Joachim Breitner

screen-message uploaded to Debian

Published 2007-06-14 in sections English, Debian.

By popular request (if you consider Lunar to be a pupil) I have packaged my old hack vlshow as screen-message to Debian. The small program (called “sm” on when installed) starts and displays a given text as large as possible, in big bulky black letters on white background. You can change the text while the program is running. This might be useful to quickly send a message across the room, say something to people who think they are reading your screen unnoticed, for make-shift signs, to marvel at nice unicode characters and all kinds of other funny purposes.

I used this as a chance to try out darcs-buildpackage, which is very nice, especially as it makes the separation of upstream sources and Debian changes possible in a non-troublesome way. I attended Enrico’s tutorial on autotools and autotoolized the package during that talk, which meant that I could use cdbs for building the package − nice experience as well. Darcs’s dist feature is very nice when using autotools, although it makes darcs-buildpackage slightly inconvenient. (While dpkg-buildpackage uses darcs dist on the upstream sources to build the orig.tar.gz, it does not check the predist command in _darcs/pref/pref when building the debian package, which fails then. It works fine if I run that command, in my case predist autoreconf -i && rm -rf autom4te.cache/, before running dpkg-buildpackage.)

The package is currently in the NEW-queue, until it was accepted, you can find packages on Thanks to Lunar for some patches. I’m keen to hear interesting stories about how and where you used the program.


Echt schickes Programm!;a=commit;h=1c65eda402d3e70862594cacab341fe7cfdc6c78
#1 Astro (Homepage) am 2007-06-14
Nice, my first code in gentoo :-)
#2 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-06-15
No, sorry, it's not in official Gentoo portage. A portage overlay can be pulled in optionally if users wants so.

I once submitted an ebuild to the Gentoo bugzilla but nobody cared, which was discouraging.

There also exists layman, a tool for easily checking out overlays. But the predefined overlay list contains overlays by Gentoo developers only.
#3 Astro (Homepage) am 2007-06-15
Thanks anyways!
#4 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-06-15

for real this time ;)
#5 Mikachu am 2011-11-10
In case you forget - it was used for mugshots in Debconf7 -
#6 Aigarius (Homepage) am 2007-06-22
<strong>Trackback:</strong> <a href="">sm – same fate as LaTeX?</a><br />
Today I found an e-mail with the subject “re new sm thing” in my inbox. I almost deleted it, as I thought it to be spam with explicit content of some kind. On second thought, I did write a program called “sm” recently, so I read the message − and indeed
#7 nomeata’s mind shares (Homepage) am 2007-07-18
There's another program named 'sm' which has been around for 20 years now. It's a program to create nice graphics files out of datasets. It was written at the astronomy department in Princeton. 'sm' is short for supermongo, but the program icon suggests that the abbreviated form is quite intentional... (Homepage: )
#8 Kay (Homepage) am 2007-07-18

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