Building installation packages

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Installation packages

The building of installation packages is the last step in building OpenOffice. It is triggered by the in main/instsetoo_native/util/ but most of the work is done by the solenv/bin/ and modules under solenv/bin/modules/installer/. It basically consists of collecting all files that are to be installed and putting them into an archive that can be installed on the targeted operating system. The files and other items like registry entries (only on Windows) are defined as script items in the scp2 module. The installation technique depends on the operating system:

An MSI that is run by setup.exe. The use of setup.exe allows the installation of some Windows redistributables. It is built as loader2.exe in main/desktop/win32/source/setup/. It runs an upgrade instead of a full installation if
  • an upgrade key read from setup.ini exists in the Windows registry
  • setup.exe finds any .msp files
  • there is an instance of AOO already installed and that matches the product code read from setup.ini.
For the download version the msi and setup.exe are wrapped by an NSIS installer.
A set of RPM or DEB packages that are installed by distribution specific package managers.
A DMG archive that is (can be?) copied into the /Application directory.

How To Create Installation Sets

Installation sets are created when you run build in instsetoo_native. How to set up the build system is described in the building guide and step by step building guide. When your build system is configured you can build OpenOffice like this:

   cd main/instsetoo_native
   source ../ # or another *.[sS], the name depends on your platform
   build --all

You can speed up the building process by running it in multiple parallel processes like this

   build --all -P4 -- -P4

where the numbers depend on how much your CPU can handle and if you still want to work with your computer while you are building. On a 4 core CPU the -P4 -- -P4 option leaves a Linux system responsive while a Windows system starts to lag.

The build command in instsetoo_native/<code> (with or without the <code>--all option) builds installation sets for all languages that where given to configure via the --with-lang option. Without the --with-lang option the set of languages defaults to en-US. There is a second multiplication factor for the installation sets that are built: the package format. The set of package formats depends on the platform. For Windows that is msi, for Linux that is deb and/or rpm and for Mac that is dmg. There is another package format that is available on all platforms. The archive is built by default, but only for en-US, even when more languages where specified via --with-lang.

If you want to build only one installation set for a fixed combination of language and package format then

   cd instsetoo_native/util
   dmake <target>_<language>.<package>

The list of available targets is listed when you run

   dmake help

The list of available languages is the one you gave to --with-lang and the list of available package formats is the one explained above (archive, msi, deb, rpm, dmg).

Patches on Windows

A patch differs from a full installation package in that it only contains the modified files. For the update from AOO 3.4 to 3.4.1 this leads to size reduction of roughly 90%.

On Windows there are Windows Installer patches (or .msp files) similar to installation packages (or .msi files). These are self-contained packages that, for example on double-click from the file explorer, perform the update automatically and without the need for further applications.

Windows MSP updates can have three different types (see for more details):

  • Small Updates
  • Minor Upgrades
  • Major Upgrades

As small updates do not allow a change of the version number, a minor upgrade is the one the one best suited for Apache OpenOffice updates. A major upgrade should be used for ?.0 releases. While a major upgrade corresponds with our use of .msi files, the creation of minor upgrades requires additional work. On the conceptual level the creation of a minor upgrade is quite simple.

  1. Locate two installation sets, old and new or source and target, both as a pairs of .msi and .cab file. The .msi file is a database with a set of tables that describe the files and registry entries to install. The .cab file contains the actual files.
  2. Create a .pcp file that is basically a data file that drives the patch creation.
  3. Run the MsiMsp.exe command from the Windows installer SDK. This results in a single .msp file.
  4. The .msp can be applied on a computer which has the source installation set installed. The result of that is equivalent to installing the target installation set.

Conditions for creating patches

There are a number of conditions that both source and target installation sets have to fulfill. Breaking this conditions may result in very subtle errors either during the patch creation or application. The conditions are defined on values in tables in the .msi files of source and target installation sets:

  • In the Property table:
    • The values of the UpgradeCode property differ.
      Identical values indicate the same version => no need to create a patch.
    • The values of the ProductCode property are identical.
    • The values of the PRODUCTBUILDID property differ and the newer value is higher than the old value.
  • Adding and deleting files, registry entries, components, features:
    • New files can be added but only to new components in new features.
  • Files and Components (and registry entries?) must not be deleted.
    If a file is not needed anymore than it may be possible to set its size to zero instead of deleting it completely.

jani: would rename be possible ? zero length files are often a problem with backup/copy.
andre:No, the name has to remain unchanged. But maybe we can put one byte into files.

  • For components that exist in the Component table of the old installation set:
    • There is a corresponding component in the new installation set (ie. components must not be deleted).
    • Its ComponentId values do not change.
    • Its Component values do not change.
    • That means that the component names (ie the ComponentId values) do not contain the full AOO version number. Just the major version number would be OK.
    • Maybe: The KeyPath values point to the same files.
  • For registry entries that exist in the Registry table in the old installation set:
    • There is a corresponding registry entry in the new installation set (ie. registry entries must not be deleted).
    • The Registry values do not change.
    • The Key values do not change.
    • That means that the component names (both the Registry and Key values) must not contain the full AOO version number. Just the major version number would be OK.
  • In the File table:
    • The Sequence values remain identical for files that are in both the old and the new installation sets, regardless of whether a file has changes or not.
    • The Sequence values are unique.
    • Probably: The Sequence values form a sequence without holes.

Current state

The patch creation on Windows has been reimplemented. The existing implementation was inactive, incomplete and undocumented and therefore could not be reused.


In the typical use case patches are created from the previous version to the currently released version.

The process of creating MSP patches can be broken down into three steps:

  • Build installation sets of OpenOffice with the additional option release=t.
This enforces the conditions that where described above by integrating information about the source release into the build process. This information is taken from downloadable installation sets. These are expected in the ext_sources/ directory. When they are missing (which is the default) then they are downloaded from This should not lead to band width problems because release builds usually are made only by the release manager twice a year.
Possible optimizations (to reduce the amount of additional disk space):
  • Use only the MSI files of previous releases. Most of the required information can be extracted from them. This approach has two disadvantages:
    • MSI files of older releases are not stored anywhere.
    • When files are removed then, to fulfill the patch requirements, the files of the previous release are used instead. These files are contained in the CAB file and are not present in the MSI.
  • Create the patch.
This is done by the new Perl script solenv/bin/ It performs four basic steps:
  • For both the previous and the current release unpack the downloadable installation sets (not necessary for the current release) to get access to MSI and CAB files and unpack the CAB file (requirement of the msimsp.exe that will ultimately create the MSP patch.
  • Check that all requirements (listed above) are fulfilled.
  • Set up a PCP file that is basically an MSI with some additional restrictions. Its tables describe for example the version numbers of previous and current release so that when the patch is applied, Windows can check that the patch is applicable to the installed version of OpenOffice.
  • Run the msimsp.exe program of the Windows SDK with the PCP as driver file. After about 15 minutes it creates the MSP patch file.
  • Add information about the current release to instsetoo_native/data/releases.xml.
The most important part of the information is the URL of where the release can be found on the Apache servers. When the next release is build the releases.xml file can also be used to guess the (then) previous release version.

The patch creation mechanism should be able to handle other combinations of source and target versions. This case is just not handled by the instsetoo_native/util/ You have to call solennv/bin/ from the command line and provide --source-version and --target-version options.

How To Create Patches

Creating patches is quite simple:

  • Prepare to build OpenOffice as you usually do.
  • (Optional but recommended) Provide downloadable installation sets in ext_sources/ for the languages you are interested in.
  • (Optional but recommended) Define the previous release number by adding a or modifying the line in instsetoo_native/util/openoffice.lst that defines PREVIOUS_VERSION. You find it in the variables section of the product which you are building (most likely 'Apache_OpenOffice' and/or 'Apache_OpenOffice_SDK'). For example
               PRODUCTVERSION 4.1.0
               PREVIOUS_VERSION 4.0.1
  • Got to instsetoo_native and call build with your favorite options and an additional release=t. For example
  build --all -P4 -- -P4 release=t
  • When that the build has finished go to instsetoo_native/util/ and run
  dmake patch-create
This will produce the MSP files as instsetoo_native/ OpenOffice/msp/VERSION/LANGUAGE/openoffice.msp. The VERSION part encodes the previous and current version. For an upgrade from 4.0.1 to 4.1 it would be v-4-0-1_v-4-1-0
  • Still in instsetoo_native/util/ run
   dmake patch-update-releases-xml
to create an updated version of the releases.xml file. Follow the last message in the output to copy the updated file to instsetoo_native/data/ and commit it to SVN.

Known Issues

  • Deinstallation of a patch (not deinstallation of a patched OpenOffice) is prevented by the test that checks if OpenOffice is still running.
Probably caused by IsOfficeRunning() in setup_native/source/win32/customactions/patch/swappatchfiles.cxx which tries to detect if OpenOffice is running by attempting to rename programs/vcl*.res. A similar test in another file was modified for Vista and above. Maybe integrating that change will fix this problem.
  • After application of a patch Windows asks to reboot to activate changes to registry entries.
This seems to be caused by ooofilt_x64.dll being in use by the SearchFilterHost. That prevents the DLL from being updated during patch application. To update it, Windows has to reboot. (Look for 'Info 1603' in the log file of the patch application). See also Logging of Reboot Requests.
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