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Updated: 2015-09-17T07:54:00.447+02:00




A friend of mine is working on a new project:
It's very much oriented to programmers: it's the place to go when you're looking for a code snippet and you don't want to reinvent the wheel.

Give it a go if you think it sounds interesting

74 bugs


In a previous post I've talked about a bug affecting the ttf-dejavu package; I've extended the test to all font files in the Debian archive and come up with the following numbers: of the 192 packages containg at least one TrueType font file, 74 are affected by the digits width problem for a total of 672 ttf files.

Result are available here

The bug can be reproduced with pango-view (ttf-tmuni was chosen in this example):

perl -e 'for my $i (0..9){print "$i" x 80; print "\n";}'  > sample.txt
pango-view --font="Tibetan Machine Uni" --waterfall --dpi=72 -q -o out.png sample.txt

Comments are welcome before I start filing the bugreports

Font updates


With the help of Monsieur Perrier, both ttf-freefont and ttf-dejavu font packages have been updated and uploaded to experimental.
Both changelogs are full of fixes and improvements:
get them while they're hot!

Almost two years...


After almost two years, a new version of freefont has been released. Credits go to Steve White who took over the maintainance and to bubulle who took care of reviewing and uploading the new package, and who kept the project alive through the Debian BTS during all these months of inactivity.

Font tips #3: digits width


A while back Frans filed an interesting bug explaining the reason why digits width should always be the same.

Finding out if the previous condition is true, is just a matter of creating a sample text file

FONT="DejaVu Sans Oblique"
OUTFNAME=$(echo ${FONT} | sed -e "s| |_|g")
for i in $(seq 0 9) ; do
for j in $(seq 1 ${numdigits}) ; do
echo -n $i >> numeri.txt
printf "\n" >> numeri.txt

and creating a waterfall image:

pango-view --font="${FONT}" --waterfall --dpi=72 -q -o ${OUTFNAME}.png numeri.txt

The resulting image shows how Dejavu Oblique is victim of a regression at size 9 and 10 (credits to fjp who spotted it once more!)


bugreport filed.

Font tips #2: comparing fonts


Being able to compare images can be really useful sometimes; I found it extremely helpful when I wanted to know what changed between two releases of the same font.

Imagemagick does the trick via a set of really powerful command line tools.

Here's a very simple demonstration:

pango-view --font="DejaVu Sans Mono" -t "Hello World" -w 180 -q -o a.png
pango-view --font="DejaVu Sans Mono" -t "Hello world" -w 180 -q -o b.png
compare a.png b.png hello_diff.png

which results in the following output:


We can now apply the previous tip to something more useful; let's say we want to know how the glyphs in a font changed from a release to another. In a previous post I've explained how to render all the glyphs into a nice PDF using fntsample; we just need to create PDFs for both releases and compare them... ain't that easy?

# Let's suppose you have already created PDF files inside the following dirs

mkdir $vsdir

for f in $(find $a -name '*.pdf') ; do
f=$(basename $f)
mkdir ${apng} ${bpng}

echo "*** ${f} ***"

# pdf -> pngs
convert ${a}/${f} ${apng}/${f/.pdf/}.png
convert ${b}/${f} ${bpng}/${f/.pdf/}.png

# compare pngs and, if different, show whre they differ in a png
for p in $(find ${apng} -name '*.png') ; do
p=$(basename $p)
meas=$(compare -metric AE ${apng}/${p} ${bpng}/${p} ${vsdir}/${p} 2>&1)
if [ ${meas} -eq 0 ] ; then
rm ${vsdir}/${p} ${apng}/${p} ${bpng}/${p}
echo " - ${p}"

This is what you get when a glyph was modified:


In case of newly introduced glyphs you get the following:


Font tips #1: PDF charts with fntsample


Around the end of 2006 I come up with the idea of setting up something I called font-machine: a collection of scripts / utilities, intended to improve quality of fonts by defining and implementing automatic tests able to catch errors and provide screenshots.

Some pioneering work on this area was done a while ago by Miriam who set up a page showing how fonts currently in Debian look like.

I did something similar focusing on the fonts used by the Debian graphical installer (will write a separate post to describe the way it works).

I'll start describing the tools which I've used more frequently; of course my preference goes to the ones which can be run non-interactively: those that can be invoked inside shell scrips and keep your CPU busy!

fntsample is probably one of the programs I've used more frequently during the last months: it was written by Eugeniy Meshcheryakov, who also made it available as a Debian package, and creates really nice and professional PDF / PS charts showing all the glyphs contained in a particular font file.

The following code snippet shows how you can use fntsample to create pdf charts for each of the ttf files contained in ttf-dejavu package (will often refer to this package since I maintain it :-) ):

deb=$(basename ${font})
wget $font
dpkg -x ${deb} ${deb/.deb/}

mkdir $outdir
for ttf in $(find ${deb/.deb/} -name '*.ttf') ; do
pdf="$(basename ${ttf} | sed -e "s|\.ttf$|\.pdf|")"
fntsample -f ${ttf} -o ${outdir}/${pdf} -l > ${outdir}/${pdf/.pdf/.outline}
pdfoutline ${outdir}/${pdf} ${outdir}/${pdf/.pdf/.outline} ${outdir}/${pdf}

Note that PDF files will have useful outlines (aka bookmarks) courtesy of the pdfoutline tool shipped with the fntsample package.

Results are IMHO very imperessive!


PS: looking at the above chart for Cyrillic, I've just noticed the glyphs are ordered as to read "SEX"... I did not choose that particular chart snippet on purpose!

ttf-dejavu 2.14-1


bubulle has kindly uploaded a new version of ttf-dejavu: 2.14-1. This
includes the latest upstream changes and fixes, plus a patch (see #408311) which
fixes hinting instructions for the sans-oblique variant. Hopefully
this version will make into Etch and make justice to this great font

No more tarballs


G-I is finally built using official udebs only!
Getting in the archives the nine font udebs needed to display all the (65?) languages currently supported has been a long journey. This was only possible thanx to the _huge_ support of bubulle



After rather unsuccessful messages on debian-boot and debian-i18n
there are still errors in level1 translations for d-i; since there's a
chance that new uploads can be made to fix those before Beta 3 is out,
I'm taking advance of this blog to ask people to spend a couple of
minutes to fix those.

so please... Fix The Fu***ng Translasions!



I'm blogging right in the middle of the G-I meeting in Extremadura.
We got the storks, the people, the food and the nice weather: what else could we
ask for?

GTK DD wanted!


Looking foreward to the G-I meeting scheduled for Jan 18-22 in
Extremadura. Among the attendees we'll have upstream main developers
of the (gtk+) DirectFB project; a unique opportunity to know them,
their plans and to get bugs fixed.

We haven't found yet a (possibly European) DD who can make the perfect
connection between Debian and DirectFB; please get in touch ASAP if
you can come up with a name (my choice was Alastair McKinstry but I
haven't heard anything from him yet and I've been told is very busy)

rm -fr


The spellchecker has finally been switched as to use aspell-0.60.3 on Alioth.
It's been so nice running rm -fr to free 500 megabytes of stuff!
Finnish translations for the d-i are finally spellchecked on a daily basis.

Faccia da pirla


Here it should be,
this is what frankie said about my hackergotchi...
Thanx for the upload

aspell on Alioth


Tonight I asked on #alioth if it were possible to install gnuplot, aspell and a bunch of dictionaries on alioth; within a few minutes everything got installed...
Thanx alot to wiggy for his precious help.
Can't wait to switch s10r to use those for spellchecking d-i translations.

This is is what I call efficiency!



Uncle Davide

Today my sister finally delivered my nephew Mattia! Can't wait to see the baby :)

Having fun with google maps


Everyone's been talking about google maps; today I had fun going to places I've never been to before...




Abemus Papam

Joseph Ratzinger aka Benedetto XVI



no more typos in d-i po files

I finally announced the project I've worked on in the past few week (should I say months?!): a set of shell scripts which automatically spellcheck translations (po files) of the d-i using aspell.

Here's the link in case you wanted to take a look:

Within a few hours I got positive feedback and I'm glad I've been asked already things that were just in the back of my mind for a long time:

"could it be used for other projects (kde,gnome)?"

the answer is yes... the thing is not that flexible yet but one day it'll be indeed

"I see a potential for improving the dictionaries as well, to detect missing words."

definitely; I also think we'll see more languages with a debianized aspell dictionary.



I'm an web addict

Tonight I got back home earlier from the office with a lot of plans and energy... I could not connect to the provider: I got mad! I tried to call the company and they said everything was ok so I thought something in my config was wrong; after a couple of hours spent changing configurations (I even tried using Windoze!) I phoned again and they said that they already knew something was wrong because of my previous call and within 48 hours somebody would fix the problem and when I asked "but they said everything is ok: is it ok or is not?" the lady sounded lost... I didn't give up and when I tried using the default login and password given to nw users it worked!!! they somehow did a sort of big reset... I felt so bad and lost not being able to to my daily tasks: do I need a shrink?

Having fun checking d-i translations


Lately I tried to see if and how I could improve the quality of italian translation for the new installer; I ended up playin' with converters, spell checkers and shell scripts. I'm writing down some notes that I'd like to share as soon as they're finished. Obviously what I've done can be used for all languages so... stay tuned!

Back to work


My holydays are finished! I can't believe it: I'll have to wait until xmas to get some days off...
I still have to sort out so many things with my new laptop: first of all I'd like to know why Realplayer stopped working.
d-i is getting there and I think I'll spend some time helping with translations.
I don't know if this post will look ugly on Planet Debian as the last few posts did... we'll see: in case it did could somebody please tell me what to do?


Broken posts on Planet Debian


Looks like I'm not the only blogger whose blogs look ugly on Planet Debian...
Is it my fault or's?
Can anyonle tell me what can be done in order to prevent this?
Holydays are coming... don't know where to go yet

Planet Debian here I am!


I'm so glad I've been added to the list of bloggers: it's an honour!
Thanx a lot to Scott who took care of adding me.
Now I need to make hackergotchi... don't know how yet but I'm sure I'll figure out.
Seems that I'm getting out of a really BAD period: maybe today I'll have hot water in my flat (no more cold showers!), Debian Sarge is finally working great on my brand new laptop: d-i is just a dream come true!
I'll be back soon



...frustration is:

1) having a new laptop ready to host linux but NO linux installed on it yet

2) waiting the new adsl connection to be installed... can't apt-get yet...

3) no gas running through the pipes of my flat: no hot water (i.e. cold showers to get me started in the morning) and no cooking possible

4) stupid people which don't give a damn about all of this (too many to mention)

but I know I'll be happy and everything's gonna be allright really soon!!!