Software

Recommendations

Here is some software that I recommend for both general and academic use. I keep cross-platform (Windows, OSX, Linux) software as a priority and I provide links to it when able.

Office Work

  • LibreOffice Writer (word processing)
  • LibreOffice Calc (spreadsheet)
  • LibreOffice Impress (slide shows)
  • LibreOffice Draw (diagrams, simple vector art)
    These previous four programs are part of the LibreOffice suite, which is a well-known clone of Microsoft Office products. While there may be small issues sending files back and forth between a Microsoft Office program and a LO program, I use LO for my work and have literally made thousands of dollars using a free software program. I can’t recommend it enough.
  • Okular (Windows and Linux)
    Okular is an advanced (though, sometimes slow) PDF viewer, which allows the user to highlight, annotate, mark up, and save those changes into the PDF without destroying the original contents of the PDF (meaning, all markups can be removed). A high point for me is the “Table Selection” tool, which allowed me to easily copy tables and bits of data out of PDFs and paste them directly into LibreOffice Writer as a table or into LibreOffice Calc as cells.
  • Scantailor [Advanced]
    This free piece of software can modify pictures of book pages into high-quality scans. The idea of the program is to allow the user to non-destructively take photos of a book and automate several processes (separating left and right pages, fixing skewing, setting margins, converting to black and white) that make the images look like a Google Books-quality scan, ready for conversion to a PDF. While this can be installed and compiled on Windows, I’ve only ever used it on Linux.
  • Xournal
    I use this program to annotate PDFs and to fill out forms that are usually meant to be printed out and filled (saves time and paper that way). I also use Xournal when I teach over Zoom to make live annotations within either its notepad or in a PDF.

Linguistics

  • Praat
    This software is essential for any linguist working with phonetic data. That is all I will say for now, because there is already plenty of documentation and other information available on the website itself.
  • Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx)
    FLEx is slowly becoming the industry-standard piece of software for storing lexical data and glossing texts. I am (as far as I know) the only person who actually uses FLEx on a Linux system frequently. So, if I don’t report a bug, it doesn’t get fixed. The Windows version is updated and fixed regularly. The one downside of FLEx is that collaboration can only happen when a team uses the same initial file. Importing texts (with glosses intact) for the same language from a separate project file is impossible, due to the way FLEx’s database structure is designed. From what the team has told me, there are no plans to change this. Ryan Pennington also wrote a good paper on how FLEx can be used to produce time-aligned texts for ELAN.

Music

  • LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio)
    LMMS is a free and opensource MIDI sequencer and loop editor. I use it in a pinch to convert MIDI files into high-quality audio files. It is a bit bloated, but it has everything a person could want from a looping software, without the high sticker price.
  • MuseScore
    MuseScore is a music notation editor, originally a fork of MIDI sequencer MusE, which can be used for composing, scoring, and playing back compositions. Among its export options is MusicXML, which is a universal standard, allowing users to collaborate with people who use proprietary notation software, such as Sibelius or Finale.

My own scripts

I am by no means an apt programmer, but I have dabbled in programming to accomplish certain repetitive tasks I need to do. All scripts here are copyright to me and released under a GLP v2 license, unless indicated otherwise. For security reasons, I simply include the text of most scripts. You will need to copy and paste the text into an editor and save it with the proper extension.

pdfroff_bookmarks_fix.sh

#!/bin/bash

pdf=$1
RPTMP=/tmp/replace.sed

# This script repairs a pdf file generated by **pdfroff** which has misaligned co-ordinates for its bookmarks and anchor link. The key value to adjust here is the numbers in the string $1+50. Unlike a previous version of the script, this script generates everything necessary from the original PDF file and deletes all working files when done.

grep -a "FitH*" $pdf | awk -F" " '{print $6}' | awk -F"]" '{print $1}' | awk -F. '{print "s/"$0"/"($1+50)"."$2"/g"}' >$RPTMP

# The previous line reads the PDF, which is provided as the first argument after calling this script, and generates a temporary **.sed** file, containing all of the FitH values that need to be adjusted. You may change the location of the **.sed** file by modifying the RPTMP variable above.

sed -f "$RPTMP" "$pdf" >"$(sed 's/\.[pP][dD][fF]$//' <<<"$pdf")_adjust.pdf"

# This line uses the values in the **.sed** file to generate a new PDF with all correct values. It has the same name as the original PDF with "_adjust.pdf" appended to the end.

rm $RPTMP # This line deletes the temporary **.sed** file.