The German Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für
Bildung und Forschung, BMB+F) recently sponsored a meeting of 16 KOffice
developers in Erlangen, Germany by paying their travel and lodging costs.
The meeting was held from September 23 - 25 in connection with the
Linux-Kongreß, a technically oriented Linux congress that is jointly
organized by German Unix Users Group (GUUG) and LiVe (Linux-Verband,
a non-profit organisation that fosters commercial use of Linux in
Central Europe). Many of the
developers attended and two filed reports on the successful event.
And what do hackers do at a hacker conference, you might ask? Read
more below to find out . . . .
Erlangen was the first opportunity for the many of the new KOffice
developers to meet each other, as well as to meet some of the founding
fathers. Erlangen proved a fertile breading ground for ideas, and
the resulting energy yielded good progress in several areas. However,
given that the KDE head branch is currently in a feature freeze in
anticipation of the release of KDE 2.0 on October 16, many of the ideas
will have to wait until the freeze is lifted at the end of October.
At that point many ideas will percolate into the codebase.
First, KWord frame handling was improved and floating frame support
was added. Tables generally work much better
now. Even tables with variable-width columns are now handled when
imported from MS WordTM, as such imported tables use the new
floating frame support.
Second, the MS Word filter now supports basic text styles such as bold,
italics, etc., in body text. The filter also has now successfully imported
at least one embedded picture from one MS Word document (!!), but more work
is needed to handle the range of different MicrosoftTM
embedding techniques. Finally, the architecture for enabling both import
from, and export to, MS Word has been implemented . . . all volunteers
Third, the MS ExcelTM import filter continued to evolve.
In particular, a lot of head scratching resulted in
Percy Leonhardt adding support
for large tables, and extending support for various border options.
Fourth, the current KWord implementation will benefit from a
Rich Text widget under development by our
Trolltech friends for Qt 3.0.
KWord will include beta versions of this widget when it reaches that
stage, which will greatly enhance our ability to deliver enhancements
to KWord in the future. It also helps that Thomas has taken on the
mantle of the KWord maintainer!
Finally, KSpread benefitted from serious improvements to i18n support. As
a side effect, there is a growing understanding of the interaction between
charsets, fonts, keyboards and file formats. We think we have identified
a complete solution to the fact that Unicode fonts are not yet universally
available . . . but more analysis is needed to implement it.