Kubuntu wins again

I collected a little more proof that Linux is better than Windows today. Or, at the very least, Kubuntu is better than Windows for the work I do. In particular, installing new software is so much more convenient, despite the crap that the nay-sayers spew.

One of the Senior Programmers (SP for short) came to me with a problem related to viewing multi-page TIFF files. Basically, the SP had written a program to normalize the canceled check scans we get from various banks. Of course, each bank has their own data format and associated viewing application, but nobody want to have half a dozen programs to do the same thing. Hence this system.

Anyway, one of the banks had changed the format of the data the were sending us, and while each file contained images of several checks, the SP's third-party TIFF tools and libraries could only access the one. It seems the internal pointers in the TIFF file were either not present or not correct. So we put our heads together and the SP gave me a copy of some sample data to play with.

Now, since I was at work and running Windows XP, I could have scoured the internet for TIFF tools, downloaded a half-dozen MSI or EXE file, and installed them. Instead, I fired up a Kubuntu Edgy virtual machine and started up Adept.

The first thing I installed was the libtiff tools. They had the same limitation as the SP's tools. So I installed KHexEdit to look at the raw TIFF file data. Each of these was selected and installed in a matter of seconds.

Meanwhile, the SP had managed to dig out an old DOS-based hex editor from the bad old days of QBasic. Why? Because that was the only thing lying around. Needless to say, it didn't hold a candle to KHexEdit and was, in fact, totally inadequate.

khex.pngI, however, was investigating the suspicious "offset" and "length" attributes in the XML file that came with these images. I jumped to the first offset value in KHexEdit and noticed that, like the beginning of the file, it started with a TIFF byte order marker. And so did the next offset. So I set bookmarks at those offsets, copied the binary between them, and pasted it to a new file. KHexEdit made it almost painfully easy. And, as I suspected, the resulting file was, in fact, its own valid TIFF file. The bastard bankers had just concatenated a bunch of TIFF files together!

And so the problem was solved. And with the help of Kubuntu, I did it before the SP even had time to hunt and install down a proper hex editor.

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    Kde is bloat. But so is much of the Windows ecosystem

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