Article from Issue 202/2017

Calibre 3.0, WereSync 1.0b, COLMAP 3.1, Tor Browser 7.0, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup 0.20, and much more!

eBook manager

Calibre 3.0

Linux Voice produced an ePub version of each of its 32 editions, and the software we used to generate them was Calibre. It's complex and a little convoluted, but it's also powerful and crammed full of features. Not only does it enable you to write and publish your own digital publications, it's also brilliant at managing your entire collection and sending items to your devices. Thanks to its plugin system, those devices even include proprietary e-readers, such as Amazon's Kindle. For years, those digital editions of Linux Voice were created with Calibre 2.x, which is why the release of 3.0 is such a milestone.

The best thing about the new version is that it includes a new content server. Selecting one of your books and clicking Connect share from its context menu starts a new local server, and anyone with a browser on your network can now browse to your server and access your library. These users can browse by collection, see each of your titles, download the files, and even read their content within the browser window. The download option will help when people take their devices offline, as the file stays in local storage. This is brilliant for families, but it could be even more brilliant in an office environment where you want to share your own documentation set or knowledge base with a team, such as reference material for engineers or journals for researchers.

The second best thing about this release is its appearance. The icons look dramatically better and more professional, the user interface (UI) has been reorganized, and the UI now works with high DPI displays. Many people in publishing use high DPI screens, so this last feature is going to help with adoption – especially as it was a difficult application to hack into working with high resolutions, unlike many standard Gnome or KDE applications. And, if you need it, Calibre will also output to Microsoft's .docx format.

The installation is a little odd. The download page on the official website provides a long command that essentially downloads and executes a Python installer as root. It works, but I have serious concerns about asking users to run sudo on scripts like these that are downloaded within the same command. Of course, you always have a choice, and it's great that the developers provide an alternative to waiting for your distribution to provide packages, but we would recommend waiting for a signed package for your distribution, if you're at all worried. Waiting will definitely be worth the effort. It's taken more than 10 years for Calibre to get to this fantastic state, and although digital publishing has followed an arc of popularity over that time, an application like this is essential for anyone who loves reading.

Project Website

1. Edit books: Edit the content and style sheets to generate ePubs from basic HTML. 2. Preview books: While editing, the preview of the book updates in real time, which is ideal for detecting errors. 3. Read books: The Calibre ebook reader is one of the best for any desktop. 4. Configuration: There are many options, from library sorting and icon themes, to a hugely capable plugin system. 5. Book manager: Create multiple libraries and customize how those libraries appear. 6. Download news: You can also synchronize news sources and push these to your devices. 7. Content server: Calibre can run a local web server for users to access and read content. 8. Layout: Change how your collections appear and are sorted.

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