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I don’t use OpenOffice unless I have to, but sometimes I have to and it’s nice to know that a PDF importing extension is available. But there are some tricks to using it, which are nicely addressed here.

One problem related to the extension, but it is not the extensions fault, is that Oracle bought Sun, and thus “owns” the extension, and is messing with it in a bad way. From the cited source:

That is why free desktop users should be disturbed that Oracle, the new custodian of the extension, is not making it available for downloading. Not only is this situation a possible violation of the extension’s licensing, but, although the source code is available, I have yet to hear of anyone stepping up to maintain the extension for the general community.

A real possibility exists that, a few versions from now, Sun PDF Import Extension will no longer be available. If that happens, one of’s major advantages will be lost — and that would be inexcusable.

We hate Oracle.

Moving right along, who needs Oracle or when you can totally write your own software from scratch! And compile it and link it and all of that. A useful tool for doing this sort of thing is GNU’s Autotools. The problem is that Autotools itself, while useful, has a very steep learning curve and no really good tutorial. Until now.

to the rescue. We hope. I’ll be reviewing it soon.

And, as long as you are making your own office suite, you might as well cook up your own distro as well. You know that you can do this with SUSE, but did you know that you can now do this with Debian? Spin Your Own Debian with Live Studio!

And don’t forget to tune in Saturday for the most WANTED.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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3 thoughts on “Technobabble

  1. If you’re starting from scratch and get to choose your own build/configuration environment, you make want to look at some Autotools alternatives. Cmake or Scons. These tend to be less archaic than autotools, and both are open source, though not GPL.

    If you’re using autotools because the project you’re working with already uses it, may FSM have mercy on you.

  2. “I don’t use OpenOffice unless I have to…” Interesting comment. What do you use? What don’t you like about OpenOffice?

  3. I use OpenOffice writer for “doc” documents, but I never produce such documents. I write in text and I use latex or various emacs modes to convert the text into one or another format as needed. So, I only use writer when people send me a “doc” file.

    I use gnumeric as a spredsheet because I like its functions and graphics (somewhat steep learning curve there, but worth it). OpenOffice calc has better importing and data recognition abilities, so I’ll sometimes use that first, but ultimately I prefer cvs formatted files manipulated by gnumeric.

    I do use OpenOffice present for all my presentations, for now. I’ll probably switch eventually to some crazy emacs mode that will create xml files that can be shown in a browser.

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