AbiWord 0.5.1

Paul Rohr (paul@abisource.com)
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 14:18:54 -0800

... is out.

As Eric mentioned earlier in the week, the pace of development on AbiWord is
really picking up as more and more developers join the effort, so we're
deliberately sending this release announcement to both abiword-dev and
abisource-announce. If you're not sure which list is right for you, see:


It's extremely gratifying to report that, even though Eric and I spent all
of last week in a booth, talking to people instead of running compilers,
everyone else *was* compiling. :-)

So, this tarball is our way of saying "thanks" to:

- everyone who stopped by the booth at LinuxWorld last week
- all the new developers who are contributing to the project

There's quite a mix & match of stuff in this release, so as always, for a
detailed list, consult Bonsai. However, selected highlights include:

Flawless import/export support for other common file formats was the #1
request at the show, by far, and we've got a ton of people diving into the
problem, including:

RTF -- Peter Arnold <petera@intrinsica.co.uk> has already checked in a
first pass importer which handles character-level formatting.

Word 8 (aka Word97) -- Shaw is whacking away at the task of integrating a
library version of Caolan's MSWORDVIEW logic into our importer, with help
from Justin. As of 0.5.1 it builds on both platforms, but don't expect it
to work on anything other than the most trivial documents.

WordPerfect -- Shannon Wells <shannonw@cygnus.com> has signed up to start
tackling this.

Note that these are all *big* jobs, so additional folks who are willing to
help out should take a look at what's been done so far and then email
abiword-dev to claim their piece of the puzzle.

By now, we've got positive confirmation that AbiWord builds and runs
smoothly on Windows 95/98/NT and just about any Linux/BSD/Unix flavor which
runs GTK well. Shaw keeps adding makefiles for additional flavors as they
come in -- for example, abi/src/config/platforms/netbsd.mk is new in 0.5.1
courtesy of John Wood (jyonw@asu.edu) -- so if you don't see a makefile for
*your* flavor, give it a try, and then send us the necessary makefile

More significant work has been going on behind the scenes to produce ports
to other GUIs, and 0.5.1 includes the first checkin of work by John Brewer
<jbrewer@jera.com> to get the MacOS port started. Scrubbing the XP codebase
free of non-ANSI stuff and creating a CodeWarrior project file isn't
glamorous work, but it had to be done. Now we're looking for a few good
Mac-savvy GUI hackers to finish the job.

Finally, we're expecting a massive checkin of all Thomas Fletcher's work on
the BeOS port sometime soon, so that he, Michael Crawford, and other BeOS
GUI hackers can divvy up the remaining work.

other 0.5.1 highlights
1. Lots of diagnostic messages for folks having problems with Unix fonts.
I repeat, lots.

2. Jeff added a new framework for context-sensitive mouse detection, so
that the cursor can change appropriately depending on what it's over.
Coming soon: context menus??

3. Updated most of the design material in abi/docs.

4. Fixes for many of your favorite bugs, including #322, so that zipfiles
will build out of the box on Windows.



PS: OK, I confess. Both Eric and I *did* touch our compilers last week.
After the 0.5.0 release Monday, we each fixed a few late-night pre-show
bugs, and on the show floor Eric fixed the one crasher that a booth visitor
found. Other than that, we handed out fliers and business cards, hung out
with Abi, and generally talked until we were hoarse.

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