Category Archives: OpenOffice


From the 10th to 13th April I was in Prague, Czech Republic for GoOOCon, an conference hosted by Novell.

I done a presentation about the Buildbot system in I didn’t have time to prepare new slides, due to my move to London, so I just recycled my slides from ooocon2007.
It was nice to see a bit of another country and to meet up with some of the developers in real life.

OOO: Possible fix for the command timed out error on Leopard

UPDATE:Thanks to Eric Bachard, a fix very similar to this will be appearing in 2.4.2 due to be released at the end of October 2008.

With a change in the way that X11 works on Leopard, the X11 version of has been giving an error message on startup saying “command timed out”. With previous versions of Mac OS X, had to make sure that X11 was running first be trying to start

The following change should work for 2.4, 2.3.1, 2.3, and possibly earlier versions. Open the file in “Script Editor”. (You will need to control+click the application icon and choose “Show Package Contents”.)
Then replace the code block “on openSoffice(aFile)“….”end openSoffice” with the following:
on openSoffice(aFile)
 if (atLeastOSXVersion(10, 5, 0)) then  
-- if we have leopard, we don't need to manually start the X server first
  set theCmd to "sh " & (quoted form of (POSIX path of getOOProgramPath() & "soffice")) & " "
  do shell script theCmd & aFile & shellTerminator()
  set theDisplay to startXServer()
  if (theDisplay is equal to "error") then
  end if
  set theEnv to "DISPLAY=" & theDisplay & " ; export DISPLAY; "
  set theCmd to "sh " & (quoted form of (POSIX path of getOOProgramPath() & "soffice")) & " "
  do shell script theEnv & theCmd & aFile & shellTerminator()
  -- logEvent("open CMD: " & theEnv & theCmd & aFile)
 end if
end openSoffice

Please comment on how this works for you. 2.4 on Mac OS X [Update: now available]

The release of 2.4 (X11 version) is a little behind the other platforms due to a lack of resources in the QA process, as many of the resources have been placed on the upcoming aqua version. It will be another few days to week before they are available on the mirrors and the Mac Port download pages will be updated at that point.

Until then the new smart download pages will continue to give the link to the 2.4.0 build which isn’t yet available.
UPDATE: X11 2.4.0 for both Mac OS X 10.4/10.5 PPC and Intel are now available from the Mac Porting Download pages.

New Aqua Development Release

Head over to the Mac Porting web site for the latest development build.

This is the most stable build of running natively on Mac OS X that I have seen. I haven’t yet had a crash with my basic usage. Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 is required.
The improvements include:
  • Printing now uses an aqua native print dialog
  • Various bugs, crashes, performance, and cosmetic improvements
  • The native file picker should work now (though there are 2 unlabeled checkboxes)
  • The QuickStarter is now supported on Mac OS X
  • Copy and Paste now works in the Hyperlink dialog
  • Icons are no longer shown in the menus by default on Mac OS X
  • Extentions can now be installed through the GUI
  • Improved scrolling when using a scroll wheel
  • Real version number is shown in the Mac OS X Finder’s Get Info Window.
  • The recent items list in the Apple menu is now populated
  • Faster loading and saving of files
  • New Start Centre
The downloads are on the extended mirror network, and BitTorrent. Please don’tdirectly link to any of the mirrors, please link to the Aqua download page instead. 2.4 (X11), is currently in testing. 3.0 will be Aqua only.

Sorting Tables in a MediaWiki

I’ve noticed that a number of tables in the Wikipedia are sortable. Further research found that it is implemented through client side javascript, when a table has the class=”sortable”. It is available in MediaWiki 1.9 or later.

I have found adding the sorting to the Mac OS X Porting Roadmap really useful as you can now sort the table and easily see what is a high priority or already fixed. I wouldn’t recommend it for full bug tracking. 
The next feature I’d like to see is row level editing of tables in the wiki, as I hate having to try and find the one or two rows in the table that I want to change.
If you would like to help the port by implementing one of the items on the road map, why not contact the MacPort team? Drop a mail to the mailing list (first subscribe by sending a mail to Or say drop by on IRC server on the channel #ooo_macport.

iLife Browser in Leopard’s open dialogs

In Leopard, if the developer allows certain types of file to be opened, then you get a free iLife browser in the file open dialog. This applies to aqua on Leopard too. As the X11 version of doesn’t have a native filepicker, this won’t be available there.

Find a screenshot below.

Those who have played with the latest aqua builds, you will find that you get an open dialog like the above one, without any way to select any files. This is a known bug. You simply cancel and open the dialog again to workaround the issue, until the fix is found and integrated.

Mac OS X file naming scheme

Bruce has mentioned that he didn’t understand the files on the good-day server in a comment to a prior blog post.

I’ll try to make this as simple as possible for end users to understand using the following example:
This can be broken down into several smaller chunks _ is used as a separator:
OOo is the short product name. Other options are BrOo (the Brazilian localisation of due to
SRC680 is the code line, this changes with every major release. All release candidates are done on a different code line. For example 2.3.x used OOG680.
m237 is the milestone. code base has a new milestone every few weeks (sometimes a milestone will have only a few days between but this is rare). This number increases after several new code change have been integrated into the trunk of the code line. Internally within this is a MWS or Master WorkSpace.*
MacOSXIntel tells you the Operating System and the Platform that this build is for. Another option relevant to mac users is MacOSXPPC or MacOSXPowerPC. The name is changing/has changed to come in line with other platforms.
AQUA states that this is an AQUA build. The other option is X11. This option is only there during the transition from X11 to Aqua. It will be soon be the case that this parameter won’t be included when Aqua is default.
install is there to say that this is an application and not a language pack, SDK or URE. The SDK and URE are generally only needed by developers. Language packs are currently not available for Mac OS X.
en-US this is the language that is to be installed.
* In we use a trunk and branch method. Think of a tree growing. Any new code is created in a branch (internally called a CWS), which is merged back into the trunk when it is ready. Think of the milestones being the rings you see when you cut a tree down. However we are producing these rings (milestones) far more frequently than a tree in nature. on Mac OS X Leopard

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was launched by Apple Inc. about one month ago., with the exception of the Java features will work on Leopard. If you require the Java features of on Leopard, you require to use milestone m237 or later. 
The problem essentially boils down to the way that detects Java, and the fact that “Apple Computer Inc.” is NOT the same as “Apple Inc.”. (There are a few other build issues too.)
Thanks should go to Florian, Philip and Eric Bachard for their work on this issue.

The past 2 months

It has been a couple of months now since I’ve properly written a blog post. So here is a longish catchup post.

I have been busy doing agency work mostly in staff restaurants as a Kitchen Porter. I’ve even bumped into the Lead of the Marketing Project in our home town, rather than having to go to some conference. I did spend 3 weeks commuting by train (a novelty for me), to Stirling to work as a caretaker. Unfortunately the work is rather dull, though there are bills to be paid. Hopefully I’ll get around to updating my CV and sending it off to relevant people to hopefully get a degree related job.
Now back to 2 months ago.
I managed to get up and do my Buildbot presentation at ooocon2007 without any breakfast. The presentation has been really useful, as I have received some very useful feedback from developers on what they want from the system.
Code writers are interested in seeing if their code breaks on some other platform as early as possible. They want this to be reliable, and ideally the same configuration as the officially released builds.
The QA project are looking for install sets for testing new code that is about to be introduced into the main code line. Again they ideally want to have the same configuration as the officially released builds.
At the moment the source code statistics aren’t interesting enough for developers to want them. Also the basics don’t currently work well enough.
I have finally got around to Geotagging my photos from this years conference in the past few days. As I have upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5, I found that my previous geotagging solution (GPSPhotoLinker) has stopped working as a library has stopped working due to a perl version mismatch. So I have headed to the command line with a perl script. seems to do the trick, though it is a pain to get the command line right as it isn’t as easy to just drag a load of photos from iPhoto. I’m not upgrading to iLife 08, as there is no GPS tagging support. Leopard’s Preview has a feature that allows you to go to a Google map of where the photo was taken. However, what I really want it to tell iPhoto: look in this folder for GPS traces, and geo tag all these photos automatically.
For future reference (as I was in mainland Europe with daylight saving the offset from UTC is minus 2 hours):
./ –gpsdir 2007-09 –timeoffset -7200 –maxtimediff 7200 –overwrite-geotagged –dir /Users/shaunmcdonald/Pictures/iPhoto\ Library/Originals/2007/ooocon2007/
Photos from ooocon2007. I’ve also added the photos to Flickr with the ooocon2007 tag.
As many people have already seen. I am now the lead for the Mac Port of the Eric Bachard made the announcement some time ago. I have posted my vision to the Mac porting mailing list. Due to time constraints as mentioned at the start of this blog post, I won’t be spending as much time as Eric Bachard on the project. I’m sure Eric will do a great job as the lead of the Education project, which tries to get more students involved in the project.
I am currently moving broadband provider from VirginMedia to Be*. For the same price I’m getting about 4 times the speed, with a slightly greater dropout for the same £18 per month.
When I was working out in Stirling I cycled home, or part of the way home. I have managed to map and tag most of the National Cycle Network route 76 from Stirling to Kincardine/Grangemouth. The south of the Kincardine Bridge is rather difficult to map and cycle just now as there is a lot of major road works and changes to the road network happening there.
About a fortnight ago I cycle 73 miles from Edinburgh to Ayr along the A70. I left quite late just before midday, and took about 6 hours. With the winter setting in, the last hour was pitch black. I lazily took the train back home for £8.80 with my Young Person Railcard. (Rather than cycling back home.) I have mapped and tagged the A70 with my GPS trace for the OpenStreetMap project. My ride on I probably won’t cycle the A71 to Kilmarnock as it is a more dangerous road.
I have created a count down dashboard widget to State of the Map 2008. Download the SOTM countdown widget
Finally, I have partnered with Manager-Pro. To translate and distribute and English version of their software. All exported reports require the usage of Either as the document reader as the exported documents are in the 1 format. If a user wants the reports in PDF, Word or Excel formats, requires to be installed for the file format translators within

ooocon2007: Presentations

All the presentation slides for this years conference that have been submitted to have been made available on the conference web pages. There is still about 12 presentations where the slides still have not been submitted for. Frank Peters has made a list of the missing presentations.

Can all presenters please send them to the above e-mail address so that they can be uploaded? 
If you didn’t use any slides for your talk can you please also send a short message to the above e-mail address to say that. This will allow us to remove any links to non-existent presentations.