Category Archives:

Hebrew translation and Bidi issues in Openoffice 3.3 (beta)

In the last few years the Israeli government founded some work on by Tk Open Systems Ltd. During the years, the work has resulted with an “Israeli version”, released after the official release and includes a lot of patches to improve support for Bidi and Hebrew specifically. Although most patches were submitted to the “hamburg”, a lot of them weren’t used and are still waiting for inclusion.

The funding the that projects stopped a year ago (9/2009), and the last release of the Israeli version is 3.1.1. Since then we had a quiet period in which 3.2 and 3.2.1 were released. While still enjoying the fruits of the projects in these version, it seems that it’s time for the community to take over, as we lost hopes for yet another funds from the government.

In may Netanel and I started talking about taking over the Hebrew translation, and in June we got Hebrew added to the pootle server. We started with about 80%, and got to 86% in time to get to the list of languages getting a language pack built for. This was a first achievement as Hebrew didn’t have a language pack since early on the 2.x versions. I believe that working as part of the l10n group and with release schedule will only benefit for the Hebrew translation process.

We used the language pack to test the translation and improve it. We also were able to get to 89% with the help of more volunteers.I believe it’s now much more consistent than before. In the process with manually checked Writer thoroughly, while Calc and Impress got less attention due to the time frame. But we fixed some major translation issues in all of the three components.

While testing the translation we also started to report Bidi issues we saw in 3.3 beta, hoping they will be fixed for the final release. For example, the main screen on windows has is getting repainted wrongly when moving the mouse over the options (text, spreadsheet..). This looks very badly as this is the main screen! See issue #97556 for details main screen in RTL UI

In RTL UI the main screen doesn't get repaited properly.

In addition to report new issues, we also started to keep track of the already opened issues regarding Bidi and Hebrew. I’m following the issue system for a few years now, but seeing the list of issues organized in the wiki gave me a better orientation in the problems we have. E.g. finding some related or similar issues and mention each other in the comments, when someone goes to first one, he could also fixed the other as the problem is similar and probably comes from the same code.

Organizing also the already closed bugs in 3.x, gave me a some kind of a changelog for the Bidi and Hebrew related issues. In that manner, version 3.1 was a very good for Bidi, thanks for a lot of efforts and work with the Bidi meta issue #79434. The wiki page is in Hebrew, but looks quite OK with Google translate (see here).

Hoping to have 3.4 a major release (Bidi wise), I’ve opened issue #114236 as another meta issue for Bidi related issues. I’ve kept Hebrew specific issues out, as to get it more general and also relevant for Bidi users in other languages. Any help of those issues will be more than welcome (starting with votes and ending with patches).


Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community,

Norway: ODF and PDF as official goverment formats

Looks like the Norwegian made a step forward regarding open standards:

Public enterprises should not use other file formats than ODF (version 1.1) and PDF as attachment at the exchange of documents by email. This rule will apply from 1. January 2011.

Besides ODF, they also decided on an encoding, so UTF8 character set standard will be for all new government IT projects.

Source: and Leif Lodahl


Filed under Open Standards,

“Get” icon on a new laptop

I recently saw a new bought Toshiba laptop. While the laptop had Vista installed, and also the Microsoft Office 2007 trail eddition, it had an icon named “Get”.

I guess they didn’t just install due to some limitaion from Microsoft (I’m just speculating), but still – putting such an icon isn’t common (at least with the laptops I’m seeing).

I hope more and more hardware manufactuers will install free software by defualt.


Filed under Free software applications,, Proprietary software User Survey 2009

I found out that are running a user survey, and thought that should be more public.

Please help improve the office suite by completing this survey. It will take about 15 minutes and will increase our understanding of your requirements and expectations for the software. You will have the opportunity to make comments or suggestions at the end of the survey.

So, please help and fill the survey (it realy doesn’t take 15 minutes)…


Filed under, QA stuff 3.1 New Features 3.1 release was postponed to may 7th. Meanwhile, you can check the new features list (some features already covered by oooninja).

I already blogged about the RTL issues fix in 3.1, but the next thing I’m waiting for the most are the calc performance improvements. I’m also looking forward for future changes related to this issue (see performance improvements at oooninja).


Filed under

RTL related issues fixed in 3.1 Ninja already covered some of the new RTL features with 3.1, mainly RTL enabled controls (#30631). But following the bugzilla issues, it seems that version 3.1 also includes fixes for more RTL related issues. Here is a list of some of the issues I encountered:

  1. Columns reversed when pasting RTL spreadsheet into Writer (#77853).
  2. directionality lost when exporting a presentation to html (#16295).
  3. RTL Chart: Bi-directional writing in charts (#14365).
  4. Numbers / digits following RTL should be treated as CTL (#89825).
  5. WW8: re-import moves position of RTL numbering out of right border (#97023).
  6. WW8: centered rtl table moves to the left on import from MSword (#28656).

I’d like to thank everyone envolved with the fixes of these issues.


Filed under i18n & l10n,, Proud to use free software, QA stuff

Working for Free? – Motivations of Participating in Open Source Projects

I’ve been asked to summarize an article by Alexander Hars & Shaosong Ou about motivations of participating in open source projects written in 2000 for a psychology course. It was very interested to see how many things can motivate one to invest in open source.

Although none of the motivators was new to me, I still found the article very interesting. In fact, during the presentation of the article to the class I added my point of view and the reasons I participate in open source. I realized that, although not intentionally, I enjoyed every motivator mentioned in the article, except “selling related products and services”.

It would be quite interesting to have this article done again, as the open source world became bigger and has more payed people working on free software. Any volunteers ?


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora, Mozilla,, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu