announcing img2pdf

categories: code

tldr; lossless conversion of JPEG and JPEG2000 files to PDF without significant increase of filesize:

Since she knew I was able to do all sorts of fancy stuff with pdf on my computer (inkscape, pdftk, pdflatex, cairo, ghostscript and others), a friend of mine asked me to convert a JPEG of a scanned document into a PDF for her. From a homework assignment that I solved as an undergrad I got a fairly good understanding about the PDF file format and I knew that PDF just uses embedded JPEG data for images. So I thought it would be easy enough to just wrap her JPEG with the PDF file structure and be done with it. Surprisingly it turned out that no tool I knew of (or was able to find on the internets) was able to do exactly that. Surely tools were able to convert my JPEG to a PDF of equal size but they were re-encoding the JPEG and hence lead to quality loss. Others did a lossless conversion but achieved lossless encoding by compressing an RGB representation of the image using zip/flate encoding (the right way to store images lossless in pdf) which increased the filesize manyfold. I knew that it was technically possible to inject her JPEG into a PDF without any byte of the JPEG changing so I was refusing to accept to either loose quality by re-encoding her JPEG or to increase the filesize of the 2.8MB JPEG to a 14MB PDF file. On top of that, imagemagick would take a whopping 27 seconds to convert just a single JPEG to PDF (using lossless zip compression). This is completely unacceptable for bigger conversion tasks. Searching on the internet revealed other people having the same problems and there were some claiming to sit on huge JPEG2000 scan archive they wanted to lossless convert to PDF so I decided to support JPEG2000 as well.

Out came a tool that does exactly what I wanted. It takes image filenames as commandline arguments. If the image is a JPEG or JPEG2000 file, it will dump its content into the pdf structure as it is without changing a single byte. If any other format is found, the normal zip/flate encoding will be used. Thus, in both cases, the encoding is done lossless while in case of JPEG and JPEG2000 images also much smaller than it would've been by forcing re-ecoding as zip/flate. Giving multiple images on the commandline will produce a multipage pdf.

More information is available in the

git clone git://

Patches are welcome as usual.

Also tell me if I should've missed another application that can do the same.

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announcing PyFeRea

categories: code

tldr; An RSS reader without Gnome/KDE dependencies using Python, Gtk, Webkit:

About a year ago I wrote the following email to the debian-user list:

Subject: is there no sane, minimal, graphical RSS feed reader in existance?


I've been looking for a good RSS feed reader for years now but I still seem not
to be able to find a sane, minimal graphical RSS reader.

What I'm using now is liferea which is okay but could be more minimal and
mainly, is way too slow to enjoy using it (search for the fsync issue).

So what is left?

- There is a bunch of web based readers but I treasure having my stuff offline
  as well.

- There are readers for the gnome or KDE environment. Since I use neither it
  would mean to get 100s of MB (literally) of dependencies

- There are firefox extensions but why would I have to install a web browser to
  read my RSS feeds?

- There are thunderbird, evolution and opera but same argument: why would I
  want to install an email-client/browser for my feeds?

- There are clients like blam that are written in .NET/mono and would also
  require dozens of dependencies (not talking about .NET evilness)

- There are readers for the terminal but I have several feeds with images and I
  dont want to open another window of my browser each time.

I can't imagine there are no others who do not use Gnome/KDE (having a more
minimal setup) but would want to have a graphical RSS reader?

What I'm looking for is not much: it would just depend on either
gtk/qt/efl/whatever for its UI, would have one list of the feeds, another list
for recent feed items and another frame with a gecko or webkit plugin for
presenting the item. Why this feature/dependency bloat everywhere?

Why is there no simple reader with minimal dependencies? Am I just overlooking
one? Are my requirements too weird? I'm not afraid to compile from source
either, should it not be in Debian. Should I like it I would also package it
for Debian.

As I said, liferea is close (just had to bear with the gconf2 dependency) but
slow as hell (and no, I refuse to use the "fsync workaround").

Are there others that share my need? If there is really no such thing as a real
minimal graphical RSS reader, I'm close to writing one myself.

Since I'm not subscribed, please dont forget to CC me. Thanks!

cheers, josch

I pasted this email because it best describes my issue and I would've just repeated its content anyways.

Well apparently I was close enough to writing one myself so that I did it, thereby announcing PyFeRea, a minimal RSS reader without Gnome or KDE dependencies, written in Python, using GtK and WebKit and coming without the LiFeRea slowness.

I suck at naming things and hence I am still left with my initial 'codename' for it: PyFeRea as I wanted something that looked just as LiFeRea but would not suffer from its slowness.

More can be found in the projects

git clone git://

Patches are welcome as usual.

Also tell me if I should've missed an RSS reader with my requirements in mind.

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