Older blog entries for hub (starting at number 213)

26 Mar 2004 (updated 26 Mar 2004 at 22:26 UTC) »

After reading Daniel Glazman blog and having a good laugh (sorry it is in French), I want to refresh my memories. Where was I 10 years ago ? I was still at university, first year, studying CS. I was also discovering UNIX, and falling in love... (I met my wife the following year... and fell in love too, but not the same way) At that time, my main computing platform was an old Mac LC475 running System 7 (MacOS). I have had already heard about Linux, but not tried yet. I was willing to try NetBSD, but my hardware was not supported at that time. And I had no money to buy a PC as well.


Finally implemented dynamic menus in MacOS X version. Thanks to Camino folks for the tip in their source. I don't know why I did not thought about that: subclassing NSMenu. Otherwise, I had API only in 10.3 which I don't really want.

Also backported an RTF fix sunk into larger patch for the 2.0.6 release, committed templates changes for plugins, and other things I forgot.

frehberg: I also found these tutorials worthwhile. Even more that when I needed them, GNOME website was down.

26 Mar 2004 (updated 26 Mar 2004 at 01:23 UTC) »

As says uwog, w00t !. More on that later.


Fixed several MacOS X bugs. I also built a MacOS X 10.2 compatible version. Looks like MacOS X builds are released faster that Windows'.

pphaneuf: touché. Yeah, I'll start coding on XPLC now.

DV: congrats for your new position. Hacking GNOME for living ? What a great job.

markonen: more than a year ago I requested libpng to be bundled in MacOS X (was 10.2 at that time). I got declined. The reason was "use the AppKit". Nah! The AppKit includes it inside, why not sharing it. They already do it for libz. Other projects like Camino and Mozilla use it. I finally had to bundle it with Abiword.

24 Mar 2004 (updated 24 Mar 2004 at 22:34 UTC) »
MichaelCrawford : I would not recommend buying Sigma SD9 for only one reason: its file format is proprietary. Unless you want to throw away money. If you really want a DSLR, pickup a Nikon or Canon. Both works with Linux as well (as USB Mass Storage, PTP or proprietary, but gPhoto handle that). As for JPEG, this is not really an issue. Always use maximum quality, and you'll not notice quality loss. Trust me. As long as gPhoto supports the device you can consider it as a long term investment (even given how quickly digital cameras become obsolete).

(update) Advogato seems to have a bug. If you have 2 entries the same day, only the later appear on the recent diaries page. Here is the one you are missing.


Mac news websites seems to spread the word about the MacOS X release. I should have told that I stop working on it to have news spread faster. This is the way the Internet seems to work :-/

Did a few backports to the STABLE branch in order to provide better support of 64-bits architecture. At least amd64 and alpha users are not forced to patch out the code.

Fixed a few Cocoa bugs. More to come. Bugzilla is filling up.

Job hunt

I had the second interview for NITI in Montréal, Canada. That would involve moving there, but I'm ready for quite some time and still highly motivated. Remember the Boston story (wow, re-reading my blog from 2001), I just hope it'll end the same way.

I'm still waiting for a reply from that other software company in Paris, but in fact, I'm no longer in a hurry.

23 Mar 2004 (updated 24 Mar 2004 at 16:36 UTC) »

Committed the huge C++ template patch to HEAD.

Abiword 2.1.1 got released just before (kudos to uwog for the release work) and I build MacOS X binaries for the first time in the project life. More than 2 years that I have been working on this port. It should have been sooner, but that's life.

I started to rewrite RTF importer this week-end. I hope to redesign it well enough to work better.


More interviews. Still nothing.


Huge bug: my PowerBook switched off while going to my in-laws (3 hrs drive). It shouldn't have. The clock was reset to January 1st, 1904 (the Mac epoch). I ended up not being able to login because Bonobo or whatever else was crashing.... preventing applets and lot of other GNOME 2.4 things to startup. I sill have to find out why the clock was reset... (I hate hardware)

Not very productive this week-end because of real life.


Finished my jumbo patch to templatize our UT_Vector class. This is the first step toward change for hashes and stacks that will get the same thing. One of the motivation is that we used void * to store int32, but that breaks to some extent on 64-bits arch. Even more: in some places we pass an UT_uint32 * casted to a void **. The crash (of course, because sizeof(void*) != sizeof(UT_uint32) on 64-bits arch). I need one of these boxes.

mx : have you tried AbiWord ? Surely not perfect, but it is a good alternative (ok, I'm biased).

Office Wars

There seems to be sort of a competition beetween OpenOffice and GNOME Office. Of course, this is not an armed conflict, but currently OpenOffice seems to have won a big battle as it seesm to have won recognition in the IT world. One of the reason is that it is backed up by companies like Sun and Ximian/Novell. The other is that it has a decent feature set and offers fairly good compatibility with the de-facto monopoly files, I name Micrososft Office.

I myself prefer using GNOME Office. One of the reason is that it is not a behemoth like OpenOffice and that my old machine is not brought down each time I start it. Gnumeric is probably the jewel of the suite. I use it exclusively since 2001, without any problem.

When it comes to compare Abiword and OpenOffice's oowrite, I must say that OpenOffice did a lot of progress, and the program is far from being slow.... beside startup time. I have done a comparison, and, for example, opening the RTF spec in Abiword takes way much longer than in OpenOffice. We have a real problem here, and much to learn from competition. And face to face, OpenOffice has a much better feature set. I know understand why more people seems to use OO and not Abiword.


Fixed some 64-bits compilation issues. Hint: don't interchange void * and long. I started to confidentially spread a pre-2.1.1 MacOS X build for Panther. Feedback seems to be positive. Cool. But there is so much work to do to have a polished product.

etrepum : thanks, I already know that. And this is what I'm doing. But that does not make me hate MacOS X dylib less. I wrote shell script to work around the problem. RTFS.


MacOS X release is close with 2.1.1. The automated build system works fine and I can build a binary without dependencies on Fink. But it does not run on Jaguar because fink has been built for Panther, and it looks up for an unknown symbol in libSystem. At the end I get a 11MB disk image, compressed to 3.5MB with bzip2. I really hate MacOS X because of its use of hardcoded for .dylib (shared libraries).

I can now resume work on the RTF importer. I have been busy today because of an interview in Paris, and yesterday because of other stuff I had to do. And I didn't bring my laptop in the train because of too much things to read (backlog). Time passes too quickly.

On the other side, I owe the whole team a beer, because I fscked up with the word importer when fixing some subtle bug in wv. :-(

7 Mar 2004 (updated 7 Mar 2004 at 01:01 UTC) »
GNOME Office

Following hp's blog about GNOME Office I think that I should have a few comments. Basically he is right. One of the reason GNOME Office is not that successful is that OpenOffice arrived with a decent feature set and integration beetween each module, which led the major vendors like Ximian giving their support to it instead of investing a lot more on GNOME Office. It is not really a missed opportunity as he state, because the GO (Abiword, Gnumeric, etc.) developers do all they can do: their best. The lack of "integration", which would come by the lack of embedding each other thru something like OLE/Bonobo is something we know is missing. One of the biggest problem comes from the cross-platform approach. I need to recall Abiword history to explain this:

Abiword was started in 1998 by Sourcegear. The goal was to write an cross-platform and free (libre) office suite whose first brick was a word processor, Abiword. But more modules where planned: spreadsheet, presentation program, etc. The cross-platform approach that was chosen was to not write a custom widget set like it is done in OOo, but rather provide a more general framework and let the GUI be implemented for each platform, to some extent. It currently supports Gtk2/GNOME, QNX, Windows, BeOS and MacOS X (not using X11), looking like a real app developped for each platform.

The task appeared to be harder, and the business plan of Sourcegear related to AbiSuite changed: they threw the towel for Abiword in 2000. But development continued, lead by the people that are still working on it: cinamod, uwog, msevior, etc. And the good platform integration of Abiword, as well as the GNOME variant that cinamod brought us made Abiword the definitive pickup for a GNOME word processor.

Gnumeric cross-platform approach on the other side is to port it using GTK+ ports on Win32. All in all this complexify the embedding approach as this has to be done a in cross-platform way in Abiword.

Concerning the presentation program, hp you are a little bit too enthusiastic. Criawips, the project shortly mentionned in the Abiword 2.2 roadmap is no longer under this form. The original plan as we discussed about when at GUADEC4, was to use Abiword framework and make it the second brick of AbiSuite, but finally herzi's approach moved and he did everything by himself, outside of our code base. GNOME Office is in desperated need of a good presentation program, and that is probably the bigges point. GNOME presentation program have a real dark history.

(update) after posting this, I found uwog blog (he is one of the active Abiword developers) and must say that I solely agree about what he said. The meta project nature indeed did not help. That is why we released 1.0, one year after we talked about that at GUADEC3.

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