Open Source Musings

Sharing a passion for Linux and open source, with a decidedly non-techie slant

(Note: This post was first published at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.)

If you're like most people, you don't have a bottomless bank account. You probably need to watch your monthly spending carefully.

There are a number of ways to do that, but that quickest and easiest way is to use a spreadsheet. Many folks create a very basic spreadsheet to do the job, one that's consists of two long columns with a total at the bottom. That works, but it's kind of blah.

In this article, I'm going to walk you through creating a more scannable and, I think, more visually-appealing personal expense spreadsheet using LibreOffice Calc.

Say you don't use LibreOffice? That's OK. You can use the information in this article with spreadsheet editors like Gnumeric, Calligra Sheets, or EtherCalc.

Read more...

While PDF files have their uses, they can be a bit of a pain to work with. That's especially true when you need to mash two or more PDF files together — say, when you're adding a cover to a book.

To do that deed, you can use a pair of tools that I introduced a while back. Or you can jump to the command line and use software that's probably already on your computer. For the command line junkie, the latter option might be the preferred option.

Let's take a look at a quick and dirty way to combine PDFs at the Linux command line.

Read more...

If you were building web pages back in the 1990s, you might remember all of the dedicated HTML editors that were out there. If you were anything like me, you tried more than a couple of them.

Most of those editors have faded from memory, their bits and bytes dispersed ... well, wherever they've been dispersed to. One of the few that survived on the Linux desktop is Bluefish. And it survived for a good reason. Bluefish is a solid HTML editor that's actually more than an HTML editor.

Let's take a look at it.

Read more...

How the heck did I miss this bit of news?

It was a sad day in August, 2019 when the editorial team at Linux Journal announced that the publication would be riding into the sunset. But what a difference a year (and a bit) makes.

Linux Journal has a new lease on life, this time under the ownership of Slashdot Media. According to the official announcement:

It took some time, but fortunately we were able to get a deal done that allows us to keep Linux Journal alive now and indefinitely. It's important that amazing resources like Linux Journal never disappear.

Hear, hear!

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #news #linuxjournal

If write the same type of document regularly — whether it's an article, book, paper, or blog post — using a template can save you a bit of time when you're getting started. Instead of going through the whole process of firing up an application and setting up a document from , using a template can save you a bit to time when you're getting started.

In GNOME, the templates for the types of documents that you regularly create can be just a right click away. Literally. Here's how.

(Note: I've also used this feature with various flavours of Ubuntu. It might also work with other desktop environments — just don't quote me on that.)

Read more...

wallabag is one of those open source applications that I don't think gets enough attention or praise. Created as an alternative to the Pocket read-it-later tool, wallabag has evolved quite a bit over the last few years.

You can read articles that you've saved to wallabag online or using the mobile app. Both are fine, but both also have their limitations. With the online version, you need to be at your computer to use it. The mobile app is functional, but you can't control the choice or size of the font used with the app.

If you want to take your reading completely offline instead, you can generate EPUB and load it into reader on a laptop or a mobile device from within wallabag. Let's find out how to do that.

Read more...

I'm happy to announce that my new ebook, Learning HTML, has hit the virtual bookshelves.

As you probably know, most of what you find on the web is formatted with HTML (short for HyperText Markup Language). While you don't need to know HTML to publish on the web, knowing HTML can definitely be an advantage. Especially when you need to fix bad or broken formatting.

That's where Learning HTML comes in. By working through this book, you'll quickly learn the basics of HTML. You'll be able to work comfortably and confidently with HTML code when you need to. Regardless of whether you're a blogger, a journalist, a content strategist, or a technical writer, knowing HTML will benefit you and your career.

This book teaches you:

  • The basic structure of a web page or document.
  • How to create headings, paragraphs, and lists.
  • How to build tables.
  • How to add images, audio, and video to your web pages or documents.

And a little bit more. None of that's complex. It just takes a bit of effort to learn and to master. By the end of this book, you won't be a web designer or a web developer. You will have a solid foundation upon which you can build if you want or need to learn more.

Learning HTML is based on the shortcuts I've used, as well as the training I've given to colleagues and other writers over the years. I've distilled what I've taught to all those writers into short, easy-to-understand and easy-to-digest chapters.

You can read a sample chapter if you're curious. If you want to buy the book, you can find EPUB and PDF versions on Gumroad.

Scott Nesbitt

#news

Ah, the PDF file. Like it or not (and there are many standing on both sides of that line), the PDF has somehow, in some way, become ubiquitous. It's become a de-facto standard document file format.

Nowadays, a range of different applications and tools can spit out PDFs with the click of a button or an option added to a command line. Generating a PDF is one thing. Manipulating one is something else. On the Linux desktop, there are several utilities which can do just that. Let's take a look at two of them.

Read more...

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.