21 May 2010

A piece offering

Over the years, I’ve quasi-specialised in doing stuff other computer people baulk at...

Today’s more-of-the-same is taking a specific application, written (in gcc at least) on SCO Unix hard-coded (at the printf("\33[%d;%dH",row,col); level) for a particular VT-100B terminal clone’s terminal I/O, printing (hard-coded formatting) to a particular brand & model of dot-matrix impact printer via a specific hard-coded printer device, porting to Linux [basics done, including use of lpr in place of a hard-coded output device, works under Karmic Koala Kubuntu or Mandriva 2010.0], transmogrifying the terminal interface to something systematic wrapped in ncurses (with a view to wrapping it in something more GUI later) [work-in-progress], feeding all printer output through a to-PDF converter (probably via a to-PostScript converter) [work-in-progress] thus enabling use of any printer which can leave recognisable stuff on A4 (or Letter) paper plus emission of PDFs for emailing rather than impact-print-plus-snail-mail (which is the only current option for remote delivery), re-engineering the underlying db from C structs written to flat files with little-if-any indexing into something SQL-based (it’s simple enough that a PostgreSQL/MySQL interface should only involve a tiny portion of glue-logic, mostly in setup/knockdown) so enabling relatively transparent adaptation of generic reporting systems plus maybe a web interface for the basics.

This might result in an actual income again, at which point the committee of vultures (yes, that’s the correct group-collective noun) currently present may dissipate or become subject to a thorough beating off.

The final product will be international (ANZ, at least), portable, comprehensible, all manner of other good things, the key underlying features are “saleable/lessable by the current owners to other businesses in their trade” & “remotely manageable.”

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