GRAMPS Genealogy Software under Linux

Updated 1/12/2017 to include more detail that I have found (and missed). Also updated 1/15/2017 to explain how to fix Solus installation. And finally updated (3/10/2017) to describe use of GRAMPS in Elementary OS.–

This article is a summary of some recent research I have done to answer questions that I have had about the operating systems in which GRAMPS works best. I have one Windows 10 environment on a laptop that I plan to “convert” to a Linux environment. Currently, I use GRAMPS in this Windows 10 environment to build up my genealogy information. So, my goal was to find the best Linux distribution to support use of GRAMPS and the other email and web browsing software.

Here’s some high level information about my windows test environment. – The machine is an Asus N53SV laptop (not new!), 64-bit Intel i7-2630QM architecture , 8 GB of memory, and a conventional disk drive with a nominal capacity of 500 GB. I tested the Linux distributions inside of VMware Workstation 12 Player. Each VM was configured to use two processors, 2 GB of memory, and 30 GB of storage.

I tested Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu Mate 16.10, Solus, Antergos, and Elementary OS.  The test was simple – install GRAMPS 4.2.4 or 4.2.5 from a repository, and then import a GRAMPS backup from the windows 10 system. Here are the results.

Ubuntu 16.04: Installation succeeded without incident.  However, when the application was invoked there were numerous warnings about missing software components that would affect reports. These look like GTK library issues.  This means to me that the software dependencies were not handled properly/completely. Import worked fine. (Note added later: I have installed missing libraries, but that did not completely fix the problems found at startup.)

Solus: Everything worked as you would hope, except for trouble with one missing GTK library (gexiv2) that is reported at startup.  Import worked just fine. – I have subsequently installed the gexiv2  – 0.10.3-4 library using the software center and that eliminated the complaint at startup.

Antergos: Everything went well. Dependencies/addons were called out explicitly, and I installed each one using the interface provided.

Ubuntu Mate 16.10: Once again, everything went well.

Elementary OS (0.4): In this case I installed Elementary OS using QEMU/KVM virtual machine manager. After creating the VM, I found the GRAMPS package using the synaptic package manager, which I installed from the Elementary apps repository. Synaptics installed GRAMPS and picked up all of the dependencies. Success!

In the end I have decided to swap out Windows 10 for Ubuntu Mate – because my tests were  successful and also because I have a familiarity with this distro. My secondary choices, just based on personal preference would be  Antergos and then Solus (in that order) and then Elementary OS. I still run Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on a desktop system from System76, but this version of the operating system has been disappointing in ways mostly associated with how the “Ubuntu Software” application operates. I think that the software made available by the other distributions is better curated and made available for installation. In the end, however, the GRAMPS developers need to fix GTK issues, and I believe that they are in fact doing this.  I expect that by year’s end the problem with missing components will be fixed.  Meanwhile, GRAMPS is still usable at 4.2.4 and 4.2.5.

Perhaps this information will help someone else considering running GRAMPS in a Linux operating system environment.