AbiWord Weekly News #165, (2003, week 41, released 2003.10.12)

Welcome to this issue 165 of the AbiWord Weekly News.


      Win32 on the way and non-subscribed user helps with package troubles from last week.

This week in development

      Two new features, Win32 on the way Real Soon Now™ and users helping users!   Also, changes to come to the AWN and talk of going subscription-based/retirement.

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.

Silliness of the Week

      Have you donated anything to AbiWord in the past week?   If so, this SOTW isn't meant for you.

      So, you're probably wondering, "Hey, Eric, what's with all this subscripting and retirement talk?   Where'd that come from?   I thought you were happy!?"

      Hmm?   What?   Oh!   Yeah...about that...I've been meaning to tell you off, I mean, tell you guys something.   That has very little to do with me, though....  By the way, have you sent Dom your weekly allowance?

      Actually, last week to two weeks ago, I was learning and trying to understand how the AWN developed and what were the points of greatest interest.   Now, the point of greatest amusement was reading stuff from me that I've since forgotten.   I think my sense of humour may have declined by comparison.

      Anyhow, the point of interest is this:   As of this issue, I have done as many AWN's as Jesper.

      I still have no intention of retiring or going subscription based (even though, by the looks of things, I'll be calling it the Gnome Office Weekly News by next year).   I consider this edition an important landmark, even though I did skimp on some of the news.   The next paragraph is long, so, just grep for your first name or jump to the last five lines or so.

      I'd like to thank Jesper for re-assuring me for 100th time that'd I'd do fine.   I'd like to thank Sam for keeping the AWN going in the early days and never telling me what that "TH" thing was all about.   I'd like to thank Hub for not making me go back and fix all of my mistakes.   I'd like to thank Dom for smoking the good stuff an letting me hangout in chat to get dirt on him.   I'd like to thank Mark and Marc for hours of entertainment.   I'd like to thank Martin for all, err, most of the news I've been reporting.   I'd like to thank Jeremy and Jimmy for all the fun their names have brought me.   I'd like to thank Johan and Jordi for their port work that keeps AbiWord alive out there on some systems I've never heard of ;o).   I'd like to thank David for letting me do the glorified version of his job.   I'd like to thank Pierre and Andrew for their linguistic work and education which has proven that I have no idea what d'aka'atura means.   I'd like to thank Rui for reminding us what the real value of Free Software really is.   I'd like to thank Alan for the compliments and suggestions he's given me.   I'd like to thank Jan for all the extra work he's given me, even though neither of us have done that yet.   I'd like to thank Will, Rodrigo, Jody, Nadav, Sven and everyone else for all the relatives that make the application and the suite all so sweet.   I'd like to thank Stro and some (apparently stoned) editor at the LWN for getting the word out that I'm still here.   I'd like to thank Robert Wilhelm for keeping his secret identity so...secret.   I'd like to thank Paul, Mike and anyone else from YesterVersion™ who got all of this going in the first place, including the SourceGear thing I keep hearing about.   I'd like to thank all those who have contributed Q&A, code, money and evangelism.   I'd like to thank the users who are willing to help both users and developers with everything from answering routine questions to trying out a developers' build.   I'd like to thank you, too; yes, you the reader.   Hey, let's be honest, trying to understand what I say is a task for even the most development and pop culture aware American reader.   I am more esoteric than SCO's obfuscated Sys V comments.   I mean, really, who watches Red Dwarf?   For the readers who help the users, the readers who help my popularity and the readers who don't point out all eight grammatical errors in this paragraph, here's to you...thank you!

      Aww, dern, you've made me all teary-eyed...oh, no, I have allergies.   Well, there's sentiment somewhere in there.   And a hug to each and everyone one of you...yes...all 16 readers...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.   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: Basic infrastructure for Frames. :   Martin begins what will one day be AbiWord's frame support.   The hope is to create a sort of equally rich sub-document within the document, much like HTML frames and iframes.   The frame area will be able to possess itsown document-related properties, such as background images and so forth.   Needless to say, the moment GNOME Deutschland can spare Sven, this will become very useful for your future favourite presentation programme.

  2. win32 dialog refactoring and unicode and
    commit: win32 unicode conversion funcs :   With some guidance from Michael's refactoring work on the dialogues, Daniel is giving a go at more proper and complete functionality of unicode on Win32.   For those interested in checking out its capabilities, feel free to download it, here at his site.   You should report appropriate unicode related errors to Daniel, as he's taking on this project, personally.   He's already got an idea in mind...assuming no objects to the proposed technique.

  3. Commit (HEAD): fix win32 font mess ,
    commit: Backport dom's fixes for the windows graphics class to 2.0 and
    [Fwd: Re: Test printing of the binary and report the results please.] :   "We're doing The Right Thing™ and (in short) everyone else is wrong."   I'd bet that'd sound arrogant if you refuse to read this thread.   Dom, with some major assist from Marc, has set forward the primary conquest of The Win32 Font Issue!   Nearly a month since it decided to hold back a Win32 release, the basis of a fix and a release now exist.   There are, however, two points Windows users will notice right off:   First, with true WYSIWYG technology in use, fonts are rendered based on the screen's actual dot per inch; this results in what appears to be smaller fonts for people with displays capable of more that 72dpi.   Second, the presence of rounding errors are rearing their ugly heads; however due to the minor-ness of this annoyance, it will probably not hold back a release.

  4. commit: Code for Text Box menu items. :   Does nothing now...but text boxes in Abi are, in fact, quite cool.   Martin goes forth in this endeavor, so, stay tuned for more details!

  5. Fwd: About RPM's in the latest AWN [joshg(at symbol here)myrealbox(period here)com] [Re: Wanted: Abiword on Red Hat 9 HOWTO] :   I would like to take this time to remind the AWN readers that it's moments like this that I come to appreciate you.   Joshua Adam Ginsberg read Wanted: Abiword on Red Hat 9 HOWTO : and thought, "Hey!   I know where those packages are!" and was helpful enough to send me that information.   Marco, unfortunately, had to wait until I got home to get it :o(   This thread contains links to additional applications that can be downloaded from Red Hat to make your Abi'Sperience even more fun.   At this time, however, Marco still hasn't gotten AbiWord to compile :o(   I hope this gets resolved soon...Rule might have some anti-Abi thoughts in the future....

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. Abiword 2.0.0 and Swedish :   "I suggest you file bug reports on the other programs, since it's them who are messing up."   Once again, that presumed arrogance crops up.   The real problem, for those of you who don't seem to get standard characters of other languages working right, might be your distribution's localability.   Roger Lindmark finds that due to the lack of the UTF locality for Swedish on his Slackware system, AbiWord 2.0 will not work right for him.   Here's just a reminder for GNU/Linux users to check the locality support of a distribution before you get too invested.   I'm hoping that a reader might have a suggestion on getting additional locality support within Slackware (or an all-around solution would be excellent).   Also, remember, that as of 2.0 and on, AbiWord supports the UTF standard.


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 2003.10.05 - 2003.10.11
Who Commits In summary
Dom Lachowicz 52 fix ispell, fix mailmerge/print problem, mailmerge stuff all prints out in 1 big doc, fix gui fonts, fix getGUIfont for daniel, use proper svg mimetype, fix mailmerge crashing/reorganize how fonts are done, more font cleanup, fix memleaks wrt metadata and mailmerge
Enchant: fix nn_NO language ispell dictionary
Bugs: 5888, 5895 and 5909
Martin Sevior 48 use PT_STRUX_IMAGE_DATAID instead of magic string, allow background images to be changed, fix to tabs not all clearing, basic infrastructure for Frames, refactpring of background image stuff so all SectionLayouts can inherit it, allow images as backgrounds cells of tables, format Table dialog updated, fix breakage for non-unix builds (Dom ows donuts to Windows devs), menu items for text boxes
Hubert Figuiere 27
Cocoa: Columns Dialog, Find/Replace dialog, fix GUI Font size, independent of zooming, fix the dialog to sync with latest changes, fix "whole page" / "page width" (forgot to commit that for a long time)
ProjectBuilder: new dialogs, add new file from XP code
Bugs: 5527 and 5784 (from Jordi)
Johan Björk* 17 port to head from stable, buildfixes for qnx, for strcasecmp(), c_str -> utf8_str(), buildfixes, include <strings.hL> only on QNXNTO builds
Daniel Glassey 14 __const doesn't work on msvc6, don't build nsis as unicode even if you build the rest of abi with it because nsis won't compile with UNICODE defined, add _option_ to build windows version as unicode, remove unused define, don't do utf8->ansi conversion if UNICODE, prepare for unicode build, add static functions to XAP_Win32App to do UTF8<->MSUCS2 conversion, preparation for unicode build - explicitly using ansi funcs
Kenneth "Jeremy" Davis* 10 .
Psiconv: correct size of embedded object added to list, add an empty embedded object when parsing if fails (to maintain sync with embedded object markers), fix mask to handle 8bit images, be more tolerant of sheets where offset of unknown section is invalid Plugins: handle embedded images, size images so they're visible
Marc Maurer  5 fix win32 font mess (Patch by Dom), remove massively outdated roadmap (should've gotten the one on the web, too)
Pierre Abbat  4 Spanish update and typo fix by Francisco Javier Fernandez Serrador
Frank "Jimmy" Franklin*  4 remove daft unnecessary check for freetype header, remove aclocal directory check since this breaks things, option to strip empty values from hash table automatically, operator== to compare two hash tables
Robert Wilhelm (?)*  4 speed up UT_StringPtrMap::pick(const char *)

*Johan Björk:   System-related work is QNX unless stated otherwise
*Kenneth "Jeremy" Davis:   system-related work is Win32 unless stated otherwise.
*Frank "Jimmy" Franklin:   If Kenneth can be Jeremy....
*Robert Wilhelm (?):   Other than the fact that the emails don't match, I'm fairly certain the evil row and Robert are one and the same.   Unless told otherwise, all future AWN's will automatically assume this to be an accurate assumption.


      It's happening...right after the bug thing....

Bug Update

Bug Market


      This week's activity: ResoUnconf +12 (13 : 1), VeriNew +1 (3 : 2), ClosAssi unch (0 : 0),

      Numbers dropped as concentration went into fixing Win32 bugs.   Atleast, none of the markets went into negative numbers.   Alan Bluespan is quoted to have said, "As the Win32 release with 2.0.1 comes, we will see a major upswing in all markets."   An unexpected bullish attitude, equally counted by Louis Bugkeyser's surprise bear-like reaction, claiming that ClosAssi will drop into a strong negative and little change expected for VeriNew.

      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
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......
5815  30 --- Variable-width font issue
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
4038 136 --- Outline View Support
3668 126 Future Support for window tabs instead of separate windows
1950 121 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?
2490  99 2.2 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
1929  50 Future Hyphenation is missing in Abiword
2366  44 2.2 implement floating frame
2365  43 --- AbiWord needs 'view codes'
 515  41 2.0.x columns change should only affect selected text
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
5852  30 Future Help making Labels/bussiness cards
2219  27 Future AUTONUM wanted in [ Insert/Field/Number ] menu

      Looks to me like someone shoved all there eggs into one basket...an exactly 30 vote addition to 4038, Outline View Support.

Release HackDown

      To return the moment there's a meta bug for (I'm assuming) 2.0.2 or otherwise 2.2.0.   In the meantime, Dom has a thingy for 2.2.

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

      No word yet


      Marc contemplated suicide after realising he made my job easier by sending out a general update.   Success, at least in plain text mode, has come for importing WP5.0 and WP5.1 basic bits and bobs.   WP6, however, still needs work, but a small cheat has been implemented by a class that can get around fixed length function groups.   Lots of fixes to the selection of the different parser paths, and cleanup of the header parsing code.   Finally, a version bump to 0.7.0 has been made, though, no release is actually planned at this time.




      Dom did fix nn_NO language ispell dictionary...that's all I know.


      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.


      Gee...what happened this week?   Oh, yeah, Gnumeric 1.2.1 was released!   Also, Jody re-affirms his commitment to developing the embeddable Gnumeric widget during the 1.3 development cycle.

      I'd also like to take the time, btw, to congradulate Jody on the 2 1/2 week old new addition to the family.   I'm assuming her name is Abi, but that's not all that important now ;o)


      Rodrigo seems to be suggesting some interest in integrating libunwind with Gnome DB, perhaps.   This library is used as a CAPI that can track and manipulate an application's call chain, something useful for when things aren't going quite right, among other things.

      For entertainment purposes only, Rodrigo has linked to something I think we've both found somewhat amusing, Notes from the SCO Road show.   Amaze your friends; unfrighten your PHB's and entertain Free Software developers everywhere.   Apparently, there were t-shirts.


      Martin has done the framework, dare I say, for frames, which could also be of use here...if criawips ever gets developed.


      That version mentioned last week was, apparently, horribly, horribly wrong!   This week, Conglomerate released version 0.7.5, a.k.a. "Now You See It, Now You Don't", named for the newly functional redo and undo functionality.   I know, funny and disappointing...afterall, nothing can top the name AbiWord II: The Wrath of Dom.   Oh, yes, btw, I'm sure you'd love to see the screenshot.


      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.

      The above paragraph is still true ;o)

      The above paragraph is still true ;o)

Latest Releases

      The 1.99.6 links only really works for Windows.   Luckily, that'll be pointless soon enough.   Otherwise, the new Latest Releases is officially up and linkable.


      AbiWord?   Apparently, Marc has given up on the attempts at Table of Contents, or, atleast, nothing much worth it has since been developed :o(


      Dom and I worked something out before the release of 2.0 to make sure the section below (Open Source, Open Books) stays updated.   I don't think I've harassed him since, but I'm sure to do so eventually.

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.