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Old 16-05-2020, 07:14   #1
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OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Summary

From version 5.1 OpenCPN is available as a Flatpak package. This package is supported on all major Linux distributions. To run the beta test version of the package:

- Install flatpak as described in https://flatpak.org/setup
- Install the beta using
$ flatpak install --user http://opencpn.duckdns.org/opencpn-b...cpn.flatpakref
- Start by using the GUI or
$ flatpak run org.opencpn.OpenCPN.

- Supported plugins include: oesenc, oernc, radar, squiddio, VDR and Windvane

- We are eager to get your feedback on the OpenCPN Flatpak beta.

Background

OpenCPN is available for several popular linux platforms. However, linux itself is available in many different "flavors", otherwise known as "distributions". Previously, if OpenCPN was not available pre-built for a user's particular favorite distribution, then one was required to build OpenCPN from source for that distribution. This is inconvenient, and requires a level of knowledge and skill beyond the capabilities or interest of many potential OpenCPN users.
Adaptation of OpenCPN to Flatpak allows use with almost any modern linux distribution without any complex building from source, including important distributions such as Fedora, Suse, and Arch.

Flatpak is a system in which an application (OpenCPN, in this case) is run inside of a "sandbox" under the control of the linux standard linux operating system of choice. This differs from a "virtualized" environment, wherein there exists a completely separate instance of a "guest" operating system. Flatpak thus has the advantage of a simpler and more robust installation, without affecting installed user applications or interfaces of the native operating system. As simple examples, the file systems and network ports of the target system are available to OpenCPN Flatpak without any special configuration requirements.

FlatPak applications can be built so as to enjoy tight integration with existing Desktop Package Management systems. Under this scheme, Flatpak applications may be installed with a simple one-click operation, and updated along with other system applications using provided O/S tools.

There are a couple of downsides to Flatpak. First, the exact screen presentation (the GUI) of an application may not match exactly what would be seen on a purely native implementation. Usually, the differences are very minor, and do not detract from the user experience. Secondly, the initial load and first run of a Flatpak adapted application will be slower than that of a native application. Subsequent runs will, however, be not noticeably slower to load than a native application.

Implementation and Use.
OpenCPN for Flatpak has been implemented to operate under a generic sandbox environment. While the choice of sandbox environment is somewhat flexible, experience has shown that choosing a stable, less-than-cutting-edge sandbox promotes stability of the application at runtime. Generally, a user should not be concerned with the sandbox model selected by the developers. Think of the sandbox as a generic and stable linux environment which is known to be OpenCPN-friendly.
As mentioned, Flatpak requires a fairly large runtime environment. This runtime environment consists, essentially, of the interfaces which convert from OpenCPN's expectation of library support, to the available libraries on the target system. This environment will be downloaded during the installation process of OpenCPN Flatpak, and will thereafter be available for fast OpenCPN application startup.
OpenCPN Flatpak is not (yet) installable from the Desktop (GUI), as we have not submitted the OpenCPN Flatpak application for inclusion in the global flathub repository system. This is a work-in process. For initial Beta testing, OpenCPN Flatpak should be installed from the Command Line Interface.

Here is an example of the detailed steps required to install and run OpenCPN under Flatpak, using the Command Line Interface of a debian-like linux.

1. Get the Flatpak base application for your operating system. For Debian based systems, use some version of apt, e.g.

$ sudo apt install flatpak

For other distributions (for example RedHat or Fedora based systems), use the corresponding system command to download and install "flatpak" base application. For Fedora, this would look something like:
$ sudo yum install flatpak
Consult https://flatpak.org/setup for more information on other linux distributions.

2. Enable the flathub repository:
$ flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

3. Install OpenCPN for Flatpak (Beta)
$ flatpak install --user http://opencpn.duckdns.org/opencpn-b...cpn.flatpakref

This command will initiate a fairly long download, as mentioned above. Current sandbox images download about 450 MB.

4. Run OpenCPN Flatpak from CLI
$ flatpak run org.opencpn.OpenCPN

5. Run OpenCPN from the desktop GUI (if available), by selecting the OpenCPN icon installed automatically.

6. As required, update OpenCPN Flatpak (Beta) from the CLI.
$ flatpak update org.opencpn.OpenCPN

7. Install OpenCPN Flatpak from a GUI like Gnome or KDE:
Under development for OpenCPN, pending successful Beta testing. Look for more information as it develops.

Status
OpenCPN Flatpak is in initial Beta testing stage. All testing feedback will be greatly appreciated. Especially useful will be descriptions of installation difficulties of any sort. Also, reports of successful installations or failures on truly odd-ball linux distributions are encouraged.

FAQs.

1. Q: I am running Ubuntu linux. Tell me again why I should run, or even try, OpenCPN Flatpak?
A: You probably would not want to run OpenCPN Flatpak, since OpenCPN is natively supported for Ubuntu. Downloads and updates are available for Ubuntu as normal from the OpenCPN PPA repository. But just to be clear: yes, you may run OpenCPN Flatpak on Ubuntu, if you would just like to try it out. It has some advantages...

2. Q: What if my ancient linux system does not support Flatpak at all?
A: We suggest that you update your system, in whatever way seems natural, until you reach a distribution that does support Flatpak. At the moment, some 23 linux distributions are Flatpak capable. See a list here: https://flatpak.org/setup/

3. Q: What about Plugins?
A: OpenPCN Flatpak relies on the managed plugin interface introduced in version 5.1 (Beta). There are no "legacy" plugins available for OpenCPN Flatpak. Some number of popular managed plugins are available for OpenCPN Flatpak now, more are on the horizon. You can help us prioritize resources by telling us which plugins are missing from OpenCPN Flatpak, that you would really like to see...

4. Q: Can I use a oesenc license purchased for a native installation when using flatpak?
A: No, the flatpak sandbox is seen as a another computer and requires a separate license.

5. Q: Will a flatpak installation pickup the configuration from a previous native installation?
A: No, flatpak uses a separate location for configuration files.


6. Q: Where can I learn more?
A: https://flatpak.org/
https://itsfoss.com/flatpak-guide/ (Nice overview/HOWTO article)



Thanks, and Good Luck
Dave and the Team.
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Old 16-05-2020, 12:22   #2
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Dave

Notes on installing on UKubuntu 20.04

In the detailed instructions above,
Quote:
3. Install OpenCPN for Flatpak (Beta)
$ flatpak install --user http://opencpn.duckdns.org/opencpn-b...cpn.flatpakref
The forum shortens the link, inserting "...". This makes it impossible to just copy the command.
The correct command, ready to copy, is:
Code:
$ flatpak install --user http://opencpn.duckdns.org/opencpn-beta/opencpn.flatpakref
--
The installation went well, no problems.

On first run:
I got a pop up saying: "Failed to inspect the lockfile......No such File....."

I just ignored it and proceeded.

Checking the plugins I noted that two of the built in plugins, Grib and Dashboard were not activated by default. WMM and Chart Downloader were activated.

After updating the Master catalog quite a few more plugins popped up.
I installed the VDR without problems.

Thomas
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Old 13-07-2020, 07:29   #3
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

I receive a 403 error:

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /opencpn-beta/opencpn.flatpakref on this server.
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Old 16-07-2020, 06:47   #4
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Hi
I would like to run two instances of Opencpn in LinuxMint 20. Have had problem creating a portable version (Lack of knowledge)
Would I be able to run two instances running the "normal" and flatpack version at the same time?

Best regards
Johan
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Old 16-07-2020, 07:00   #5
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlsail View Post
Hi
Would I be able to run two instances running the "normal" and flatpack version at the same time?

Best regards
Johan
You should be able to. Flatpak basically runs the application in an independent environment.

Last I checked, though, the flatpack directory was still inaccessible.
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Old 16-07-2020, 07:06   #6
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamNabil View Post
You should be able to. Flatpak basically runs the application in an independent environment.

Last I checked, though, the flatpak directory was still inaccessible.

Thanks!
just tried to install but also get, Server returned status 403: Forbidden
Will wait for the 5.2 Flatpak version

Johan
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Old 16-07-2020, 11:44   #7
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamNabil View Post
I receive a 403 error:

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /opencpn-beta/opencpn.flatpakref on this server.
You have to describe exactly what you did when you got this response.
Thomas
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Old 16-07-2020, 11:46   #8
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlsail View Post
Hi
I would like to run two instances of Opencpn in LinuxMint 20. Have had problem creating a portable version (Lack of knowledge)
Would I be able to run two instances running the "normal" and flatpack version at the same time?

Best regards
Johan
Yes, I just tested this on Ubuntu 20.04. The critical, and good thing, is that each instance uses its own opencpn.conf file.

Thomas
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Old 16-07-2020, 13:01   #9
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Quote:
Originally Posted by cagney View Post
Yes, I just tested this on Ubuntu 20.04. The critical, and good thing, is that each instance uses its own opencpn.conf file.

Thomas
Hi Thomas.

That is perfect!
About installation I think I have the same problem as IamNabil to install

If I in terminal run
$ flatpak install --user http://opencpn.duckdns.org/opencpn-b...cpn.flatpakref
I get
error: Can't load uri http://opencpn.duckdns.org/opencpn-b...pn.flatpakref: Server returned status 403: Forbidden

I am running your version without the ...

Thanks Johan
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Old 17-07-2020, 11:21   #10
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

The link does not work anymore, as pointed out.

It should anyway, be changed to a link for the new stable release - 5.2.
The developer responsible for flatpak is actually out sailing right now, so we all have to wait.

Sorry for the hiccup. The link to flatpak should, of-course have been published on the opencpn.org download page by now.

From another point of view.....it is great that O's developers is out there testing in real sailing conditions ....

The correct link will be published ASAP.

Thomas
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Old 18-07-2020, 22:20   #11
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Correct link, and instructions for installing is now in place on the opencpn.org download page for 5.2.

https://opencpn.org/OpenCPN/info/downloadopencpn.html

Thomas
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Old 19-07-2020, 01:34   #12
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Installed the Flatpack version on my AMD64 Mint Ulyana (Focal). Be be installed along with the other OpenCPN 5.2. Then you have two version of OpenCPn: OpenCpn and OpenCPN flatpack.


Everything works fine, also the Oesenc plugin for the usb dongle.


Only one remark: zoomen in and out is too fast.



Otherwise, easy to install and it is working perfect here on my Linux system.


Regards,


Bram
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Old 19-07-2020, 06:17   #13
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Installed on Linuxmint 20.
Installation went well and everything so far works without problem.
Running at the same time as "normal" version works.

Thanks
Johan
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:37   #14
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

The with flatpack version the sound does not work. If a take the standard OpenCPN then the alarm bells are ring.

Yes, it is a nice feature you can, now as before, two version of OpenCPN at the same running.

What a progress all these new developments.

Thanks to David and his Team,


Bram
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Old 22-07-2020, 12:29   #15
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Re: OpenCPN Flatpak Version 5.1 Beta test

Quote:
Originally Posted by verkerkbr View Post
The with flatpack version the sound does not work. If a take the standard OpenCPN then the alarm bells are ring.

.....
.....
Bram
I can confirm that sound does not currently work in flatpak. Tested on Ubuntu.
This bug has however been patched in the source code. I assume that an updated link will be published in the near future.
As is obvious from the small number of posts in this thread, flatpak for OpenCPN has not been thoroughly tested, yet ...
Please report all issues!

Thomas
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