Welcome to issue 42 of the AbiWord Weekly News.
This week the developer mailing list has been dominated by the
discussions of what should be included in the AbiWord 1.0 release. It
is still undecided, but there is a trend towards a 1.0 release within
the next four months, without support for proper tables. See
ML archive for all the discussions which spans several threads.
This week we've seen at least three very interesting checkins:
Martin added support for LaTeX style tables (simple outlining of your
text) which is the closest we're likely to get for table support this
side of 1.0. Dom checked in a first version of an AbiWord GTK widget,
and also did some work on a module plugin architecture.
Unfortunately, this week also left us with a severely trashed
BugZilla database, losing several days worth of input. The cause of
this is likely to do with the disks filling up on the server, but it's
still unclear why BugZilla appears to keep losing data. We're still
looking into this, and have started doing hourly backups of the
database. Note that the bug data in this week's issue is also
affected by this crash - and that any votes you've cast have been
Finally, I got quite a few mails after the previous issue of
AbiWord Weekly News, not only from all the happy campers (trust me,
there were quite a few), but also from people following the AbiWord
development who thought I'd missed a few interesting subjects. For
this reason, I've taken up sending out an early copy of the WN to a
few people so they can help me fill in the blanks. With some luck that
should make for an even better newsletter. Thanks!
In this issue:
Editor(s) of this issue: Jesper Skov
|2001.04.27 - 2001.05.04|
||Modular import/export framework, AbiWord widget, Template
Dialog, and various fixes. Also BeOS fixed (James Montgomerie), tmpnam
and styles patches (John L. Clark).
||WN and web updates, fixed image vertical space problem and
selection/cursor movement behavior.
||Optimize property lookups, fix memory leaks.
||Installer bug fix and autobuild fixes.
||LaTeX style tables.
||British English translations from Alan Horkan.
||Final touches to the left ruler margin grippy.
||QNX typo fix.
Patch of the week goes to Dom for his work on the AbiWord
widget. It has a rather large potential as it will make AbiWord more
visible as a GNOME component in the future - and thus, with some luck,
lure some hackers our way.
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
multipurpose graphic importer|
|uPOW||2001.17||Where to send
|POW||2001.9||Speed up bulk spell
|uPOW||2001.7||Host for AbiWord
|uPOW||2001.6||Update Feature and
|POW||2001.5||Bug-buddy support for
translated dialogs fit|
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.
These are the bug counts for the past 4 weeks:
Date: Submitted: QA: Open:
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%)
2001.05.04 28 ( +21%) 49 ( -15%) 293 ( +28%)
As a user of AbiWord, you are able to vote on bugs you'd like to
see closed. The process is quite simple:
Create yourself an account if
you don't already have one.
Bring up the bug
Click on Bug IDs to read bug details.
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 (5 or so) to make your voice heard!
From the sorted
list of votes, we found the current Top 10 Bugs to be:
Font substitution table
I want an install fonts option
Some localized strings truncated in Windows version
Inserting a word is O(n) in the number of words in the document
Abiword does not accept WM_UNICHAR keyboard input
on-screen landscape actually prints portrait in Win95
Illegal exit on Page Setup - alter paper size
Crash when import MS word document
Redraw performance is dog slow. Sometimes unacceptably slow.
Import LyX files
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:
In the past week, the following 32 bugs have been closed (i.e.,
closed and verified fixed):
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
This is a thread reborn from last week, discussing the need for a way
for inserting characters in the document by typing in their ASCII code
- or rather, and that's what's causing the problems, how this can be
extended to support the more generic unicodes.
- do Win32 encoding, IME, etc. changes all Just Work?:
Paul brushed off a subject that's not received due attention (this is
the issue of one of the Top 10 Bugs, I believe). Andrew Dunbar
followed up with state saying he basically has the stuff pending some
cleanups when he gets the time.
- Mac OS X port status:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Apple employee?) asked about the Mac OS X port
status since they need a WP. M$ doesn't have any plans for OSX, by any
chance? Anyway, Hubert told them how to help out, but there were no
(public) replies after that.
- Export Word -> save as RTF .doc?:
Jesper thought for a moment it would be clever to save .doc files in
RTF format to help users exchange documents between AbiWord and
Word. But it was quickly pointed out that AbiWord should do things in
the correct way or not at all. Amen!
- Call for writers - help us with the user documentation :
Jesper asked for users to help update the documentation for the
upcoming 1.0 release. This caused quite a few volunteers to step
forward, and we now have a documentation
mailing list. Thanks people!
- commit: Latex style table support:
Martin gave us LaTeX style tables. Not quite what everybody is craving
for, but it'll probably make do for many of the users. He later told
us how to use them.
Dom checked in the basics of an AbiWord GTK widget. As mentioned in
the intro, this has large potential on the GNOME platform. Time will
tell how much, and how fast this gets exploited.
- committ - Win32 List Dialog:
The Window front end has been lagging for some time, so it was good to
see the List Dialog get some attention from Michael.
- Bug Target Milestones:
Jesper decided it was time to quickly remind people of what the Bug
Target Milestones are there for - and why he's the only one who has
been setting them.
- BugZilla bit rot?:
This one was quite a nasty thing to discover. We'd just made a big
deal out of making users aware of the bug system, and their ability to
vote, and then we suffer severe data loss. Not very good. Hopefully it
will not happen again, and our users will cast their votes again.
- Change lists to mailman?:
Having created the new documentation mailing list using Mailman, Sam
asked if we should switch the other lists to Mailman as well. I
believe there was consensus, so that should happen sometime in the
near future. We'll be sure to keep the existing archives around.
Behind this descriptive title hides Dom's checkin of James
Montgomerie's BeOS fixes and Dom's own module plugin
architecture. Good stuff.
- Fast-Saved & Mac DOCs:
This thread continues into
May and spawns into another
thread as well. It's all about Word documents saved on Macs, sent
in various proprietary magic formats. Or something. I lost track...
- module manager:
Dom's module plugin architecture was discussed a bit more, and
thoughts about extending it with autosensing/discovery magic was
briefly discussed. Not something that will happen in the short term
though (but patches gratefully accepted!).
- envelopes, mail merge, etc. (was Re: Feature request.):
This is a followup on an earlier thread
where Joaquin posted
a cute little perl script that reads data from the GnomeCard
database. In this thread, Paul summarizes some issues in dealing with
- 1.0 Features:
The link is not to a single thread, but to the full archive of
May. There were spawned 10 or so threads on the issue of what features
should go into the 1.0 release. The jury is still out...
- Commit -- Improve the way the properties are stored and retrieved:
Bruce Pearson made a nice commit, making properties be stored in
binary format (once parsed) instead of being parsed from their string
form each time requested.
- Topic: Clipart and 1.0:
Just worth mentioning is the possibility of AbiWord getting a clipart
package add-on soon. There's some really
nice clipart, you should give it a look.