Building xmlroff on Ubuntu 7.10

Building xmlroff on Ubuntu 7.10 is straightforward once you install some build tools and the required ‘-dev’ packages.

Starting with a clean installed system, install the following packages (and their dependencies):

  • libtool
  • autoconf
  • automake1.9
  • libglib2.0-dev
  • libxslt1-dev
  • libcairo2-dev and/or libgnomeprint2.2-dev
  • libpango1.0-dev
  • libgtk2.0-dev (not libgdk-pixbuf-dev)

The curse of a good bug reporting system

A good bug reporting system, by being good, can make a project look bad.

In five-or-so years on SourceForge, xmlroff garnered 24 bug reports. In the couple of months since moving everything to, xmlroff has already amassed over 60 Trac tickets.

It may look as if xmlroff is suddenly much buggier, but it’s due to finally having a bug reporting system that’s easy to use.

Because it’s easier to use, we use it more. There’s been tickets for moving to and for pie-in-the-sky ideas like a Texinfo-XML-to-FO stylesheet as well as for common or garden bugs. Since it’s also easy to link to bug reports, there’s now more ticket numbers in the notes on test results and in commit messages.

The proliferating tickets and ticket references point to quality improving, not worsening. After all, we’ve also closed more tickets than xmlroff had bug reports while on SourceForge.

text-align=”justify” in future xmlroff

One of the longstanding problems for xmlroff has been that Pango didn’t do justified text. Not anymore. The blog entry by Behdad Esfahbod at shows that it has been implemented, and once it’s in a Pango release, xmlroff will be able to use it.

I found that blog entry by looking for mentions of kashida support in Pango, and it looks like that could be in the works too.

xmlroff has moved

xmlroff development has moved to a Trac and Subversion at The xmlroff-list mailing list has also moved. Hosting for is kindly provided by Patric Stout of the ISeeR web hosting and IT service company in the Netherlands.

The new arrangement makes it easier for everybody (not just me) to update the xmlroff website, and it makes it extremely easy to link between the website, the tickets (i.e., bug reports and feature requests, etc.), and both the source code and the change logs in the Subversion repository. I am already using the Trac tickets more than I ever used SourceForge tracker items.

xmlroff on Cygwin

I have successfully compiled xmlroff using Cygwin on Windows 2000. xmlroff runs blazingly fast; the only problems are that it completely ignores its input and it doesn’t produce any output.

xmlroff on (X)ubuntu

I got xmlroff to compile and run on Xubuntu today using only the packages available from the package manager.

I need to do more to make ‘configure’ fail when popt is not installed, but otherwise is was mostly straightforward.