Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2019

Scanning & OCRring to PDF: Simple Scan, gimagereader and gscan2pdf v NAPS2 for Windows

The project is to build a Linux Mint machine to have the identical functionality and ergonomics as the existing Windows 10 machine.

This stage relates to scanning paper documents to PDF and digitising the scanned text via optical character recognition.
Environment & required functionality The scan-and-OCR function needs to run on the following machines:
The Linux Mint Xfce 18.3 laptop "Gandalf"; A Linux Mint Xfce 18.3 virtual machine "Gimli"; The Windows 10 laptop "Legolas". In any modern office - whether at home or at work - some transactional documents and documents from public authorities still arrive by snail-mail.

This requires the ability to scan all documents, optionally with the digitisation of scanned text (typically via optical character recognition).

The hardware is an old HP OfficeJet Pro 276dw, connected to the LAN instead of directly to a workstation.
Alternatives There are two strategies:
To use the software provided by the hardware man…

Status report: wholesale migration from Windows to Linux is not functionally possible

As at mid-May2019, it was clear that the path to migration from Windows to Linux was obstructed by a lack of apps that are fit-for-purpose being available in the Linux environment.

Since May2019, there has been no change to the apps/functionalities then listed in the section, "Path to migration is obstructed by apps which are incompatible or otherwise unusable."  Developments in the interim have merely confirmed that the apps available for the Linux environment are not fit-for-purpose, and are unlikely to be fit-for-purpose for the foreseeable future.

So, it's time for a change of tack.  The time is right to deploy Occam's Razor.

In short, the Linux Mint offers a perfect solution to the jaded Windows user.  The only problem with Linux Mint is not of Linux Mint's making.  The problem is a lack of apps that are fit-for-purpose in the Linux environment.  By fit-for-purpose, I mean apps that meet the hygiene requirements of office-based, corporate lackeys who use sof…

Status report: to what extent has the migration from Windows to Linux taken place?

As at mid-May2019 - ~10 weeks since a change to the test environment - it's about time to document the status of the migration from Windows to Linux.

Successful path to migration found, a bonus is that the path is bi-directional Linux Mint, WPS Office, GPS Prune, Google Earth and XNView are successfully replicating their functionality in the Windows environment.

The changes to the data are successfully read and updated within the Windows environment.  For these apps, the path to migration is achieved, is bi-directional.  For these apps, mission accomplished.

Path to migration is visible, but not yet reliable enough to count as a success gscan2pdf has been found over two months to be unreliable, with predictable crashes upon a particular instruction of post-scanning processing.  This could be gscan2pdf itself, or any number of the subsidiary programs it invokes.  It is still worth persistence.  NAPS2 for Windows is still the more reliable app.

Path to migration is obstructed by app…

Change in the testing environment

Following the successful test of WPS Office to stand in the shoes of Excel, the test environment needs to change.

The virtual Linux machine Gimli is hosted on Windows host Legolas via Virtual Box.  Legolas now needs to share data with the Virtual Box, so as to reduce the workload on synchronisation (grive and google-drive-ocamlfuse), thus stepping closer to a "big-bang" migration from Windows to Linux (where parallel co-existence of the two platforms wouldn't happen).

This is nearly a transitional phase.  It enables normal operations in Windows to the extent that apps in the Linux environment are either not available, or there is no time to find them to meet functional requirements.

This change took place ~30 days ago, and so far, is proving very successful as a test environment.  The Linux Mint test environment is handling more and more functionality with each month, successfully manipulating "live" data with no prejudice to the Windows environment or the data…

WPS Office Spreadsheet v Excel: at last, one that works!

The project is to build a Linux Mint machine to have the identical functionality and ergonomics as the existing Windows 10 machine.

This stage relates to finding a spreadsheet package that handles existing data - over 10 years-worth of data - to migrate from Windows to Linux.  LibreOffice failed to meet the required functionality, resulting in the project being downgraded.  Time became available to test WPS Office, the result of which is that the project may continue.
Environment & required functionality Excel-like functionality - in particular the use of linked workbook references in formulae such as SUMIF() - needs to be used on the following machines:
The Linux Mint Xfce 18.3 laptop "Gandalf"; A Linux Mint Xfce 18.3 virtual machine "Gimli";The Windows 10 laptop "Legolas". The synchronisation agent is Google Drive in Windows 10, and either grive2 or google-drive-ocamlfuse in Linux Mint.

This test focussed on spreadsheets, with no attention on word-p…

OnlyOffice: keyboard inaccessible, so not useable, therefore not tested

I installed OnlyOffice I had intended to test it with my now-standard test suite of two linked workbooks.

Unfortunately, in spite of a promising look, I quickly discovered that - with one exception - everything was navigable only by mouse.

That makes it a child's toy.  Unfit for purpose!  No point in testing it further.

I uninstalled it within 10 minutes of installing it.

SoftMaker's PlanMaker: cannot handle linked workbooks with SUMIF and Google Drive reckons the files are ZIP files.

I have tested PlanMaker with my now-standard test suite of two linked workbooks.

PlanMaker looks and feels highly compatible with Excel.  It has comparable menu structures, a choice of Excel 2003-like or Excel 2007-like interfaces.  It feels tight and secure, i.e. no risk of data being lost.

So it should have been an ideal candidate to solve the problems unsolved by LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

Sadly, no.  It seems that PlanMaker's deployment of XLSX does not extend to linked workbooks in functions SUMIF and SUMIFS.  PlanMaker thus cannot pass this most basic of hygiene factors.

Naturally, I put in a comment in PlanMaker's forum for PlanMaker Freeware in Sep2018 and received no useful replies.

And now I receive spam from PlanMaker.

One other thing that PlanMaker annoyingly does.  When it saves XLSX, it does something that makes Google Drive think it is a ZIP file.  Google Drive preview thus cannot open the file for preview ("Oops!  Something's gone wrong!  You can down…

gnumeric doesn't recognise linked workbooks at all

I have tested gnumeric with my now-standard test suite of two linked workbooks.

I found that gnumeric doesn't even recognise the concept of linkable workbooks.

gnumeric is fine for ad hoc, one-off calculations without standing data.  The lack of linking views to data, however, make gnumeric a poor choice for on-going financial measurement and reporting.

gnumeric was uninstalled within 10 minutes of its installation!