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Development

The Early Stages of the GNU PDF project

By Forrest Cook
December 12, 2007

GNU PDF is a recent, but high priority project of the Free Software Foundation. The project aims to build libraries for dealing with the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF): "The goal of the GNU PDF project is to develop and provide a free, high-quality, complete and portable set of libraries and programs to manage the PDF file format, and associated technologies." GNU PDF is being released under version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

[GNU PDF]

Linux.com recently talked to GNU PDF project founder José Marchesi about his reasons for starting the project: "On the technical level, once Marchesi started investigating, he discovered a great deal of PDF functionality that is either missing or incomplete: "interactive features (forms, annotations), the management of embedded contents (sounds and movies), execution of JavaScript to perform forms validation, 3-D artwork, accessibility, Web capturing, [and] management of document collections." Many users are unaware of these lacks, either because they never use such features or because, Marchesi says, "The PDF standard is quite careful when providing backward compatibility: When a PDF consumer application (such as a viewer) finds an unknown construct (such as 3-D artwork), it can (and should) ignore it. But in fact you may be missing information.""

GNU PDF appears to be a highly structured development effort. The Architecture document explains the organization of the libgnupdf library. The library is divided into four overlapping layers: the base layer, the object layer, the document layer and the page layer. The Tasks Management document explains the plan for carrying out the necessary work. The project roadmap gives an excellent graphical representation of the goals that are planned for and those that have already been achieved. Progress is happening along a diagonal front, some of the base tasks are complete, while the higher layer tasks are still in early stages of development. The GNU PDF Torture Chamber document describes the testing methodology. Finally, the Sources document explains the layout of the source code.

Other open-source projects could be well served by adopting this amount of organization. With such a well structured design process, the GNU PDF project should have a good chance at achieving its goals in a timely fashion. Those interested in working on the code should start with the developer information document, private and corporate sponsors are also needed for the project.

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System Applications

Database Software

MySQL 5.0.51 has been released

Version 5.0.51 of the MySQL DBMS has been announced. "This is a bugfix release for the current production release family. It replaces MySQL 5.0.45." A security fix is also included.

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Postgres Weekly News

The December 9, 2007 edition of the Postgres Weekly News is online with the latest PostgreSQL DBMS articles and resources.

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Filesystem Utilities

Ext2Fsd: V0.35 update 01 (SourceForge)

Version 0.35 update 01 of Ext2Fsd has been announced. "Ext2Fsd is an open source linux ext2/ext3 file system driver for Windows systems (NT/2K/XP/VISTA, X86/AMD64). Modifications: remove the execute bits ('x' attribute in inode mode) for all newly created files".

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Interoperability

Samba 3.0.28 is available

Version 3.0.28 of Samba has been announced. "Samba 3.0.28 is a security release to address CVE-2007-6015."

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Mail Software

netqmail 1.06 announced

Version 1.06 of netqmail has been announced. "We have continued the philosophy of making minimal changes to qmail. This release is to celebrate the release of qmail to the public domain, and to give package distributors a base to start from. We considered making this a qmail-1.04 release, but decided to leave the qmail name under Dan Bernstein's control. We encourage other people to do so as well. If you want to make a modified version of qmail, please do so under a different name, as we have."

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Networking Tools

Mpd 5.0b4 released (SourceForge)

Version 5.0b4 of Mpd, a netgraph based PPP implementation, has been announced. "Mpd supports thousands of Sync, Async, PPTP, L2TP, PPPoE, TCP and UDP links in client, server and access concentrator (LAC/PAC/TSA) modes. It is very fast and functional. Next beta version released. It includes some new features, performance optimizations, tunings and fixes."

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Package Management

Ria: v4.0 released (SourceForge)

Version 4.0 of Ria has been announced. "Ria is the installer for a collection of available rpms to enable different restricted media formats in Fedora. It will make installing them easier while fixing the dependency problems by itself. Currently it supports XMMS, Mplayer, Xine, iPython."

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Web Site Development

Blogmaker 0.5 announced

Version 0.5 of Blogmaker has been announced. "Blogmaker™ is a full-featured, production-quality blogging application for Django. It supports trackbacks, ping and comments with moderation and honeypot spam prevention. Blogmaker is released under a BSD license. You may "copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software" (to borrow a phrase from the more-or-less equivalent "MIT License"). Caveat: the current release (including these docs) is for people who are already familiar with Django or willing to poke around a bit."

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Midgard 1.8.5 released

Version 1.8.5 of the Midgard web content management system has been announced. "Midgard 1.8.5 "Refix" release includes minor bugfixes and enchancements."

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Plone 3.0.4 released

Version 3.0.4 of the Plone web development platform has been released. "I'm happy to announce a very early Christmas present: Plone 3.0.4. This is the fourth maintenance release for Plone 3.0 and fixes several stability problems."

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Rails 2.0 announced

Version 2.0 of the Ruby on Rails web platform has been announced. "Rails 2.0 is finally finished after about a year in the making. This is a fantastic release that’s absolutely stuffed with great new features, loads of fixes, and an incredible amount of polish. We’ve even taken a fair bit of cruft out to make the whole package more coherent and lean."

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Desktop Applications

Audio Applications

HOgg 0.3.0 released

Version 0.3.0 of HOgg has been announced. "The HOgg package provides a commandline tool for manipulating Ogg files, and a corresponding Haskell library. HOgg is in hackage, or on the web at: http://www.kfish.org/~conrad/software/hogg/ This is the second public release. The focus is on correctness of Ogg parsing, production and editing. The capabilities of the hogg commandline tool are roughly on par with those of the oggz* [0] tools."

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Speex 1.2beta3 is out

Version 1.2beta3 of Speex, a speech CODEC, has been announced. "The most obvious change in this release is that all the non-codec components (preprocessor, echo cancellation, jitter buffer) have been moved to a new libspeexdsp library. Other changes include a new jitter buffer algorithm and resampler improvements/fixes. This is also the first release where libspeex can be built without any floating point support. To do this, the float compatibility API must be disabled (--disable-float-api or DISABLE_FLOAT_API) and the VBR feature must be disabled (--disable-vbr or DISABLE_VBR)."

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Data Visualization

Matplotlib 0.91.1 released

Version 0.91.1 of Matplotlib, a Python-based 2D plotting package, is out. New capabilities include: enhanced mathtext, better configuration, writing to file-like objects, record array support, a new pyplot module, maskedarray support and a new plotfile command. See the What's New document for more information.

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Desktop Environments

GNOME 2.21.3 released

Version 2.21.3 of the GNOME desktop environment has been announced. "This is the third release of the GNOME 2.21.x series, heading towards the stable GNOME 2.22.x release."

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GARNOME 2.21.3 announced

Version 2.21.3 of GARNOME, the bleeding edge GNOME distribution, has been announced. "This release includes all of GNOME 2.21.3 plus a whole bunch of updates and fixes that were released after the GNOME freeze date. This is the third development release on our road towards GNOME 2.22.0, which will be released in March 2008."

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GNOME Software Announcements

The following new GNOME software has been announced this week: You can find more new GNOME software releases at gnomefiles.org.

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The second KDE 4.0 release candidate

KDE 4.0-rc2 has been released; see the announcement for details and screen shots. "With this second release candidate, the KDE developers hope to collect comments and bug reports from the wider KDE community. With their help, we hope to solve the most pressing problems with the current KDE 4 codebase to ensure the final 4.0 release is stable, usable and fun to work with."

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KDE Software Announcements

The following new KDE software has been announced this week: You can find more new KDE software releases at kde-apps.org.

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Electronics

LayoutEditor 20071204 released

Version 20071204 of LayoutEditor, a program to design and edit layouts for MEMS/IC fabrication, has been announced. "A new release has been published. Beside some smaller bugfixes it comes with a new introducing tutorial."

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Financial Applications

LedgerSMB 1.2.10 released

Version 1.2.10 of LedgerSMB, a fork of the SQL-Ledger general ledger software, has been released. This version includes a long list of bug fixes and some new capabilities.

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Games

Bridge Calculator 0.7 released

Version 0.7 of Bridge Calculator has been announced. "Bridge Calculator is freeware program written by Piotr Beling which solves problems in the Bridge card game."

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Cyphesis 0.5.15 released

Version 0.5.15 of Cyphesis a server for WorldForge games, has been announced. "Major changes in this version: Players can now create their own roads. The script API has been made much simpler. It is now trivial to run multiple servers on one machine. Memory usage has been reduced. A huge number of bugs have been fixed."

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Graphics

Free Dimensions: GUI Version 0.1 Alpha finished (SourceForge)

Version 0.1 Alpha of Free Dimensions has been announced. The software is: "A Scriptable 3D Graphics modeler and renderer. By defining points and shapes in a 3-dimensional coordinate system, one can create a scene very quickly and easily a simple scripting language. The scene can then be animated and be added special effects."

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Music Applications

Rosegarden 1.6.0 released

Version 1.6.0 of Rosegarden has been announced. "The Rosegarden team are giddy with probably short-lived delight at the release of version 1.6.0 of Rosegarden, an audio and MIDI sequencer and musical notation editor for Linux." A number of new features have been added to this release.

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PDA Software

Maemo 4.x training materials released

A set of free (Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license) training materials for the Maemo platform (which runs on Nokia tablets) has been released. They start with a "getting started" course, then get into some fairly serious development-oriented topics including GTK+, application packaging, DBus, and more. It looks like useful reading for anybody wanting to develop for this platform.

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Beta version of Modest e-mail client available

A beta version of the Modest e-mail client is available for handheld devices running the OS2008 platform. "Some highlights: - the basics: POP/IMAP/SMTP (normal/secure); - IMAP folders support, and IMAP-IDLE ("push-email") - easy setup of new accounts - send and receive of rich text-emails - managing mail with your fingers - 100% open-source with a BSD-like license".

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Web Browsers

Mozilla Links Newsletter

The December 6, 2007 edition of the Mozilla Links Newsletter is online, take a look for the latest news about the Mozilla browser and related projects.

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Languages and Tools

Caml

Caml Weekly News

The December 11, 2007 edition of the Caml Weekly News is out with new articles about the Caml language.

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HTML

HTMLi: 0.6 released (SourceForge)

Version 0.6 of HTMLi has been announced. "HTMLi (HTML improved) is the AJAX framework that focuses in: * Transparent use for HTML designers * Multi-platform: 100% XSL (runs with Java, ASP, PHP, etc) * CSS Themes * Multi-Language * XML Handling - AJAX forms Live demo at http://www.htmli.com. new version includes "auto" behaviour in new elements, like datepicker, richtext, source."

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Java

Introducing Raven: An Elegant Build for Java (O'Reilly)

Matthieu Riou introduces Raven in an O'Reilly ONJava.com article. "Build processes in Java haven't evolved much since the introduction of Ant or Maven. With the ability to use scripting languages like Groovy and JRuby on the JVM, the power of a full language can be brought to bear on the build process. This article discusses Raven, a build system for Java that uses JRuby."

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Perl

Parrot Progress in November 2007 (use Perl)

A Perl Parrot Progress Report for November, 2007 has been published. "The last report was published in November as a "road map" for continued development of the Perl 6 on Parrot compiler (perl6). Since then we've basically been following the steps outlined on the road map and we are seeing significant progress on the compiler."

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Python

Python 3.0a2 is out

Version 3.0a2 of Python 3000 has been announced. "Python 3000 (a.k.a. "Py3k", and released as Python 3.0) is a new version of the language that is incompatible with the 2.x line of releases. The language is mostly the same, but many details, especially how built-in objects like dictionaries and strings work, have changed considerably, and a lot of deprecated features have finally been removed. This is an ongoing project; the cleanup isn't expected to be complete until 2008. In particular there are plans to reorganize the standard library namespace."

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Python-URL! - weekly Python news and links

The December 11, 2007 edition of the Python-URL! is online with a new collection of Python article links.

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Tcl/Tk

Tcl-URL! - weekly Tcl news and links

The December 6, 2007 edition of the Tcl-URL! is online with new Tcl/Tk articles and resources.

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Tcl-URL! - weekly Tcl news and links

The December 11, 2007 edition of the Tcl-URL! is online with new Tcl/Tk articles and resources.

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Profilers

Valgrind 3.3.0 is available

Version 3.3.0 of Valgrind has been announced. "Valgrind is an open-source suite of simulation based debugging and profiling tools. With the tools that come with Valgrind, you can automatically detect many memory management and threading bugs, which avoids hours of frustrating bug-hunting, and makes your code more stable. You can also perform detailed time and space profiling to help speed up and slim down your programs. 3.3.0 primarily contains tool enhancements: a restored and improved version of Helgrind, majorly revamped version of Massif, branch-mispredict profiling for Cachegrind, and new experimental tools (Omega and DRD). Also included is support for recent Linux distros, scalability improvements for gigabyte-sized applications, and modestly improved documentation."

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Version Control

Stacked GIT 0.14 announced

Version 0.14 of Stacked GIT has been announced, it adds new functionality and some bug fixes. "StGIT is a Python application providing similar functionality to Quilt (i.e. pushing/popping patches to/from a stack) on top of GIT. These operations are performed using GIT commands and the patches are stored as GIT commit objects, allowing easy merging of the StGIT patches into other repositories using standard GIT functionality."

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Miscellaneous

Programming is Hard, Let's Go Scripting... (O'Reilly)

Perl creator Larry Wall discusses the history of a number of programming languages on O'Reilly's Perl.com. "I think, to most people, scripting is a lot like obscenity. I can't define it, but I'll know it when I see it. Here are some common memes floating around: Simple language "Everything is a string" Rapid prototyping Glue language Process control Compact/concise Worse-is-better Domain specific "Batteries included" ...I don't see any real center here, at least in terms of technology. If I had to pick one metaphor, it'd be easy onramps. And a slow lane. Maybe even with some optional fast lanes."

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