Where did the numbers go ? (major bug in OO.org 2.4.0)

About two months after the Israeli government stopped the support for openoffice.org localization, we hit a major bug (actaully – a regression) with version 2.4.0 effecting Hebrew users.

In version 2.4.0 numbers written in Microsoft Word documents are shown as Hindu numbers instead of Arabic numbers. There’s a big confusion in the terms, as the number used in Arabic are the Hindu numbers and the number used in Latin languages are the Arabic numbers.

Anyway, this means that, the facto, Openoffice.org 2.4.0 can’t show properly Microsoft Word documents which were written in Hebrew. I can’t start to describe how much interoperability problems that causes in Israel.

Which such behavior I can’t recommend OO.org to people, and organizations already moved to previous versions of OO.org can’t upgrade to 2.4.0 and must stay with 2.3.1. This is also a problem as most Linux distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora) intend to include 2.4.0 for their stable release.

With all the RTL related bugs, OO.org was still usable. But this bug absolutely changes things. I hope it will be fixed for 2.4.1 and won’t be delayed for version 3.0.

I wish I could say this is an April’s fools post, but that bug is a reality… Please vote for this bug.


Filed under Openoffice.org

11 responses to “Where did the numbers go ? (major bug in OO.org 2.4.0)

  1. Nice things about OpenOffice.org.
    1. It’s easy to downgrade to a version without the bug
    2. You have the option to patch the software without waiting on the vendor

    In the future, I encourage interested parties to join the testing process to catch such bugs earlier in the development cycle.

  2. Matthew W. S. Bell

    Drama much?

  3. I noticed this a couple of days ago, but it was so strange I could not really believe it. Only now, reading about it here, I realize that this bug is not just a strange behavior of my system. There’s no doubt that it makes Openoffice a completely unsaleable software for the Israeli users. I might actually be forced to reboot my computer and start windows for the first time in six months just to read one number šŸ˜¦

  4. Lior Kaplan

    Andrew – Downgrading is a workaround and not a solution. As 2.4.0 is the default on most distribution, I don’t want to downgrade each linux machine I get.

    More over, I see support problems if organization will keep use 2.3.1 for a long time instead of upgrading.

    About the testing process – We used to have professional people involved in the process, as their funding stopped we relay on there free time and good will to keep testing and sending patches.

    Of course I would be happy to have a large Israeli / Hebrew speaking community that could do the testing itself.

    Matthew – It might sound like a storm in a tea cup, but how would you handle a bug which meaning OO.org can’t open Microsoft Word documents for you? Most people still get Word documents from colleagues/friends. I can’t tell them “don’t get documents from written in other programs”.

    Hezy – The lesson for us all (including myself) is to “report [bugs] Early, report often”. And to get the bugs publish in the community to make sure they get the proper severity.

  5. Lior, I actually believe that the lesson is to to stop using OpenOffice. It’s too monasteries program to handle it ourselves without proper full time work.

    Maybe it’s time to invest more time in Abiword, or to return to my old attempt to make Dvir software release their office suit that Microsoft killed, and make it unusable to all platforms and also add Doc and OpenOffice file support …

  6. Pingback: הבאג של OpenOffice « ל×Øאו×Ŗ שונה

  7. this bug was reported very early

    hebrew localized version 2.3.1 works very well and there is no need to upgrade
    to this international (upstream) version although it has some nice new features.

    let’s hope it’s fixed by 3.0 šŸ™‚

  8. There is no need to upgrade until you are upgrading your OS, or installing a fresh copy of the latest distro …
    You can always pin in apt the openoffice package, but if you’ll install a fresh copy, it will not help one bit.

    Another idea I have is to report this bug also in all distros that poeple are using and explain why it is a critical bug. That way, there might be an effect on distros as well (like giving the ability to install older version with packages for the newer one)

  9. Matthew W. S. Bell

    Oh, still drama much.

    Unless you have explained the problem absolutely terribly, it doesn’t stop you opening word documents, it just displays them slightly wrongly. Now, I’m afraid I don’t know exactly how layout, and so on, affect the meaning of numbers with respect to interchange of Hindu and Arabic numbers but I’m going to guess that it is not completely unusable. This is based on brief viewing of Hindu numbers and the prevalence of Arabic numbers in international internet usage.

    (N.B.: I believe this to be a bug and that it should be fixed.)

    Finally, you can and SHOULD tell people about the interoperability problems that occur from using closed formats. Even if you find it hard to tell people, I don’t think there is any excuse for at least recognising the fact yourself.

  10. Matthew, lets explain it as follow:
    You are a native English speaker. now what if a document for a client of yours will change the numbers from “a b c d e” into ” א ב ג ד ה”, there are still indicators for where you wanted a number, but it’s not something that you can print for yourself or to give your client.

    It renders the usability to non existent because even if you do know Hebrew and Gimatriya, you would have expected it to look as you meant.
    Because .doc format is the most popular word processor in the world today for most users around the globe, you should have it work. A client of mine will throw me if he’ll have from partly Hebrew partly Arabic paper, unless he wish/expect me to have it that way.

    I hope this explains it better

  11. Pingback: Openoffice.org Issue #86811: Arabic numbers instead of decimal numbers « Free Software, the Universe and Everything

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