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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quick response codes

OMHGUbuntu had an interesting article

QR Codes are time-saving shortcuts: sort of hyperlinks that can be put on paper to follow.

A Quick Response is a ‘two-dimensional barcode’ made up of black squares on a white background. Used in Android and Blackberry mobile phones for reading URL's.

The creation of QR codes in Ubuntu is simple, though command-line based. You will need to install ‘qrencode‘ from the Ubuntu Software Center - you can search for ‘qrencode’ manually, or use a terminal :

sudo apt-get install qrencode

Once Qrencode has been successfully installed you can create QR codes using the Terminal and the following command structure: -

qrencode -o- [filename.png] '[text or URL to encode]' 

For instance a command to create a link to google in your homefolder  you would run: -

qrencode -o google.png ''

this outputs the following: -
Creating QR codes on linux: 3x3

You can make the ‘pixels’ used in the code bigger by using the ‘-s‘ argument. Let’s make the same QR code but with the square pixels increased to 6×6 and have the .png saved somewhere else, e.g. your desktop:

qrencode -o ~/Desktop/google.png -s 6 ''

The result is:

Larger QR code

 A Gui is being developed by David Green. Read more about that here:

You could use the web-based graphical interface to Google's QR generator at and as for reading QR codes on the desktop, I've found an AIR app that works OK at

The Google Charts API does this. See An example:

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