[K12OSN] OT: Weird OpenOffice behavior

David Hopkins dahopkins429 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 7 01:54:09 UTC 2009

On Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 8:25 AM, Peter Scheie <peter at scheie.homedns.org> wrote:
> David Hopkins wrote:
>>> Also bear in mind that gnome add it's own layer of environment stuff. So
>>> even if you su - in a terminal window, you will not get the gnome
>>> environment with out going through the gdm login. You will get a null
>>> environment.
>> After doing diffs on the affected users and not finding any real
>> differences between the terminal session and then su - username in
>> that terminal session I decided to just go ahead and install
>> OpenOffice3 on all the servers.  Only took an hour to do so and OOo3
>> is working fine with the accounts I have checked.
>>> Try backing up the affected users .gnome2 to a new name (mv the old one
>>> out of the way.). Now have the user login from scratch. This will pull
>>> in a new, generic .gnome2. Test the soffice issue. Now they log out and
>>> you run a diff. I suspect they twiddled something using gconf-tool2 and
>>> broke something. Also diff a working user .gnome2 (and maybe .gconf)
>>> with the busted one.
>>  Sort of out of sequence in my response, but I had tried all of this,
>> even going so far as to completely delete the existing home
>> directories since I could restore them from backups of the affected
>> users and recreating the home directory from scratch but even this
>> didn't change the behavior which is really really strange. I'm not
>> sure where staroffice would store something that could affect a user
>> that had had all the .gnome*, .gconf*, .staroffice8, and other "dot"
>> directories deleted.
> Hmm, this rings a bell.  I recall similar behavior on a system a year or two
> ago, where even wiping out the affected users' home directories didn't stop
> the oddness.  I don't remember the app, although it may have been OOo.
>  Anyway, it turned out to be some stale files in /tmp, files that gnome
> and/or X create when the user logs in. Cleaning out /tmp resolved the
> strange behavior.

Unfortunately, I had even tried deleting every file in /tmp, including
the "dot" files and this didn't resolve it either.  It was just way to
weird.  OOO3 is now installed and working wonderfully well. I even got
the 200+ fonts that the teachers had 'collected' installed.  OOO3 has
just enough new features (like opening .docx files and such) that
everyone is happy again.  Now I can get back to my normal to-do list
of maintenance/enhancements to the systems again :)

Dave Hopkins
Newark Charter School
Newark Delaware

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