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Installing Vista Fonts in Ubuntu September 16, 2007

Posted by Carthik in guides, looks and feel, microsoft, packages, ubuntu.

Microsoft’s new ClearType fonts for Vista are great. The fonts include Constantia, Corbel, Calibri, Cambria, Candara and Consolas.
Microsoft Vista Fonts

Getting them installed in Ubuntu is a breeze, thanks to a script I found.
To install the Vista ClearType fonts in Ubuntu, you need to install cabextract first. Cabextract is a utility found in the universe repository, so before you run the following command, make sure you have universe enabled in your repository list. Once this is done, install cabextract using:
$sudo apt-get install cabextract

Then, once that is done, use this script to install the Vista fonts. Create a file called “vista-fonts-installer.sh” in your home (~) directory.
Then open up a text editor and copy and paste the script into that file.
Do a chmod a+x ~/vista-fonts-installer.sh to make the file/script executable.
Then run the script using:
$ ~/vista-fonts-installer.sh

The script downloads the Powerpoint Viewer installer from microsoft.com, and then extracts the Vista cleartype fonts using cabextract. These fonts are then installed in the ~/.fonts directory.

Please remember that the ClearType Vista fonts are not free as in they are not GPL-ed or made available under a re-distributable license. Since you are downloading the fonts from the MS website, and since you might already have a Windows XP/Vista license, this is not a crime, but consider yourself warned against the perils of supporting closed systems :)


  1. Looks like the use of these fonts are restricted to only Microsoft Windows/Vista operating systems according to the terms of the license. I am sorry, but you’ll be installing them at your own risk.
  2. Also, please make sure you use the bash shell, or change the first line of the code to #!/bin/bash
  3. In retrospect, this was a bad post – I think we’re better off not using stuff folks don’t want us to use – let’s use the better, freer, easier to install fonts.

Convert/Import from PDF and Keep the Formatting April 10, 2007

Posted by Carthik in applications, guides, microsoft, office, ubuntu.

I have often wanted to convert a PDF file to a MS Word (.doc) file or an openoffice.org file. Usually I just copy the text from the PDF file and paste it in the new word document. Soon, this gets pretty tiring.

Recently I found a way to convert a pdf file to other formats, including .doc and .odt which preserves the formatting of the text pretty well. It is not perfect preserved but it is way better than having no formatting at all.

The secret goes by the name KWord. KWord is a KDE application that has a pdf “import” feature which lets you import either entire pdf documents or just a few pages from a pdf document while preserving the formatting! Of course – this only works for pdf documents which are not scanned images of pages. I tried it out on files created using \LaTeX, MS Word and OpenOffice. The font sizes in the imported document are larger than they need to be, but at least the headings are heading, the normal text is normal text, and the bullets are bullets!


“Want to” Vs. “Have to” April 1, 2007

Posted by Carthik in commentary, microsoft, ubuntu.

So what is this ground-shattering revelation that forced me to write at 2:45 AM?

It is one of those things that literally make you sit up, and think for a moment. When you are done thinking, you want to write it down – such thoughts don’t happen too often, you see. So here it is:

More people use Windows not because they want to, but because they have to.
More people use Linux not because they have to, but because they want to.

The balance is tipping. Soon, there will be fewer people who will be willing to do what they have to at a high price, and more more people willing to change things so they can use the platform they want to use.

I’ll probably regret writing this a few years from now. It is, after all, so obvious.
What I won’t regret is writing this down before I go to sleep tonight.

About the Ubuntu Installer for Windows January 17, 2007

Posted by Carthik in microsoft, Other sites, ubuntu.

Lifehacker featured a post about the Ubuntu Installer for Windows, with the headline:
Install and run Ubuntu without disturbing Windows

This is disturbing, since the installer is not yet finished and tested. Lifehacker’s readers belong to a variety of “categories” but I worry about the users who expect everything to work ship-shape and start bad mouthing if it does not at first try. It is not clear where one would file bugs with this installer, for one. I hope this does not end up creating a “Ubuntu does not work properly” image in the minds of these readers. The installer prototype features ntfs-3g, which itself is experimental, and since Ubuntu will “reside” within windows, auto-detection and automatic configuration of hardware might not work the same as it does with native Ubuntu installs.

There is a prototype of the Install.exe installer for Windows. In layman’s terms, this installer is just like any other software application installer for Windows. It works by copying an image of Ubuntu to your Windows partition and using that to “drive” Ubuntu. So it does not repartition your hard drive, or install Ubuntu independent of Windows. In C:\Ubuntu an image will reside and be complemented by the auto-detected settings for Ubuntu, the home directory for the users etc. So Ubuntu will end up borrowing space from Windows, without repartitioning. For more details, read the specification. Don’t be scared by the word specification – Ubuntu specs are a pleasure to read, with the rationale,use cases, to-do items etc written in simple English.

I love the idea of the Ubuntu installer, and it sure makes it easy for folks to try Ubuntu out. I expect problems when these users finally want to switch completely to Ubuntu while preserving their Ubuntu installation, settings, files and permissions. Now that would be difficult since uninstalling windows will wipe out Ubuntu(which lives “within” Windows).

So, the approach will solve a problem but might end up inventing some more problems for its users.

All you need to try out Ubuntu without risking data loss is the Live CD – that really can’t be beat for simplicity and ease-of-use!

OpenOffice.org Design Competition Winners Announced December 13, 2006

Posted by Carthik in microsoft, news, office.

The results for the OO.org template and clipart design competition are out!

LXer reports:

The contest resulted in some superior and innovative work. “Some of the templates show just how advanced and flexible Openoffice.org’s OpenDocument format is as both a Word and Spreadsheet ODF processor. The winning templates and many others breaks a myth that Openoffice.org cannot do advanced editing functions like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. It is obvious that Openoffice.org has come of age and is more than just a free alternative to MS Office but is an extremely worthy competitor” said Russell Ossendryver

All submitted entries, including the winners are available from the OpenOffice.org documentation gallery page

Winners include a thesis kit, a perpetual calendar, clipart for teachers, and entire sets of clipart for business and home users.

The sponsor, WorldLabel had enabled OO.org to offer $5000 in prizes! Russell Ossendryver wrote in to tell me about the results. What is interesting is that he adds, later in the email:

I received C&D letter “without prejudice” from the power house lawyers of Microsoft Corporation telling me that
Worldlabel.com is misusing the Microsoft Office Trademark and it must be removed to resolve the matter. The Logo link was on a page with free resources linking to a page on MS Office with free resources and has been there for 7 years. I have been wanting to remove it in any case and did. It seems like the more I will do for FOSS the more my company will get attacked.

He then goes on to say that his resolve to champion Open Source solutions has not diminished one bit. Thank you for putting your money where your mouth is, Russell.

Can someone tell me why Microsoft, which is obviously such a huge market leader has to behave like a braindead school bully? I used to read Scobleizer, the blog by a now-former-MS-employee and used to enjoy some of his stories about advocacy. How do they think actions such as this one would help, in any way (little or big) to improve the image of the company or its products? Maybe I am spoiled by openness and freedom — I just don’t get it.


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