SIL LSDev Linux Development

Language software for Linux and Mac OS X

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!

The alpha8 release is the first one to be split up into multiple packages (apart from the fieldworks-mono and fieldworks-libgdiplus support libraries that have been there from the beginning). The full list of packages is:

  • fieldworks-applications – applications (required)
  • fieldworks-examples – example projects (optional)
  • fieldworks-libgdiplus – support library (required, installed automatically)
  • fieldworks-movies – tutorial movies (optional)
  • fieldworks-mono – support library (required, installed automatically)
  • fieldworks – a metapackage that installs everything (optional)

If you select just fieldworks-applications for installation, you can avoid downloading the very large fieldworks-movies package (257MB). However, we do recommend installing fieldworks-examples (17MB).

This release includes updated versions of fieldworks-libgdiplus and fieldworks-mono, and these updated versions are required by fieldworks-applications.

Currently, packages are available for Ubuntu (karmic, lucid and maverick releases) and Debian (testing, aka squeeze). However, we will probably drop support for Ubuntu karmic in the beta.

For detailed instructions for installing and using FieldWorks on Linux, please visit our wiki pages.

6 Responses to “Getting ready for FieldWorks beta”

  1. Neil Mayhew says:

    There is a slight problem with the new packages for people who already have the fieldworks package installed. You will get a message like this:

    E: /var/cache/apt/archives/fieldworks-applications_7.0.0~alpha8+maverick1_i386.deb: trying to overwrite ‘/usr/lib/debug/usr/lib/fieldworks/’, which is also in package fieldworks 7.0.0~alpha7

    The solution is to remove the old fieldworks package before upgrading to the new one. The -mono and -libgdiplus packages can be left as-is.

    This will also give you a chance to decide if you want to download the -movies package. Otherwise, since a package named fieldworks is already installed, upgrading to the new one will bring in everything. If you don’t want the movies, select just fieldworks-applications and fieldworks-examples for installation. The necessary dependent packages will be selected automatically.

    If you’re already familiar with FieldWorks from using it on Windows, you probably won’t want the movies. However, if you haven’t used FieldWorks before, we highly recommend watching the excellent Flex tutorial movies, in the fieldworks-movies package.

  2. Steve says:

    Can it be made to run, or will it run, on Fedora?

  3. Michael says:

    Steve, if you have access to “alien” it may work. Alien converts the different package types to work on the different systems types.

  4. Neil Mayhew says:

    I would be very interested to hear if using alien works! Currently, I don’t have a Fedora system to try it on.

    It should also be possible, if you’re brave, to build FieldWorks from source on Fedora. All our work so far has been on Ubuntu and Debian, because that’s what the majority of our users have, so all the instructions about installing prerequisites, etc., are for Ubuntu. However, AFAIK there’s nothing specifically Ubuntu (or Debian) about the software itself. Note that it relies on a patched version of mono, though, so you would need to build that from source as well.

    In the longer term, if enough people show an interest in running FieldWorks on other distros, we will consider making packages, or at least publishing details of how to build from source. However, since we are a small team, and this is an open-source project, we would ideally be looking for other people, with expertise in those specific distros, to pick up that part of the work.

    Steve, let us know how you get on with this.

  5. David says:

    Installation does not work for me.
    10.04 LTS – Lucid Lynx
    I installed GPG key from
    Added: deb lucid main

    When doing apt-get update, SIL repos are marked “Ign”, eg:

    Ign lucid/main Packages

    apt-get can not find and install fieldworks-applications

  6. Neil Mayhew says:

    David, you need to enable an additional -experimental repo line as described here:

    Hope that works for you.

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