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Adventures in Linux Programming

by Rildo Pragana

brasil usa

What's new...

  • 07/22/1999 My Jornal do Commércio (brazilian newspaper) article for this week is about music for Linux. You may find it at informática section, under the title SOS Linux. (in portuguese only, sorry)
  • 07/19/1999 SQLforms now edits table data. Grab the new snapshot.
  • 07/16/1999 New snapshot of SQLforms. Now it includes 2 more examples, one done with visual tcl, the other handmade. Some small bug fixes too.
  • 07/16/1999 A separate page for SQLforms, with a new snapshot and some pictures.
  • 07/09/1999 New SQLforms snapshot. I decide to redo everything to make it more modular. It's far from finished though and you may help me.
  • 06/20/1999 Started a Tiny Cobol page.


These are just a few incursions in software development I have done with Linux.

I like Tcl/tk as a wrapper language, mainly because of it's simplicity. I have not much time to spend learning several hundreds API entries, and I prefer C to C++. I think OO-design is a good thing, but OO-programming not. It's assumptions of code reuse are hard to be met, because each one has a (distinct) way to think in a problem or algorithm. 

Well, let us leave those religious questions to a later time and let's go to...

Linux software


A slide presentation drawing program. Make your presentations shine. In Tcl/tk.

My friend David Suarez de Lis has been kind enough to maintain a web page on this subject. You may find in his Official Slidedraw Homepage many nice things about this program. Anyway, you may pick here my most recent snapshot.


A new widget for tk I am writing to replace canvas in Slidedraw, getting more speed, zoom, backgrounds and other niceties. This is still very alpha, as nobody (except myself) have tried it yet. I would like to have at least some reports on how is it doing, please. Take it here.


This is an old try to make a (user) device driver. I have bought a Genius Scanner Color Page-CS and this is to make it work under Linux. You may find it at Sunsite.

Driver for the KeenView

KeenView (TM) is a piece of hardware I have done with a PIC and a couple of ICs. With a LCD display and interface for a standard PC keyboard, it turns itself a very cheap POS terminal for small stores. The line is multipoint RS-485 and its software is a simple device driver with VT52 emulation. This software serve only as an example of implementation for devices under Linux, unless you have the real hardware. Here is it.


A client/server teaching tool with a blackboard, irc-like chat, and a remote-execution tcl/tk facility. Here is the tarball. You need tcl-dp and tcl/tk8.0 or better.


This is a tiny script in tcl for ppp configuration and connection. Just make it executable (chmod +x) and don't forget to fill all fields, or it will not work.
You can have some clues by looking at the source ( use the source, Luke :)

Tiny Cobol

This is my old (historic) Cobol compiler, originally developed under MsDos®, but now generating also Linux assembly code. It's here, but in a separate page.


I want to get easy creating commercial applications under Linux. I have found PostgreSQL and tcl/tk nice complementar tools for the job. This is my attempt of turning this into reality. Look at the SQLforms page.

Adventures in Linux Teaching

This is another web page by your truly, to collect all teaching notes, books and other documents. I am deeply indebted with the people of UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), where I remember taking classes for my masters course, for hosting this. The Xoom page will continue to exist, mainly for holding programs, in-progress documents and other things. Please, visit it!

System Administration Course

Before reading this course, please notice this is unfinished, in portuguese, and may be not very advanced for you. Translators are welcome for changing this to english. I have plenty of work to do and can't do it just now, sorry. You can get everything (including slides for presentation) at my other home page Adventures in Linux Teaching.

We have been spreading Linux in Pernambuco with Recife Linux Installfest, similar to other events around the world. See the original annoucement here.

Tcl/tk Programming for Linux

This is a dynamic course, using tclets instead of many pictures to make it interactive. I stress more on doing it yourself than by making it a complete coverage of the available options. This course is in portuguese and I welcome you to translate it to other languages if you like. When it's finished I will make available the slides and other course material. Start here.

Some hardware projects

If you want to do something with hardware, specially microcontrollers, I would recommand you Microchip's PIC series. They are small things but very powerfull. I have submitted some projects of mine to  Picpoint .


I am discussing here some points that may be of interest to beginners in Tcl/tk. Please check this  guide .
If you have some questions to be answered, send to my  e-mail  address, and I'll answer it here when time allows.
If you are unsecure of how to do some simple commands (well, not so simple sometimes), you can look on  how do I do .  If you write in portuguese (BTW, I'm brazilian), perhaps you find useful my  brazil.tar.gz  file. Put it in your
/usr/lib/kbd/keytables/ directory and change your rc.local to load it with loadkeys.  To key in accented characteres, you may type the accent with AltGr and then the vowel, or use directly AltGR + {a,s,d,f,e,r,u,i,o,p,l, and c} to see the shortcuts I've done. (I only use this last, faster way)

When I made the migration from Msdos to Linux, I used to work with wordstar-like text editors, so I found a very natural replacement with joe. Later, I discovered VIM (Vi IMproved), a really terrific text editor for all our programming tasks. I plan to write some notes about it later, but don't hold your breath! Find by yourself why I have dismissed Amaya, as my html editor.

About myself

I'm graduated physicist, but since 1974 I've been working with computers and digital electronics. I decided to change to Linux the first time I hear about it. I used to program in Msdos/Windows before and have spent very much time disassembling msdos code to figure how to program with it.  Never more... 
I'm married and have two boys (now they are somewhat grown) 21 and 15 years old. I live in a country house near Recife, northeast of Brazil.  I have built at a side of my house a small office/lab where I work most of my time, doing consulting in FPGA design,  industrial controllers, and systems programming.


Favorite places

The best site of Linux software is Sunsite.
The best Linux distribution, if you don't fear to wet your feet is Slakware.
If you want news, try Linux  Today, with daily updates. News without noise for serious users.

You may find me at

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