I have just completed a review of REALbasic for Linux 2005 on Redhat and Debian Linux – look for it in Linux-mag.com. Let me tell you this was a real lot of fun. First, my Pentium 3 system crashed midwaythrough the review- hard disk did a very hard crash. I simply have not been able to get the old box up even with a new disk. No fault of Redhat or dual boot Microsoft ME, just a disk well beyond its MTBF.
Love Debian Linux
So I switched to a Compaq portable and decided to try Debian Linux. I really love the Knoppix try out CD that allows me to install and test the Debian distribution – no harm, no foul as its is a completely emory based boot from CD. And with that going well, I decided to try full Debian.
And I was pleased with the relatively painless install – it recognized all the laptop devices .. true it sputtered out too much information on install (talk about a very garrulous verbose default setting). but Debian even recognized my PPpoE DSL Internet connections through LAN cable – something I was expecting to fall through the Linux cracks. I was able to download REALbasic Linux 2005 right away and after unloading from tar.gz file it worked right away. Hurrah – I could get back to testing right away!
Doubts about Debian
So I proceeded to do the Getting Started and then Tutorial demos – as I recommend in my review of REALbasic. By the way REALbasic is a real find. For $99 you get the power of VB4-VB6 roughly with better 2D & 3D graphics but less Web and Web services.
Meantime – I needed to test out the picture/bitmap handling capabilities of REALbasic. But there is no GIMP on the distro disk. So I go up to GIMP and download the latest gimp.deb installer package. Double click on the gimp.deb file … it just blows up in my face with five fullscreens of the various contents of the gimp.deb package. So I read more from the Debian Linux 3.1 Bible. Nothing about .deb packages. Do a Google andI finally get the magic formula using dpckg for opening a .deb package.
Oops – there are a whole bunch of unresolved references. So at least I will get to use the more familiar apt-get and aptitude utilities for installing software….. well no such luck, these routines refuse to download the gimp packages and libraries I need. So wait I will just get another paint program .. say 4P, Cenon, gpaint … finally with gpaint I can get a sufficiently advanced distro to do some useful testing in . But I am not a happy camper that apt-get/aptitude cannot get Debian.org to allow the download of the libraries to get gimp or 4P or Cenon to work.
Desperate with Debian
So now I want to load up from a second, much larger distro DVD all the goodies that the smaller CD does not have. Now you may call me a fool-in-love or wannabee-tennis-ace but this long time Unix and Linux user is no newbie around the Bell-Torval boys OS. But darned if I could get any of the goodies off that DVD. I could see it and the files but CD Sarge and DVD Sarge were having rank rules of order problems and CD determined that all those goodies on DVD would remain locked.
So back up to the Net … oops I thought, what about all those users that dont have a high speed connection and can access debian.org and constantly check for the latest libraries and resolve all the package dependencies that apt-get and aptitude insist on working out befor allowing an install to proceed. What indeed?
So I tried to download the latest MySQL and REALbasic plugins for MySQL GUI administration tools and REALbasic plugin for MySQL. …. 18 hours later….. I never got the GUI admin tools working, I did get MySQL working in terminal mode and created the test database and could query it in MySQL command line utility. But thats as far as she went. REALbasic would acknowledge the presence of MySQL and start to load the GUI dialog. But then freeze….
And to add insult to injury, my DSL service upgrade at Bell Canada went badly awry. I lost my DSL and Telephone service for 3 days. The telephone service is back but neither the old nor new DSL service. So I stopped trying to resolve the question of who was responsible for the Linux MySQL database read problems in REALbasic. I suspect REALbasic because I cannot do native MySQL reads in the latestWindows XP REALbasic 3 version; but I must admit I dont know for sure.
But what I do know for sure is that I do not like the Debian softwares install system. There is an attempt to establish through the Debian.org site a pure set of library file dependencies. But let me tell you that runs afoul of the many different distros and installer packages. Now I believe eWeeks Steven J Vaughan-Nicholls who says Microsoft wont beat Linux on the desktop – but we disagree on why. Steven is confident in Linux Base 3 …. I am confident that AppleTel and Tiger MacOS and VirtualOS Systems will bring Unix/Linux along such that as Windows becomes ever more Draconian – users will have some really usable alternatives to the Debian nightmarish install process. There will be viable, non-Windows desktops with many more applications than Windows Vista which requires substantial rewrites for .NET, color management and device drivers for 3rd parties to be able to stay up with Microsofts own ever expanding application set.
But as Steven notes, if Linux stays fractured, then Steve will laugh all the way to the bank. That is Steve J not Steve B.