Compiling LibExWord on Mac OS X

Ex-Word Data plus 2

Looking at the traffic my blog gets, there are regular visitors to the blog post explaining my (unsuccessful) tentatives at understanding the USB connection of my Ex-Word Dataplus 2. The tool seemed to have solved the issue, but I never managed to get it compile on Mac OS X.

On a whim, I checked if I could fix that. The core problem is that the configure script is not able to find where various libraries are installed (I use ). So I could either try to fix the configure script, or just write a 30 lines Makefile. I did the latter and managed to compile the tool and run it.

If you want to build that tool, you need to do the following:

  1. Install the developer tools
  2. Install MacPorts
  3. Install the libusb library
  4. Install the libiconv library
  5. Install the readline library
  6. Download the libexword source code
  7. Download my Makefile and put it into the src directory
  8. Edit the src/ file and remove all the macro blocks guarded by defined(__APPLE__) && defined(__MACH__) as paradoxically, the prevent compilation. They are file-system functions that rely on the long dead Carbon library, the Unix library works fine.
  9. type make exword in the src directory.

While the code compiles and runs, it does not actually work, the tools detects the dictionary on the USB port, but connection fails. This is not very surprising as my model is now quite old, and not among the list of supported dictionaries.

Truth to be told, being able to add files to this dictionary would have been useful when I lived in Japan, and before the rise of smartphones.

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