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Sun, 15 Feb 2004 01:14:27 -0500
Sometimes I suggest to people that they should try
octave+octave-forge for doing something, and I would
like the process of trying it to be as painless as possible.
Up to date binary packages maintained for various
operating environments would help enormously.
Dirk does a wonderful job of keeping the octave
and octave-forge Debian packages up to date.
We need equally dedicated folks for other platforms.
Hopefully this will evolve into something as successful
as Debian is at providing a central place for getting
useful software without pain. I understand it is also
octave-forge/admin/RPM has spec files for octave-forge.
I don't know where the spec files for octave reside, but
they could also reside there. Then it is a matter for
someone from the Fedora community to periodically
build the packages. This should be a painless process
since Dirk and the Debian build process will have already
worked out many of the system architecture issues.
Red Hat 9,8,7, Suse, Mandrake:
Do we need separate spec files and builds for these
systems, or will the Fedora build suffice? If fedora is
insufficient, is there a community site people trust where
we can put platform specific builds? If not, we can always
put them on the octave-forge site, along with dependencies
that are unavailable in the base systems (e.g., gnuplot, fftw,
Windows 98, 2000, XP:
Two approaches here: one is a cygwin package approach,
the other a separately installed binary. My own preference
is for a separately installed binary which can optionally
install into an existing cygwin environment. A number of
base packages must be integrated into the windows build,
particularly qhull (for geometry toolbox), ginac+cln+gmp
(for symbolic), fftw (for faster fourier transforms), hdf5 and a
pluggable replacement for lapack+blas so that we can
supply separate atlas-enhanced builds for various architectures.
A lot of the work is done, it just requires a dedicated person
to spend a month or so improving the build, then a bit of
time each release to build a new package.
Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3:
Similar to windows, there are presently packages for fink,
for darwinports and standalone in various states of
repair. My own preference is again for a standalone
binary which doesn't depend on much else so that getting
someone up and running is simply a matter of dropping
the binary package somewhere in the Applications directory
and dragging it to the dock. Again a lot of work needs to be
done on sundries to make sure the OS X package can use
qhull, ginac, fftw, hdf5, etc. I don't know if we need separate
binaries for 10.2 and 10.3. I don't know if veclib is always
available and sufficient, or if we need to support a variety
of Atlas-enhanced libraries. I don't know if there is a standard
place where the community can post such binaries, or if
octave-forge is the best place to host them.
IRIX, SunOS, Solaris, HPUX, AIX, ...
These systems are comparatively rare and tend to have
savvy administrators who don't mind the occasional
./configure; make; make install. Unfortunately octave
requires --enable-shared on ./configure in order to get
octave-forge to work, so this process is not as easy as it
could be. Also, gathering the prerequisites (qhull, ginac,
fftw, hdf5, etc.) can be challenging. If interested parties
want to keep up-to-date binaries for these systems, they
can certainly live beside the Windows packages on octave-forge.
Getting all these binary packages into shape and keeping them
up to date is much too big a task for anyone who only works on
Octave in their spare time. Fortunately, we have a community
of users on various systems eager to volunteer! So how about it?
Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.
Octave's home on the web: http://www.octave.org
How to fund new projects: http://www.octave.org/funding.html
Subscription information: http://www.octave.org/archive.html