Archive for the ‘linux’ Category

What’s Your Favourite Application/Project Name?

December 14, 2007

I just responded to a comment on one of my blog posts about various aspects of the free and open-source OS world versus Windows. One part of that discussion was about application naming, with the commenter suggesting that more descriptive naming would be an important thing to have. While I’m in agreement theoretically, my heart just isn’t there. I love a creatively named application or project.

One of my favourite application names is Inkscape (and not just because I love the program too – which I do – that name is just uber-cool to me). But there are other good ones like: BlueFish, XSane, Opera, DamnSmallLinux, SeaMonkey and F-Spot.

There are of course other names I don’t like, with Gimp, Avidemux and Pidgin immediately springing to mind.

Of course none of this has anything to do with how well the applications work.

What’s your favourite application, distro, or project name (open or closed, free or non-free)? Which ones do you hate?

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A Couple of Quick Command Line and IRC timesaving tips

December 12, 2007

I’m one of those people who figures out things bit by bit. I learn enough to get what I want accomplished and then move on. A consequence of this is that I find out some time-saving trick literally years later, when it could have served me well from the beginning. But I’m too lazy (and too eager for immediate gratification) to take the time to thoroughly learn every nuance of some new exciting new toy.

So here are two things I’ve learned recently which you may or may not know:

1. In most IRC chat clients (Gaim/Pidgin anyway), you can use tab-completion to fill in nicknames of those in the chat. So if you wanted to type: “heathenx: You’re a sorry excuse for a human being.” , you could type “he” and then ‘tab’ and it would fill in the ‘athenx’ for you. If there are multiple matches, it lists them out and you type additional letters the next time to get a single match. **

2. In the bash terminal (works in rxvt under Cygwin, and likely on Mac terminals too), if you’re searching for a past command you entered – and it’s still in your command history – hit Ctrl-r. This will bring up a prompt so that as you type the first few letters it will find the most recent command matching those letters. It refines it’s search result as you type more letters. If you find the command you wanted,  hit enter to execute the command or hit the right cursor key (or ctrl-j) to bring it onto the command line for you to edit.

So there are a couple of tips that might save you some time and frustration (things I’m intimately familiar with).

Note: Any reference to heathenx’s or sorry excuses for human beings in this post are strictly fictional. No actual heathenx‘s were harmed in the production of this blog post – even if they claim to be. 😉

** – this tip comes via a Lotta Linux Links IRC chat session a while back. Check out the venerable Dave Yates and his podcast, blog, forum and irc channel at lottalinuxlinks.com – you’ll regret it if you don’t.

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Creating a windows installer from your WxPython application.. a love story.

December 5, 2007

I’ve just finished wrestling with a small wxpython application I wrote a few years back for our bookkeeper. It needed minor updating with a couple of new features. Now that I’ve finished the process here are a few remarks:

  1. Python is a lovely language. After about 14 months of not touching this app (or much of python in any case) it only took a few minutes of review to get back up to speed on it. Granted, I made judicious use of comments and verbose variable naming when I wrote it, but dang is it ever nice clean, clear and simple code.
  2. Once I had the thing running I downloaded and installed the latest version of py2exe (this app is to be installed on an XP machine). This little gem is invaluable in making .exe files from your .py files  and not requiring a Python install on the machine which is going to run the application. Our bookkeeper has no interest in what Python is, never mind running it.
  3. I love the Nullsoft Installer System (NSIS). It’s an open source system for creating professional looking Windows installers. No funky console windows or command line gobble-de-gook for the person installing it – typical modern looking windows install  – wizard style.
  4. Now the Nullsoft installer system is scripted (you have to create a script file to direct the setup) which allows for a lot of power and customization. But if you’re like me and have no interest in building these things by hand, you can use the wonderful HM NIS Edit application which lets you set up the whole thing through a nice friendly wizard.

So in the end, with the combination of my original .py file, py2exe, NSIS, and the HM NIS Edit, I have a very professional looking windows install file after about 5 or 10 minutes work. Brilliant!

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Font Matrix – a font manager for Linux

November 27, 2007

Via the Open Font Library Mailing list comes news of Font Matrix, a font manager for Linux. The opening line on the front page shows much promise:

“Fontmatrix is a font manager for Linux users. I repeat, for users.”

Very nice indeed. There are not pre-built versions at this point – it is an 0.2 release after all – but the source is there to download and compile. Something which I’ll be trying out later tonight.

Good Linux-y stuff once again! 🙂

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Desktop Nirvana

November 26, 2007

I was a little disappointed to hear the lack of love for the Openbox window manager during the most recent LinuxLinkTechShow. I’ve been happily using Openbox on top of Ubuntu for a few months now. I like it so much that I’m using it in on the Gutsy VM I have running on my XP-pro box at work too. I like it’s tweakability, it’s speed and the simplicity of it.

There is simply no quicker way to get to an application on some other desktop than middle clicking the desktop which brings up a list of applications across all desktops. Like I said, simple and fast.

But even with this success, I’m far from what you might call an ‘experienced’ Openbox user. That’s why I was so thankful for this amazingly useful post by Urukrama. It covers Openbox on Ubuntu from installation right down to customizing options. So if you’re interested in trying out Openbox, make sure you check it out.

I found this post by way of K.Mandla’s excellent Linux blog. There’s tons of good Ubuntu and Linux related stuff to be found there.

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Postr – Gnome-based Upload tool for Linux

November 6, 2007

Lifehacker seems to have it’s fair share of Linux related info lately which is nice. Something interesting spotted today was this article about Postr, which is a Gnome based application for uploading photos to Flickr. I’ve been using jUploadr for a while and it does work fairly well. But it would be nice to have a non-Java based alternative that would be a little better integrated into my Gnome/Openbox environment at home. I think I’ll give it a shot this week and see how it works.

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What’s your favourite terminal/programming font?

November 2, 2007

As I’ve posted about before, I run XP at work, but use several Linux-y tools in my workflow. A key tool for me is the rxvt terminal which I run using cygwin. I use this for my todo list management among other things. Since it’s such an often used app for me, every once in a while I try to fine-tune the fonts and colours in rxvt to make it nicer and more readable for me.

Right now I’ve settled on a “Light Steel Blue” foreground on a black background. But I constantly switch between two different font choices, one using the wonderful ProggyClean bitmap font and the other using the Bitstream Vera Sans Mono font which renders quite well on my XP box (nicer I think that it does on my Linux box at home actually).

Here’s the shortcut launch command for each one with a screen snippet:

C:\cygwin\bin\run.exe rxvt -sl 1500 -fn “ProggycleanTT-13” -bg black -fg “LightSteelBlue” -sr -e bash –login -i

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


C:\cygwin\bin\run.exe rxvt -sl 1500 -fn “Bitstream Vera Sans Mono-14” -bg black -fg “LightSteelBlue” -sr -e bash –login -i

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Think these are ugly? What’s your terminal or programming font of choice? Share it in the comments! I’m always up for some good suggestions.

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Me again on Linuxreality…

November 1, 2007

The second part of my guest segment on the linuxreality podcast is up today. More Inkscape chatter from yours truly.

The new found fame I’ve enjoyed because of this is just wonderful. I did a photo shoot for Podcast&Ammo magazine just last weekend. Unfortunately it included a nude photo spread and the editor deemed it far too graphic to publish. For shame, the prudes.

😉

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Liquid Rescaling – Very Cool.

October 30, 2007

Saw this excellent and interesting demo of something dubbed ‘Liquid Rescaling’. In essence it allows you to stretch or compress an image but keeps some semblance of proportion for the objects within the image. It’s hard to describe but imagine you had a 4×6 image, but there was an ugly garbage can on the right hand side. With this tool, you could crop off the right 2 inches (leaving you with a 4×4 image) but then stretch it back to 4×6 *without* fattening up the people in the picture.

It uses algorithms to detect areas in the photo where it can stretch while minimizing distortion. It’s really quite neat. Even neater is the fact that there is a plugin for the GIMP which uses the tool. If you watch the demo you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

I also believe that there is no equivalent tool in the beloved Photoshop that does this. 😉

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