1. Apologies for Absence
2. Minutes of the last meeting
3. Matters arising
4. Chairman's Report
5. Treasurer's Report
6. Election of Officers and Committee
Please make every effort to attend the AGM.
After the formal part of the business we have some games available to play.
Gareth will bring along the Wii with the Wii Sports games disc providing fun
easy to play Golf, Bowling, Tennis and more. Hopefully we may also have an
XBox in attendance as well where Michael can show off some of the latest
Frank began the evening with an extensive look at PDF creating and handling on RISCOS.
For viewing he uses !PDF which is itself a port of xpdf from Linux/UNIX. This was originally written by Leo Smiers and is now maintained by Derek Noonburg with the latest release being just a few weeks old. It is a competent PDF viewer but is always slightly behind in supporting the latest PDF standards.
In the past a group from Holland developed !RiScript which promised to be a more sophisticated commercial offering for PDF creating and viewing but it never quite got there and has now faded from use on Frank's system as it cannot handle many modern PDF files.
For creating PDFs Frank has PrintPDF by Stephen Fryatt installed which allows printing from any application to a PDF file on RISCOS using GhostScript. The latest release of PrintPDF at the time of the meeting was just a few days old. As we will see many platforms including Linux and the Mac use GhostScript which is open source for handling their PDF generation.
On RISCOS this was ported by Martin Wuerthner.
In order to generate a PDF using PrintPDF you need to configure a Postscript printer driver to print to a file which is associated with the PrintPDF application. Frank uses the latest
Postscript 3 printer driver and of course unless you want a black and white PDF document don't forget to set this printer driver to colour!!
To show this in action Frank opened a letter in Ovation Pro and printed to the Postscript 3 printer described above. Due to the association with PrintPDF a "Create PDF" dialogue then opened allowing you to select a number of options including which version of the PDF standard to output, together with selecting various optimisations, adding author information, setting security and more. Items can be added to a queue so that multiple documents and pages from different applications can be merged into a single PDF file.
To test PrintPDF Frank printed a 10 page technical document from Artworks. PrintPDF produced the output file quite quickly despite their being a number of technical illustrations. As Artworks now supports import/export of PDF files we were able to reload the PDF output back into Artworks.
If you are dealing purely with Artworks files, however, the built in Export to PDF function in Artworks produces clearer fonts in the PDF than the combination of Postscript - PrintPDF - Ghostscript.
Gareth followed the RISCOS discussion with a look at PDF support on Linux and the Mac. Firstly Linux which proved to have mixed results possibly due to trying a very large camera manual as a source document that did not want to be further printed!!
Most of the software that can handle PDF or Postscript on Linux uses GhostScript internally which makes it very similar to RISCOS as both !PDF and PrintPDF rely on Ghostscript. In terms of clients there are many tens of PDF viewers including those built into the desktop environment, but to directly compare to RISCOS, we initially looked at XPDF which provides the basis of !PDF. XPDF could be called an old school UNIX application and does
look fairly dated now as it is a very typical older looking X11 app.
Despite the appearance though it is a fairly competent PDF viewer although lacking support for the most up-to-date aspects of PDF which is a problem it passes on to its RISCOS cousin.
Adobe do provide a Linux version of their Acrobat Reader software for Linux and the current release available for Ubuntu was 9.4.2 which is slightly behind the Windows and Mac versions but fairly up to date. This looks very much like its Windows counterpart and support the same security restrictions etc.
The solution for creating PDFs on Linux lies in the CUPS PDF printer driver. CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) is the default printing engine on Ubuntu and its built in PDF driver is based on GhostScript so is very similar to the PrintPDF setup on RISCOS.
Gareth printed some pages from Firefox but the resulting PDF was simplified and did not reflect the screen view, trying this from the Mac produced the same result and we concluded that Firefox is obeying a simplified print view from the web page stylesheet. While Gareth did not have many documents on his Linux Virtual Machine to try, as this uses GhostScript, it should be as competent as any other PDF driver using GhostScript.
Trying to reprint a large camera manual already in PDF format did fail on Ubuntu but more on that in the Mac section where we tried it again!!
Moving on to look at the Mac Gareth showed that the printing system on the Mac is also based on CUPS from UNIX, and indeed has the same PDF printer driver installed. On the Mac this is accessed slightly differently in that the Print dialogue box for any application will also have a "save as PDF" option rather than choosing the normal print button. This has the same effect as using the PDF printer on Linux, or PrintPDF on RISCOS.
The CUPS system on the Mac does have a large number of the free open source drivers installed from the likes of Gutenprint (also ported to RISCOS) which is very similar to Linux. However (...as the Mac is...(Ed.) ) a more accepted OS commercially a lot of printer manufacturers also release binary drivers for their printers with extended functionality. Mostly Gareth just plugs the printer in and uses the Gutenprint support if present but the family does own one Canon colour inkjet where this driver has odd colours and is forced to use the proprietary driver.
Downloading and opening the Ubuntu Help manual from the web and using the "Save as PDF" option to create a PDF file we were able to compare the two pages side by side. These appeared near identical with no degradation of the font quality, which we had seen using GhostScript on RISCOS. This may be due to the differing RISCOS font format as GhostScript does have some limitations on embedding fonts.
Attempting to print the large camera manual that failed on Linux was a non-starter as the Mac "greyed out" the "Save as PDF" option. We can only assume that the original document has a security flag set to prevent printing that Ubuntu ignored and then failed to print.
Finally and running out of time Michael showed us PDFCreator on Windows. PDFCreator is an open-source app for Windows available from SourceForge and is of course based on GhostScript as the underlying engine to support PDF.
This worked in a similar way to PrintPDF on RISCOS, although on Windows you don't see the intermediary Postscript step, just a PDFCreator printer driver. A dialogue box allows you to control all the versioning, author information and security settings as per PrintPDF and this creator also supported queuing multiple print jobs into a single output PDF making it quite sophisticated and something we didn't see in the CUPS driver on Linux/Mac.
Please make every effort to attend the AGM and support the club. The formal proceedings as ever are necessary to continue running as a club but should be short with plenty of time to try out the Wii and more games!
Paul Skirrow has emailed me to ask if anyone in ICENI is interested in some Acorn/RISCOS hardware and software has, which he would like to get rid of as he is moving house very soon. It is being offered free to anyone who would like it.
Umax Astra 610S scanner (SCSI)
Various software packages and manuals
Risc PC power supplies
Acorn mouse (second-hand)
SIMM memory for Risc PC
Please let me know if you are interested in any of these items. Incidentally the club might like the power supplies and memory for rebuilding RiscPCs
I shall be in contact with Paul and may possibly have the items at the AGM if there is time.
|18 May||AGM and games||All|
|15 June||PC optimization and protection software||All|
|20 July||Video, mediacentre and transcoding.||All|
|17 August||Social evening - venue TBA||All|
|21 September||Solid state drives (SSD) and storage devices.||All|
|19 October||Mac Evening||All|
|16 November||HD video opportunities||All|
|21 December||Party and Gadgets evening||All|
|18 January||Social evening - venue TBA||All|
|15 February||Linux 2011 on ARM etc.||All|
|21 March||Slide show evening||All|
|18 April||AGM + extras||All|
Meetings are now on the Third Wednesday of the month unless otherwise stated.
Our meetings are held at the Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE , for a map and other details please see the website. http://icenicomputerclub.users.btopenworld.com
The first visit is free and subsequent visits for non - members is £2·50. The membership fee is £20 due from the AGM date in April, but may be reduced for those joining late in the year.
Continuing our publicity for EAUG events, there is now a full list of meetings up to the end of the year on their website.
Tea/coffee/biscuits usually available.
Visitors pay 2.00 GBP for the evening, which is deductible from the normal joining subscription if you decide to join at a later date.
See the Membership page of the website for more information:
Meetings are at the Great Baddow Village Hall, on the second Tuesday of the month
opening at 7:30 p.m. for a start at 7:45 - 8:00 p.m.
For directions see below (note the new web addresses)
They have now moved to the St. Andrew's Computer Club at Britannia Road, Ipswich.
They have a full programme on the parish website (http://www.ourstandrews.co.uk), We may be able to make new contact with them to arrange something in common.
"ICENI does not have any Insurance cover for computers or other equipment so please be advised that you bring machines to the club at your own risk."
However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)
If anyone would like a copy of the CD of our old newsletters this could be arranged.
I am open to suggestions on what people would like to have included in the website.
Our website URL is
http://icenicomputerclub.users.btopenworld.com as a virtual domain,
it can also be reached using http://www.btinternet.com/~icenicomputerclub
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org