>Scribus, How close is it to replacing Adobe Acrobat Pro?

>For my specific use case of making PDF fill-able forms.  If you remember I previously posted about showing support for the Adobe suite on Linux. In this post I look into how Scribus is progressing on this use case.

The Competition
Adobe Acrobat Pro can make any PDF into a fill-able form.  Importing is easy and you can just reopen the final PDF if you need to make changes.

Step-by-step this is the closest I have gotten to being able to do this with Scribus.  There are some issues which I will highlight at the end.

  1. Print each page of the form you want to make fill-able to a seperate PostScript file (.ps)
    Scribus Limitation – You can’t import PDF forms directly very well at all
  2. Import them individually into Scribus using Get Vector Image, line them up on thier respective pages.
  3. Insert the PDF form elements you want from the right side of the toolbar.
  4. Change any options you need on the elements by right clicking on the element and going to PDF Options -> Properties
  5. Export to a PDF.

Send out your fill-able form!

The caveats: With Scribus you need to keep the Scribus file or else you are going to have to start over from scratch.  You canNOT reopen the PDF you created in Scribus for editing.
Oh, right, Adobe Acrobat Pro will run you 450 dollars.  Scribus is available free for Windows/Mac or for Ubuntu.

Natalia Michaella Woods-Quigley

On June 19th, my fiancée and I returned from India.  She was 26 weeks pregnant and we returned to the States to get better health care for the delivery of our baby.  Health care can be a daunting thing to coordinate.  We used the health care broker CBIZ to set us up with a Blue Cross EPO Plan in NJ, with the specific requirement that the pregnancy be fully covered.

The problems started with the plan as soon as we arrived.  Although we had specifically said we needed the plan to be effective the day we arrived, it took 20+ days for the plan to be activated and useful for us.  During her 27th week of the pregnancy, contractions started and we were hospitalized.  We still hadn’t even received health insurance cards yet.

The care we received at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital was excellent. Our daughter, Natalia, pulled through and we were allowed to go home a day earlier than expected.

We finally received our insurance cards.  Then, a couple of weeks later, we got news from the doctor’s office that Blue Cross wouldn’t cover our doctors office visits because we had a pre-existing condition.  We contacted CBIZ immediately and they said they would take care of it.  Two weeks later, we got an email asking for an additional requirement, basically saying if we didn’t meet that requirement they couldn’t take off the pre-existing clause off.  Back in May, they required that my fiancée had proof of coverage from before we got pregnant.  In August, after they’d been paid and coverage began, they changed the requirement to 1 year from date of the beginning of the Blue Cross plan, which we didn’t have.

The best part of this so far is that we tried to be responsible.  We paid Blue Cross 300 dollars a month for this “coverage” on good faith that our pregnancy would be covered because we were advised against getting the free Medicare program by the CBIZ representative.  Nor were we told that you CANNOT apply for Medicare if you have insurance.

About 2 months ago, I went to work like any normal day, unaware that I would be at the hospital with my fiancée for the rest of the week.  Our Natalia hadn’t made it.  (We delivered at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees, which, again, provided great care and as much comfort as they could given the circumstances)

The recovery and grief have been hard enough.  What’s worse, CBIZ has stopped returning our emails and calls.  My fiancée called Blue Cross about 10 times and got different stories every time she called, until she finally got a call with the same story about needing the 1 year prior coverage (this after getting told that the pre-existing clause would be removed).

About 2 weeks after our last hospital visit “Obamacare” as it is referred by pundits took effect.  If only it had kicked in 2 months ago.  He made pre-existing conditions a thing of the past, and we are very grateful that no one will have to go through that much health insurance hell again.  We don’t know why our daughter didn’t make it, but we are sure that the stress of dealing with health “insurance” definitely didn’t help our well-being.

When I was getting ready to be a father one of the biggest things that scared me was that I was bringing a child into this world, with all of its horrific problems.  She didn’t make it, but that feeling has stayed with me.   I will be volunteering with a local Democrat this election season, because the parts of this story that we can help we can’t let happen again.

Our daughter, Natalia Michaella Woods-Quigley, was conceived around January 1st 2010.  She loved to listen to music (WXPN in Philly being her favorite radio station.)  Natalie loved eating all kinds of food (except Indian).  Her favorites were potatoes, pasta, cantaloupe, and burgers.  She was very opinionated, kicking her opinions every moment.  It’s amazing how much (and how little) you can learn about someone when they aren’t even born yet.  It’s amazing how deeply you can fall in love with someone you can’t even see.

We love you Natalie.
Bryan & Erica

>Linux-Devel-Focus App Idea

>Sharing another of my crazy ideas with the community in the hope that it’s actually already out there…  This one involved encourage participation in Linux kernel development by providing new developers a “laptop-personalized” experience.

The basic idea:
User compiles the kernel specific to their hardware using “make localmodconfig”, user records all warnings -> and goes to work fixing the warnings specific to the users computer.  localmodconfig, for those that don’t know, tells the kernel to only compile the code that is specifically needed for this hardware.  This makes it pretty much computer specific code.

Expanded idea 1 – Really Free Software:

The user is given a list of all binary blobs or other non-free things that they are using in their kernel, no matter how small.  To FSF standards.

Expanded Idea 2 – Depreciated APIs:
The user is given a list of the hardware they use and which are using depreciated APIs or other items that will cause issues in the future.

Expanded Idea 3 – Old Untouched Code:
The user is given a list of the hardware they use and how old the code is in each driver they are using.  This may allow the user to focus their efforts on the likely least optimized code paths.

Expanded Idea 4 – Where to go from there?:
Based on which area of the kernel it is, the user is given different instructions designed to help them commit patches.

It may also be neat to see which hardware you have is least and most popular…


>OpenOffice & GStreamer

> If you have ever installed OpenOffice from Sun’s (and now Oracle’s) website you will notice that it doesn’t have any media playing support.  But it does on Ubuntu and Debian and Suse and Fedora and well pretty much everywhere else.

OpenOffice’s policy is to only include code that they have a shared copyright on (or some other similar legal wording).  Novell, wrote code to make OpenOffice integrate with the common (on Linux) gstreamer media framework.

According to this bug report Novell won’t share the copyright with Oracle/Sun and Oracle/Sun won’t integrate it without it.

I don’t really know who to blame in this instance, but it seems incredibly silly to me.  We (collectively) have the code to make OpenOffice work better (and be much easier to test new versions without losing audio/video), but we still manage to restrict what we end up doing with the code.  🙁