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Ximian GNOME 1.4: The Monkey Has Landed - page 2

The long wait is over.

  • April 30, 2001
  • By Michael Hall

Getting Ximian GNOME 1.4

There are three methods for getting GNOME 1.4:

  • Using a graphical installer (either obtained by piping output from the text-based Lynx web browser through the shell or downloading the installer directly)
  • Downloading the packages that comprise the distribution and installing them individually
  • For Debian users, adding a line to /etc/apt/sources.list allows the packages to be downloaded and installed with apt-get.
Each of the methods is described in detail on the Ximian download page, and we won't reproduce them in detail here. We did, however, perform several installations of Ximian GNOME on several machines running Red Hat 7.0, Debian GNU/Linux 2.2, and Progeny Debian GNU/Linux 1.0 (which is not officially supported). And we have the following observations on each:

Installing on Red Hat 7.0

The Red Hat installation was performed using the GUI installer, which we downloaded instead of running the Lynx command after we realized there were some severe bandwidth issues during the initial frenzy to obtain the software. It also paid off in the long run because on one occasion we made it through most of the download only to fall victim to a "500 Internal Error" that kept us from downloading the gnome-libs package. Returning a few hours later, the problem had resolved itself, but during a later install on another Red Hat machine, the problem cropped up again.

There are several options using the GUI install tool. Users can opt to download the minimum number of packages, which weighed in at a total of 75.3MB. An option for downloading only productivity applications totalled 92.4MB, a "normal" installation took 136.3MB, and the "everything" option involved 146.8MB of downloads. Adding the development packages to the "everything" option brought the total in to just under 180MB.

Another choice involves how to download the files. Because of the cost of maintaining Akamai server access, Ximian opted to change to a more traditional mirroring approach toward the end of last week. Five mirrors are currently available, plus Ximian's own servers: RPMFind in Cambridge, MA and France (two locations), PlanetMirror in Australia, and a server at Duke University in North Carolina.

Once the download is underway, very little user interaction is required. We encountered several of the aforementioned "500 Internal Error" messages while performing the download. The installer allows users to back up all the way to the beginning of the process, but we found that a package causing that error tended to cause it to happen no matter which mirror we used. We eventually finished the install successfully after a few restarts.

One other issue we did encounter on an additional machine running Red Hat 7 was an unfortunate tendency on the part of the installer to consume all the space on the root partition. Remembering this problem from the release of Helix Code GNOME 1.2, we used the '-d' option to specify a more spacious partition into which the installer could save the downloaded files. Unfortunately, this didn't fix the problem. Though the downloaded packages fit comfortably in the 20GB partition we directed them to, the 80MB we had left in the root partition was consumed and caused the installation to halt after the downloads were completed and the installer had handled the bulk of the dependency checking and package configuration. We didn't resolve the problem by the time this story was ready for publication despite some close examinations of the root filesystem to find what was consuming the space.

Installing on Progeny and Debian GNU/Linux 2.2

We opted to use the apt-get for our Progeny and Debian 2.2 installations. We added the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://red-carpet.ximian.com/debian stable main

Though Progeny's distribution is largely based on Debian Woody (testing), we opted to use the Potato (stable) directory for this installation.

According to the download page for Debian-based systems, the process should be as simple as executing the command

apt-get update && apt-get install task-helix-gnome

Unfortunately, task-helix-gnome didn't appear to be available, so we were left with working out how to best collect everything on our own. For the Potato installation, which already had Ximian GNOME 1.2 on it, we used 'apt-get dist-upgrade' to update the bulk of our GNOME installation, and then followed up with a few specific file acquisitions for things we didn't already have installed (such as the Nautilus file manager.) Using dselect at this stage so as to identify packages that are recognized as new additions to the available database is recommended.

In both cases, the missing 'task-helix-gnome' package was something of a hindrance, though it only took a few sessions with dselect to straighten the matter out.

To get the full Ximian experience, Debian users will want to make sure they use the command:

apt-get install ximian-doorman nautilus nautilus-mozilla monkeytalk to pull in Ximian's configuration tool, the Nautilus filemanager, and monkeytalk - the online help chat system.

In addition, users who haven't been tracking Ximian GNOME before now may need to get the oaf package with apt-get, as well. Some GNOME distributions don't come with it.

Finally, in a thread on Debian Planet, several Progeny enthusiasts discussed what it took to get all the binaries (including Red Carpet) working correctly on their machines. Results appear to vary.


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