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.
In the coming week or two we plan to work on bugs identified by testers, and improve the packaging structure. In particular, we want to split it into several smaller packages that can be upgraded separately, so that people don’t have to re-download all the help text and tutorial movies whenever we make a small fix to the code.
We are classifying this as an alpha release rather than a beta, because we feel it needs further testing within a controlled setting before being made more widely available. We will promote it to beta as soon as it seems stable enough, and at the latest by the middle of next month when the Windows version of FieldWorks becomes available as a beta.
One of the things that needs to happen is for us to set up a separate “experimental” package repository that people can use for accessing the alpha software. Once the beta is available we will put it into the usual SIL package repository, but include clear warnings that it’s still a beta.