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PDF Tips & Tricks

Repairing a damaged PDF-file

Ghostscript can "repair" some damaged or buggy PDF-files, by regenerating them. Try something like: ps2pdf damaged.pdf fixed.pdf

OSS4 on Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx)

After upgrading to Ubuntu 10.4 LTS, I was happy to notice that audio in all applications (including Skype) was finally working perfectly! However, I was less happy to notice that Pulseaudio was using quite a lot of CPU-time, and that the sound quality was absolutely awful... So I decided to give OSS4 a try. After some googling, installing a few packages and some minor configuration, OSS4 was up and running, and I must admit the improvement in sound quality is rather significant!

Printing a multi-page CD booklet

Creating and printing a multi-page CD booklet can be a bit of a headache. Firstly, not all programs support the re-ordering of pages required to make a foldable double-sided booklet. Moreover, the page-size is non-standard, which may give difficulties with commandline-tools such as Ghostscript and psnup. It took me a while to figure out how to do this on Ubuntu (Jaunty). Here's how you can do it:

  • Create the pages as you normally would, using a program of your choice (e.g. Writer, Scribus). Make sure you set the page-size of the document to 12.1 x 11.99 cm.

Embedding fonts in PDF-files

A while back I wrote a course-reader in Writer on Ubuntu. When I submitted it for printing, it turned out that not all fonts were embedded in the document, which led to various printing- and layout-problems. Here's some advice on how to create PDFs that are suitable for printing by third parties.

Video Processing and Encoding

For a couple of years there have been a number of great open-source programs around for encoding video, both in Windows and (Ubuntu) Linux. Some of them provide a nice graphical user interface, but the best ones are still commandline tools, such as ffmpeg and MEncoder. They are extremely flexible, but unfortunately also have a bewildering number of commandline options. This page lists a few invocations I regularly use.

Extracting DVD titles

Extracting TIFF pictures from MS Word for Mac documents

Recently I tried to open several old MS Word files created on a Macintosh in on my Ubuntu machine. The text part of the documents got converted just fine by Writer, but the images became rather messed up. Anything that had been imported as a bitmap in the original files just turned out as an empty black or white square. Now the problem was that I needed some of those bitmap images that were in the documents. So I tried opening the files in MS Word 2003 at work, and then saving them again as Word for Windows documents.

Hardware 3D acceleration on an ATI Radeon 9600 mobile

UPDATE (2010-08-25): This article describes how to configure Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) for stable 3D-acceleration and desktop-effects with ATI R300 series (Radeon Mobility 9600 and similar) GPUs. On recent Ubuntu versions (such as 10.04 LTS) this should work out of the box, and making modifications to xorg.conf may actually introduce unwanted artefacts. Therefore if you upgrade from 8.04 LTS to 10.04 LTS you should remove your customised settings. See the description at the bottom of the article for more details... / LibreOffice Tips & Tricks

Installing LibreOffice on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)

Downgrading packages using yum

In Linux-land there are two major package management systems, APT/dpkg and YUM/RPM. My favourite of the two is definitely APT, which is mostly used by Debian and derivatives such as Ubuntu. Yum is used by Red Hat and derivatives such as CentOS, Fedora and SME, and works just fine for installing packages.

LaTeX formulas in ODF and Word documents

UPDATE (2012-10-01)

OOoLatex is no longer being updated by Geoffroy Piroux. Roland Baudin has created an up-to-date fork for LibreOffice called TexMaths. To install that on a recent version of Ubuntu, first get the required packages:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:martin-gieseking/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install texlive dvipng dvisvgm
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