Brandon's Notepad

June 29, 2008

Headless Linux Web Client

Home > My Lists > Technical Notes > Headless Linux Web Client

Here’s my thoughts on a Linux-based headless web client:

  • MiniKnoppix would be a good platform, but the following packages would have to be readded: anacron, expect, html2text, m4, ndiswrapper.
  • Knoppix has a “persistent home” option.
  • The JFFS filesystem will distribute wear on a Compact Flash drive.
  • Fetchmail & procmail could be used to retreive simple text info by cell phone or IM.
  • “Web Client Programming with Perl” & “Spidering Hacks” by O’Reilly publishing would provide much help in scripting scrapes and other tools/toys.

February 27, 2008

Graphics Automation

Filed under: Computer Software,Linux — Brandon @ 9:07 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Home > My Lists > Technical Notes > Graphics Automation

I read an interesting article on running OpenOffice as a headless service. (Look here for more info on actually making it work.) It focuses on using OO as an online document converter, but I’m sure there are other uses.

Reading that made me think of other useful things that could be done from the command line, such as editing & converting photos. I know that the Gimp (i.e. OpenSource equivalent to Photoshop) includes a scripting language and a Perl interface exists if you want to use its capabilities in a script; however, I don’t think it can run headless out of the box. Instead, I use ImageMagick for such tasks. Here’s an article explaining how to do some simple things in that tool. It’s really useful if you manage a lot of graphics files, be it your personal photo album or the graphics for the websites you author.

Finally, Inkscape is a vector graphics program similar to Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand. It will allow you to save vector-based drawings (i.e. lines & shapes) as XML files that can be directly manipulated with a text editor (or a script, if you want to automate the creation of forms or whatever). It also has a command-line interface that could allow you to export your drawings as PDF files!

For Non-Linux Users: All three of these applications are available for Windows (i.e. you need not install Linux to use them)! OO and Inkscape are available for Mac OS X, but it appears that ImageMagick must be compiled from source. Since Windows has a command prompt (even Vista) and BSD-based OS X has a command-line shell as well, these tricks should work on any of these platforms.

Create a free website or blog at