Proper Location for Linux Builds

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at
Thu Apr 30 03:50:17 EDT 2009

There is a Linux installer on the lines of the usual ones for Windows.  Its

Seems to be still under active development.  I've never used it.  It claims
to be cross platform in addition.

Yes, I would distribute in a compressed file with a readme, and most people
will probably be installing in single user mode - if they are not, they will
know what to do.  So the readme would just tell them to copy the folder to
their home folder and create a launcher on the desktop, or in the task bar,
to the executable.  

It should probably warn them to check permissions and make sure its
executable.  I downloaded Installjammer, for example, when posting this, and
it was not marked executable.  Most (all?) emailed files seem to arrive
marked read only - you have to explain to new Linux users that the system
thinks its protecting them from files people send them, and that they have
to either save a copy and work on that, or else change permissions.

If your program creates data files, ask the user to pick where he/she wants
them to go, on first run.  Or just put them in the user home folder.  The
usual place for a preference file if you have one, is in the user home
folder, preceded by a dot to make it invisible, as in '.dreamscape'.  If
they do put the program in /opt, you should not put the data files in the
program folder.  No user account will have write privileges there.  Always
put them in the user home folder as a default.  And of course the
preferences can't go in /opt since they vary from user to user.

If you use revPrintField, check that it works as you expect.  In fact, 
check all printing and font use thoroughly.  What sometimes happens is that
label text can not fit exactly the same in fields from one distribution to
another.  Its a good idea to leave more space than you think the text needs. 
Its also a good idea to restrict yourself to fonts that you know will be
available, or include them.  If you look at the font selection that ships
with Debian or Fedora, you can be sure of always having them.  But you can't
be sure of having the MS fonts, though people can get them. 

Also, remember that if it is widely distributed, you are sending it to a
hugely variable population.  Ubuntu is not the only fruit.  And not only
will they be running different distributions, they may be using different
desktop environments within that.  Gnome is not the only desktop.  So before
distributing at all widely,  have a machine with multiple boot installations
of at least Mandriva, Debian, Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora and some Slackware
derivative like Zenwalk.  Then within this make sure everything displays as
expected on KDE 3.5, KDE 4.2, Gnome, and Xfce (which is the default on
Zenwalk).  Mandriva One KDE is now shipping with KDE 4, so that's an easy
way of testing that.  You will pick up Gnome with both Ubuntu and a default
Debian install, and with Fedora, and Debian Lenny is still running KDE 3.5,
so that's an easy way of testing that.   KDE 4 is significantly different
from KDE 3.  They may also be running stuff like Fluxbox or similar, but if
so, they will know what they are doing and you need not worry about that. 
But ordinary users may be on either of the KDE flavors or Gnome.

People on the list seem to be very happy doing their testing on Parallels. 
I'm no pro developer, but I would not.  I'd always boot in native mode to
test a package for distribution.  Color me paranoid!


Derek Bump - Dreamscape Software wrote:
> .....So I guess the next question is what is the best method for
> distribution?  Should I package my program into a custom made
> wizard-style installer?  Or should I just gzip my program's folder and
> let the user put the programs folder where they want?
> I'm fine with both methods, but I'm trying to find the method that works
> best for each System.  On Windows, I have a Setup Wizard that creates
> the Shortcuts, Uninstaller and places the program in the proper
> location.  On the Mac, the user "drags" the program the Applications
> folder.
> What method for Revolution Standalones is be best for Linux?

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