Sunday, December 31, 2006

What is the point of copy protection?

I've been pointed an interesting article title "A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection". It shows many of the weaknesses of the copy protection in Windows Vista, right through to the additional costs to the rest of the computer industry. Why does it not just affect Windows Vista machines, but every new computer out there? Quite simply all the extra research and development that has to go into producing the new hardware, that will do encryption between each component in the operating system. This will push up energy costs too, as each component in the computer has to do considerably more processing. On the fly compression and encryption is computationally taxing on the computer.
I really don't like the vendor lock in, and the fact that legally purchased media, can end up not playing on your legally purchased equipment. Ahh well, I suppose that is even more excuse to avoid Micro$oft.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My First CWS

I have now created my first CWS (Child Workspace) macosxdmgapplink. It only affect the Mac packaging. It is basically the patches that I created earlier at the Mac Port Meeting in Hamburg. I have updated the DS_Store file for 2.2.

The extra functionality that you will get with this new CWS is an updated background in the disk image that Mac Users of use for installing More importantly, inside the disk image, you will get a link to the Applications folder. This will make it easier for users to drag and drop install

Now all that needs to be done, is for it to be passed by the QA representative maho, and then integrated.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Record Number of Locales Passed QA for 2.1 on the Mac

At this writing there are currently 3 locales passed QA and available to download, for 2.1 Mac OS X Intel and 5 for the PPC Macs. That gives a total of 6 unique locales that have been passed QA on both the PPC and Intel Mac platforms for 2.1. This is a record. Previously only English, German and French were put through their paces to check their functionality and links posted on the Mac Download pages. With the help of QATrack I'm able to find out which locales are being tested, and if they have been distributed to the mirrors.
There are still more currently being tested.
Download OpenOffice for the Mac

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Change your Mac OS X password from the Command Line

Use the command
to change your password from the command line under Mac OS X.

Cycling from Sighthill to Linlithgow

Yesterday I took a cycle along the union canal. I set out, without deciding exactly where I would turn back. The sun had already set, so it pretty dark going along most of the canal.
It's starting to get colder as the puddles on the tow path were starting to freeze in a few places.
By the time I was 6 miles away from Linlithgow, my bike light was become rather dull, with the warning light on. As I wouldn't have enough light to get all the way back home from there, I decided to take the train from Linlithgow to Edinburgh Park station for £3.30. At Edinburgh Park I was the only one to get off the train. It was only about 5 minutes from there home.
Acording to Google Earth, I cycled about 19 miles in around 2 hours.

Monday, December 04, 2006

2nd Mac Porters Meeting

I made the whirlwind trip to Hamburg for the 2nd Mac Porters Meeting at the Google offices there. I seem to have survived my first flying trip (in both senses). It was great to meet the porters in person again or for the first time.

I really liked the Eurostar on my Lyon trip, far smoother in parts, though longer. You can also move around a lot more on the Eurostar and have no seat belts too. Now all we need is for a high speed rail link between Edinburgh and London that make the Eurostar even better.

It was great being able to play with a Mac Pro! Even without ccache installed, a build of takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. This is dramatically less than the current build times that I'm getting on my MacBook, of around 8 hours. Now I really want one, but simply cannot afford it. :-(

It is also quite nice to have a shot of working with 2 monitors with my MacBook. It is a lot better to be able to work with different part of a project on different screens. For example, the source code on one and the result on the other screen. However I'm trying to put off getting a monitor until I have a job or can afford it.

With the help of Oliver Braun, I managed to get the link to the Applications folder inside the disk image working properly. I was very close to getting the line of make file in the correct place. We're looking at possibly increasing the size of the background image to make it look a bit better. Follow issue 72008 to track the integration and testing of my patches.

Minutes of the events on Saturday are available on Eric Bachard's blog. Sunday's events should be coming soon. EDIT: The events from Sunday are available.

I have to thank Martin Kretzschmar for his sofa, otherwise I would never have gone.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Row span in Writer's Tables

In one of my not so common moments of using Writer as a user, I recently came across an issue with the table layout. I did not have the flexibility to have table cells run over many rows in the way I wanted them to. To my delight, it would appear that this is going to be fixed. Unfortunately the fixes won't come in time for this report that I'm writing.

For more information about this please see the GullFOSS blog.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Buildbot has moved

The Mac buildbots have moved to a new build master, which should prevent the build master running out of space as has happened on a few occasions on the old build master. They are now located on the build master

Saturday, November 18, 2006

EHIC scams

It would appear that there are a few people who are running some scams to try and make money out of people trying to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Please be aware that this card is free to apply for.

To apply for the card you should go to the official site at which has the option of doing an online application. It also gives you the correct information.

Examples of some scam sites are:

  • Charge you £15 to put the information into their database, and then they just transfer the information into the Department of Health's department of Health's database by entering the information into the form for you. Errm wait a minute you just filled in a form and paid £15 for someone to enter the information that you entered into another form.
  • Give you a 090 number which costs £1.50/minute instead of a national rate number that the department of Health setup specifically for the EHIC. The call just gets routed through to the national rate number that you call.
  • Give false and inaccurate information about the EHIC.

Before anyone asks, I haven't been caught out by any of these scam, though have noticed them. The department of Health already knew about them and is in the process of taking action against the site owners.

iBackup Now Supports 2

The easy to use and free for personal use backup program called iBackup now has a plugin, written by me, to allow the easy backup of your 2 preferences. I have also included the preferences for the upcoming native version of They are in a separate location compared to the preferences for the X11 to prevent the Aqua development versions of corrupting your X11 preferences.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 now works again with X11 1.1.3

With the newly released X11 update from Apple, which fixes the font problems, no longer has an issue with starting. All users on the Mac should update to the latest version of X11, to fix any issues that they have with X11.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Support for Mac OS X 10.3 to be dropped after 2.1

As was discussed in tonight's Mac Port Meeting for, the Mac Porting Team will be dropping support for Mac OS X 10.3.x after the release of 2.1.
The reasons for the dropping of support of Mac OS X 10.3 include:

  • Around the time 2.2 is due out, Mac OS X 10.5 will be released some time in "Spring 2007"[1]. Trying to support 3 Major versions of Mac OS X is difficult with our small team.
  • The current Aqua development versions of require the use of Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
  • The Mac Porting Team has limited resources and very few developers currently have access to a machine that has Mac OS X 10.3 on it. This means that developing and testing on Mac OS X 10.3 is difficult.
  • [Only for the technical minded] The compiler (gcc3) that is used for producing builds for Mac OS X 10.3 isn't good enough any more. Examples for problems include: It claims valid code isn't valid; doesn't give useful error or warning messages; and some warning messages are not available. The gcc4 (the compiler in Mac OS X 10.4), is much better as it doesn't have the aforementioned problems.

If it is shown that there is a large requirement for continuing future support for Mac OS X 10.3, then this decision may be reversed.
The log of the meeting is available to read.

[1]: Source Mac OS X Leopard Sneak Peek Page

Monday, November 06, 2006

Workaround for X11 not launching posted on Mac Porting Web Site

With the deluge of people complaining about the X11 update and not starting, I posted a news article detailing a quick workaround to get running again. It should be noted that the next release of (and current development builds) are not affected by the problematic fonts as there has been a change in the logic which safe guards against the the divide by zero that was happening when the new fonts supplied by Apple were being loaded in. Hopefully Apple are going to re-release the X11 update soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Apple's X11 update

Apple released an X11 update on 1 November 2006. It fixes a but that I commented about, regarding the cmd+tab and the X11 windows not coming forward.

On the other hand there appears to be an issue with the fonts in that build. This seems to affect the current official release of on the Mac. I didn't notice it at first because I have been using builds made by my ooobuilbot MacPort1.

The current workaround is to remove the Vera fonts from /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF. For more information please see issue 71096.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

First Priority 1 bug fixed

Opened and closed as being fixed in 3 day, now that is what I call quick. I must thank hr for his quick response and pjanik for helping to find the error. Mind you it can be quite nice sitting on the cutting edge of technology. Unfortunately you end up forgetting what is in the latest official release!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

My first Priority 1 OOo Bug

The great thing about having a oobuildbot is that you end up living on the edge.

Today I came across a bug that means that HEAD of CVS does not build on the Mac platform. With the help of Pavel, we found the issue and filed the issue. You can track it's progress in issue 70965.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Scottish Graduate Fair

Yesterday I was away through in Glasgow for the Scottish Graduate Fair at the SECC. The event is aimed at final year student at university who are looking at what to be doing next. This generally come in anything from postgraduate education to graduate training, or volunteering to a plain ordinary job that utilises their skills. There were a variety of universities, companies and other training organisation there.

It was a case of finding the right booths with the people who are looking for what your current discipline is. The typical initial response was either, "sorry we don't have any jobs in our business that you would be looking for", or "great, your just the kind of person that we are looking for, here's some more information". You just have to keep hunting and you should find 4-12 different organisations with graduate schemes, or job opportunities that are suitable to you.

I'll give a few examples of things that I found out:

  • According to recruiters, the careers service up here in Scotland is excellent, and you should make use of it!

  • Bloomberg take on Computer Science graduates who are strong in Java and (C or C++), for their programming departments. You need to have the C background so that you know about pointers and the way that memory works. Only 5-10% of their network is based on Java, the rest is some variation of C for speed.

  • You should tailor your CV for every company, just only give each company one CV. This is advice from several recruiters, and the careers service. You should target the CV/application for the specific skill set that the employer will be wanting.

  • If you want to go into an IT related business, participating voluntarily in an Open Source project such as can give you a large number of transferable skills and knowledge of project structures. Some organisations are already working to spread the word of Open Source software, and thus if you already know about that sort of stuff, will mean that you will be more likely to get a job through having greater experience.

  • Applying early could mean that you are more likely to get through.

  • It is better to do a good application for a few opportunities than a very poor job at hundreds of vacancies.

  • Be positive confident and give as much relevant information as possible.

Overall, I enjoyed the event, and would recommend any final year student to go along in the future.

Hopefully I will be able to remember to follow all the advice and get a job or graduate placement.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Buildbot now seems to be predicting ETA

To my surprise, the build master is now estimating the time till the current build completes, and it is updating throughout the build too. Unfortunately it gives the time as the time zone PDT, thus you have to do some awkward calculation it get it to your local time zone.

When building the CWSs, it is taking about 7 hours to do a complete build and upload of the install set. This is a bit of a speed up over the 8 or nine hours to do everything except the upload of the install set. Therefore it is a good idea to have ccache installed if you are recompiling the same large project repeatedly.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mac buildbot setup

I now have a working buildbot that takes about 8 hours to do a full compile. Of course I forgot to check the option to upload the install set to the build master, so here I go and run the build again. Hopefully future compiles will take less time since I have installed ccache prior to this build. For those that are interested in file space, the whole buildbot and ooo sources take up just under 8GB.

The instruction given in the wiki a great as they pretty much work, as long as the build master has proper cross-platform code. Which was a bit of an issue for me sometimes, but was easily fixed over e-mail and IRC. (Thanks mikeleib and cloph). The main problem was finding a form of find that would work. In fact we ended up using find and piping the output to some other commands, which will hopefully work.

I have spoke to a few folk about the buildbot, and some of them were surprised that I was able to keep a steady internet connection for 9 hours on the trot, especially when part of it is wireless. The joys of cable and Apple's wifi products.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Photos from my trip to France ( conference and Apple Expo)

Please take a look at which contains all the photos from my trip.

I know some of them have not been rotated.

It was the first time I can remember being in London. Over a decade ago I had been round the M25 on the way to Dover, it was so long ago, I can't remember, mind you I would probably have been sleeping at time.

There are some pictures of the trams and trolley buses in Lyon in there, if anyone is interested.

I found it quite good at being able to catch the sunset whilst on the Eurostar on leaving France.

Frappr Map

Friday, October 13, 2006 2.0.4 for Mac OS X released for Mac OS X (X Windowing) has been released publicly.

I updated the web pages earlier to day. It should be noted that there currently is no tested German version, as no one has tested it yet. I have made a number of other changes to the web pages that have been in the pipeline for quite some time now. This includes the introduction of the new home page for the Mac Port. Some other pages have been updated as well, to include the new border, which has been missing on some of the new pages.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blogger Beta

For those who read this blog, you will notice that it has changed a little. That's because I now have the new Blogger Beta, which is much better. I'll slowly be going through some of my older posts to add some labels to them, so it will be easier to find info.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

OOoCon2006 and Apple Expo

It was quite some trip to France, considering my rather minimal French knowledge. I survived even with the communication barrier. I also found it quite a tiresome journey too, especially with getting very little sleep on the coach overnight from Edinburgh to London. I sorted it out for the return by taking a fleece on as hand luggage to lean on.

The best part of the trip was venturing out of the country on my own, and meeting many people that I have only communicated with eletronically before hand. It quite a surprise to me, to come across someone who also lived in my home city of Edinburgh.

For those that are interested, even so I now have a passport, I have never flown in a plane before. For this trip it was cheaper and more flexible to take the overnight coach with National Express from Edinburgh to London, then walk across London to the Eurostar terminal. I then travelled by train all the way to Lyon, with a change in Paris (and a run on the underground). I can now even say I have travelled on a double decker train (they seem to be unique to France, please correct me if I'm wrong).

I then stayed in Lyon for 3 day in the Hotel du Helder. It seemed quite nice, especially when the staff were able to speak English. After the conference, I traveled with Eric Bachard to his house to stay the night, and then set off in the morning to Paris for the Apple Expo which was quite impressive. Mind you the random shutdowns of my MacBook didn't help.

On the Friday afternoon, I returned to pick up my stuff from the hotel, and get off to Paris Nord to catch the Eurostar home. Arrived about 35 minutes before departure to a long queue, and still got on the train and it left on time too. I doubt you would be able to manage that one if I was travelling by plane. I then had another wander through London to the Victoria Coach Station for the over night coach back into Edinburgh.

OK, door-to-door it does take longer, but I sure it used less fuel that an aeroplane taking off.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Random Shutdown on my MacBook

I've sent my MacBook away to Apple to be repaired as it now has the random shutdown problem. It took nearly 30 minutes on the phone to AppleCare to get the empty box sent out by UPS. The guy from UPS took it away straight away and was happy enough to stand there while I quickly packed it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Recent confusion of (X11)

From the mailing list, there seems to have been a bit of confusion with the title " for Mac (X11)". It would appear that people are thinking the Mac OS 11 is what the download is for. In fact it just references the fact that the X11 windowing system.

It would appear that this increase in traffic has something to do with there no longer being information on the installation of X11 on the final download page.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Updated OpenOffice Mac Download Pages

Ahead of the conference, I have just released the new download pages for (X11) on the Mac. They are now much simpler than before. The download is now available at The old download pages (except the legacy download for 1.1.2) redirect to the new pages.

Part of this is the fact that there is no longer a big long list of mirrors to choose from. This is because I have used the OpenOffice download bouncer for all the downloads in the download servers. If anyone else needs to update the pages in the future, you will need to speak to cloph on IRC, who is able to update the bouncer with the new files.

I'd like to thank Fipa for his design, and James McKenzie on the list for his feedback.

There are more updates to come to the OpenOffice Mac Porting site before the end of the month, thereafter updates to the site will slow down.

I'm waiting on fink compiling quanta, which is the editor that Fipa used to create the pages, so hopefully I'll find it easier to keep the site up to date with the new design. I hope that it will be better than the more than a year old Nvu, even if I have to use X11.

Friday, September 08, 2006 for Mac OS X Aqua Roadmap

The Mac OS X Porting Team have released a roadmap of their development of the Aqua version of without the need for X11.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The all new Google News Archive Search

The new Google Archive Search is a great tool, with even more potential.

The timeline feature is really neat, though could be more customisable. For example being able to show more articles on one page.

Here's and example search for all articles related to Mac OpenOffice in timeline form.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

OpenOffice Aqua picked up wrong

It would appear that many news organisations have picked up on the OpenOffice Aqua news wrongly. OpenOffice are only going to preview the latest Aqua build at the OpenOffice conference and Apple Expo in Paris, next month.

Pages that have picked up on the story and claim that the OpenOffice Mac Porting Team are going to release an Aqua version of OpenOffice next month include:

Well you never know a miracle may occur and that will happen, though the current estimate is 6-12 months for a final version of OpenOffice in Aqua to be release by the Mac Porting Team.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

OpenOffice Aqua is coming along nicely

I've been playing around with one of Eric Bachard's recent Intel OpenOffice Aqua builds. Although it crashes a lot, it does work to some degree.

The crash reporter has a crashing bug in it so I had to disable it using the startup switch -norestore.

Eric had said to me not to run the registration wizard by using the startup switch -nofirststartwizard. However, it worked every time for me, apart from being slow.

There are also two environment variables that need to be set to be able to use the native menus or widgets. These are:



It won't be until early 2007 that we there will be an alpha build available of OpenOffice running on the Mac without X11. Until then, you have OpenOffice running within X11. It is available to download from

Updated Mac Website plan

Please look at slides 11 - 13, as these contain all the changes.

Primarily, I have added what I think should be in the user and developer sections of the mac porting web site.

To see the current draft please look at

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Google Labs

It would appear from the Google Labs that Google SMS (UK) has graduated from the labs. It used to work. But doesn't any more!

All you get now is a message which says
"Google SMS is currently not available in the UK. The service is still in beta, and we're working hard to make it better.

For more information about our mobile services, please see"

Then you get redirected to the Google Mobile page. Google mobile is not as good, for many things.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dell 4 million battery recall

It would appear that Dell is getting a lot of publicity about the 4 million laptop batteries that are being recalled.

OK I'm not going to say that Apple is perfect, though it would appear that it took Dell quite some time to acknowledge the issue. Well over a year!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Copying a file from one drive to another is that simple on Mac OS X

I couldn't believe it that simply pressing the command key on moving a file to another drive will move it rather than delete it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Security hijack

My dad had a very strange malware/ trojan that kept claiming he had various viruses etc. on his PC.

We found that Gave perfect instructions to get rid of it.

Strangely the search for "thesecuritypage" on google came up with only one result, the above page! thesecuritypage was the page that the malware was causing IE to go to all the time as it's home page. Firefox wasn't affected! He is now listening to me about the fact that he is far too gullible.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Very interesting article about blog post frequency

I have to agree with this ( post about blog frequency.

It is quality that is important, not quantity.

I do think there is some importance in posting every so often, otherwise some people will think that you have gone away. Post too often and the reader becomes overwhelmed in some junk, or as described in the article a land fill site.

I have to admit sometimes I'm not so clear in my blog posts, but that should hopefully improve over time.

Friday, June 09, 2006

web quotes in Safari UK

It's nice to see some more features filtering through to the localised
versions of Google Mail! Today I noticed web quotes at the top of the
mail browser. :-)

New version of quinn available for 10.4.2 and later only

There appears to be a new version that is only compatible with Mac OS
X 10.4.2 and later. It would appear more and more software releases
these days are becoming Tiger required. Of course that isn't a problem
for me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Two Weeks and had to re-install OS on MacBook

Today I came accross a nice little problem on my MacBook that I have only had for 2 weeks. I had a bit of a crash and oh dear, I could no longer launch application after a Safari hang. On reboot, it just hung. So I ended up doing an archive and install, with no ability to transfer the user over to the new system :-(
So I'm now back with a clean system, albeit with only 8GB of space left on a 80 GB HD. Hopefully this isn't going to happen again.
So now I'm off to the time consuming task of pulling back all my old settings.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Google Spreadsheet doesn't support OpenDocument

It would appear that Google spreadsheet beta doesn't support the
OpenDocument format for spreadsheets. It kinda surprises me with some
of the things that have been going on in the corporate world.

See more about Google spreadsheet at

MacBook loses battery life with single core

I've been trying out the MacBook on both dual and single core mode. With the help of CoreDuoTemp Utility and Apple's Developer Tools, I have found that it will always run at full processor speed of 2 GHz when you use the processor in single core mode. On the other hand under dual core mode it will generally run at 1.5 GHz, occasionally dropping to 1.333 GHz.

Even while it is compiling fink in the background, the processor is mostly running at 1.5 or 1.83 GHz in the lower powered parts of the compiler, slower than the 2 GHz max per core.

I do think that the power management could be improved to allow the processor to SpeedStep down to the minimum 1 GHz. Maybe someday Apple will produce a firmware update that will do this.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

X11 Intel having same problem as PPC fixed in 10.4.3

It would appear that X11 Intel on my MacBook doesn't work due to a problem with the windows not coming to the front as expected. This was fixed in Mac OS X 10.4.3, and is now there in 10.4.6 Intel. Is anyone else getting the problem?

I need X11 for using OpenOffice 2, and it is a bit of a pain.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Google Mail chat now in localised languages.

Finally the chat in Google Mail now has been added to the various othere languages supported by Google Mail. It's just ashame that the web clips haven't been enabled in English (UK) as well. They are great.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is it any wonder people go about pirating MS product? Their licensing is so complicated I just take one look and run away, it's that complicated. Now there putting anti-piracy software into their MS-products. One week later and OpenOffice is starting a switch campaign. I have also added the logo to my blog.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Did you that you can get nectar points at online stores

From It appears that you can gain nectar points through some very unsuspecting places such as the apple store, direct line, iTunes,, dell, PC World.

It appears that you use the above page link to get into the store, then you have no reference whatsoever about the fact that you will gain nectar points thoughout your shopping experience. That is the most annoying and strange bit. It would be better if you could enter your netar card number at the checkout of the relevant store, with a confirmation that you will earn nectar points.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Java Help

In trying to create JavaHelp Documentation, I have found that the following software to be useful. It is a new Open Source project available on sourceforge, that looks like it has a lot of potential.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Move to BlogSpot finally worked

It appears that when I originally tried to move to blogspot, the blogspot servers were down. Publishing there is a lot faster, and produces better HTML.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Had enough of Lycos

I've had enough of Lycos, so I'm moving away from them. Their mail is so slow with irritating pop-up ads. The web space is OK, but produces bad HTML and irritating pop-ups. I'm migrating this blog over to the google space too.

Monday, February 06, 2006

X11 Fixed

Further to my prevous blog, I managed to fix X11 to it's former glory by removing the X11 user receipt and installing it again. I then used Pacifist to install the update from 10.4.3.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Xdarwin on Tiger for OpenOffice.org2.0

As you will see from the pictures you can run through XDarwin on Mac OS X Tiger. I would however recommend that you use Apples X11 instead as it is more up to date, is more reliable and has a nicer look and feel.

I am now left with the annoying X11 behaviour, even after reverting to my backup of the X11 files, so I take it that there is some hidden config file somewhere. Hopefully I'll be able to get the Apple X11 behaviour (windowing environment) back soon as I miss it.

A few other notes though.

You need to install X11 through your Tiger DVD. Then, if your using a machine that came out with a version of Mac OS X before 10.4.3 run the 10.4.3 updater. There are numberous reports about the fact that 10.4.4 does not contain the update for X11.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

EyeTV 2 now available

EyeTV 2 looks like a fantastic improvement over previous versions. I can't wait until I have looked out the proof of purchase coupon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Additional Mailbox with yahoo

With Yahoo Mail, you can now have an additional mailbox that is attached to your current Mailbox. Great I can now have my ideal mailbox name: shaun.mcdonald!