Earlier today we issued our first beta release of FieldWorks for Linux. Although this is the first beta for Linux, it’s actually numbered Beta 2 because it’s equivalent to the Beta 2 that has just been released for Windows. We did try to produce a Linux equivalent of the Windows Beta 1 but we encountered some crashing bugs when we integrated the latest changes from the Windows branch of the source code, and by the time we had fixed those, Beta 2 was almost ready. This is the first time that the Linux and Windows versions have come out together, and with the same version numbers. If we find it necessary to issue updates before Windows Beta 3, we will number them Beta 2.1 and so on. Hopefully this will make it much easier for users to know how the different releases match up on the different platforms.
The releases for the two platforms are built from the same source code—almost! The Windows and Linux development teams actually do their work on separate branches, just so they don’t get in each other’s way when a release is imminent, but we usually copy the changes back and forth between the branches a couple of times per week.
We believe this release is much more stable than anything we’ve released previously, and it also has more functionality. For example, it’s now possible to use the full range of data import and exchange possibilities, including opening project files copied from Windows, and opening FW6 backup files.
As always, instructions are on the wiki. Please continue to report bugs, and write comments here to let us know how things are working for you. There is a lot of interest in Linux in SIL right now, but questions are also being raised about whether the cost of doing Linux development continues to be justified. So please let your colleagues and associates know that you are using Linux, and explain how it’s meeting real needs in language development.