FieldWorks Installation Instructions

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Revision as of 18:00, 20 January 2011 by Mayhewn (talk | contribs) (Update for Beta 2)

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These are instructions for installing and testing FieldWorks on Linux.


This software is still in the beta release phase and so is not as polished as a full release would be. It may crash from time to time, and various features may not work properly. Please report any bugs you find, and subscribe to our blog (using RSS).

This version has been tested using Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick), Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid), Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) and Debian testing (Squeeze). It may also work on other distros and releases but will need to be built from source.

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

Enable Visual Effects

We urge you to run FieldWorks with Visual Effects set to Normal (ie Compiz enabled). This gives much better screen performance when using FieldWorks. Unfortunately if you are running Linux in a Virtual environment you may not be able to turn this on.

To check your settings, choose System > Preferences > Appearance. Click the Visual Effects tab. Click Normal. FieldWorks will run without Compiz for those who can not get Compiz turned on for some reason, but expect your screen performance to deteriorate as a result.

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.

Prepare to install MSCoreFonts

If you are behind a proxy and do not already have the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package installed, then please follow these steps so that the mscorefonts package will install correctly.

Install other fonts

On Karmic only, there are a couple of other fonts that need to be installed for the installation of FieldWorks to go smoothly and to complete successfully. You can find these instructions here.

Installing FieldWorks

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. Make sure that you can now see in the Origin tab on the left-hand side of the Synaptic Package Manager.

Go back to Software Sources and make an additional entry for, but this time when changing the distro name add -experimental to the end of the name. For example, if you are currently using lucid main use lucid-experimental main. (You don't need to add the key again.) Close the window and click the reload button.

Unfortunately, the SIL repositories do not handle authentication correctly at the moment, and so you will see warnings about unauthenticated packages even though you have installed the repository key on your system. In Ubuntu 10.10 onwards, Ubuntu Software Centre and Update Manager refuse to install unauthenticated packages, so it’s necessary to use Synaptic Package Manager (on the System > Administration menu) to install FieldWorks. The rest of these instructions assume you are using Synaptic.

Select packages

You should now see the following packages under in Synaptic's Origin view:

  • fieldworks
  • fieldworks-applications
  • fieldworks-examples
  • fieldworks-libgdiplus
  • fieldworks-mono
  • fieldworks-movies

Selecting fieldworks for installation will automatically select all of the packages in this list.

Selecting fieldworks-applications for installation will automatically select fieldworks-libgdiplus and fieldworks-mono, and any other needed dependencies. You can also add the sample data by selecting fieldworks-examples.

Proceed with the installation in the normal way.

Note: If you are upgrading from a previous version you may 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.

Using FieldWorks

Copy Sample Data

For testing purposes, some sample data has been provided. Please check 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 use the sample data, follow the instructions at FieldWorks Sample Data

Run the applications

To run either Translation Editor (TE) or Language Explorer (Flex), do the following:

  1. Choose Applications > Education > FieldWorks Translation Editor or FieldWorks Language Explorer.
  2. On the dialog, click Open an existing Project.
  3. Click Open project in another location.
  4. Navigate to your home folder (Personal) and click the Sena 3 or Sena 2 folder, then click Open.
  5. Now click on Sena 3.fwdata file or the Sena 2.fwdata file and click Open.

TE or Flex should now open with the data you selected. The next time you run the application it will open with this same data.

You may get a warning about the Global Writing Systems Changed, just click yes.

Online Help

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 is designed to use IBus, which is what is used in Ubuntu 9.10 and Ubuntu 10.04. Scim will not work for FieldWorks. A KMFL package for IBus is available from for Ubuntu Lucid. IBus comes with many language keyboard options already available. If you need help with installing and using KMFL, please see Installing KMFL on Ubuntu.

Getting rid of old configurations

If you have previously used FieldWorks packages older than alpha8, it may be necessary to get rid of some configuration files before alpha8 or later will run correctly. So if you have followed all the preceding directions, downloaded and installed a later package and tried to run either Translation Editor or Language Explorer, you may get an error when opening the sample projects. If this happens to you, see Previous FieldWorks Alphas to correct this error.

Reporting Bugs

To report bugs, please use our Bugzilla database.

  1. If not already registered, click the New Account button at the top of the main page.
  2. If not already logged in, log in using the link and fields at the top of the page.
  3. Check whether an identical or similar bug has been reported, by doing one of the following:
    • Click FieldWorks at the bottom of the page to browse all outstanding bugs.
    • Click Search, select FieldWorks from the Product drop-down and enter some words to search for.
  4. Submit your information, by doing one of the following:
    • Add a comment to an existing bug, if appropriate:
      1. Type some text into the Additional Comments box
      2. Click Commit
    • File a new bug:
      1. Click New at the top of the page.
      2. Click FieldWorks.
      3. Fill out as much information as you can and click Commit.

Please note that the email address that you register with will be displayed on the web site and therefore will be publicly visible.