SIL LSDev Linux Development

Language software for Linux and Mac OS X

FieldWorks for Debian

Someone recently enquired about running some of our software on Debian. Some of us run Debian Testing on our development machines, and much of our software can be built from source for Debian. Also, we have a Debian package repository as well as an Ubuntu one. However, there aren’t many packages in it. Historically, almost all of our users have been using Ubuntu so that’s where the majority of our development attention goes.

Although most of our packages can be built for Debian, the package maintainers build binary packages on their own workstations (with pbuilder) and upload them to the repo. Most of them aren’t set up to work with Debian, and although they could use pbuilder to build for Debian they wouldn’t be able to test them. So they build only Ubuntu packages. In the future we plan to have maintainers upload source packages and then build them for multiple distros and architectures in a build farm, but that’s some way off.

We were building FieldWorks for Debian as well as Ubuntu. However, there were some problems building FieldWorks packages for wheezy a while back, and we needed to get at least the Ubuntu ones released, so put the work on wheezy on one side. However, we do plan to build for Debian as well as Ubuntu when we make the next release (which will be 7.0.6~rc1, due very soon now).

The apt sources line to use our Debian repo with wheezy is:

deb wheezy main contrib non-free

Although there are sections for sid and squeeze, these aren’t being maintained at the moment.

Getting ready for FieldWorks beta

We have been issuing new alpha releases over the preceding months, and various people have been installing them from Our release schedule hasn’t been the same as for the Windows version, but we have just issued alpha8 packages that correspond to the same point in development as the Windows alpha 3. These will be the last alpha releases for either platform.

The first Windows beta will be issued just before Christmas (we hope) and the Linux beta soon after.

We’re grateful to all the people who have helped us with testing, by trying out each new FieldWorks package as it became available, reporting bugs diligently and giving us general feedback. Thanks!

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FieldWorks alpha release

Finally, we have a publicly-available alpha release of FieldWorks, with packages ready for anyone to use.

However, remember that this is still an alpha release and so there will be bugs, missing functionality, and a general lack of polish and performance. In particular, there’s no guarantee that it won’t lose any data you enter, although it hasn’t done this in any of our internal testing. Read the rest of this post…

FieldWorks Packages made

At 7pm Calgary time on Friday, we produced the first working Linux packages for FieldWorks. These were installed and briefly tested in a fresh virtual machine running Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid”.

There are a couple of small things that need to happen before we make these available to others, though, and since today’s a public holiday here we won’t finish those until tomorrow. Read the rest of this post…

Getting close!

We are now just a week away from our planned release date of Monday, May 24. Everyone is working hard on fixing bugs, and I’m working hard on putting Ubuntu packages together so that it can be installed through the normal mechanisms. Read the rest of this post…

A release date for FieldWorks

Finally, after many years of development, and a lot of hard hoeing, we have committed to a release date for a beta-test version of FieldWorks on Linux. This will be simultaneous with a test version of the rearchitected FieldWorks on Windows, and will incorporate the same rearchitected code.

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Graphite and OLPC

It may not have been obvious from the last two posts, but we are taking steps towards getting Graphite working on the OLPC. Read the rest of this post…

Packaging for multiple platforms on Hydra vserver

HydraThere are a number of SIL projects which would benefit from an organized way of being packaged for multiple Linux distributions. In addition to supporting several distributions, we would like to support the current and previous distribution releases as well as both 32- and 64-bit architectures.

The way we have chosen to do this is to host each kind of system as a vserver guest all on one physical machine. VServer is more like an advanced chroot than a virtual machine, and is faster and closer to the hardware than other kinds of virtualization. A script could build packages for each platform by invoking each guest’s package-building process.
Developers could also log in to experience and test their software on any of the supported platforms without having to set up such a machine themselves.

Hydra, our multi-headed monster, named for its many guests on one base machine, is being set up to host these guests.

For more information, see the wiki page for Packaging and testing.