GRAMPS and Suse Linux 9

At first I thought there is no way to get the GRAMPS genealogy software running on Suse 9. Apparently GNOME support by Suse sucks; the GRAMPS developers even say there are several things broken in the GNOME support of Suse. But finally there is a Suse Linux 9 RPM, that works (at least for us): Here also my favourite way to make a graphical report from GRAMPS (you need to have the graphviz package installed):

If you want to make a pdf file:

  1. Reports -> Graphical Reports -> Relationship Graph
  2. Under "Output Format" you have only one option: Graphviz (dot). If this option is grayed out, you didn't install the graphviz package (not at all or not correctly). You can leave all the default options, but I usually prefer to change the following items:
    • Under "Page Count" select: Single (scaled)
    • Under the "Report Options" tab, select: Entire Database
    • Under "GraphViz Options" cross the following check boxes: Show family as stack and uncheck: Include URLs
  3. Click OK. By this you create a file called "basic_report" in the directory that is shown in the box "Document Options/Filename". This file is a text file in the "dot" format and you need the GraphViz package to create a graphical representation of it. The needed manipulation is done from a terminal command line.
  4. In a command line terminal change into the directory where the "basic_report" file resides.
  5. Execute: dot -Tps basic_report -o
    By this you use the dot utility from the GraphViz package to create a postscript file out of the dot file. By exchanging the ps from the -T option into something else you can create output files in different graphic formats:
    dot DOT
    fig FIG
    gd, gd2 GD/GD2 formats
    gif GIF
    hpgl HP-GL/2
    imap, cmap Server-side and client-side imagemaps
    ismap Server-side imagemap (deprecated)
    jpg, jpeg JPEG
    mif FrameMaker MIF format
    mp MetaPost
    pcl PCL
    pic PIC
    plain Simple text format
    png Portable Network Graphics format
    ps PostScript
    ps2 PostScript for PDF
    svg, svgz Scalable Vector Graphics
    vrml VRML
    vtx Visual Thought format
    wbmp Wireless BitMap format
  6. To convert the postscript file into a pdf file, type: ps2pdf
  7. Voila: You have a pdf file. It is in A4 format if you haven't been changing that option. If you have a printer that supports A3 or bigger paper sizes that is OK for you as you can use Adobe Acrobat Reader's function "Enlarge to fit paper size", If you have only A4 support you are in bit of a trouble as the Acrobat Reader doesn't support simultaneous enlarging and printing to multiple pages. Even the full Adobe Acrobat Version 5 didn't manage with this (it either enlarges OR prints to multiple pages but doesn't do both at the same time; BTW I haven't checked Version 6 for this...). I suggest the following two possibilities to make large size print outs to multiple A4 pages:
    • Select during the export process from GRAMPS under "Paper Options" Size: Custom Size and Page Count: Single. Then type the Height and Width you want the final assembled printout to have (e.g. 100 cm and 70 cm).
      The rest of the process should be equivalent to the one above. You just end up with a PDF file that has a custom paper size and which will be split to several pages when printed from Adobe Acrobat 5 (I haven't tested this from any other pdf application apart from the full version 5 of Adobe Acrobat, but there should be options to get it printed like this also from free pdf renderers). Be aware that when you display the intermediate postscript or the final pdf file, that some postscript/pdf renderers get screwed up and might not display the complete image. It is still there.
    • The other possibility to get a large print-pit is to print directly from GRAMPS without the ps/pdf step. Unfortunately there is not way to preview hoe your print-out is going to look like. Anyway if you want to do that, just mark the "Generate Print Output" checkbox during the export from GRAMPS before hitting the OK button and your printer will print it. Disadvantage is that you cannot define the amount of the overlap between the pages and it is rather small (a couple of pixels), thus the physical assembly is not that easy.

    An additional advantage of the pdf file is that you can crop it using the full version of Adobe Acrobat and print only this part with the "fit to paper size" option. I am trying to figure out how to accomplish the same with free tools, but so far without success. The crop operation with Acrobat doesn't really crop anything, it just hides parts of the image and changes the paper size and borders. If you open the cropped pdf with some free pdf renderers they don't even honour those "crop" commands and display it as if one never had cropped anything.

    You can also specify during the export from gramps to how many pages you want the graphic to be split. Actually the page size, border and number of pages are just written into the dot file and you can change them there without having to export again from gramps. Thus you can easily try out different settings by changing the page size option within the basic_report dot file. Especially interesting is obviuosly the page size. When you use a page size differently from A4 (or letter?), you need to invióke the ps2pdf command with the additional page size parameters (otherwise ps2pdf crops your pages). I think the biggest page size ps2pdf (that is ghostscript) knows is B0. For this the pagesize in the dotfile needs to be set to 39.4x55.7 inches. ps2pdf -sPAGESIZE=isob0

    The drawback of this export is that you cannot really in detail select which of the personal data appears in the individual boxes that represent the people. But one can (more or less) easily modify the python source code of the plugin and thus e.g. get birth and death place displayed. I think it would be cool to be able to have also the images incorporated into the graphical output, but this is probably a bit tricky.

    ps2pdf -sPAGESIZE=isob0

    If you have a custom pagesize, you need to give it in pixel dimensions:

    ps2pdf -g2836x4008 (2836 pixels wide = 100cm and 4008 pixels high = 141.4 cm) would be equivalent to ps2pdf -sPAGESIZE=isob0