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.
There are now packages for Ubuntu Karmic and Lucid, and Debian Squeeze, in both 32- and 64-bit versions. However, note that FieldWorks currently doesn’t work with kmfl in Karmic so if you’re on Karmic you’re restricted to using one of the standard Linux key layouts. Also, it probably won’t be possible for you to import existing language project data yet. We suggest that you first experiment with one of the ready-made sample projects, as explained in the instructions.
There are currently three packages:
The last two are the bleeding-edge version of mono that’s needed to run FieldWorks. We’ve made this into a fieldworks-specific package so that it can be installed and used alongside the regular version of mono that’s installed on the system. (The custom one will be hidden inside
/usr/lib/fieldworks and won’t be visible to other software.) Eventually the released version of mono will catch up to the version we’re using currently, and the custom packages will go away. Prior to that we plan to integrate our work with the version of mono that’s at
packages.palaso.org which is used to support WeSay and other Palaso software, but that’s currently at 2.4.2 and ours is 2.7+ so we still have some work to do. After careful testing it might be possible to use WeSay with the fieldworks version of mono, but we haven’t had time to investigate that.
The fieldworks package itself is huge: 388MB. That’s largely because it includes 257MB of training movies for Flex, as well as other training materials and sample data. We plan to split this into multiple sub-packages so that people with limited bandwidth can leave parts out. There will still be a single fieldworks meta-package, though, as a convenience that pulls in everything else as dependencies. We’ll upgrade the sub-packages on different schedules, so you don’t have to re-download the movies whenever we make a small fix to the code. We’ll also ensure that it’s possible to omit the parts of FieldWorks that are specifically translation-related, as is done with the Windows version of FW.
I’m sorry for the long delay since my previous post suggesting that things were ready, and the general absence of information. There were a number last minute hitches, including problems with the licensing of one particular open-source software component we’ve used. However, I kept thinking that we’d almost solved everything and so didn’t write an update.
We’re excited to have a public alpha version of FieldWorks for Linux at last, and we’re looking forward to hearing how it fares in real use. Please use the issue tracker for actual bugs, post general comments here, and use the wiki to refine the instructions or provide additional information for other users.