Presenter software for pdfs

When it comes to presenting on a Linux PC, the powerpoint format is not an option. Neither is Openoffice/Libreoffice for me. Designing presentations with Openoffice/Libreoffice can be quite frustrating and results in incompatibilities with other presentation slide generators like Powerpoint.

The only format that can guarantee consistency of your presentation across devices is pdf.

When you want to present a pdf, you can just open it in any pdf viewer, go fullscreen and mirror the display. But this simple setup is still far away from the comfort of Libreoffice/Openoffice/Powerpoint presentation mode. Wouldn’t it be nice to combine the reliability of pdf with the flexibility of the presentation mode found in Libreoffice/Openoffice/Powerpoint?

My requirements for a pdf presenter software are as follows:

-An extended desktop setup, with one screen showing the current  slide and the oder screen showing a preview of the upcoming slides.

-Be able to show notes and annotations that are not visible on the main screen. Notes should be easy to modify.

-Easy navigation between the slides and an overview of the complete presentation with slide thumbnails.

There seem to be very few pieces of software out there that support those concepts. One that fits my needs is .

The notes are written to a plaintext file and can be edited inside the application while in presentation mode or with any text editor.

It comes with many useful features that can be found on the home page and which I will not reiterate here.

The weak spots of pdfpc are in my opinion:

-Initial rendering of the thumbnails can take some time

-Escape ends the presentation, escape also exits annotation mode. Visually it is not always clear if annotation mode is still running and you might unintentionally end your presentation.

Apart from that it is a very good presenter software that I can fully recommend to anyone doing presentations in pdf format.


Wireless scanning with Canon PIXMA on Linux – timeout issues ( solved )

Canon devices have their own USB over IP protocol for communicating wirelessly. This allows users to scan and print with Canon devices without physically connecting them.

Arch users would install aur/cups-bjnp and then configure the device in cups.

Printing with cups works nicely out of the box, but I had timeout issues with scanning. Nine out of ten times the scan would not finish successfully, but abort with an error message complaining about a timeout.

The solution for this is quite easy: set a high timeout value in /etc/sane.d/pixma.conf, something like 5s.


After setting this value, timeout errors during scans disappeared entirely.

Awesome Window Manager – Maximization issues

I have been a convinced follower of this tiling window manager [link] for some years, and never ever dream of going back to the messy days of stacking window managers.

Recently, I noticed that some windows start maximized like firefox or chrome ( with a + symbol in the taskbar ), and I’m unable to de-maximize them with conventional keybindings. The ordinary way for toggling maximization ( Mod4 + m ) does not change them in any way, and it results in different flags on the taskbar that indicate vertical and horizontal maximization.

After some fiddling I discovered that at least 3 ways exist to maximize a window and the default keybinding does not deal windows that are just maximized ( and thus different from vertically and horizontally maximized windows ). Here are the taskbar glyphs for each of them.

+ maximized

A simple new keybinding to unset all three maximization flags for a given client can easily solve this when added to rc.lua :

awful.key({ modkey, “Shift” }, “m”,
function (c)
c.maximized = false
end ,
{description = “demaximize”, group = “client”})


Mod4 + shift + m will cut all client windows down to size now

Trying the Solarized Colorscheme

Usually, I prefer functionality over aesthetic appeal. Sometimes those two terms cannot be fully separated or can be reconciled in a unity of both. An example for this is the colorscheme applied to a user interface.

I decided to give the Solarized Colorscheme a try, it is still quite a hype and supposed to be immensely popular.

Solarized was created by a man with the passion of an artist and the precision of a scientist who put unbelievable energies into finding the best colors for a programmer’s text editor. The result is remarkable and can be found here:

( I wonder where he got the name from. Was it the Stanislaw Lem novel, the Tarkovsky film, one of its remakes or the old fashioned unix brand? My guess is the latter. Ironically the default colorscheme of the unix variant was a visual nightmare. )

The result is a light colorscheme and a dark one, if your workplace gets enough daylight, you are supposed to choose the light one, if you shun daylight or love to work in the night, the dark scheme is for you. I almost work exclusively with the dark scheme, in daytime and nighttime.

Solarized themes exist for the console, gtk, some window managers and many editors.

Arch Linux provides about 30 packages in AUR for the search term. You can solarize about anything from mc, emacs, vi and mutt up window manager decorations, consoles and text editors.  My own hacky ( not strictly canonical in terms of text color choices ) variant for SciTE, which I created because I could not find any for this editor fitting my purpose can be found on my github:

It covers most of the languages I use, but still leaves many looking very ugly due to missing style definitions.

My conclusions: For long working hours, a colorscheme with dark background and brighter text causes less eyestrain. I’m not switching back to dark text on bright backgrounds anytime soon. If UI colorschemes are something like a religion, Solarized manages to appeal even to agnostics.