tonybaldwin | blog

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Posts Tagged ‘free software

Wild Dusk, digital art created by tony baldwin with GIMP

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Wild Dusk (click to enlarge)
.

Digital art, created by tony baldwin with GIMP.

Written by tonybaldwin

August 19, 2011 at 6:12 am

Posted in baldwinsoftware

Tagged with , , ,

Celebrating 20 Years of Linux

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Written by tonybaldwin

April 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Posted in free software

Tagged with , , ,

Convert an .html file to .pdf in gnu/linux

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There are various options for converting .html files to .pdf in a gnu/linux operating system. Your choice of methods will depend on the complexity of the file you wish to convert, and your familiarity with the tools a gnu/linux system provides.

What you’ll need:

  • Gnu/linux operating system
  • Html file
  • Web browser

Optional:

  • Openoffice.org office suite
  • wget
  • html2ps
  • ps2pdf

Simply “Print to file”
One very simple option for creating a .pdf file from an .html file is to simply open the file in your browser, and choose, print. When the print dialog arises, choose “Print to File”, and indicate “PDF”. This will write the html file out to pdf format.
html to pdf conversion: print to file

Here is a pdf of this article generated in this fashion: converthtml2pdfgnulinux.pdf

OpenOffice.org

“Print to File” works well for basic html files with simple text and some images. If the html file in question has more complex formatting, this option may not always produce the best results. Luckily, other options exist.

Save the html file to your computer (if you haven’t already done so), and open it with OpenOffice.org‘s html editor (ooweb). Then simply go to the “File” menu, and choose “Export”. OpenOffice.org will then offer you the usual options for saving a file, such as choosing where to save it, and what title to give the file, and, preso-magico, will produce a .pdf file from your .html file.

Command Line

Of course, no linux how to article would be complete without instructions on how to accomplish your task using only the magical Bash command line interface. For those so inclined, then, the following is a complete process for acquiring an .html file and converting it to a .pdf file. In order to proceed with this method, the following software must be installed on the your computer: wget, html2ps, and ps2pdf. These programs are either already a part of most gnu/linux distributions, by default, or can be easily acquired with your favorite package manager (apt, yum, pacman, portage, etc.)

First, let’s save the file to your computer:
wget http://www.somesite.com/yourfile.html

Next, let’s convert the .html file to a postscript or .ps file:
html2ps yourfile.html > yourfile.ps

Then, we’ll convert the postscript file, finally, to a .pdf file:
ps2pdf yourfile.ps

Voila!
You should now have “yourfile.pdf”.

This could, of course, all be scripted.

#!/bin/bash

# convert webpages to pdf files
# get url
echo "Enter the url of the page to be converted:"
read page
#download page
wget $page

file=$(basename $page)
#convert to postscript
html2ps $file > $file.ps
#convert to pdf
ps2pdf $file.ps
#clean up extraneous files
rm -f $file
rm -f $file.ps
#clean up file name
rename "s/.html.pdf/.pdf/g" *.pdf

echo "done"

exit

Here is a pdf of this article, generated via this command line method: convertweb2pdflinux.pdf
Notice, it is different from the above pdf created with “Print to file”. One difference, which, depending on your goals, may be either advantageous or undesired, is that text in this file can be selected and copied, which is not true of the first file.

XHTML2PDF

In many cases, you may wish to create a pdf file from a complex .html or .xhtml file that includes .css (cascading style sheet) or other elements, that will not render in the above methods in such a manner as to produce a file that appears as it does on the Internet.

For those cases, there is a program called xhtml2pdf. This program is not as likely to be a part of most gnu/linux distributions by default, nor available from said distributions’ repositories. As such, you may to have to download and install it by hand. Thankfully, the site for this program is easily enough found at http://www.xhtml2pdf.com/, and, of course, the program is free, open source software.

And, of course, here is a pdf of this article generated with xhtml2pdf: xhtml2pdfconversion.pdf

There’s more!

Yet other methods exist for generating .pdf file from .html files, of course, and an attempt to compile an exhaustive list, with instructions for each, would be beyond the scope of this article.

Written by tonybaldwin

May 18, 2010 at 8:01 am

Time for nonprofits to leave proprietary fundraising software systems behind

with 2 comments

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced that CiviCRM has earned its recommendation as a fully featured donor and contact management system for nonprofits.

The FSF had highlighted the need for a free software solution in this area as part of its High Priority Projects campaign. With this announcement, the FSF will also be adopting CiviCRM for its own use, and actively encouraging other nonprofit organizations to do the same.

Nonprofits have historically relied heavily on proprietary or web-hosted “software as a service” fundraising software such as Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge or eTapestry. The nonprofit organizations using them are locked in, have little control over the functionality of the software, and are dependent on the whims of a single company. Nonprofits also face costly migration if they wish to switch to a different proprietary system, never achieving independence. These factors mean that tools intended to enhance organizations’ effectiveness have actually ended up restricting their ability to accomplish their social missions.

CiviCRM, however, shares its software code so all organizations can see how it works, have the option of commissioning anyone to make customizations to it, and can host it on their own trusted servers. Since the code and the data format are freely available, using the system does not mean being locked into it. Because it runs on the free GNU/Linux operating system, it eliminates the need for another frequent nonprofit proprietary software dependency — Microsoft Windows.

“The features now offered by CiviCRM will satisfy nonprofits seeking to organize their relationships with donors, supporters, and the media. In addition to storing contact information, it handles online fundraising, event registration, membership management, and personalized paper and electronic mailings. Best of all, it’s free software distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License, which means nonprofits can host it themselves and retain the freedom they need to advance their missions unfettered,” said John Sullivan, FSF’s operations manager.

Free software ideals encouraging sharing and modification have been central to CiviCRM’s growth. Developer Dave Greenberg explained, “The CiviCRM project was started by a group of developers and project managers who had been working together on a proprietary donation processing application. As folks who were passionate about increasing the impact and effectiveness of the nonprofits, we came to realize that there was a need for a CRM application designed from the ground up to meet the needs of civic sector organizations. From the beginning it was clear that this should be free software — community driven and community owned. On a personal level I find the engagement with our community of users to be intellectually stimulating and rewarding. Seeing folks with expertise in a particular area step up and contribute their time and ideas to help improve the product is quite exciting.”

“The features now offered by CiviCRM will satisfy nonprofits seeking to organize their relationships with donors, supporters, and the media. In addition to storing contact information, it handles online fundraising, event registration, membership management, and personalized paper and electronic mailings. Best of all, it’s free software distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License, which means nonprofits can host it themselves and retain the freedom they need to advance their missions unfettered.” — John Sullivan, operations manager

In making the switch, the FSF joins other organizations like Amnesty International, Creative Commons, and the Wikimedia Foundation, who have also been using CiviCRM.

Executive director Peter Brown described the FSF’s use of the software and intent to publicize it: “I look forward to encouraging other nonprofit organizations to escape their current proprietary or ‘software as a service’ systems and give CiviCRM a try. As a nonprofit, the FSF manages over 40,000 contacts and 15,000 donation transactions per year, a book publishing operation, online store, and several advocacy campaign websites with associated mailing lists — all with free software. A general purpose donor and contact management system will be the final piece of the puzzle for charitable organizations looking to operate using only free software. We plan to publish a guide offering our experiences as a resource for other nonprofits concerned with the social implications of their technology.”

Nathan Yergler, chief technology officer at Creative Commons, offered further praise for the software: “CiviCRM is a critical part of Creative Commons’ infrastructure. We’ve seen the application mature and steadily improve with new features and performance improvements coming in every release. CiviCRM’s developer community is accessible and responsive, going beyond the normal call of duty to help when needed. I would happily recommend CiviCRM to organizations like Creative Commons looking for a CRM solution.”

CiviCRM core team member Piotr Szotkowski noted that despite the project’s maturity, there is still rewarding work to be done: “We could definitely use more helping hands. Being able to work on CiviCRM gives a lot of non-direct benefits, like the very warm and fuzzy feelings of great satisfaction and fulfillment: knowing that one’s code was used to help the Katrina hurricane victims, that it helps organizations like Amnesty International or Front Line fight for human rights defenders, or that it helps organizations like the Wikimedia Foundation better organize their great work on Wikipedia and all their other projects.”

Further information about downloading, using, and contributing to CiviCRM can be found at http://civicrm.org. An ongoing discussion of comparisons between free software database options is on the FSF’s LibrePlanet wiki.

For a description of the dangers in relying on “software as a service,” see “Who does that server really serve?“.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Free Software and Open Source

The free software movement’s goal is freedom for computer users. Some, especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as “open source,” which cites only practical goals such as making software powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are different at the deepest level. For more explanation, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Operations Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version).

Written by tonybaldwin

April 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Linux Inside! 50 place you didn't know Linux was running.

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I found this article interesting.

Among gnu/linux users listed are included:

  • various US and foreign government agencies, including the French Parliament, Cuba, Spain, the US Postal Service, US Dept. of Defense and Navy, etc.
  • Many large companies (you knew about IBm, Dell and Google, of course, but how about Burlington Coat Factory, Amazon.com, Omaha Steaks, and Virgin Airlines?)
  • a myriad school systems

Likely, you are using services running on gnu/linux, somewhere, whether you knew it or not!


posted with Xpostulate

Written by tonybaldwin

April 12, 2010 at 7:26 am

eXp0stulate – x-posting blog client

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I’ve decided to take the code from TclTherapy (insanejournal client), and TkLJ (livejournal client), and join them together, adding functionality for DreamWidth, as well.
I have successfully merged the code, and X-posted to all three of the above mentioned blogging services.

I’ll be calling this new bit of hackery
eXp0stulate“,
since it x-posts.
I’d like to add wordpress and blogger funcationality (especially since THIS blog is WordPress blog), but I believe that will require my learning to get this thing to write out an xml file and play nice with the xml-rpc protocol, rather than just sending a flat entry via http post.
Not sure…either way, it’s just a matter of time.

I also want to get it to download and edit older posts.

Written by tonybaldwin

March 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

KDE & Bing ?!

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I used to be a KDE fan, but somewhere along the line, I learned how to use a gnu/linux operating system without all that hand-holding, and started to feel that all the spinny, blinking, graphical gui-ness that is KDE was just wasting system resources and getting in my way.
Currently, I use wmii, window manager improved.

Anyway, I used to contribute artwork to kde-look.org, and was just over there looking for one of my old contributions, when I saw this:

KDE-look.org has some Bing! search thingy incorporated in their site…
Already KDE was making me want to puke, but, seriously…

In KDE’s defense, the KDE-look.org, to my knowledge, is a separate and distinct entity, not owned, administered, or even directly influenced by the kde project.


A little side note: I completely redesigned the baldwinsoftware.com site in the past couple of days…again.
I decided I didn’t want to use borrowed css stylesheets or templates anymore, and wrote a nice, clean, simple css, by my own hand.
Check it out and let me know what you think!


That is all for now…
I’m busy.

ciao,
./tony

Written by tonybaldwin

March 6, 2010 at 10:14 am

transprocalc – free translation project management tools *MUCHO TODO*

with 2 comments

I’ve decided I need to drag out the transprocalc code and get hacking again.

TransProCalc is a little program I sarted building back in late 2007/early 2008, when I was outsourcing a lot of translation work, and found that the time I was spending managing the projects didn’t justify the meager profits I was making from outsourcing. I determined that I really needed to find a way to automate parts of the process, and I couldn’t find any existing free/open source software projects that would meet my needs. I was “scratching an itch”, as they say in the hacker community. I had a need; I started hacking.

TransProCalc IS handy, too. It helps me keep track of all the documents and assignments for a project, and crunch of the financial numbers, and spits out handy little reports. It needs work, though. I want to get it playing with a database to manage information on clients and providers, get it hooked up with a real calendar/reminder system, to remind me when invoices are due (to providers, or from clients), keep track of which clients have online invoicing systems and help me automate the process of dealing with those, etc….much trabajo.
I have good ideas on how to get a lot of that accomplished, but I need to set aside some time to get to work on it.
Additionally, I would not mind other devs jumping on board with the transprocalc project.
I added transprocalc on google code this morning, which may assist in finding other hands to get into that code, perhaps, and provide tools to manage the project.
Of course, it is already on sourceforge, too.
At the moment, I have some academic articles from Brazil to translate that are keeping me pretty busy.

Furthermore, I have a lot of really good friends in Santiago, Chile, where there was an 8.8 earthquake early this morning.
So, today, I am spending a lot of time, today, worrying about them and trying to track them down and make sure everyone is okay, and obsessively checking the news, etc… ¡VIVA CHILE, MIERDA! (a todos los chilenos, les quiero mucho, mando abrazos, cuidense)

Written by tonybaldwin

February 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

Yes! You, too, can use Free Software and Succeed as a Freelance Translator

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This past weekend new versions were released of two Free software programs very important for translators, OmegaT, CAT program (Computer Aided Translation), and Anaphraseus, another CAT program, both Free (as in speech) and free (as in beer).
OmegaT, developed in Java, is the CAT program is most used by translators in the Free Software community, and has been used in translation and localization of other important Free Software projects such as OpenOffice.org, the complete, Free, office suite. It is rather distinct from other CAT programs, broadly useful, with ample functions and the ability to deal with a wide variety of files formats, including all those most common to the translation industry, such as all MSOffice® file formats, various software localization formats, and, of course, all Open Document Format files. In addition, OmegaT works with the standard translation memory format, TMX (Translation Memory eXchange).
Anaphraseus CAT works similarly to another, proprietary CAT program, Wordfast®, in its earlier incarnations, but as a macro in OpenOffice.org, not with MSOffice®, as does Wordfast. Anaphraseus developed in StarBasic, is important because it allows translators who are users of free software to provide their customers “unclean” .doc or .rtf files, a bilingual word processing file (containing both, the source and target languages), widely used in the translation industry. With both these tools, translators using only free software are able to compete with those who work with proprietary products that dominate the industry. Both programs are cross-platform, able to run in GNU/Linux, Mac or Windows.
I announced the release of these new versions over the past several days, but today, I’m taking the time to elaborate again on these release, because I believe these programs are extremely important. I’ve already discussed why I believe open document formats are important at some length, but it is a topic I am likely to revisit, and my original article touching on the matter is, as I see it, a work in progress. I’m certain I will continue to revise and update that article and repost it from time to time. Why freedom of information and open standards are important in my industry, translation, should, as I see it, require little explanation.
Now, my industry, translation, like so many others, is dominated by the use of propietary software tools, such as Trados® and Wordfast@, and inundated with the widespread use of MSOffice®. That’s no surprise and no secret. Many translators, in fact, believe that you simply can’t work successfully in our industry without MSOffice® and Trados® or Wordfast®, and I’m living proof that the notion is completely erroneous. I’ve been working as a freelance translator now for half a decade, and using only Free Software on my computers for a full decade, and my family eats three square meals a day. My three most used programs are the above mentioned, OmegaT, Anaphraseus, and OpenOffice.org (the 4th being a web browser, for research and to communicate with clients, providers, etc., and fifth being mocp to listen to music while I work. Seriously. But that’s a matter for another article). I work for private clients, government agencies, school systems, and large translation warehouse agencies, the vast majority of whom use the popular proprietary products mentioned above. I’ve never had any difficulty due to lack of compatibility, and have always been able to deliver the product that my clients have demanded of me. Furthermore, it is my belief that I can do so more efficiently using the Free Software I use, especially since I use them with a GNU/Linux operating system. My system is secure, stable, and efficient. It uses fewer resources than popular proprietary operating systems, doesn’t fall prey to the hordes of viruses and attacks to which those other systems are so easily and frequently prey, has never crashed on me (seriously, not once), and is far more customizable and configurable, allowing me to set it up in the way that is more “ergonomic” and efficient for me, allowing me to work as efficiently as possible. I save time, not having to deal with AV software updates, fixing crashes, removing intrusions, etc. Heck, I never even have to reboot the darned thing. Another factor, and, in my opinion, this is probably the least important, but often the most touted in some circles, is that none of my software has cost me a penny. Seriously. I have powerful CAT tools and office tools for my translation work, all the web communication tools needed (e-mail, chat, voip), tools for managing the financial back end (some day I should write an article on gnucash), powerful image manipulation software (sometimes I edit images for clients), essentially, everything I need for my work. (I also have all the toys, games, multimedia software, etc., I could possibly ever not need to distract me when I should be working…).
A common proprietary operating system, cat program, and office suite, alone, would cost me in the neighborhood of US$1500.00. Proprietary image manipulation software would easily tack on another $700, and, let’s not forget that I’d have to pay for security tools to protect all my data, with regular AV updates, etc. I could easily spend US$3000.00 or more for the software I would need to do the work that I do, were I to use proprietary software tools. So, I’m not only more efficient in terms of time/energy waste maintaining my machine (able to focus more on work than maintenance…except when I’m blogging or facebooking), I’m also more efficient in terms of expenditure of financial resources, which enables me to pass the savings on to my clients, making, in fact, more competitive than my colleagues who use proprietary software tools.
Now, do I use Free (as in speech) Software just because it’s free as in beer)?
No. For me, the issues of freedom of information and open file format standards, and the freedom to control my own computer (not be licensed to use a product over which I have little control, and in a fashion that gives its creators rights over the software on MY machine) are FAR more important to me than price. In addition, the added efficiency and configurability I have with the Free Software I use are convenient and agree with me immensely. Nonetheless, I do feel that it’s worth mentioning the added financial advantage these tools bring.
With that, I will get back to work translating these Brazilian articles, and bid you good day.
./tony


originally posted to the baldwinsoftware blog.

Written by tonybaldwin

February 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Yes! You, too, can use Free Software and Succeed as a Freelance Translator

with 5 comments

This past weekend new versions were released of two Free software programs very important for translators, OmegaT, CAT program (Computer Aided Translation), and Anaphraseus, another CAT program, both Free (as in speech) and free (as in beer).

OmegaT, developed in Java, is the CAT program is most used by translators in the Free Software community, and has been used in translation and localization of other important Free Software projects such as OpenOffice.org, the complete, Free, office suite. It is rather distinct from other CAT programs, broadly useful, with ample functions and the ability to deal with a wide variety of files formats, including all those most common to the translation industry, such as all MSOffice® file formats, various software localization formats, and, of course, all Open Document Format files. In addition, OmegaT works with the standard translation memory format, TMX (Translation Memory eXchange).

Anaphraseus CAT works similarly to another, proprietary CAT program, Wordfast®, in its earlier incarnations, but as a macro in OpenOffice.org, not with MSOffice®, as does Wordfast. Anaphraseus developed in StarBasic, is important because it allows translators who are users of free software to provide their customers “unclean” .doc or .rtf files, a bilingual word processing file (containing both, the source and target languages), widely used in the translation industry. With both these tools, translators using only free software are able to compete with those who work with proprietary products that dominate the industry. Both programs are cross-platform, able to run in GNU/Linux, Mac or Windows.

I announced the release of these new versions over the past several days, but today, I’m taking the time to elaborate again on these release, because I believe these programs are extremely important. I’ve already discussed why I believe open document formats are important at some length, but it is a topic I am likely to revisit, and my original article touching on the matter is, as I see it, a work in progress. I’m certain I will continue to revise and update that article and repost it from time to time. Why freedom of information and open standards are important in my industry, translation, should, as I see it, require little explanation.

Now, my industry, translation, like so many others, is dominated by the use of propietary software tools, such as Trados® and Wordfast@, and inundated with the widespread use of MSOffice®. That’s no surprise and no secret. Many translators, in fact, believe that you simply can’t work successfully in our industry without MSOffice® and Trados® or Wordfast®, and I’m living proof that the notion is completely erroneous. I’ve been working as a freelance translator now for half a decade, and using only Free Software on my computers for a full decade, and my family eats three square meals a day. My three most used programs are the above mentioned, OmegaT, Anaphraseus, and OpenOffice.org (the 4th being a web browser, for research and to communicate with clients, providers, etc., and fifth being mocp to listen to music while I work. Seriously. But that’s a matter for another article). I work for private clients, government agencies, school systems, and large translation warehouse agencies, the vast majority of whom use the popular proprietary products mentioned above. I’ve never had any difficulty due to lack of compatibility, and have always been able to deliver the product that my clients have demanded of me. Furthermore, it is my belief that I can do so more efficiently using the Free Software I use, especially since I use them with a GNU/Linux operating system. My system is secure, stable, and efficient. It uses fewer resources than popular proprietary operating systems, doesn’t fall prey to the hordes of viruses and attacks to which those other systems are so easily and frequently prey, has never crashed on me (seriously, not once), and is far more customizable and configurable, allowing me to set it up in the way that is more “ergonomic” and efficient for me, allowing me to work as efficiently as possible. I save time, not having to deal with AV software updates, fixing crashes, removing intrusions, etc. Heck, I never even have to reboot the darned thing. Another factor, and, in my opinion, this is probably the least important, but often the most touted in some circles, is that none of my software has cost me a penny. Seriously. I have powerful CAT tools and office tools for my translation work, all the web communication tools needed (e-mail, chat, voip), tools for managing the financial back end (some day I should write an article on gnucash), powerful image manipulation software (sometimes I edit images for clients), essentially, everything I need for my work. (I also have all the toys, games, multimedia software, etc., I could possibly ever not need to distract me when I should be working…).

A common proprietary operating system, cat program, and office suite, alone, would cost me in the neighborhood of US$1500.00. Proprietary image manipulation software would easily tack on another $700, and, let’s not forget that I’d have to pay for security tools to protect all my data, with regular AV updates, etc. I could easily spend US$3000.00 or more for the software I would need to do the work that I do, were I to use proprietary software tools. So, I’m not only more efficient in terms of time/energy waste maintaining my machine (able to focus more on work than maintenance…except when I’m blogging or facebooking), I’m also more efficient in terms of expenditure of financial resources, which enables me to pass the savings on to my clients, making, in fact, more competitive than my colleagues who use proprietary software tools.

Now, do I use Free (as in speech) Software just because it’s free as in beer)?
No. For me, the issues of freedom of information and open file format standards, and the freedom to control my own computer (not be licensed to use a product over which I have little control, and in a fashion that gives its creators rights over the software on MY machine) are FAR more important to me than price. In addition, the added efficiency and configurability I have with the Free Software I use are convenient and agree with me immensely. Nonetheless, I do feel that it’s worth mentioning the added financial advantage these tools bring.
With that, I will get back to work translating these Brazilian articles, and bid you good day.

./tony

Written by tonybaldwin

February 23, 2010 at 7:33 am