At the moment I am revisiting the development of a Plant Base edition for Linux. This was briefly looked at before but this a more concerted effort and a good winter project! Strictly speaking Plant Base already runs on Linux, in that we have the existing Android edition and Android is built around a Linux kernel. However, in this case we are talking about Linux operating system distributions for PC’s and laptops.
I’m not expecting a great demand for a Linux edition of Plant Base, but it is a good demonstration of the fundamental portability of the product and also fills in the option of running on the 3rd most used OS type for common Intel-based computers. Compared to Windows the number of users running Linux desktop machines is very small. Nevertheless it is a good choice for many and adoption is strong in certain countries and niche sectors. Besides that, I’ve always had a soft spot for Linux!
The same code-base is used as for Windows and Mac, but developing for Linux desktops presents particular problems. This is because Linux distros are much more variable and in effect form a family of operating systems, some of which are more closely related than others. Most notably there are a number of Desktop Environments to choose from – KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon, XFCE, LXDE and many others. In addition there are a huge number of freely available themes for these. This display variety makes it rather tricky when developing a relatively complex user interface!
All the core functions are already working well. That’s the easy part and mostly identical to the Windows and Mac programs. The user interface is now acceptable on my two development systems, but some compromises were necessary and there is much more to do.
Database files are naturally the same as all other editions and directly exchangeable. Almost all the code sections handling the data are shared with Windows and Mac, leaving mostly just the display parts needing changes specific to the Linux desktop. As for Windows and Mac, the program is written in the wonderful cross-platform PureBasic language.
So progress has been pretty good so far, but still a very long way to go and it’s unlikely there will be any public release for a considerable time. This is currently a low priority project but will certainly continue forward as time and resources allow.
If anyone has a special interest in running Plant Base under Linux then get in touch.