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OpenOffice2 on Debian

The OpenOffice web site gives clues for running the 1.9 test releases on
Debian at

These hints, for OO 1.9m51, are out of date for recent snapshots.

I have gotten 1.9.74 to work on Debian unstable relatively easily:

1) download and unzip Linux binary tarball
2) convert rpms to deb with "alien -k -c *.rpm"
3) install debs (I installed redhat-menus rather than
   suse-menus, but I'm not sure that either of them will help).
4) chmod a+rx /opt/openoffice.org1.9.74/program/soffice
5) see below

At this point (up to 5) OpenOffice will start running
via /opt/openoffice.org1.9.74/program/soffice.

It can be run via "openoffice.org-1.9" by
editing /usr/bin/openoffice.org-1.9, changing /etc/openoffice.org-1.9/
to /opt/openoffice.org1.9.74.  (Do this
for /usr/bin/openoffice.org-1.9-printeradmin as well).

When you try to open a document, however, openoffice crashes, saying
/opt/openoffice.org1.9.74/program/soffice.bin: relocation
error: /usr/lib/libgnomevfs-2.so.0: undefined symbol:

This is because the OpenOffice binaries include their own libxml2.  Fix
this with:

5) rm /opt/openoffice.org1.9.74/program/libxml2.so*

The next time you run openoffice.org-1.9, it will crash, saying 
libgnomevfs-ERROR **: file gnome-vfs-cancellation.c: line 133
(gnome_vfs_cancellation_cancel): assertion failed:

Restart it again, it will run "successfully" after this. I can open my
document (produced with 1.9.65) and continue editing it.


a) icons do not appear in the menus. They were appearing in 1.9.65,
thanks to openofficeorg-redhat-menus, but changes since then have made
them disappear again.  Can likely be fixed easily.

b) these instructions are for the OpenOffice binaries produced by
OpenOffice.org for rpm systems.  There may be other hidden bugs similar
to the libxml2 problem that I have not yet seen on a Debian system.
Where possible, use deb files compiled for a Debian system.

Note: for future snapshots, the ".74" here should of course be replaced
with the future version number.

Good luck,

Drew Parsons

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