SIL LSDev Linux Development

Language software for Linux and Mac OS X

Progress towards release

We’re all working hard on fixing bugs in readiness for our May 22 release date.

Currently, there are 148 outstanding issues in our bug tracker, of which 46 are classed as “major”, 13 “critical” and 1 “blocker”. In the past 30 days, 35 issues were resolved and 63 created. So we’re feeling the pressure!

These are just Linux bugs, by the way. The main FieldWorks bug database has over 350 issues specifically related to the May release date, and the Linux version is dependent on those being fixed in addition to the Linux-specific ones.

Most of the Linux development work is being done on Ubuntu Karmic, although today we were able to build and run FieldWorks on a pre-release version of Ubuntu Lucid, due out at the end of April, so hopefully we’ll be releasing FieldWorks on both Karmic and Lucid.

But what about Mac?

In the preceding posts, I’ve talked about Linux but not at all about Mac. What are our plans for Mac?

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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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Linux-first development!

One of our long-standing goals has been that FieldWorks development could eventually be carried out on either platform, and target both platforms. Last month, the very first example of this started to happen.

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Source code unification

We reached a significant milestone recently when we re-integrated all of the work we’ve done over the past several years to port FieldWorks to Linux. There’s now a single source tree, in a single version control system, that contains both the Windows and the Linux versions of FieldWorks.

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FieldWorks rearchitecture

For some time now the entire FieldWorks team has been engaged on a rearchitecture effort. This involves a complete change to the way that FW stores its data. In particular, the tight dependency on the MS SQL Server database is being severed, and replaced with multiple interchangeable back-ends. These new back-ends range from a flat XML file through db4o to MySql.

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Controlling IBus with DBusSharp

Rationale

I wanted to be able to change the IBus (Intelligent Input Bus) keyboard programmatically. If a user went into an area of text that had say an Amharic style applied to it and typed, I wanted typing to automatically use the ibus Amharic keyboard/engine. If they then switched to a different area of text with a different style applied to it I wanted the ibus keyboard to again switch automatically. This blog entry shows the steps that I used to achieve this.

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Translation Editor running on Linux!

TE Draft View of Jonah in Sena

Today was a milestone. We demonstrated the Linux version of FieldWorks TE to a group of people at the office chapel time. It worked well enough for the demo, in that it wasn’t slow and didn’t crash, and the people were impressed :-)

Progress has been very rapid in the past month or two, for several reasons, but today was the first time that we felt TE was ready to show to others. It was helpful to have the extra incentive of a scheduled demo for the final push to get things working on a non-developer machine.

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Why Firebird? Why not a Different RDBMS?

David asked, “I’m curious to know why Firebird has been chosen as a database engine [for FieldWorks] out of the many other RDBMSs out there, such as MySQL.”

I get this question from time to time, especially when I go to our Computer Technical Conference (CTC), which comes around every two years.  It is a fair question, and since CTC is just a month away, I’m taking the opportunity to remember why we did what we did. I had to ask the people that made the decision, because I had a hard time remembering. It’s been a few years.

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Status of WorldPad on Linux

Our team’s main focus has been to port the SIL FieldWorks suite of translation and linguistic programs from Windows to Linux.

We’ve ported the core C++ parts which are the foundation of all the FieldWorks applications. A big part of the remaining work is in C# to get Translation Editor and Language Explorer to build and run in Linux.

But tackling Translation Editor would be quite a big step and open up a lot of difficulties all at once. So first we’re working to port WorldPad. Although WorldPad won’t be as widely used as Translation Editor, our work on WorldPad is a stepping stone on the way to completing the Translation Editor because many pieces of WorldPad are shared by Translation Editor. And completing the Translation Editor will be easier if we first work on WorldPad.

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