[Edu-sig] VPython with Ubuntu 9.04

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sun Sep 13 06:34:16 CEST 2009

Re:  Vpython.org -- installing on Ubuntu Linux 9.04 Jackalope

I just received a Starling-1, a kind of OLPA clone of the XO, except
black and without the tilt and swivel, mesh networking.  OLPA = one
laptop per adult (relates to NALB).

Photos that relate to this post:

It's more the classic Ubuntu desktop, a Debian downstream with some
value added, customization in particular as with a 10.1" screen,
you're wanting something other than a Compiz spinning cube, I'm pretty
sure. Comes with Jackalope reinstalled.

This unit replaces my Ubuntu Dell laptop, which fried its own
motherboard, still has salvageable .py files, some pix.  Queued for
in-house attention (could mean a long time then).

So the VPython install text seems to assume that if you've got enough
Linux chops to operate Linux, then it's best to treat you as a
developer and walk you through getting the whole source code tree,
meaning C++ files, stuff about GTK+, about Boost.

Fortunately, the docs tell the 9.04 user specifically which -dev trees
to grab off Synaptic, in addition to Boost.  Don't forget numpy
(that's in Synaptic as well).

If you compare these instructions to what people with other versions
have to slog through, you might thank your lucky stars (I know I did).

I recommend following the provided advice to mkdir in parallel to the
folder you get from extracting the bz2 file:

Then follow instructions to reach up a level from the newly created
empty build directory and down into the neighboring tree i.e.

mkdir visual_build
cd visual_build
../visual_tree/configure --prefix /usr/local

don't use /usr/local/lib as your prefix or you'll get everything in
You want to anchor at /usr/local on the standard 9.04 configuration,
where site-packages is in /local/lib/python2.6/site-packages.

There's an obscure point to copy a .pth file into
/usr/local/lib/python2.6/dist-packages as well (which I did).

Clearly I'm not writing enough to replace the INSTALL.txt here, not my
intention.  This is more some encouragement to developers wanting to
work on a VPython curriculum, still probably Python's best answer to
Ruby's quasi-native access to OpenGL.

Once I had visual installed and had run some examples, a turned to
4dsolutions.net/ocn/python/hypertoons for my implementation of a
randomized network of interconnecting cartoon tunnels (the key frames
for the network of switch points, with "tunnels" being animated
in-betweening twixt whatever two stations).

I found a bug in my rbf.py, which I've mangled over the years,
including to put bread on the table at one point.  I'll be uploading a
fix this evening.

Kirby Urner

@ It's a Beautiful Pizza
Lindsey Walker Show

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