AbiWord Weekly News #130, (2003, week 06, released 2003.02.11)

Welcome to this issue 130 of the AbiWord Weekly News.


      Gabriel Gerhardsson wrote me shortly after the release of the AWN.   In case you forgot, Gabriel declared the hash downloader bloat last week.   Gabriel wanted me to know, and I'm passing on to you, that this isn't a sudden epiphany.   The feature has been discussed in a couple hacker circles, and over time, and experience, Gabriel came to realize that this user-friendly feature he put together does not belong in the primary processes.   Some later discussion in chat among others concurs -- it would be better if the hash downloader were a plugin.   Actually, discussion between me Will concur with an idea mentioned earlier:   It would be best to strip it out, turn it into an independent application, then make a plugin out of that.   I sense a POW coming on.   I wonder if I can declare a POW....

      Dom and Hub add a little to their respective hackdowns.   Hub's in particular refers to the re-opening of that annoying crash-on-zoom problem, while Dom does some bug spotting and decides it belongs in the 2.0 hackdown.   Needless to say, with crash on zoom's return, so has its position in the top20.

This week in development

      Marc switches the interface work over to libglade2 while complying with current GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.   During this time, Martin shows off some screen shots of his non-compliant footnote/endnote insertion dialogue.   Thanks to Rodrigo Moya, maintainer of LibGDA/Mergeant, Mail-merge Just Works™, and Daniel Jensen figures out a work-around for Windows printing bugs.

Silliness of the Week

      I was unable to locate Frank once again; he may not be in the US.   Well, I s'pose I owe you something for your jollies, so, I'll tell you about another of Marc's secret projects:   A plan has been laid to get two processes* to attempt to spawn a third**, with particular attention at attempting to acquiring screen shots*** during the event and publishing the results****.

*processes:   his female room mate and his girlfriend
*attempt to spawn a third:   women can't biologically have children with other women, so, this will result in sweet lesbian sex
*screen shots:   where GIMP can't go, the digital camera and camcorder can
*publishing the results:   starting a website, porn or otherwise, is a form of publishing

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. (magic): from rajiv@uklinux.net [cbiesinger@web.de] [rajiv@uklinux.net] :   An off-list request for help comes from Rajiv Srinivasa, which is forwarded to both lists.   Rajiv has issues compiling AbiWord from sources and wants to know what's going.   If you have similar problems, consider these points before looking for further help.   First, if you're on Linux, you should have installed the actual peer applications (fribidi, wv, libpng, et cetera), if not, install them from either your distro's selection of libraries or from the sites themselves.   Second, if you're using any other make other than gnu (gmake), try using that, as it was the intended make utility -- and it's pretty D* good to boot.   After that, if compiling fails, contact the development mailing list for further help.   In a completely unrelated note, did anyone poke Jeremy to make sure everything is working fine on Windows?

  2. Aiksaurus website gone ? :   Piotr Adamiak asks a good question and Alan suggests that viewing archives at google or Wayback Machine may be sufficient at this point in time.

  3. commit: Format Footnotes screen shots. :   You and I both know Martin has done a good job thus far, and the only reason you're reading this is for the screen shots.   The two tabs are for footnotes and endnotes.   Hub, however, points to a fracturing of the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.   Personally, I like dialogue framing (as long as it's not excessive); however, Seth doesn't worship me or anything to that like, so, I don't see this view being recalled; though, I do like the outline-style indentation technique.   Further discussion to this can be found in GNOME HIG and libglade2.

  4. commit: Format Footnotes final commit. :   Martin wants the final footnote formatting work ported beyond POSIX.   He also requests foreign speakers to assist in writing a quick piece of code to transfer the numbers to their UTF equivalents -- specifically Japanese, Korean and Chinese.   Also, Martin wishes to know more about the "Chicago Convention" for the use of strange glyphs for footnote markers -- specifically as to where those little glyphs actually come from in the first place*.

  5. LibGDA patch from Rodrigo :   Mail-merge Just Works™ with this latest patch from Rodrigo Moya, maintainer of LibGDA/Mergeant.   Dom would like to see some interface improvements; however, with the ability to access GDA in read only mode (with a bump to 0.10 for libgda), I'm sure there are many smiley faces reading this and considering the value in trying out a nice cvs build....

  6. location of AbiWord binaries & plugins :   In the future, I hope Linux users won't know the File Hierarchy System and that not knowing will never affect them.   In that era, discussions like, "Is the binary better in the shared or local execution directory," and "Would it be better to set off plugins under this directory, or leave them in the same directory is their requesting binary" will become a matter only developers and tinkerers will ever deal with.   In the meantime, Frank is considering a patch to "please all of the people all of the time."

  7. GNOME HIG and libglade2 :   Marc has been upgrading the more arcane libglade code to libglade2, and in that process, HIG-ifying them.   Libglade, a common GUI library on POSIX systems (Linux in particular), allows for interface changes at runtime, while storing the data in XML format; also, glade simplifies the process of creating the dialogue from the development end.   It is less hassle to maintain than its predecessor and is not as bloated as XUL or wxWindow.   Since all other systems have their respected dialogue systems (Cocoa has NIB, Win32 has RC, QNX has its own UI Builder) and since most POSIX systems tend to have libglade (especially if they have gtk, with or without GNOME), everyone, save for maybe Michael, considers this tiny 100K dependency alright with them.   AbiWord only requires, oh, what, three first tier dependencies, more if you want your documents to look good....

  8. Win32 printing and CTFMON, QA question :   Daniel Jensen, Abi-User and all around cool guy, found that disabling Microsoft's Advanced Text Services® has positive effects on bug 3239.   He also has some questions in regard to QA, which accidentally results in a good idea Hub could implement in bugzilla: a "needs to be backported" status

  9. The illusive font bug in abiword... (fwd) :   Frank forwards some help from Ahmed Masud in regard to how Abi handles fonts at startup, plus a little work around for everyone interested in using all their fonts.

*first place:   This is dash abuse, but gives me an excuse to point out to Frank that without use an asterisk (*) as a footnote, I could never use AbiWord to publish the AWN ;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.   This week, interesting topics on the user list included:

  1. configure - checking wv.h no :   Darryl Cousins gets more help from Frank, this time in reference to configuration.   Frank informs us that wv-0.7.4 may not be compatible with AbiWord, and therefore, recommends wv-0.7.2, which can be dropped in and Abi will take care of the rest.   Also some note on setting prefixes included.   For a moment or two, $20 pops in to reduce the signal to noise ratio.

  2. [Fwd: Installation Problem] :   Barry Skidmore has problems trying to install an rpm.   The signature file has issues, which is the result of a horrible cock-up in particular file.   Also included is information on downloading Rui's public key, assuming you'd ever trust Rui ;o)

  3. Type on top of a PDF? :   Brian J. Murrell learns the true meaning of Intellectual Property™ when he asks for a means of filling in forms on Adobe's prize winning file format.   Via plugin, Abi can create pdf, but there's just won't be a way to edit pdf anytime soon.

  4. Aiksaurus and Linux :   Paul Schmidt gets some inside tips on creating a config file out of cvs for Aiksaurus (applicable elsewhere, including Abi), and is given a quick look at the purpose of the different parts of the application, all thanks to Frank.


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 2003.02.02 - 2003.02.09
Who Commits In summary
hippietrail 69 split line apparently affected mingw build system, UT_Vector::addItem methods now take const void * to diminish the need for casting, C casts -> C++ casts, fixed warnings
msevior 46 format Footnotes dialog works, fix crash on exit bugs, build work-around, screen shots for format footnotes, now the correct footnote style shows up in the dialog when you start it up, start of footnotes in tables, fix a bunch of zoom induced crashes, non-debug unix build work again, yay, plug some mem leaks in ev_unixMenu*, there are still some left, drag table controls in the left ruler and on the screen
hub 19 squash warnings, ProjectBuilder projects, added project builder README and COPYING files, wv now use expat framework, wv doc and config.h expat as a framework
phma 11 Albanian update by Besnik Bleta, Chinese update by Anthony Fok, Japanese string update by Masayuki Hatta, fix typos in Welsh and Albanian
dom  9 makefile fix, revert martin's msword patch, remove c++ comment, open database connections readonly, use reinterpret_cast instead of static_cast, disable the bidi word doc call
fjfranklin  7 fontconfig is a requirement of xft build--use USE_XFT for check, don't add -ansi -pedantic to CFLAGS if building on QNX, fix a couple of casts (c. Riccardo Persi) [ed. if I've mastered interpreting Frank correctly, c. means credit, so, I'll be treating all c.'s as credits, even though I may have no idea to what extent the credit value is (reported, suggested, wrote, whatever)], general cast whacking (sounds like a knock-off of Duke Nukem), don't install unixfonts if --enable-xft or dictionary if --with-pspell
jeremyd  4 prevent future crashes and avoid warnings, temp cast away const so Windows builds again, treat iw as he on Win2000 (huh?)
biesi  1 implement page size chooser for gtk2
jordimas  1 Undescribed alteration to abi/src/wp/ap/win/ap_Win32Prefs.cpp
mcooper  1 and bug 1921
mgilbert   fix build bustage (thank you)
phearbear  1 added the UnicodeDefaultEncoding
rms  1 adapt rpm build to fjf's changes

*jordimas:  system-related work is Windows unless stated otherwise.
*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 was awarded the prize between the 26th of January and 1st of February.


      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 come 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 pow4 (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).

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 (1.0.3, I would guess, dev and cvs releases may occur as well)
Challenge level:  Variable
Current Heroes:  First week available

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:  1.0.5 only (for now at least)
Challenge level:  *.... 1 star out of 5
Current Heroes:  "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
Current Hero: Not one MoFo yet has had the Huevos for this POW

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
3269 130 1.0.x Crashing on printing
3525  90 --- font incorrectly printed and spaced
 376  80 2.0 File associate problems for all file types with Win32Slu......
3550  60 --- Mouse wheel still bugged in documents >59 pages
4057  60 --- Thesaurus Shift+F7 keybindings shortcuts consistencey
 428  54 2.0 Hitting return at the beginning of a paragraph changes fo......
3457  51 --- Crash under GNOME when printing
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
4216  29 --- Wrong line length, wont justify either...
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......
2715  20 1.0.x crash on zoom
3488  20 --- Weird crash when editing
1394  17 2.0 on-screen landscape actually prints portrait in Win95
2299  15 1.0.x Prints incorrect margins with split page.
2924  15 --- printing abw documents defaults to black pages
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
2565  72 Future Add true MS Word .doc export capability
2321  70 --- [RFE] Maths/Equation Editing, as a plugin maybe?
1144  67 Future Improve KWord import/export filters
3668  46 --- Support for window tabs instead of separate windows
 515  41 Future columns change should only affect selected text
2365  41 --- AbiWord needs 'view codes'
2490  41 2.0 Finish Cocoa Frontend
1929  37 Future Hyphenation is missing in AbiWord
2186  30 Future The insert page break setting is lost for custom styles
2219  27 Future AUTONUM wanted in [ Insert/Field/Number ] menu
2296  25 Future doc import: footnotes
2169  24 Future Line numbering
1935  22 Future inconsistency re "units" selection in 3 different places
3233  21 2.0 New Language preference menu
1762  20 2.0 import html
3419  20 Future [RFE] Add microspacing feature (tracking) for characters

      Now that the background of text selection isn't always grey (CVS), many of you have concentrated on OpenOffice's XML file format.   Have you really looked at their XML file format?   As Dom pointed out when I was going on about MS Office going to XML, just because it's open doesn't mean it's either easy or simple.   Documentation for Open Office's XML file format outweighs a hard cover, large print edition of Tolstory's War and Peace by four and one quarter ounces.

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 16
Verified 21
Closed  5
This Week's Bug Squishers:
Verified Name
11 Dave Null
 9 Sam TH
 6 Jordi Mas
 4 Dom Lachowicz
 4 Hubert Figuiere
 2 Frank Franklin
 3 Martin Sevior
 1 Matthew Craig
 1 Andrew Dunbar
 1 Jeremy Davis

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  6
Duplicate 19
Won't Fix  1
This Week's Most Active Bug Flushers
(broken...somehow; though, this may be a good thing):
Verified Name
21 Dave Null
 1 No one

Caught Bugs

      Bug spotters, beware, we're watching you!

Bugs Found this Week
Caught Number
Unconfirmed 0
New 1
ReOpened 4

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 completley broken
4531 Page breaks ignored in RTF
4559 section break handling is broken

*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.
*Removed bugs are a sign you're being screwed.


      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
2921  2 of  2 abi can leak memory [tracker bug]
3064  6 of  7 [TRACKER] AbiWord Performance
3239 29 of 37 [META] Windows printing bugs
4425  0 of  0 squash all warnings
4465 24 of 32 [META] Spelling bugs
4466 21 of 27 [META] "Motion" Bugs
4467 10 of 11 [META] Find/Replace bugs and enhancements
4488  3 of 12 [META] Help System Bugs
4489  2 of  2 [META] Accessibility bugs

      Hub, not appearing to have learned his lesson from 1.0.4, still seems to be biting off more than he can chew, while Dom makes little progress that is actually visible via the HackDown (good thing commits are tracked, or I'd wonder if he'd gone to the hospital).

      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 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.