Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Looking for an honest man — on Linux PPC

Peter Heslin's Diogenes 3.1 is extremely cleanly designed, and ultra portable. The server functionality is written in perl, and the new user interface is a XUL application. One result is that Heslin can provide simple binary installations for Mac OS X, various Windows operating systems, and Linux on x86 architecture.

This design also makes it easy to install and run Diogenes on any operating system with perl and a XUL application environment. Using Ubuntu Linux 7.04 on a PPC system, for example, after you download and install the Linux version of Diogenes, you can run Diogenes at least three different ways:

1) use xulrunner to run the graphic interface

If xulrunner is not already installed on your system, use Synaptic or apt-get to install it. (xulrunner is in the Development section of the Ubuntu universe repository.) You can now start Diogenes from a terminal with the command
   xulrunner /usr/local/diogenes/application.ini

Better still, edit the properties for the Diogenes menu item that was created by the Diogenes installer. In the Launcher Properties, enter the command to start xulrunner as illustrated here. Now you can run diogenes from the menu selection.

2) use Firefox 3 to run the graphic interface

Version 3 of Firefox includes a full XUL environment that can run external XUL programs like Diogenes. Beta version 2 of FF3 was released in December; when a stable release version appears, look for it to show up as an upgrade to Firefox in your Ubuntu repository. When Firefox 3 is installed on your system, you may alternatively start Diogenes with the command
   firefox -app /usr/local/diogenes/application.ini

As with option 1, you can edit the Diogenes menu item to run this command.
Technically inclined users who are eager to play with the beta version can download source code for the beta release, and follow the very clear instructions here to install it. All the prerequisites are standard libraries that are available in Ubuntu repositories.

3) Browse and search texts from the command line

The command line user program (named dio) works just as it does on any other Linux. Run dio with no arguments to see its various options.

The importance of this flexibility is not that it opens up Diogenes to a vast number of Greek scholars using Linux PPC, Solaris, or some other particular operating system. Its importance is rather that it keeps Diogenes open to any platform meeting its simple requirements — including future platforms.

Diogenes on your XO laptop, iPhone, or other device, anyone?