Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Extracting Clipart from the Office Website

Despite things like the recent GPL-licensed(!) contribution from Redmond, Micro$oft is not well-known for being friendly toward the open source movement. One example is the clipart available on the Microsoft Office website. It's an excellent resource for teachers and office workers. With the Office 2007 clipart manager dead in the water with Crossover Office and Wine last I checked, getting clipart to make newsletters and such in Linux is a problem.

The problem is that clipart from the Office website is downloaded in MPF files. These are simply XML files with the actual file data base64-encoded. There is a Perl script to extract the files, but it requires several modules to be downloaded from CPAN. Not too horrible for me, but definitely not something that, say, the secretary at my church would be able to tackle. No more. I have written a GPL-licensed Python script, mpfextract.py, to extract all clipart from MPF files. This'll also be a nice thing to have once Haiku has WMF support beyond having libwmf ported. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time Flies When...Aw, Who am I Kidding?

The last couple of weeks have been pretty fast, but I don't feel like I've done a whole lot. Most of my time has been spent painting my living room. Luckily, I finished it the middle of last week. I've spent the time since then applying and sanding drywall mud. Today I had 5 1/2 hours of joy: putting primer on every surface in the sun room save the carpeted floor. Bleah.

I do have some good news, though. Frustrated by the lack of a decent packaging system, I've created a self-extracting package. It looks and works much like the installer for SoftwareValet's packages. The nice thing is that these can be invoked to install from the command line, so using this system could be ideal for distribution makers. Now all I have to do is write the tool that puts files into a package, which was the reason for starting it all. I also need to do a public beta of a self-extracting package, so don't be surprised if you see a Paladin release of some kind in the near future. :)