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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Additional Software (PETs, n' stuff) » Documents
wine + free softmaker office suite fast/uses low resources
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mcewanw

Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 2346
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 07:28    Post_subject:  wine + free softmaker office suite fast/uses low resources
Sub_title: 50 MB portable office application for usb stick (or put on hard drive)
 

If you are fed up of the problems surrounding Abiword but find Open Office too slow and resource hungry, perhaps the following will be of interest to you.

I'm currently using Puppy 4.3 (about to upgrade to 4.3.1) on an old Dell CPx laptop (Pentium III 450MHz with 256 MB RAM) and wanted something more powerful/stable than Abiword.

As a first stab I installed wine from here:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=37783
using technosaurus's wine_lite-1.1.30 and installed old MS Office 97 over that (as described on that thread here: http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=353903#353903).

However, I have since come across two versions of modern Softmaker Office (2006 and 2008 versions) which also turn out to work well with wine.

The three applications provided in ashampoo/softmaker office 2008 are:

Textmaker (like MS word), Planmaker (like MS Excel) and Presentations (like MS Powerpoint). The whole lot only occupy about 50 MB on your hard disk (or usb stick) and run fast and smooth even on the above old machine over wine. From what I've read the programs are very compatible with MS Office produced files. Note that though Textmaker can read .odt files, it can't read docx format (so I'm keeping Abiword as a format translator).

Softmaker Office (2008) can actually be purchased as a native Linux version, but you can alternatively (currently at least) get a free licence for the ashampoo rebadged MS Windows version (download details below).

Alternatively, Softmaker is giving away its older Softmaker Office 2006 (MS windows version only) licence free, and it also runs over wine I'm told (though I've only tried ashampoo office 2008 myself).

There is a problem though... I couldn't get the installers for either of these apps to work with wine. But luckily I also had MS windows 2000 on this old Dell CPx machine which allowed me to do an initial install onto that.

The great thing is, however, that once thus installed on windows, softmaker office (any version) includes a menu item utility which allows you to create a usb portable version of the office suite, which runs fine under Puppy 4.3 with the above wine installed (and presumably with newer wine versions too).

I just used a clean wine install, and accepted the winecfg defaults; didn't need to tweak anything (so just used the inbuilt wine dlls) - wine was set up to look like XP by default.

EDIT: export to pdf and CUPS printing turned out not to be working. I believe I found a fix as described further down this thread at:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=355496#355496

I then dragged the Textmaker, Planmaker and Presentations exe files as shortcuts onto my desktop.

Note that you can either run ashampoo/softmaker office (on Puppy with wine) from either the usb stick or copy the ashampoo/softmaker office folder from the usb stick onto your hard drive and run the applications from there). You can also run the same suite on an MS platform from the usb stick (since portable), as an alternative to portable apps resource hungry Open Office.

I previously gave details for getting the free versions of softmaker office in another thread:

(http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=354579#354579)

but here are the download details/relevant web links of the alternatives again for the convenience of anyone interested:

http://www.softmakeroffice.com/

http://www.app-stick.com/appDetail.php?appid=softmaker

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/07/11/ashampoo-office-2008-softmaker-office-alternative-3-1-free-activation-serial-key-number/

http://www.softmaker.de/reg/ash08_en.htm

Thanks also to vovchik for details on how to get the fonts looking good when running apps over wine:

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=278756#278756
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=354222#354222

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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 10:35    Post_subject:  

This is great, and thanks for your helpful tips and links.

I've got everything working fine except wireless network printing, either through samba to xp to hp officejet 6500 wireless or connecting wirelessly directly to the 6500 printer. (using asus eee 900 netbook/puppy 4.31)

I run both abiword and MS Word 97 (in wine) and can print wirelessly with specs listed above.

Sp the problem is contained to this ashampoo/Softmaker 2008 (I have installed the sp package as well).

On my eee 900, I can also boot to xp, where I've installed this same package and can print wirelessly.

Any suggestions?

Thanks again,
Jake
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mcewanw

Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 2346
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 11:17    Post_subject: pdf export not working / ashampoo/softmaker office  

I take it you mean that you can't get ashampoo/softmaker office 2008 to print (using Puppy and wine)? Didn't follow what you meant by "the sp package".

One problem I have is that the pdf export function of softmaker office isn't working running on Puppy via wine. The printer dialog says CUPS-PDF on LPR:CUPS-PDF so maybe there is a relationship between pdf export not working and printing not working (I don't have a printer so I couldn't test that one way or the other).

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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 12:19    Post_subject:  

By sp, I meant the service package that softmaker uses to upgrade to version 5.05. One of your links offers its download.

I got the wireless printing to work after all. As usual, it's a CUPS dilemma. Go to CUPS and essentially jiggle the handle on the printer, stop and restart it. Why TM 2008 confuses CUPS and not MS Word 97 is beyond me, if not CUPS.

Thanks again for pointing us to this nifty, free package. With my Jornada 720 handheld computer, I had used Textmaker for years. Nice to see its return on Linux.

Jake
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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 13:37    Post_subject:  

Now printing has stopped, and, yes, I can replicate your CUPS-PDF error, and it gives the same crash as when trying to print wirelessly.

So perhaps it's something in the way TM talks to printer via wine and cups, I dunno.

That's a significant problem, however, should users wish to make a genuine switch to Softmaker.

I'll play with it some more, but TM offers few printing choices and I can't find anything on Google.

Jake
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mcewanw

Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 2346
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 19:53    Post_subject: SoftMaker Office: Fix for pdf export
Sub_title: and presumably printing from CUPS should now work
 

jakfish wrote:
Now printing has stopped, and, yes, I can replicate your CUPS-PDF error, and it gives the same crash as when trying to print wirelessly.
. . .
That's a significant problem, however, should users wish to make a genuine switch to Softmaker.

I couldn't find anything by Googling either, but I think I have solved the problem. Though I don't have a printer to test with, I have now successfully exported pdf's from TextMaker and printed to a file.

Solution (I believe): What you need to do is turn off the Builtin Wine t2embed.dll when using the SoftMaker Office apps via winecfg. To do that:

1. Open a console and start winecfg.

2. Go to the Application Tab and
Add, for example, TextMaker.exe as one of the Apps you want wine to use non-default dll programs for (i.e. Browse to the location of the Textmaker.exe app using Application Tab Browse button in winecfg).

3. With Textmaker.exe highlighted in the Applications Tab of winecfg, go to the Libraries Tab and add new override t2embed and edit its setting such that it is Windows native (rather than Builtin Wine).

i.e. should now show as: t2embed (native)

4. You probably also need to make sure you have the following other overwrites for TextMaker.exe (worth checking what Library overwrites you previously used for default apps under Application Tab):

ole32 (builtin) [i.e. Builtin Wine]
oleaut32 (builtin)
rpcrt4 (builtin)

5. I haven't done so myself as yet, but you almost certainly need the same winecfg Library overwrites for the other SoftMaker Apps such as PlanMaker and Presentations.

6. Of course, it may be possible that you can simply make t2embed (native) under the winecfg Applications Tab -> Default (i.e. for all apps you run under wine), but the above is one way on how to do it specifically only for the SoftMaker apps in case other wine apps still need to use the inbuilt t2embed.

I'll notify wine headquarters of the bug and this temporary workaround. Hopefully they'll later fix their inbuilt t2embed.dll
[EDIT: WIne HQ don't seem to actually provide a t2embed.dll so couldn't file a bug about it. Instead I listed SoftMaker/Ashampoo Office 2008 as a tested application at Wine HQ AppDB site and provided details of the t2embed fix].

Let me know how you get on with your printer please, since otherwise I won't know if it now works with an actual printer.

--------------

By the way, the method I found the above out was to start TextMaker from a console (i.e change directory to where the app is and then run: wine TextMaker.exe). I then checked the console for the messages it reported back when I tried to run export pdf from TextMaker and it revealed a problem with t2embed. Worth trying that technique if you come across any other wine-related issues with the package. There are probably more sophisticated techniques but I've only just started using wine so I wouldn't know.

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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 21:37    Post_subject:  

Excellent, intriguing directions--you should write manuals.

The trouble with winecfg in an eee is the eee's screen resolution of 1024x600. You can't see the OK, Cancel, etc tabs. So I could not, could not, could not load the various files/libs. I finally installed puppy on a Dell with regular screen just so I could see how the tabs worked and I still couldn't get the things to load.

Then I realized what it was--because it was a usb install of Softmaker, I had simply moved that directory to my /mnt/home and while it loaded fine in wine, I couldn't play with anything past the defaults.

Once I absolute sym-linked the softmaker directory to the wine /drive_c/Program Files. I could start TM AND network print, without any changes in winecfg. Who knew? Not me.

I still can replicate your CUPS-PDF problem, but can't fix it with your steps since I run wine on a sfs file, and 1.1.7. It would seem w/ 1.1.7, there is no t2embed lib.

W/ network printing, what fooled me was that I got it to work now and then without the symlink into .wine. I don't know why it worked now and then.

Jake
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mcewanw

Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 2346
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 22:32    Post_subject: Use Alt key and left mouse button to move too big window up  

jakfish wrote:

The trouble with winecfg in an eee is the eee's screen resolution of 1024x600. You can't see the OK, Cancel, etc tabs. So I could not, could not, could not load the various files/libs
. . .
I still can replicate your CUPS-PDF problem, but can't fix it with your steps since I run wine on a sfs file, and 1.1.7. It would seem w/ 1.1.7, there is no t2embed lib.
Jake


As I said in an EDIT above somewhere, I don't think Wine does provide any t2embed.dll, so I couldn't submit a bug about that itself so don't know where wine finds it (installed by SoftOffice perhaps?).

Anyway, as far as your small-creened eee is concerned, have you tried moving the window up the way, such that you can see the configuration buttons, by using: Alt key whilst holding down your left mouse button on the too-big window?

Under the winecfg "Graphics" tab you probably also need to use the lowest screen resolution setting on the slider provided (96 dpi?); you can just move the slider and hit the enter key on your keyboard to select that.

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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Tue 27 Oct 2009, 22:51    Post_subject:  

That's good advice, thanks, especially about the dpi setting.

My printing through softmaker has failed again. It worked with the symlink, it worked with the actual softmaker directory in .wine. Not any more.

This yes-no printing was the same thing that happened when I was running softmaker in /mnt/home.

I'm at a loss.

Jake
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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct 2009, 08:23    Post_subject:  

If you want to run Textmaker (or other softmaker app) from Menu, this is what I did. I put this command in "Documents" section:

<Program label="Textmaker 2008" icon="/root/my-documents/clipart/tml16.xpm">wine ~/.wine/drive_c/"Program Files"/"Ashampoo Office 2008"/Textmaker.exe</Program>

This is with Ashampoo absolute symlinked from my hard drive into .wine

I've attached an icon that you can use, an old Textmaker icon that I saved as an xpm.

Jake
tml16.xpm
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Filename  tml16.xpm 
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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct 2009, 09:12    Post_subject:  

Also, for those running MS Word in wine, here's an icon that works in Menu.

Jake
msword16.zip
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Filename  msword16.zip 
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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct 2009, 10:01    Post_subject:  

I am able to print wirelessly consistently from PlanMaker. Perhaps this is just a TextMaker bug.

Jake
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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct 2009, 10:16    Post_subject:  

Here are all icons (including various sizes) for all softmaker programs.

Jake
softmaker icons.zip
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mcewanw

Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 2346
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct 2009, 00:48    Post_subject: /usr/local/share/icons  

jakfish wrote:
If you want to run Textmaker (or other softmaker app) from Menu, this is what I did. I put this command in "Documents" section:

<Program label="Textmaker 2008" icon="/root/my-documents/clipart/tml16.xpm">wine ~/.wine/drive_c/"Program Files"/"Ashampoo Office 2008"/Textmaker.exe</Program>

This is with Ashampoo absolute symlinked from my hard drive into .wine

I've attached an icon that you can use, an old Textmaker icon that I saved as an xpm.

Jake


Thanks for these. The only difference I made in usage is that I stuck the tml16.xml JWM Menu icon in /usr/local/share/icons, which on Puppy 4.3 is really a symbolic link to /usr/local/X11/lib/mini-icons (which is where most of these menu icons are stored in Puppy 4.3). Since Puppy knows that path I then could simply use icons="tml16.xpm" above, but I realise that it may well be better not to mix user-supplied icons with official ones!

Similarly, in ~/.jwmrc I used:

<Program label="winword 97" icon="msword16.xpm">wine ~/.wine/drive_c/"Program Files"/"Microsoft Office"/Office/winword.exe</Program>

and then restarted JWM

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jakfish

Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct 2009, 06:35    Post_subject:  

Thanks for the tip on that symlink of icon directory and puppy knowing about it (I certainly didn't know about it). Typing in those many-named directories for the icons is a pain.

As for your MS Word, that's about the same command I have.

As for TM printing woes, here's one workaround:

http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=73036

It's a legit, free copy of softmaker 2006 for linux in deb (I've registered it through the app's registration link, and softmaker automatically sent me a key; the same deal as ashampoo, et al). I used deb-to-pet, then pet-to-sfs. THAT version prints fine, though it's 2006 vs. ashampoo's 2008, and 2008 has Presentations, which 2006 lacks.

At this point, I'm running them both to decide if I even want to switch to softmaker.

The 2006 sfs does install planmaker and textmaker apps/icons in Menu, so that's nice. 2006 loads a little faster, since it doesn't have to go through wine.

But I like running softmaker through wine since users can adjust toolbar fonts, etc. 2006 has pretty tiny fonts/menus, and I can't find a way to adjust those.

If you do end up playing with this deb version, I'd be much obliged if you found any menubar/font adjustment.

Jake
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