactivates keyboard


¹Distributed Files:   I would love developer feedback on what I should do with this lone weirdie.   It's so out of place, or is that just me?


      It's happening Really Soon Now™!

Bug Update

Bug Market


      This week's activity was not tracked due to abscence of editor.

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

Bug Votes

      Due to timing and so forth, this data will not be corrected until the week ending January 31st.

      These are the week's Top 20 Bugs in the categories  misfeatures 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 MisFeatures™ as of January 3rd, 2004
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
5059  41 2.2 Recent Files breaks with international file names
5815  35 --- Variable-width font issue
4745  31 Future Change colour of foreground text for screen only
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 ......
5794  30 --- Horizontal space and distortion at print page break in We......
6181  30 --- cursor position is not updated when changing paragraph style...
2868  26 2.0.x character widths are not calculated correctly for some fonts...
4896  25 2.0.x the very last character can't be selected
6011  25 --- Spelling check provides bad suggestions and improperly pl......
2421  24 2.0.x TM, Bullet, Euro, Smart Quotes and other symbols originat......
6112  24 --- Win32 Windows Accumulate Dirt from Windows Objects
1679  17 --- List changes should keep selection
3216  15 2.2 [Tabstops Cannot be Set in Second (or Third) Column
3801  15 Future [META] Seems to struggle with large files
Top 20 Requests For Enhancement as of January 3rd, 2004
ID Votes Milestone Summary
2183 458 Future Fully Support OpenOffice's XML file format
3668 166 Future Support for window tabs instead of separate windows
2321 145 2.2 [RFE] Maths/Equation Editing, as a plugin maybe?
4038 136 --- Outline View Support
2490 126 2.2 Finish Cocoa Frontend
1950 121 Future Wish for automatic Table of Contents
1374 108 Future [RFE] print odd and/or even pages only (for front & back ...
4057  70 --- Thesaurus Shift+F7 keybindings shortcuts consistency
1144  68 Future Improve KWord import/export filters
1929  50 Future Hyphenation is missing in Abiword
2365  43 --- AbiWord needs 'view codes'
 515  41 2.0.x columns change should only affect selected text
1851  36 Future [rfe] Ability to create an ALL CAPS style, and Small Caps......
2164  36 2.2 Ability to set default print command anywhere
2473  35 2.0.x [rfe] Support move & resize of images anchored to a page...
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
3233  23 2.0.x New Language preference menu

      This week's top bugs went untracked

Release HackDown

      After I get caught up...we'll talk.

Abi's Relatives

      Several projects are used by, use or synchronise with AbiWord.   Some of the most noteworthy libraries and applications will be summarised here.   Some may be added under guise of the GNOME Office Suite.; others may be added because it's really just a plug by request.   Want your project plugged?   Send money to Dom.   I'm offering rates of $10 per plug, $25 for a month-long plug, $50 for a quartly plug and $200 to go all year.   P*ing us off or the discontinuation of this section does not result in a refund.


      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 Summarizer

      Nothing to report.


      Nothing at all.


      Would I lie to you?


      Yes, I would, but that doesn't make this any less true.

Windows World

      Here, we'll explore our Windows associates more.   Well...it's currently only the one, but it's a very important one.

Nullsoft Scriptable Install System

      NSIS was looking for speakers of Finnish, Bulgarian and Thai for translations.   New language translators are still always welcome.   Please read this for more details.

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.


      Nothing new this week; stay tuned for next week.


      Fresh into the CVS is the Evolution provider, which will allow users to access to Evolution's contacts, calendar and tasks; however migrating to the latest Evolution from when this sub-project began will take some time.


      Tune in next week for information on Inkscape's go at creating a slideshow application.


      In an attempt to fix some difficult bugs and produce some enhancements, Dave took the parts of the main engine out of HEAD and branched it to “WidgetPlayground.”   Once fixes have been made, this will be reemerged into HEAD; therefore, it is not recommended or worthwhile to checkout this branch.

      FOX's latest series, “When DTD's Go Wrong”, may feature Conglomerate.   This week, Dave introduced to new “features” concerning DTD's.   First, the properties dialogue of a node will now possess valid child elements for individual tags, when the appropriate DTD is found.   Second, and far more frightening, is the new “Random Document” feature.   Using a DTD and additional fields, like tree depth, a series of fully variable Unicode characters will fill out a randomly generated document, pushing Conglomerate to its limit, thus making a nice testing utility for it.   As Dave explained, “Hey, if Emacs can have a built-in psychiatrist, we can have a built-in patient!”


      Look, a place to talk about the AWN

Abiword Weekly News

      AWN's will now appear approximately once every three days until caught up.   The planned date of normalisation is no later than March 20th.   This coincides nicely with the beginning of the predicted Maple Syrup Season in Northern Wisconsin.


      2.0.4 will have been released Thursday, March 4th, with most binaries expected by the weekend.   If the good folks at my Wisconsin Debian Mirror could be bothered with getting that into their testing branch and sources list, that'd be much 'preciated.

      Steven Queen and others at http://www.nekochan.net have successfully compiled/ported Abiword 2.0 onto IRIX:  The Cool Unix.   On the site, you will find the whole of the related GNOME/GTK libraries and so forth that you will need to start using AbiWord 2.0 immediately.   Well...ok, it's all of GNOME/GTK-dom, but AbiWord is an import part of GNOME, even though GNOME doesn't always know that.   Just a note for those who are going over there to browse, specifically non-unix-users, please do not laugh at the word ”Tardist.“   It has little to do with retardation or “Doctor Who”.


      I'm bothering with the books when I get all evened up.


      I have hopes to see Miguel Canteras future braille plugin, which will be another massive improvement for us to look forward to.   In the meantime, hats off to Michael Rosenbruch for sending his first commit ever, a postscript construction fix.   May he start nosing around for more Fun in the Sourceneato.   And on the subject of fixin's, another congratulations to Johnny Lee and that cute li'l perl script of his.

Open Source, Open Books.

Last Updated: December 6th, 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.

      These are numbers from all of time!   Everything since the paypal AbiFund has been setup is in here, not just this month or just this week.   Just in case you didn't figure that out, I'm restating it since the PayPal incident first incited interest in this.

Current Balance: $2144.20
Interest earned: $19.34

Expenditures: $2185
$210 to feed 12 people at GUADEC
$100 to pay for Marc's work on the new server
$700 to pay for the new server
$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
-   -   note: Pat and Dom went to an Italian restaurant named Dom's on Boston's North End.   Neither Pat or Dom seem to recommend visiting Dom's anytime soon.   Actually, I didn't ask Pat, but I'm pretty sure he'd agree.   Personally, I recommend avoiding Dom altogether.   Hmm, typo, what?

Unique contributors: 61*
paypal: 66
check :  3
cash  :  1
*61: plusse 3 repeat offenders whom we love dearly

Contributions: $2311.84
Less paypal and other banking fees: $167.64

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.