Ubuntu 9.04: Fix OpenClipArt Gallery for OpenOffice.org

If you don’t know, Ubuntu and OpenOffice.org make it very easy to install the artwork from OpenClipArt.org as a built-in gallery within OpenOffice. It’s slick: while in OpenOffice Writer go to TOOLS > GALLERY and a little panel shows up, displaying categorized clipart, ready to be dropped into your document. Very cool.


Unfortunately, after Ubuntu migrated to installing OpenOffice.org 3.0 as default, the simple process of installing this excellent feature has been broken. You can still choose to install the OpenClipArt with Ubuntu’s simple application installer, but after the install is done the gallery remains unavailable in OpenOffice. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this problem.

Why is it not working?

It isn’t working because OpenOffice.org 3.0 saves its resources in a slightly different location than the previous versions. Meanwhile, the OpenClipArt gallery installer is still installing it in the previous location. Somebody forgot to tell them about the change.

How do I correct the problem?

It’s fairly simple, really. Here’s how it works:

  1. The OpenClipArt image files are all saved in a shared folder for all system users to access. This saves disc space, since every user on the system doesn’t need their own copy of the image files.
  2. OpenOffice galleries are represented by single files that keep a list of all of the images and where the image files are saved on the system. These list-files allow the OpenOffice galleries to be very responsive and quickly searched.
  3. To fix our problem we need to copy the OpenOffice gallery list-files from the old location to the new OpenOffice.org 3.0 location.

This solution could work for any operating system, but the following instructions will be specific to Ubuntu.

  1. Since these are system files, you will need to start Nautilus (the file browser program in Gnome) with Super User administration rights. Go to the Main Menu > Applications > Accessories > Terminal. Once the Terminal window appears, enter the following:
    sudo nautilus This will allow you to use Nautilus as though you are the System Administrator. Be very cautious with these administrative rights. If you move or delete an important file you could damage your system.
  2. Once the new Super User Nautilus window displays click on ‘File System’ in the Nautilus shortcuts bar and navigate to the following: /usr/lib/openoffice/share/gallery This is the old resource location.
  3. From the Nautilus menu create a new window: File > New Window
  4. In the new window click on ‘File System’ in the Nautilus shortcuts bar and navigate to the following: /usr/lib/openoffice/basis3.0/share/gallery This is the new OpenOffice.org 3.0 resource location.
  5. Go back to the first window with the old resource location. Select all of the documents in that location and drag them to the second window with the new resource location.
  6. Once the transfer is complete, close both Nautilus windows and then close the Terminal window.
  7. Start OpenOffice and activate the gallery Tools > Gallery. You should see folders for different categories that contain a lot of clip art from OpenClipArt.org!

I hope this was helpful and gives you access to this excellent free clip art library once again.