Colour management in Linux; using a Pantone Huey to calibrate a monitor

Colour management in Linux; Using a Pantone Huey to calibrate a monitor

The following was done on Ubuntu 12.04 but should be similar on other recent Linux distributions.

To do proper colour calibration of your monitor you need a colorimeter and some software. The software to use is Argll CMS , this is a command line tool but there are GUI addons provided by other authors. You need a colorimeter compatible with Argll – check here for details of what hardware is supported by Argll. I chose the Pantone Huey as it was readily available and was the cheapest ( note don’t buy the Pro version – it is the same hardware – you just get better Windows software which we won’t be using anyway ).

Install Argyll

Use you favourite tool to install Argyll from the Ubuntu repositories.  If you are using Gnome then also install the Gnome CMS colour management system. To make the Huey accessible by a non-root user you need to add some rules to Udev – fortunately Argyll comes with a set of rules that can be copied into place.

sudo cp /lib/udev/rules.d/55-Argyll.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/55-Argyll.rules

Check that the Huey is accessible – plug it into a USB port and run spotread -? and look for the device listed :-

dmc@master:~$ spotread -?
Read Print Spot values, Version 1.1.0
Author: Graeme W. Gill, licensed under the GPL Version 3
usage: spotread [-options] [logfile]
-v                   Verbose mode
-s                   Print spectrum for each reading
-S                   Plot spectrum for each reading
-c listno            Set communication port from the following list (default 1)
1 = ‘usb:/bus0/dev2 (GretagMacbeth Huey)’
2 = ‘/dev/ttyS0’
3 = ‘/dev/ttyS1’
4 = ‘/dev/ttyS2’
5 = ‘/dev/ttyS3’

Installing DispcalGUI

Download the package for your distribution from the DispcalGUI site and install it – Ubuntu will fireup the install tool when you click on the Ubuntu package.

Create your profile using DispcalGUI

Make sure your Huey is plugged into a USB port. Startup Dispcal from your applications  menu. It should automagically detect your display. click the symbol between the display device and instrument – it should then show the Huey and the Calibrate and Profile buttons at the bottom of the screen will activate.


Click on Measure for the Whitepoint and put the Huey face up next to the display. This will also measure the ambient light. You should really read the DispcalGUI manual which explains all of the settings that you should change from the defaults.

Click on Calibrate & Profile

A grey patch will apear on the screen and a terminal window will also open with instructions. Place the huey on the screen over the patch and select check all from the menu in the terminal window. Follow the instructions given. After calibration you are asked to install the profile created and make it the default one. If you have installed Gnome CMS it will handle the installation and activation of the profile.

Moving or migrating from Galeon to Firefox

I have been using the Galeon web browser for many years. At the time I first started using it , it was one of the few browsers that was not bloated and just did web browsing.

Galeon is no longer being developed and I have been thinking about moving to Firefox for some time. Some sites have not displayed that well in Galeon and I have started to use Sitebar web based bookmark manager ( see my blog page here for details of how to install Sitebar on your own site ) which works best in a browser that can do a bookmark in a sidebar such as Firefox.

The main reason for my delay in moving to Firefox has been the lack on a clone tab function – I use this all the time in Galeon and miss this when I use Firefox. However in Firefox 3 I can now do a clone tab , all you need to do is hold down the control key and drag the tab to where you want the clone and it’s done.

I wanted to import all my Galeon bookmarks and saved passwords into Firefox. Although Firefox does not have a nice import wizard for Galeon settings it can be done quite easily.

Importing Galeon bookmarks into Firefox

Galeon bookmarks are in xbel format which Firefox cannot import directly  ( if you are using Sitebar you can import xbel format bookmarks into sitebar ) however Galeon can export it’s bookmarks in HTML format.

Start up Galeon , select Bookmarks form the tool bar – Edit Bookmarks , Bookmark – Export – Export to Mozilla

Hit Forward on the druid and the next page will show possible locations of your Mozilla bookmarks ( you don’t need Mozilla installed ) and asks you for a location to save the file. Do not use the location ( if any ) suggested but instead save the bookmarks to a file called bookmarks.html in your home directory.

Start up Firefox , select Bookmarks – Organise bookmarks

Select Import and Backup from the toolbar

Select Import HTML from the pull down menu

Select the bookmarks.html file you saved above and hit Open. The new bookmarks are merged into the existing Firefox bookmarks.

Importing Galeon saved passwords into Firefox

This assumes you do not have any saved passwords in Firefox already, if you have then make a note of what they are by going to Edit – Preferences – Security – Saved Passwords – Show Passwords

Find where your Galeon and Firefox profiles are :-

find ~ -name signons3.txt

This should pick up where your Firefox profile directory is , it will be something like ~/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxx.default   where xxxxxx is a string of random letters.

Quit out of Firefox and Galeon.

Go to the Galeon profile directory found above and copy the files key3.db and signons3.txt to your Firefox profile directory overwriting the existing files.

Start up Firefox and go to Edit – Preferences – Security – Saved Passwords – Show Passwords to check your passwords are now there.

Having used Firefox for a while I miss the Galeon feature where unread tags are a different colour. There is however a plugin to Firefox that amongst other things will colour unread tags – the plugin is Tab Mix Plus .It does far more than colour unread tags and is well worth looking at.