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Old 05-28-2008, 03:57 AM
"Michael Wiktowy"
 
Default Sudoku PDF Printer Showdown

Hello,

I decided to take a simple usage case to illustrate a killer feature
in Linux that would be fantastic if it only didn't suck in a few ways.
I hope that this prompts the developers with the know-how to do this
last bit of polishing needed and spark some discussion on delivering
the best user experience to make this PDF generation/viewing/editing
work-flow absolutely top-notch.

The application was chosen just because it generated a simple blend of
text and vector graphics (and I actually tried to do this and email
them to my family only to reinforce to them that Linux was a quirky
pain when I was trying to illustrate to them the cool things that you
could do with Linux out of the box)

Pasted from Tomboy Notes so I hope the formating comes out as
something better than flame-bait:

*The Mission*:

• Print Multiple Sudoku puzzles as PDF files
∘ 10 puzzles with 2 per page
• View them anywhere
• Edit them

*Tools used*:

• gnome-games.i386 1:2.22.1.1-5.fc9
• cups-pdf.i386 2.4.7-1.fc9
• cairo.i386 1.6.4-1.fc9
• evince.i386 2.22.1.1-1.fc9
• AdobeReader_enu.i486 8.1.2-1
• inkscape.i386 0.46-2.fc9
• selinux-policy.noarch 3.3.1-55.fc9 (this will make sense later)

*Results*:

Printing with Cups ("Cups-PDF"):
• Prints successfully
∘ good print format options
∘ just dumps it on the desktop with some default name
∘ cups-pdf setroubleshooter unhappiness
∘ see https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=448652
• Displays correctly in Evince
• Displays correctly in Adobe Reader
• Imports incorrectly in Inkscape
∘ missing all text but at least lines are shown and editable after
ungrouping
∘ see https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=448654
• multiple of binary streams when viewed in text editor

Printing with Cairo ("Create a PDF document"):
• Prints successfully
∘ more limited print format options
∘ can choose where the file goes and what it is called
∘ but file chooser is not obvious and keeps defaulting back to
output.pdf in user's home directory
• Displays correctly in Evince
• Displays incorrectly in Adobe Reader
∘ missing bottom puzzle numbers and title in each page
∘ see https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=441341
∘ and upstream bug http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=527954
• Imports beautifully in Inkscape
∘ ungrouped and editable text and lines
• only one binary stream when viewed in text editor

Printing with Ideal Fictional Dream PDF Printer:
• Print successfully (cairo comes closest)
∘ Give me the choice of where to stick the file upon Clicking
print or make the default name a bit more intuitive
("appname_date.pdf")
∘ default to the last chosen directory or at least "Documents" if it exists
∘ have a superset of Cups-PDF and Cairo print format options
• Display correctly in Evince (gold star for both cairo and cups-pdf
... and evince)
• Display correctly in Adobe Reader (cups-pdf wins)
• Import beautifully in Inkscape (cairo wins)
∘ as real editable fonts and vector art when source is vector art
and embedded raster images when not
∘ grouped or upgrouped does not matter although grouped makes
things easier to adjust position if you happened to import it over
something existing
• I don't really care what it looks like in a text editor but my guess
would be that the fewest binary blobs is best (cairo wins)

Thanks for reading,
/Mike

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Old 05-28-2008, 06:21 PM
chasd
 
Default Sudoku PDF Printer Showdown

From someone that has used Acrobat ( no, I don't mean Reader ) since
version 2.1 -



*The Mission*:

• Print Multiple Sudoku puzzles as PDF files
∘ 10 puzzles with 2 per page
• View them anywhere
• Edit them



*Tools used*:

• gnome-games.i386 1:2.22.1.1-5.fc9
• cups-pdf.i386 2.4.7-1.fc9
• cairo.i386 1.6.4-1.fc9
• evince.i386 2.22.1.1-1.fc9
• AdobeReader_enu.i486 8.1.2-1
• inkscape.i386 0.46-2.fc9
• selinux-policy.noarch 3.3.1-55.fc9 (this will make sense later)


From your tools list, it would be better to create them with
InkScape to begin with, and bypass PDF.
A PDF is not considered an editable format, even though there are
tools that allow it.

Editing PDFs gets messy quickly.


*Results*:

Printing with Cups ("Cups-PDF"):
• Prints successfully
∘ good print format options
∘ just dumps it on the desktop with some default name
∘ cups-pdf setroubleshooter unhappiness


This is configurable in /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf
There are several options there which could solve the issues of where
the file is written, the user that writes it ( not sure about
context ), and the filename.



• Imports incorrectly in Inkscape


InkScape just got PDF editing support, it isn't going to be as good
as Adobe Acrobat.



• multiple of binary streams when viewed in text editor


A valid PDF can be binary encoded. You may not want that, but it is
valid to the specs.
Also note that a valid PDF can have edits appended to the end of the
file that over-ride something in the body, and there is a checksum
involved so a parser knows it got all the data, you can't just "cat
foo >> bar.pdf" and have it work. A PDF may look like a simple ASCII-
based format ( sometimes anyway ), but it much more complicated than
that.



Printing with Ideal Fictional Dream PDF Printer:


Print to SVG or the PDF-Mars format instead.
<http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/mars/>
Mars uses XML as the file format for PDF instead of the traditional
PDF gorp. The Mars file format uses the "zip-it-up" ODT format, and
has everything described as XML referencing each page as an SVG.
Although there are few Mars tools available right now



Charles Dostale
System Admin - Silver Oaks Communications
http://www.silveroaks.com/
824 17th Street, Moline IL 61265


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Old 05-28-2008, 09:33 PM
"Michael Wiktowy"
 
Default Sudoku PDF Printer Showdown

On Wed, May 28, 2008 at 2:21 PM, chasd <chasd@silveroaks.com> wrote:
>> *Tools used*:
>>
>> • gnome-games.i386 1:2.22.1.1-5.fc9
>> • cups-pdf.i386 2.4.7-1.fc9
>> • cairo.i386 1.6.4-1.fc9
>> • evince.i386 2.22.1.1-1.fc9
>> • AdobeReader_enu.i486 8.1.2-1
>> • inkscape.i386 0.46-2.fc9
>> • selinux-policy.noarch 3.3.1-55.fc9 (this will make sense later)
>
> From your tools list, it would be better to create them with InkScape to
> begin with, and bypass PDF.
> A PDF is not considered an editable format, even though there are tools that
> allow it.
> Editing PDFs gets messy quickly.

Thanks for the feedback.

Well ... there are times when all you have is a PDF as the source
material to work from. So it is certainly nice to have the refined
tools to dig into the contents and modify things. But as I am trying
to illustrate with this simple example, the PDF generation that is
available to all apps that can print has some issues also.

There is also a bit of a correction. I mistakenly thought that
gnome-print uses cairo as a backend to generate PDFs. From what I
understand now, it does it all itself internally so blame or praise in
my test was falsely placed on cairo and should be on gnome-print. I
guess I have to read more about how all the pieces fit together ...

> This is configurable in /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf
> There are several options there which could solve the issues of where the
> file is written, the user that writes it ( not sure about context ), and the
> filename.

Thanks ... I'll take a look.

>> • Imports incorrectly in Inkscape
>
> InkScape just got PDF editing support, it isn't going to be as good as Adobe
> Acrobat.

No doubt. I found that Inkscape does an excellent job as a first
iteration though and was hoping to point out some places it doesn't. I
have a personal project underway that is taking PDFs and adding
editable PDF form fields on top. I have found that using Inkscape to
convert the PDF pages to SVGs and import those into Scribus where I
can add the form fields and some simple javascript gives OK results.
The SVG font translation into Scribus 1.3.4 is not so stellar though.
I am hoping that 1.3.5 is better.

>> • multiple of binary streams when viewed in text editor
>
> A valid PDF can be binary encoded. You may not want that, but it is valid to
> the specs.
> Also note that a valid PDF can have edits appended to the end of the file
> that over-ride something in the body, and there is a checksum involved so a
> parser knows it got all the data, you can't just "cat foo >> bar.pdf" and
> have it work. A PDF may look like a simple ASCII-based format ( sometimes
> anyway ), but it much more complicated than that.

Doing the overlay/substitution thing is more appropriate in many
situations but not all. Xournal does this quite nicely with its PDF
Annotation functionality. I wish I could do this also with Scribus in
my project described above as I am simply adding new content but the
importing of PDFs in Scribus is .... marginal.

However, you are always increasing the file size this way and
increasing the rendering time.

>> Printing with Ideal Fictional Dream PDF Printer:
>
> Print to SVG or the PDF-Mars format instead.
> <http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/mars/>
> Mars uses XML as the file format for PDF instead of the traditional PDF
> gorp. The Mars file format uses the "zip-it-up" ODT format, and has
> everything described as XML referencing each page as an SVG. Although there
> are few Mars tools available right now

That would be the problem. Is there a package in the Fedora distro
that will enable a "Print to SVG" option?

/Mike

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