FieldWorks Installation Instructions
These are instructions for installing and testing FieldWorks on Linux.
Note: When using FieldWorks in a team using both Linux and Windows, please keep in mind that newer versions of FieldWorks can use data (open a project or restore a backup) from an older version, but the reverse is not true. If you plan to use data from an existing FieldWorks installation (whether on Windows or a different Linux machine),
- you can open it only if the data is from a version that is the same as or older than the Linux version you are using.
- If you want to then open the data again in the other installation, both versions have to be the same.
Current versions of FieldWorks have been tested using Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise), which is the current LTS, It should also install and run on the current supported Ubuntu versions. It may also work on other distros and releases but these have not been tested and are currently not being supported.
Note that on Linux you do not download an installer but instead you enable a software source (aka package repository) as described below. The software will then show up as an additional package in the list of available software on your system.
Preparing Your System
Install all Updates
Before you begin testing or using FieldWorks on Linux, you will need to install all updates for your system. Instructions for doing this can be found here.
Enable Universe and Multiverse repositories
Start Ubuntu Software Center and go to Edit, Software Sources ( or in Synaptic and go to Settings > Respositories) and check to see that the Community-maintained Open Source software (universe) is checked, and also the Software restricted by copyright or legal issues (multiverse). If you have to check either of these, then click Reload.
Prepare to install MSCoreFonts and FlashPlugin
If you are behind a proxy and do not already have the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package or the flashplugin-installer package installed, then please follow these steps so that these packages will install correctly.
Add SIL Package Repositories
Using your browser of choice, go to:
and follow the instructions there for adding the SIL package repository to your list of software sources and setting up the key. Make sure that you can now see
packages.sil.org in the Origin tab on the left-hand side of the Synaptic Package Manager, or "LSDev" under "All Software" in Ubuntu Software Center.
If you wish to have access to beta versions of new releases, you will need to enable an additional software source (repository). Go back to Software Sources and make an additional entry for
packages.sil.org, but this time change the distro name to add
-experimental to the end of the name, with no space before it. For instance, if you are using Ubuntu 12.04, the lines you need for both the main and experimental repos are:
deb http://packages.sil.org/ubuntu precise main
deb http://packages.sil.org/ubuntu precise-experimental main
Close the window and click the reload button.
You should now see a long list of packages. In Ubuntu Software Center, go to All Software, LSDEV, or in Synaptic, click on "Origin" on the left, and then choose
precise/main (packages.sil.org). You should see:
In packages.sil.org main, selecting
fieldworks for installation will automatically select all of the packages in this list, including the movies package which is large.
In packages.sil.org experimental, the
fieldworks package is no longer used. You can select the movies package independently, and you can download the example projects from http://fieldworks.sil.org/download/sample-projects.
fieldworks-applications for installation will automatically select
fieldworks-mono-basic, and any other needed dependencies.
Proceed with the installation in the normal way.
Note: If you are upgrading from a previous version you may have some setup or starting difficulties, or get an error similar to this:
trying to overwrite '…', which is also in package fieldworks 7.0.0~alpha7
If this happens, remove the existing
fieldworks package before installing the new one.
For proper testing of the Beta packages, it would be useful to remove all previous information so you start out fresh. Be sure to first back up any data you are using for testing. Uninstall previous versions of FieldWorks and see Previous FieldWorks Alphas for how to manually remove configuration information.
Open Sample Data
For testing purposes, some sample data has been provided. Please check that the software works with this sample data before importing your own data as this will make it much easier to diagnose any installation problems.
To download and open a sample project:
- Go to http://fieldworks.sil.org/download/
- In the Download area, click the link for Sample Projects and follow the instructions.
Run the application
To run Language Explorer (FLEx), do the following:
- For current Ubuntu versions, use the Dash and type in FieldWorks. Click on the icon for FieldWorks Language Explorer.
- If you have not run FLEx before, you will get a welcome dialog that will allow you several options. To open one of the sample projects or another existing project, click Open a Project.
- Click Sena 3 or Sena 2 if they are in the list. If not then click Open project in another location.
- Navigate to your home folder (Personal) and click the Sena 3 or Sena 2 folder, then click Open.
- Now click on Sena 3.fwdata file or the Sena 2.fwdata file and click Open.
FLEx should now open with the data you selected. The next time you run the application it will open with the last project that you edited.
FieldWorks has context sensitive Help, student manuals and Demo movies. Please see Using FieldWorks Help for notes about using these various helps in FieldWorks.
Keyboarding in FieldWorks
Keyboarding for FieldWorks should now be able to use XKB (System keyboards) or to use IBus, which is what is used in Ubuntu 9.10 and Ubuntu 10.04. SCIM will not work for FieldWorks. IBus comes with many language keyboard options already available.
A KMFL package for IBus is available from packages.sil.org for Ubuntu versions. If you need help with installing and using KMFL, please see Installing KMFL on Ubuntu.
There are now packages available for a KMFL IPA keyboard and KMFL Indic keyboards at packages.sil.org. Installing these packages will put all the files in the proper places. Then you can continue to follow the instructions for adding these keyboards into IBus.
Getting rid of old configurations
If you have used previous FieldWorks packages, even previous betas, it may be necessary to get rid of some configuration files before the current version will run correctly. So if you have followed all the preceding directions, downloaded and installed the current version and tried to run either Translation Editor or Language Explorer, you may get an error when opening the sample projects or your own projects. If this happens to you, see Previous FieldWorks Alphas to correct this error.
Getting Help and Reporting Bugs
There is a discussion group for FLEx. That community is very good at answering questions, helping you figure out if what you are seeing is a bug, or helping you learn new ways of doing things in FLEx.
There is also a discussion group just for FLEx on Linux. You can ask questions that are specific to the Linux version there, and hear updates about future plans.
Known issues are listed for the latest stable and experimental releases.
However, if you've found what looks like a bug, please send email to FLEx_Errors@sil.org. It will be passed on to the Linux FW dev team.