Tool tests on the fast track

MegaFont NEXT

TrueType fonts


License: Proprietary (up to three computers)

Alternatives: Open Fonts Library, FreeType

Users creating presentations, flyers, or letters often look for just the right font and usually have specific ideas of what the font should look like. If the default installation of your Linux distribution does not give you anything suitable, one remedy comes in the form of DVD MegaFont NEXT made by SoftMaker. For just 40 euros (including VAT), you can add no less than 5,000 fonts to your computer.

You are likely to find something useful for most applications: serif and sans serif, script fonts, Gothic, and much more. Unlike the many downloads available for free, the supplied fonts are high quality. They contain complete character sets with umlauts and accents, the euro sign, and the ampersand. Ligatures are also included in the fonts.

On the DVD case is the not-entirely-clear notice "for PC and Mac." PC, in this case, includes Linux systems. Although there is no separate installation program, the manual makes importing easy. If you want the fonts to be available throughout the system, become root and copy the desired font folder containing the TTF files from the DVD to the /usr/share/fonts directory. You should then run fc-cache -v to publish the new fonts on the system.

(4 stars) MegaFont NEXT offers many high-quality fonts for every purpose. The collection is available at a moderate price.

Isync 1.2.1

Synchronize mailboxes


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: OfflineIMAP

If you want to save your emails locally without needing to launch a mail client, you can simply use a tool like isync. Unpacking and compiling the source code gives you the mbsync program. Why the developers did not choose this name for the whole project remains a mystery; after all, an OS X program that takes care of synchronizing tasks, contacts, and appointments is also named iSync.

mbsync compares local and remote mailboxes and supports both the IMAP 4 protocol and the Maildir format. By default, the tool communicates the status changes with data transfer in both directions, transfers new messages and removes deleted messages. To avoid conflicts, it accesses the Unique Message Identifier (UID). The identifier makes each message unique. A trash function creates backup copies of deleted mail.

mbsync stores the synchronization status as a text file. The tool avoids concurrent access to the status file. For secure communication with the mail server, mbsync supports TLS/SSL and STARTTLS. Users can define the certificate file in the ~/.mbsyncrc configuration file. The archive includes a setup file that can serve as a template.

(4 stars) If you ignore the somewhat unfortunate project name, the isync tool does a good job. It supports encrypted communication and ensures that no messages are lost during synchronization.

Zeal 0.2.1

Read documentation offline


License: GPlv3

Alternatives: Devhelp, DevDocs

Many users save frequently used manuals for applications or programming languages on disk as a way to keep them handy even without an Internet connection. The Qt-based Zeal Offline Reader helps you manage your documents. Inspired by Dash, which has given OS X users good service for many years, the Zeal developers have also adopted the DocumentSet format of the Apple software. This means that you can use Zeal to download more than 160 different manuals, including manuals on Ansible, Apache, or MySQL. Guides for OpenGL, Mono, Python, and Perl are also available.

In the Zeal configuration, users can select the manuals they want to store on the computer. After downloading, the tool shows the manuals in the left navigation bar. Zeal arranges open manuals or chapters from them in tabs in the main window. Use of the program is intuitive, and a search function helps to track down keywords.

The project page also offers downloads for several plugins, which users can use to integrate Zeal with their choice of development environment. The 30 or so add-ons include support for Intellij IDEA, Kdevelop, Kile, Emacs, Eclipse, or Vim, but the Zeal developers have also considered smaller editors like BBEdit or Atom.

(4 stars) Zeal helps users reliably archive and manage their locally stored manuals. This tool is a reliable companion for users who want to work offline or with low bandwidth on the road.

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