GNUstep on Trisquel Taranis

I originally wrote this for my FSFE blog.

If you are like me and you’re running the excellent Trisquel Taranis you may have noticed that on AMD64 the vanilla GNUstep packages from the repo’s are broken. Ubuntu 10.04 has the same problem and I’ve read that this also occurs with certain Debian installations. Since a life without GNUstep seems pointless or at least very grim I’ve installed everything you need to run and compile GNUstep applications manually. Here I’ll describe the magic incantations I used.

Disclaimer: the Trisquel installation I used isn’t a virgin. I fondled quite a lot with the package management system, installed a bunch of programs with a truck load of dependencies, apt-got all my daily necessities and compiled and installed a bunch of libraries from source. So this might not work for you. It may or may not blow op your computer, change the way you dress or make your computer become attracted to a nihilist lifestyle.

With all the legal work out of the way let’s explain what I did to make GNUstep work. First off I downloaded all the source I needed from At a minimum you’ll need all the packages (except the examples package) from the ‘core’ directory.

After this I’ve installed a bunch of requirements:

sudo apt-get install build-essential gobjc libffi-dev libicns-dev libtiff4-dev libart-2.0-dev libfreetype6-dev

When you’re done with that you can start compiling gnustep-make.

Extract the gnustep-make package, go into the directory and:

sudo make install

This should work perfectly if you’re me and running my particular system and chanting the right Slayer lyrics while tapping your foot and rotating your head counter-clockwise (maybe those last steps aren’t required, I haven’t tried it without them).

Now listen carefully, whenever you feel like it’s a good day to compile and install a GNUstep application from source you’ll need to:

. /usr/GNUstep/System/Library/Makefiles/

You can also put it in your .profile when you grow extremely fond of compiler screensavers like me. Read GNUsteps howto on environment setup for more info.

Now you can configure/make/sudo make install gnustep-base. After this I started gdomap, which is an essential daemon used by GNUstep, but it will also be launched automatically after you launch your first GNUstep application :

sudo /usr/GNUstep/Local/Tools/gdomap -p

Next I installed gnustep-gui using the same steps and finally gnustep-back.

With gnustep-back you can choose the graphics library you want to use. Since GNUstep is highly portable you can use it with many different graphics libraries. I chose to use libart for no particular reason, it just seems to work fine :-).

To configure gnustep-back to use libart use:

./configure --enable-graphics=art --with-name=art

After this you can compile it. To make sure GNUstep uses the right graphics backend you’ll need to:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain GSBackend libgnustep-art

This should be enough to get you up and running. The next step (pun intended) might be to try some applications from the examples package you find in the core directory. This way you can see if everything works like it should. If you like to do some developing of your own you can simply install ProjectCenter and Gorm from the dev-apps directory.

I’d love to hear whether or not this works on your box, please comment if it does, or better yet when it doesn’t so I can update this post!