python-scipy: get the math done

December 13th, 2006 edited by lucas

Entry submitted by Gaël Varoquaux. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

If you have numerical data to process, if you want to code some complex mathematical operations, or if you want to output some figures on nice graphs, scipy could be for you.

This package adds a module to the python language that allows it to do scientific data processing.

Using it, and a few friends (ipython, python-matplotlib) you have a numeric capable high-level language that allows both to replace matlab for interactive data processing, to run extensive computations, and even to build powerful GUIs for experiment control.

In the late 70s optimized fortran routines where wrapped in a high level language, MATLAB. The resulting specialized language, and its competitors, had an enormous success among engineers, as it allowed them to focus on their mathematical problem, without worrying about computing problems, such as variable types.

However these languages are very rich in math operations, but very poor in other fields. The scipy python modules adds rich numerical types and mathematical operations to an already very rich and conveniant language: python. This profits both the engineer using scipy, as he can benefit from python’s extensive librairy, and the python programmer, who can pick optimized numerical functions in scipy’s toolbox for his general purpose program.

The scipy community is very active and scipy is gaining momentum. It is a great tool to teach computing to physics and engineering studing. The goal of the project is to make coding math as simple as possible.

python-scipy is available in Debian (0.3.2 in sarge, 0.5.1 in testing/unstable) and Ubuntu (0.3.2 in dapper, 0.5.1 in edgy).

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 3 Comments »

scribus-ng: next generation of the desktop publishing program

December 10th, 2006 edited by lucas

Entry submitted by Oleksandr Moskalenko.

scribus-ng is the successor to the scribus package, representing the current development tree of Scribus, the open source Desktop Publishing program.

Scribus is a cross-platform open source page layout program with the aim of producing commercial grade output in PDF and Postscript. Originally developed on Linux, Scribus also runs natively on MacOSX and Windows 2000 and XP. While the goals of the program are to make professional page layout accessible for beginners, it also has many professional publishing features, such as: spot color support, CMYK color, high grade PDF creation, Encapsulated Postscript import/export and creation of color separations. There is a great article on Desktop Publishing (DTP) versus Word Processing on

Target usages:

  • Layouts for newsletters, corporate stationery, posters, training manuals, technical documentation, business cards and other documents which need flexible layout and/or sophisticated image handling, as well as precise typography controls and image sizing not available in current word processors.
  • Users needing the ability to output to professional quality image setting equipment, as well as re-purposing for internal printing, web distributed PDFs or presentations.
  • Users needing to create interactive PDF forms for presentations and cgi-form submission via PDF.


There are no free software programs with Scribus’s capabilities. Proprietary world is represented by Quark Xpress and Adobe Indesign. Scribus holds its ground well against these programs and has been used to produce books, journals, newspapers and other publications (see Made_with_Scribus and Success_stories). There’s also a Jerusalem Post article that states flat out that you can do everything with Scribus that can be done with Adobe ID and QXP.

scribus-ng is available in Debian testing and unstable. Sarge has the older stable branch of Scribus (package scribus, version 1.2.1), which is also present in Debian testing and unstable (also named scribus, version 1.2.5). Ubuntu has scribus-ng in Feisty, in Edgy, in Dapper and scribus 1.2.5 in Feisty, in Edgy and Dapper.

scribus and scribus-ng packages are maintained by Oleksandr Moskalenko. There are very few bugs (total of six for both packages, most are wishlist) and the Scribus development is tracked very closely. Upstream repositories for Debian stable/testing/unstable and Ubuntu breezy/dapper/edgy for scribus and scribus-ng packages are also maintained for the convenience of users. So, it is possible to transparently obtain the latest and greatest scribus-ng for Debian/Sarge for instance.

DPOTD needs your help, please contribute ! (We don’t have another post ready currently)

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | Comments Off

Hello, world!

December 7th, 2006 edited by lucas

I’ve decided to try to resurrect Debian Package a Day. It was originally created by Andrew Sweger, then David Moreno Garza gave it another try, but both blogs stopped after some time. Another blog is still active, but autogenerates its entries using the packages’ descriptions, so it’s less interesting.

So here is a third attempt. To prevent this blog from following its ancestors, here is what changes:

  • I’ll try to make this a collaborative work by having a team of editors. If you can dedicate time on a regular basis to this, please join the team. If you can’t, please send us new entries about the packages you use. Read the Contribute page for more info.
  • The posting frequency will depend on how much entries we have in the queue. We will target a posting frequency of twice a week, so we won’t get kicked out of Planet Debian and Planet Ubuntu :-)

Everything is not totally read yet:

  1. We have to wait until DNS propagates our new name (if you can read this, it’s probably OK now).
  2. We have to get on Planet Debian and Planet Ubuntu.
  3. Someone has to submit an entry we can publish, or we could write one. But it would be so much better to start the collaborative way :-)

Update (08/12/06) : Debian Package of the Day won’t be added on Planet Debian: a recent discussion concluded that non-personal blogs should not be on Planet Debian. So you have to subscribe directly to its feed (if you read Planet Ubuntu, you probably don’t need to, since it was added there).

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 4 Comments »

Next Entries »