Posts Tagged ‘debian project’

Convert single PDF pages to multiple SVG files on Debian Linux with pdf2svg

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

In my last article, I've explained How to create PNG, JPG, GIF pictures from one single PDF document
Convertion of PDF to images is useful, however as PNG and JPEG graphic formats are raster graphics the image quality gets crappy if the picture is zoomed to lets say 300%.
This means convertion to PNG / GIF etc. is not a good practice especially if image quality is targetted.

I myself am not a quality freak but it was interesting to find out if it is possible to convert the PDF pages to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) graphics format.

Converting PDF to SVG is very easy as for GNU / Linux there is a command line tool called pdf2svg
pdf2svg's official page is here

The traditional source way compile and install is described on the homepage. For Debian users pdf2svg has already existing a deb package.

To install pdf2svg on Debian use:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes pdf2svg
...

Once installed usage of pdf2svg to convert PDF to multiple SVG files is analogous to imagemagick's convert .
To convert the 44 pages Projects.pdf to multiple SVG pages – (each PDF page to a separate SVG file) issue:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ for i in $(seq 1 44); do \
pdf2svg Projects.pdf Projects-$i.SVG $i; \
done

This little loop tells each page number from the 44 PDF document to be stored in separate SVG vector graphics file:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ ls -1 *.svg|wc -l
44

For BSD users and in particular FreeBSD ones png2svg has a bsd port in:

/usr/ports/graphics/pdf2svg

Installing on BSD is possible directly via the port and convertion of PDF to SVG on FreeBSD, should be working in the same manner. The only requirement is that bash shell is used for the above little bash loop, as by default FreeBSD runs the csh. 
On FreeBSD launch /usr/local/bin/bash, before following the Linux instructions if you're not already in bash.

Now the output SVG files are perfect for editting with Inkscape or Scribus and the picture quality is way superior to old rasterized (JPEG, PNG) images

What is the real development costs of Debian GNU / Linux – How much costs the development of a Free Software projects

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Free Software (FS) is free as in freedom as well as free as in price. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is developed by geek hobbyist which voluntarily put their time and effort in writting, testing and sharing with anyone for free million of lines of programming code. This doesn't mean however the price of free software costs is 0 (zero). Though the "end product" –  Free Software developed is FREE, "real" software costs as with any other product costs huge money.

I've recently read on Jeb's blog an estimation on how much is the cost of one of the major Free Software project efforts – Debian GNU / Linux
According to James E. Brombergerthe whole Debian project was estimated to be at the shocking price of $19 billion – $19 000, 000, 000 !!!

Here is how JEB got the $19 billions, a quote taken from his blog:

"By using David A Wheeler’s sloccount tool and average wage of a developer of US$72,533 (using median estimates from Salary.com and PayScale.com for 2011) I summed the individual results to find a total of 419,776,604 source lines of code for the ‘pristine’ upstream sources, in 31 programming languages — including 429 lines of Cobol and 1933 lines of Modula3!

In my analysis the projected cost of producing Debian Wheezy in February 2012 is US$19,070,177,727 (AU$17.7B, EUR€14.4B, GBP£12.11B), making each package’s upstream source code worth an average of US$1,112,547.56 (AU$837K) to produce. Impressively, this is all free (of cost).

James has done incredible job with this great research and he deserves applause.
However I believe the numbers proposed by his research are slightly different if we speak about realistic cost of Debian GNU / Linux.
The real costs of the working software ready to install on a user PC are way higher, as according to Jeb's research only the software cost based on code line count is considered.

Hence James software estimation calculates only the programming costs and miss many, many factors that constitute the software end cost.
Some of the many, many REAL COST / expenses for developing a huge Free Software project like Debian GNU / Linux to be considered are:
 

a) bandwidth costs for hosting free software (on the server side)b) bandwidth cost for developers or FS users downloading the software

a) Time spend to spread the word of the great added value of Debian and bundled software (Mouth by Mouth Marketing)

b) Time spend to advertise Debian and its free software components on blogs, social networks (identi.ca, facebook, twitter) etc.(Voluntary online Marketing, SEO etc.)

c) Time spend on generating ideas on future program versions and reporting them to Debian FS community

d) Time on evaluation and feedback on software

e) Time spend on managing free software repository (download) servers voluntarily (by system administrators)

f) Time spend by users on Bug Tracking & Bug Reporting

g) Time spend on research and self-actualization by software developer)

h) Time spend on software Quality Assurance

This are most of the multiple factors which should probably influence the cost of any non-free (proprietary software) project. No matter this costs apply for non-free software, it perfectly applies for free software as well.With all said if if we assume the non-programming costs are equal to the programming costs of $ 19 000 000 000 (suggested by Jeb). This means the real cost of Debian will presumably be at least $32 000 000 000. Putting $ 19 billion for all this long list of "additional" costs (besides pure source) factors is probably still very under-scored number.
 

  • the developers use of their own computers (hardware depreciation)
  • electricity bill of the volunteer (developer) working on the program or project
  • electricity bills for servers where free software is stored and available for download
  • volunteer developer IT skills and tech knowledge (KNOW HOW)
  • Internet, network, dial up bandwidth cost
  • personal time put in FS development (programming, design, creativity etc.)! here the sub costs are long:
  • Costs for Project Management Leaders / Project Coordination
  • The complexity of each of the projects constituting Debian

Very interesting figure from Jeb's research is the Programming Languages break down by source code figure.
Jamesresearch reveals on the 4 major programming languages used in the 17000+ software projects (part of Debian GNU / Linux):

 

  • ANSI C with 168,536,758 – (40% of all projects source code)
  • C++ at 83,187,329 – (20% of all projects source)
  • Java 34,698,990 – (lines of code 8% of sources)
  • Lisp – (7% of all projects source code)

  His research also provides a general idea on how much the source code of some of the major FOSS projects costs. Here is a copy of his figures
 

Individual Projects

Other highlights by project included:

ProjectVersionThousands
of SLOC
Projected cost
at US$72,533/developer/year
Samba3.6.12,000US$101 (AU$93M)
Apache2.2.9693US$33.5M (AU$31M)
MySQL5.5.171,200US$64.2M (AU$59.7M)
Perl5.14.2669US$32.3M (AU$30M)
PHP5.3.9693US$33.5M (AU$31.1M)
Bind9.7.3319US$14.8M (AU$13.8M)
Moodle1.9.9396US$18.6M (AU$17.3M)
Dasher4.11109US$4.8M (AU$4.4M)
DVSwitch0.8.3.66US$250K (AU$232K)

 

As you can imagine all the source evaluation results, are highly biased and are open for discussion, since evaluating a free software project/s is a hard not to say impossible task. The "open" model of development makes a project very hard to track, open source model implies too many unexpected variables missing from the equation for clear calculation on costs. What is sure however if turned in money it is very expensive to produce.  At present moment Debian Project is sponsored only through donations. The usual yearly budget 5 years ago for Debian  was only $80 000 dollars a year!! You can check Debian Project annual reports throughout the years here , for year 2012 Debian Project budget is as low as $ 222, 677 (US Dollars)! The output price of the software the project provides is enormous high if compared to the low project expenses!

For us the free software users, price is not a concern, Debian is absolutely free both  as in freedom and free as in beer 😉