Category Archives: i18n & l10n

RTL status for Libre Office 4.0.0

LibreOffice 4.0.0 will be released soon, and it’s a good time to summarize its RTL status. Similar to 3.5.0, the RTL work started with LibreOffice conference in October, showing the current state (see LibreOffice RTL status 2012 presentation) and listing the top problems. The main goal of this talk is to raise awareness to RTL issues and recruit developer to help fix them. This was exactly what happened with fdo#44657 which is about Calc not having a scroll bar in RTL user interface. This way RTL bug #1 for almost a year.

In total, version 4.0.0 has 8 bugs fixed (mainly Calc, Presenter Console and toolbars). In addition it has 5 language specific bugs fixed. Full lists are at and Beside working on fixing bugs for the 4.0.0, another focus was put on making sure the fixes are available for the 3.6.x users. This resulted with cherry picking 11 out of 13 bug fixes (part of 3.6.4 and 3.6.5 releases). More fixes are already underway in the master branch, and will also be part of 4.0.1 maintenance release (full list at

Beside thanking the core developers  for their help (patches, code review), I’d like to thank the guys from The National Program for Free and Open Source Software Technologies (Motah) at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia, which have joined the RTL team during this release, and their effect is well noticed.

Despite all the work done, we still have a share of RTL bugs for the next release, these are the 7 top priority RTL bugs, any help would be appreciated.

  1. fdo#33302 Brackets inverted in rtl text (mac only)
  2. fdo#53030 Calc deletes current sheet, not right-clicked on sheet when trying to delete opposite directionality sheets
  3. fdo#56403 RTL UI: with RTL locales presentations appear with text align to the right instead of to the left
  4. fdo#37128 Writer saves text alignment of RTL paragraph not according to the ODF specification
  5. fdo#44029 docx files with RTL paragraphs aren’t compatible with Word
  6. fdo#43093 FILEOPEN: [docx] MS Office documents opens with wrong alignment and directionality
  7. fdo#56408 Brackets are not handled correctly with mixed English/Latin and Hebrew/Arabic texts


Filed under i18n & l10n, LibreOffice

RTL status for Libre Office 3.5.0

As LibreOffice is approaching its final 3.5.0 release, I’d like to sum up the RTL status for RC1.

So far, 6 RTL related bugs were resolved in the 3.5 cycle (#32530, #34222, #40950, #43790#43793, #44078), and a few minor issues reported directly to the developer’s mailing list got quick responses. Most importantly, the new features of page break and header/footer not only support RTL but actually looks good. During the LibreOffice conference I was suggested to help with these features, providing feedback, and I’m glade the needed attention was given to it.

Besides that, a few l10n and translation issues were solved in the process of doing the Hebrew translation (which also reflects on other RTL languages). At a few cases, these issue because a general l10n issues which affects all the languages.

In general, I found the core developers responsive to mails about RTL support. I’m sure the talk about RTL problems during the conference helped, as well as being more active in the project and having more personal acquaintance with the developers.

That’s being said, RTL support for LibreOffice still has problems, which I hope will be pushed during the 3.5.x cycles (full list at Bug 43808, the rtl meta bug). As to get some focus regarding was is to be done, I’m listing the top problems:

  1. #44657 – RTL UI: Horizontal scrollbar in calc main window is broken
  2. #33302 – brackets inverted in rtl text (mac only)
  3. #37692 – RTL list numbering reverses its direction
  4. #42070 RTL support in broken in presenter Console extension
  5. #32531 Incorrect cursor key movement between table cells of different directionality
  6. #104515 RTL UI: moving active embedded object to the left moves it to the right (reported for, but verified in LibO)
  7. #37128 Writer saves text alignment of RTL paragraph not according to the ODF specification

I hoped to have the first two done for 3.5.0, but didn’t succeed in getting them fixed. Will keep trying…


Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, LibreOffice

Happy 10th b-day bug #98160

Happy 10th birthday Mozilla bug #98160, I hope you won’t make it to your 11th, but who knows…I hope the same for your “younger” brothers bug #166240 which is only 9 years old. Many thanks for all the people who tried to help RTL users switch their textarea directionality and alignment easier.

Another bug in the “it sometime sucks to be an RTL user” department is bug #119857, soon to be age 10. I’m lucky to have BiDi Mail UI as a good workaround, otherwise I couldn’t read emails in Hebrew with the proper alignment/directionality.

In another department, I must say I love daylight saving time, as I have more hours of sun, but this comes on the expense of my schedule as due to bug #504299 all my events aren’t on the right local time, but an hour earlier.

Although the post is written cynically, I would like to call the Mozilla community to help with fixing these issues. I also want to thank the people who are already helping with these issues or helped in the past.


Filed under Free software applications, i18n & l10n, Mozilla

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,

Why ubuntu sucks in keeping the distribution in good shape?

Tomer writes about Why ubuntu sucks in keeping the distribution in good shape?, which is related to posts I wrote at the past about Why does Ubuntu puts Firefox translation in gnome’s language pack ? and The disadvantage of language packs in Ubuntu. I’m not happy seeing these problems happening again and again.


Filed under i18n & l10n, Mozilla, Ubuntu

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

How to make an open source kindergarten

If you can read Hebrew, you’ll find the original story at “איך עושים גן בקוד פתוח“. Otherwise, you’re welcome to read the post.

Vitali Perchonok was asked to check the computer is his city of Kiryat Gat, he found a lot of old PCs (P1 and P2) with windows 98 and DOS games that don’t work. He decided to find a way to use the computers with open source software.

He found that he can run Gcompris, an educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10, on the old computers. Now he just needs to update the Hebrew translation (last updated at 2005). Along side the translation he fixed bugs, recorded new sounds and replaced some of the graphics (all with the help of a few friends).

To wrap it all, he decided to create a liveCD for the program, and this was the beginning of KG-Live. The changes were sent upstream and should be included in the next release.

Today, the project waits for approval from the Israeli Ministry of Education, before distributing the software officially to the kindergartens.


Filed under Free software applications, i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, Proud to use free software