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From George Karalis <>
Subject Re: Other build ideas (was: Re: Windows Build Environment futures
Date Fri, 05 Oct 2018 18:45:39 GMT

Hello everyone,

Since am new to the project and working on understanding the build process this past
week, I agree with Damjan that the build system needs that overhaul. I also agree that
a MSVC upgrade and a 64-bit windows build, is of high priority. Changing the build 
system will take months.

As of the MSVC upgrade I have figured out how the whole configure works and I ‘m
now integrating MSVC++ 14.15 to oowintool script, and trying to integrate Windows 10
SDK to the configure pipeline as well. After that I 'll try to figure out the build errors
fix everything to a successful build. If and when the upgrade completes, we should also
investigate implementing targets - if there are none - for the build tool.

e.g. To compile for windows XP, we need the Windows XP platform toolset, which installs
Windows 7.1 SDK, among other things and can build for Windows XP using MSCV++
2017 and run something like: build —all —target=“winXP”.

Since I am unfamiliar with UNO, I can’t provide any points there, but I agree with that
separation of concerns, to keep only office functionality at the core of the project. Also
another future idea would be to split - I don’t know if it's possible - each application,
Writer, Calc, Impress etc. in its own separate module, so they can build independently 
and, maybe?, debug easier, since someone can work on features on only the app he/she

As for the build system, after some research, I concluded on three modern build pipelines,
CMake, SCons and Meson. Personally, I am in favour of CMake, with the only argument
that it’s backed by many large companies and that provides a safety for the future. The
systems are almost identical, SCons is more extensible due to Python, but all in all
it’s just a weight of each build system's pros and cons. Also, how KDE switched  <>
to CMake <> was an interesting read. But, I think Damjan
knows better about the project, so
we can have an open discussion about which build system is better for OpenOffice.

I think that for now we should focus on upgrading our tools, new compilers, SDKs, because
it's easier, it has been a week and I have done some progress already, and it will ease 
development a little, but ultimately changing to a modern build system can have tremendous

potential for the project, modern build systems integrate perfect with Visual Studio,
Xcode, working on an IDE it’s always nice 🙂.

Kind regards,

> On 5 Oct 2018, at 20:32, Damjan Jovanovic <> wrote:
> The split wouldn't help us with newer MSVC as such.
> What would help us there a lot, is SCons, as SCons supports many MSVC
> versions already, including MSVC 2017. It would be so wonderful if we were
> on SCons already: not only would we build with a wider range of MSVC
> versions, but we would need less work to keep up with future MSVC versions.
> But unfortunately I think it's a lot easier to move to a new MSVC, than it
> is to move to SCons. Especially given how heavy build development and
> testing would be necessary on all platforms, and we don't have a Mac or
> OS/2 or Solaris setup available...
> On Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 6:38 PM Peter Kovacs <> wrote:
>> Hi Damjan,
>> I o not understand the MSVC part. If we separate UNO it's own world.
>> (Independent of the Idea to spin it of into its own project)
>> will the update of the MSVC be easier?
>> All the best
>> Peter
>> On 10/5/18 10:15 AM, Damjan Jovanovic wrote:
>>> Hi
>>> I now have a few other ideas regarding the building story.
>>> The gbuild migration has been extraordinarily long and painful. Sadly
>> I've
>>> had to learn so much about gbuild, and implement so many new features in
>> it
>>> (symlinks, UNO IDL, Ant, bison, flex, now assembly...), that I am getting
>>> good at it now :(. A lot of what I've done would have to be reimplemented
>>> on SCons. But there are advantages to redoing stuff in SCons: for
>> example,
>>> we could run code in Python instead of calling external tools like awk,
>> tr
>>> and sed, and thus gain more portability, reduce dependencies, and ditch
>>> Cygwin.
>>> However I consider SCons lower priority than a 64 bit Windows build, and
>> a
>>> newer MSVC (especially given our MSVC version is now unavailable!).
>>> Also one of the things that's made work on all of those projects
>> difficult
>>> is the sheer size of AOO, the number and diversity of modules. One of my
>>> ideas is to split up AOO into 2 layers: an UNO layer at the bottom, and
>> an
>>> office layer at the top. This is something that's been in the pipeline
>> from
>>> the OOo days, and at one stage I think OOo was distributed with a
>> separate
>>> UNO installation, and there's even a file in main/ure/source/README that
>>> describes how the split would be done. These layers would be in separate
>>> directories, along the lines of ext_sources/, main/ and test/ now, and
>>> would build separately: first UNO, then office.
>>> How does this help? Changes can be contained. Different build systems
>> could
>>> be experimented with, for each. A Win64 bit UNO could be developed and
>>> tested before we begin porting office modules to Win64. Ultimately, UNO
>> is
>>> a general framework for cross-platform multi-language component-based
>>> development, similar to Microsoft's COM and Mozilla's XPCOM, and I think
>> it
>>> should be a completely separate project, that is hosted, developed, and
>>> packaged independently of AOO (eg., and is a
>> just a
>>> compile-time and run-time dependency for us, that we download, use, and
>>> ship just like zlib and libjpeg.
>>> I really think the world needs a cross-platform multi-language
>>> component-based framework. Microsoft's COM is Windows-only, and Mozilla
>> is
>>> gradually getting rid of XPCOM. There are few other implementations, and
>> we
>>> have what seems to be the only permissively licensed one, and the only
>> one
>>> supporting exception handling between different languages (I think both
>> COM
>>> and XPCOM don't support exceptions and require return codes; the infamous
>>> HRESULT with its bitfields).
>>> Almost all the UNO modules are using gbuild already (it's mostly office
>>> that is troublesome and does lots of custom things during the build :-),
>> so
>>> a 100% gbuild UNO can be split off soon, and UNO can then potentially
>> start
>>> using SCons, a newer MSVC, and/or producing a Win64 build, before office
>>> even finishes the gbuild migration.
>>> There is some work involved. We would have to split up,
>>> duplicate some of the build scripts, somehow deliver UNO files into the
>>> office build. Quite a few of the office prj/build.lst would have to
>> change
>>> to not depend on the modules that move. Nothing would initially improve;
>>> only after other changes could dependencies be reduced. Not needing
>> Cygwin
>>> requires both UNO and office to use SCons, a Win64 office also requires
>>> both. The biggest initial benefit might be that since UNO doesn't change
>>> often, rebuilding would be faster, as only office modules would rebuild.
>>> And the office source code tree would be smaller and clearer.
>>> On the downside, the same version of MSVC must compile both UNO and
>> office,
>>> as C++ symbols from different MSVC versions are incompatible. This pretty
>>> much means we have to build UNO from source inside office.
>>> Anyway, what do you think?
>>> Damjan
>>> On Sun, Sep 23, 2018 at 10:46 AM Peter Kovacs <> wrote:
>>>> At the same time, the migration from Windows 32bit Version to support
>>>> 64bit has been started. The build currently breaks somewhere. A
>>>> continuation would be awesome.
>>>> And we are moving the build environment from dmake to gmake. There are
>>>> 65 modules left. This activity has a huge impact because all platforms
>>>> are effected. And according to Damjan, the low fruits have been already
>>>> migrated, and the ones left are not easy.
>>>> @Damjan, you still would like to migrate then to SCON after gmake, btw?
>>>> I would still like to, even I do not count my voice much, because I did
>>>> not drive this topic much. :(
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