tonybaldwin | blog

non compos mentis

Posts Tagged ‘free software

Wild Dusk, digital art created by tony baldwin with GIMP

leave a comment »

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

leave a comment »

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

leave a comment »

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


  • 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

“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‘s html editor (ooweb). Then simply go to the “File” menu, and choose “Export”. 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:

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

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

You should now have “yourfile.pdf”.

This could, of course, all be scripted.


# 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 > $
#convert to pdf
ps2pdf $
#clean up extraneous files
rm -f $file
rm -f $
#clean up file name
rename "s/.html.pdf/.pdf/g" *.pdf

echo "done"


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.


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, 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 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 and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at 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

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Operations Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

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.

leave a comment »

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,, 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

leave a comment »

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
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 ?!

leave a comment »

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, and was just over there looking for one of my old contributions, when I saw this: has some Bing! search thingy incorporated in their site…
Already KDE was making me want to puke, but, seriously…

In KDE’s defense, the, 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 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.


Written by tonybaldwin

March 6, 2010 at 10:14 am