StarOffice 4.0 for Linux FAQ

(Sorry, my english isn't very well, but I'll try. If you have some corrections, please email me! A german version is available at

Changed parts in new versions of this FAQ are preceded with the version number and the kind of change in brackets.

Some hints to this FAQ

Because I'm well known as an employee of Star Division and as a Linux fan, I got many questions about StarOffice 4.0 for Linux. Because very often the same questions are asked again and again, I decided to publish this summary to refer to when these questions will come up in future.

So this FAQ will mainly discuss topics related specifically to the Linux version of StarOffice, but some answers may be relevant for other operatings systems, especially other UNIX®-versions. Who wants me to be more engaged e.g. for StarOffice for Solaris: donate me an UltraSPARC :-)


[1.006] Were can I get Support?

Current informations about StarOffice support you can get from Star Division by itself:

Even if I offer this FAQ, please remember that it couldn't be my responsibility to support a product of my employer in my leisure. In the most cases my collegues of the support team of Star Division can help you much more than I could do, because I did only know the parts of StarOffice I'm developing on very well.

And please consider: Neither as an technical employee of Star Division nor for myself I can give you non technical related informations, e.g. no informations about Star Divisions license or product politics.

But of cause, if you have suggestions about this FAQ, please response.

Why is there no patch from the beta version to the final version available?

The beta version was compiled with other compiler options as the final version. Due to this the executeable and the shared libraries are totally different. Futher many of the help files and example documents were touched up. Thus a patch would be nearly the the size of the complete package.

How can I use one installation of StarOffice for all users on my system?

This topic is dicussed in the README file of newer versions of StarOffice 4.0 for Linux. But this method needs about 5 MB of user space for each user. And each user has to execute the setup program by itself.

An automatic setup for any user who wants to execute StarOffice for Linux the first time and which uses only about 650 KB of user space for each user is available at:

But please consider the hints about license and responsibility in the README of that package, in particular for commercial use of StarOffice for Linux.

How can I setup StarOffice for Red-Hat-Linux 4.2/5.0?

StarOffice 4.0 for Linux was developed using libc5.4.22. You should use the same or a compatible newer version of lib, but not glibc! Some very good hints to setup Red-Hat Linux for use with StarOffice 4.0 for Linux are available from Stefan Waldherr at:

Can I use my GhostScript fonts with StarOffice?

To use your GhostScript fonts within StarOffice for Linux two steps must be done: 1st you must register the fonts at your X-Server, 2nd because StarWriter uses only scalable fonts with some extra data (due to WYSIWYG), you must register the fonts to the X-Printer used by StarOffice.

A script which does that job is available at:

You must execute it with root permissions. My best thanks to Kristian Koehntopp and Christian Kirsch for this script. [1.006:new] Please don't ask me questions about this theme, I'm not a specialist for this theme.

But attention, there is one disadvantage with this method: Some other applications (e.g. from Netscape ® and KDE) will look very ugly because they might match display fonts to these GhostScript fonts. A workaround is to place the pixmap fonts first in your font path.

We (Star Division and fans of StarOffice for Linux) are working on better solutions for this problem.

[1.006:new] Further informations about fonts in conjunction with X and/or StarOffice you can found at:

Why is StarOffice for Linux only available on a few FTP sites?

I can only refer to the official announcements of Star Division relating this topic:

(sorry, I don't have the english version of this announcement)

Is it allowed to offer StarOffice for Linux on an university internal FTP site?

I can only refer to the official announcement of Star Division relating this topic (translation of the german version of the announcement):

For university-internal acess it is allowed to offer StarOffice for Linux on an password protected university internal FTP-site.
Best Regards
i.A. Markus Thürk
Star Division Customer Support

Why my pictures are printed only black and white while my text prints in colors?

Christian Kirsch offers the following solution:

Get the ppd file for your printer (<sdhome>/xp3/ppds) and edit the following entries:

*LanguageLevel: "2"       instead *LanguageLevel: "1"
*ColorDevice: True        instead *ColorDevice: False
*DefaultColorSpace: RGB   instead *DefaultColorSpace: Gray

Why are the fonts in StarWriter, StarWriter/Web and Mail/News too small?

StarWriter is the component within StarOffice 4.0 to edit and display text documents. Even if in other configuration, it is used also as StarWriter/Web for HTML documents and as a mail and news editor and viewer. Due to the WYSIWYG cabablility of StarWriter and because X doesn't scale up display outputs by 30% like Windows ® does, the fonts seem to be too small. If you would print out your document, the fonts would have the same size but due to the better resolution of a printer they are really readable.

For the applications listed above, printing mostly isn't necessary. Thus a solution of the problem is to enlarge the fonts. You have two alternatives to do so, which can be combined:

  1. There is a dialog for browser options available by menu Extras/Options/Browser (sorry if wrong: I don't have an english version of StarOffice at home) with a page named HTML, where you can setup the font sizes in HTML documents.

  2. The document template $(inst)/template/html/html.vor contains the paragraph style sheets used by StarWrite/Web. You can edit the style of »Preformatted Text« (I hope this english name is correct), which is used for ASCII mails and news articles.

How can I use the fonts delivered with StarOffice on my remote X-server?

By using a X-server which is running on another system as StarOffice by itself, you might get the following error messages:

$ X-Error: BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation)
        Major opcode: 51 (X_SetFontPath)
        Resource ID:  0xb00000a
        Serial No:    451 (451)
X-Error: BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation)
        Major opcode: 51 (X_SetFontPath)
        Resource ID:  0xb00000a
        Serial No:    452 (452)

and e.g. math fonts are displayed incorrectly. But if you print your document, the fonts are right. The problem may be that the fonts are not found by the X-server, because the pathes to the fonts directory are different between your X-server-system an your application-system

One (tested) solution may be to mount the directories to the same path or to add a symbolic link to $(inst)/fonts at your X-server-system.

[1.005:new] A better, but untested, solution may be to start a XFontserver on the application-system (the system running StarOffice) which exports the necessary fonts. The command is somewhat like:

xset +fp <complete hostname of the fontserver>/<port>

The advantage of this method is: Each X-server can display the fonts, even it doesn't recognize type1 fonts (the fonts in the StarOffice package are type1). My best thanks to Christian Kirsch for this idea!

But: Consider performance and security topics in both solutions!

Why did StarOffice for Linux hangup so quickly on some systems?

On some systems StarOffice 4.0 for Linux runs utterly instable. Mostly on mouse actions it »hangs up«: It did not react on further mouse or keyboard actions. On some other systems it crashes in this cases (I don't know the exact signal). Nearly all of these systems are using a PS/2 mouse, but this problem also happens on a few other systems.

The reason for this problem is related to multi-threading and a signal while in signal processing. Because PS/2 mouses are generating much more interrupts than serial ones (and this seems to generate signals to the application), these systems are more affected to this problem.

By using »gpm -R« and /dev/gpmdata as mouse device for X, StarOffice will run more stable systems. Another workaround is to use a serial mouse until a fix is available from Star Division. Star Division now is able to reproduce this problem in their office and working on a solution. Lets hope a patch will be available soon.

[1.006: new] While running StarOffice 4.0 for Linux within strace (strace soffice 1>/dev/null 2>&1), it runs somewhat slower but very much more stable. Of cause this is only a workaround until the problem is fixed.

Because there is no automatic emergency save of your modifications in your documents when StarOffice hangs up, you should not terminate StarOffice with »kill -9«. A better way is to send a sig7 («kill -7«) first to simulate a bus error. Than in most cases StarOffice will save your modified documents in the backup directory and offer you a recovery at the next startup. My best thanks for this hint to Wolfram Liebchen.

[1.006:neu] Can I use Cut&Paste with other applications?

Leider ist momentan keine Anbindung an das X-Clipboard verfügbar. Es gibt aber gewisse Hoffnungen, daß dieses Feature in zukünftigen Versionen zur Verfügung steht.

[1.006: neu] Where is stored if StarOffice is already installed?

There are two files on which StarOffice can recocnize where it is installed:

  1. ~/.sofficerc

  2. ~/.sversionrc

[1.006:neu] Why can't a default printer be found?

If a message like

No default printer found.
Please choose a standard printer and try again.

appears, you must set up a standard printer in the seciont [windows] of .../xp3/Xpdefaults.

Do do so, you must copy one of the printer specifications from the [devices] section into the [windows] section, add a device= before and remove the last argument separated by comma (the port e.g.,lp).

Other reasons for this problem can be:

For this hints best thanks to my collecgue Bernd Eilers.

This FAQ may be freely copied and distributed until the contents are not modified (but you may modify the format or style) and a hint to the source is added. I take no responsibility for the hints and the scripts refered in this document.

Copyright 1999

Version 1.006a, last modified 1999/01/12 13:09h