RunRev and Linux

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Apr 11 04:34:21 EDT 2010


There are two questions, whether Ubuntu is the distribution of choice for a
production environment, and whether Linux is the right platform to run
Revolution on.

The answer to the first question is no, use Debian Stable.  Ubuntu is the
result of six monthly refreshings from Debian Experimental.  A production
environment should use Debian Stable, if using a Debian based distribution
at all, and only change out for the next version of Stable using apt-get
dist-upgrade when this completes its move out of Testing, gets the Good
Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and is marked Stable.  

You could also consider Slackware, famous for its stability, but its going
to be more trouble to maintain.  In a production environment I would use
either Debian or Slackware.  Maybe Open Suse could be a third possibility to
consider.

Is Rev on Linux a sensible choice for a production environment?  I wouldn't
do it in its present form.  You'll be getting a version with substantial
feature, stability and usability deficiencies compared to what you have now. 

It will be unusable on any monitor larger than 19 inch.  Fonts will not work
properly.  Printing, both revPrintField and print card, will not work
properly.  In my experience, the editor is so unstable as to be unusable.  
(Others however have not reproduced the editor issues that I have had).  
The IDE will not support basic desktop functionality - multiple virtual
desktops.  It is said that this works perfectly well in the OSX version you
have now, so if your users take advantage of virtual desktops, you will be
losing that feature.  You will also find that important extra functionality
of the IDE has migrated to plugins which will not run on Linux.  For
instance, if you are using tRev, you'll find there is no Linux version.  If
you use Rev Browser, that is not available in the Linux version.  If you use
a Rev player, you'll find there isn't one.  You can use StackRunner, of
course, and I have nothing but praise for it.  But its another step away
from what you now have.

I use nothing but Linux, and have never come upon an application from the
Debian repositories which is of this poor quality.  Yes, there are some
applications which have problems - the move from KDE 3.5 to 4 meant that
many KDE apps had to be rewritten, and in the process there were some
serious problems introduced, which took a while for users and developers to
track down and fix.  But they were at least notified, acknowledged, and then
fixed fairly promptly.  

People may think this is just a personal opinion caused by purely personal
frustrations.  But if you go back through the list, you will find serious
Linux users posting in escalatingly bad tempered terms until finally they
leave in a fury.  Its not just me.

The best advice one could give would be, get a workstation, put a 22 inch
monitor on it, install Slackware (which means you will not be running Gnome,
by the way), install only the three packages you speak of - Rev, Octave and
R.  Maybe Office if you need it.  Geany - you are going to need a proper
editor.  Give it to the most tolerant heavy user of Rev you have, ask
him/her to use it exclusively for all development, and see how they feel at
the end of a month or so.   You can be sure, if its Slackware, that any
problems are not down to the distribution, and you can be sure that if mine
are down to Debian, you will not get them, and you can be sure that you are
not running into the instabilities which are fairly notorious with Ubuntu's
release schedule.  ts about as pure a test as you'll get of whether you are
safe to go ahead.

It would be most valuable to Linux users of Rev, and maybe also to Rev the
company, to have properly documented feedback on what you find, if you do
this.  There is still time, just, to make Rev for Linux into a serious
developer tool that one could recommend unequivocally, and maybe if enough
of us work at it, we can document clearly what needs to be done, help in
testing, and get it done.

Personally, I am on the edge with this.  I have obtained a license for Real
Basic, and I've got a copy of the best PyQT book, "Rapid Gui Programming
with Python and Qt".  I have written an open letter to Kevin, which I am
restraining myself from sending.  The Rev people are very nice, decent
people, the list is wonderfully helpful and patient.  The language itself is
superb, when it works.  Its just, if it doesn't have a usable editor, usable
printing, proper font support, a readable IDE, how on earth am I supposed to
get any work done in it?
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