Saturday, March 31, 2007

OpenOffice.org Language Pack Revamp

As sent out to some of the OpenOffice.org mailing lists:


At the moment there are a number of issues with the current language packs for OpenOffice.org. Some platforms such as Mac OS X don't have language packs, instead they only have full installsets. The language packs currently have to be built on each platform individually. This means extra compilation time and extra storage on the mirror network since essentially the same localisation data is packaged into a different package for every platform.

I have a proposal for dramatically improving the current situation.

Let's have cross-platform language packs. This will mean that the language packs will be built once, and can then be used on ANY platform. This will save build time, especially when a builder can just use their fastest machine, instead of having to do it once per platform. This will free up developer and builder time, as well as space on the mirror network.

With this change I'm looking at implementing a simple user installation of language packs, similar to what has just been added to OpenOffice.org 2.2 for extensions. This would enable platform integration for the language pack installation. We could possibly go as far as Firefox and deploy language packs in a very similar way to extensions. We could even have the option to install language packs just for one user or for all users of the installation. If the platform supports it, a server deployed location for the language packs should be possible.

This is just an idea, it needs more development before implementation. No implementation testing has been done yet. An initial idea check for daftness has been completed, which is why this mail is going out. I'm looking to see if there are any foreseeable problems with this proposal, and whether there is backing from the whole OpenOffice.org community.
Comments are more than welcome.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Open Source Mapping

Today I came across mapping wiki style. OpenStreetMap aims to provide free geographic data of the whole world.
The current problems with most maps is that they are have copyright on them, and they have special easter eggs or gotchas to determine copying of the maps. This is a problem for projects that need to be able to use maps in the form of free speech, rather than free beer. Google Maps for example can be used like free beer, but not in the form of free speech.

The amount of data available is currently fairly low, so I would start using the maps for major map planning yet. However you can help, by mapping some part of the world that you know well.

I have recently been using MapMyRide.com for mapping out my Cycle trips. It uses Google Maps, which unfortunately does not contain enough information like the canals for example. This makes it difficult to do some mapping, especially in areas where their maps are of low resolution.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Union Canal resurfacing in Edinburgh

Today was the first time that I cycled along the Union Canal from the canal basin near Tollcross in Edinburgh to Wester Hailes in the West of the City. The surface was very smooth and without the potholes that were there before. In many places, the path is wider than what it was before.
The nice weather has also got people out, as the canal towpath was fairly busy, compared to what I have seen it before.

OpenOffice.org Mac Port timeline updated

Further to Eric Bachard's mention on his blog. I have now updated the time line for the Mac Port of OpenOffice.org and added a new news item for it.

We are currently looking at a May 2007 release for the Alpha of OpenOffice.org Aqua. Around the end of the year we hope to have a beta release of OpenOffice.org Aqua available.

British Summer Time from tomorrow

It's that time of year again when all the clocks in Europe change again. Tonight at 1AM the clocks all jump forward an hour. Being in the UK, it is nice that during the Winter, my current time is GMT/UTC. However, during the Summer, I'm an hour out from GMT/UTC. This does confuse me at the start of the summer. The change in sunrise and sunset compared to local time is annoying too.

Thanks to Pavel, I learned a new flag for the the date command on unix based systems. If you run date -u, you get the current time in GMT/UTC rather than your current local time when running the command without the flag.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cycling: Dunblane to Edinburgh

On Sunday afternoon, there was some strong Westerly winds, so rather than cycling into the wind, I decided to cycle with the wind. Rather than do my usual of cycle somewhere, and then take the train home if it isn't a circular route, or I'm too tired; I took the train out to Dunblane and started cycling from there.

It took about an hour to get from Edinburgh Park to Dunblane. The train diverted via Falkirk High instead of Falkirk Grahamson and missing out Camelon due to some essential rail maintenance. After Falkirk High the train stopped to turn around and head in the other direction so that it could go north towards Dunblane. The cost was £4.10.

On getting off the train at Dunblane, I looked North and though "oh no, the heavens are about to open". The sky was very dark with very heavy and dark cloud. I set on my way hoping that I wouldn't get totally soaked. Heading down into Bridge of Allan, there was a little flurry of snow. There wasn't enough for it to lie on the ground. After Bridge of Allan, I headed through Stirling, Tullibody, Alloa to Kincardine on the North Side of the River Forth.

Due to the high winds the Forth Road Bridge was closed, so I headed South over the Kincardine Bridge to Grangemouth. There I headed into a head wind into Falkirk. At Falkirk I joined the Union Canal beside Falkirk High Station. I now know how Falkirk High got its name. It sits at the top of a hill on the south side of Falkirk.

I probably would have been faster keeping to the road, though the canal towpath is much simpler since you are unlikely to take a wrong turn.

The total distance that I cycled was about 54 miles. It took me about 5 hours and 40 minutes in total, with a couple of breaks.

Map of the Route

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cycling: Edinburgh to Stirling

Yesterday I took a cycle from Edinburgh to Stirling, following fairly close to the Firth of Forth and River Forth further West.

It was pretty clear when I set out, unfortunately it slowly got damper later on. Heading through Grangemouth the rain came on quite heavy. By the time I had started leaving Grangemouth, the rain was down to either nothing or just a light mist. It was a pretty strong head wind most of the way.

In many of the back roads that the National Cycle routes take you, it is a lot more sheltered and often more hilly. I decided to avoid Blackness, the low road through Bo'ness and from Bo'ness to Grangemouth, where I used the main roads instead of the minor back roads.

I got to Stirling and hopped on to a train home. It cost £4.10 to get back into Edinburgh. The train took about 50 minutes, compared to just over 4 hours for the cycle into the head wind.

I even took some photos
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cycling: Round the Forth

Yesterday I cycled round the Firth of Forth between the Forth Road Bridge and the Kincardine Swing Bridge.

It was about 60 miles, with plenty of hills to get over. This made the journey a bit tougher than I thought. There were a few showers. In true Scottish style, I waited 5 minutes and they were over. The total journey time was around 7 hours.

There was a full moon, which I seen above the Forth Bridges on my way back.

There are some photos over at Flickr. The full route.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

X11 Installation instructions now has pictures

I have added some pictures to the X11 Installation instructions on the OpenOffice.org Mac Porting Pages. This should make it easier for users to follow and understand.