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From Rory O'Farrell <>
Subject Re: All essay text turned to hashtags--commentary
Date Sun, 05 Jan 2014 12:23:11 GMT
On Sun, 05 Jan 2014 12:47:59 +0100
Andrea Pescetti <> wrote:

> Hagar Delest wrote:
> > losing the file saved last time is just unacceptable, it's a major data
> > loss (P1 in the bug tracker). This problem should be investigated as
> > seriously as possible.
> > No bashing needed, just look at the facts.
> The problem here is all with reproducing the bug. OpenOffice has so many 
> users, on so many systems, that even a problem that occurs, say, once in 
> ten millions save operations will get reported.
> It's a fact that there exist some users who report losing a document. 
> But it's not even clear if the culprit in those cases is OpenOffice, or 
> the operating system, or a RAM problem, or a disk failure... Like you, 
> I've been a regular OpenOffice user for many years and I never had a 
> similar problem.
> A random note if this can help: to study this problem, once I tried to 
> deliberately fill the hard disk until I had a few MBytes free. Then I 
> opened a heavy presentation file, with many images, and edited it 
> normally, adding and removing content. An automatic backup failed (due 
> to the full disk) and I think an error message was displayed (I/O 
> error). I then tried a save operation, which failed with the same error. 
> But then I was stuck: the file I was editing was corrupted (the images 
> did not display) and the last saved version on disk was corrupted too 
> (of course this was a test so I had made a backup before testing). Maybe 
> this deserves a better investigation.
> It could be that some or all of these bug reports are due to a full disk 
> (I do know some people who work with <100 MBytes free on disk, so it's 
> not even a "1 in millions" scenario). The good thing is that this 
> scenario can be reproduced.
> Regards,
>    Andrea.

I think there are two problems here, which both Hagar and I are aware of from the Forum. One
is the Hashtag problem, which I agree is not readily reproducible and in many cases may be
caused by over hasty close down of OO or operating system, the other associated problem is
the erasure of the saved copy which seems to occur often alongside the hashtag problem; no
matter what causes the hashtag problem, I'm sure we all agree that a saved copy of the file
should not be spontaneously erased.
The question should be asked "When does OpenOffice erase the previous copy of the file?".
Surely this should only be after the Save process reaches a conclusion. I can recollect from
my CP/M days that one had to adopt a certain sequence in saving a file for best security.
One saved the file to (say), then renamed to File.bak then renamed
to Is this or a similar protocol being followed in OO? Perhaps some temporary relief
can be obtained by changing the options in OpenOffice to _always_ generate a backup. 

If the user turns such an option off, then on his own head be the responsibility for file

I should say that I have not experienced the hashtag problem in 6 years of heavy use of OO
Writer on Windows 2000/XP or linux systems.


Rory O'Farrell <>

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