Archive for May, 2009

Installation testing using VirtualBox snapshots

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

VirtualBox is brilliant.  You can set up Windows XP, Ubuntu Jaunty etc and test installations into them.  Then reset to snapshot and rinse and repeat.  Installing onto systems that are not “clean” is never as certain – perhaps you have already installed comtypes or whatever.

One tip for sharing files between a host OS and a Linux (Ubuntu) guest OS (see

Within the guest OS, make a directory e.g.

sudo mkdir /transfer

Then mount the shared folder you set up externally in VirtualBox using:
sudo mount -t vboxsf sharename mountpoint
in my case:
sudo mount -t vboxsf transfer /transfer
It is then easy to grab files from the host OS e.g. a deb package that needs to be installed.

Ubuntu packages the only Linux option

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

I have just watched a fascinating video entitled “Why Desktop Linux Sucks” by Bryan Lunduke (  Desktop Linux works really well for me but Bryan makes a lot of important points.   I certainly agree that packaging is a big problem.  The approach I have taken for Linux installation with the SOFA Statistics project is to only release a deb package aimed at Ubuntu (  I am already spending a lot of time packaging as it is and would like to spend more time developing new features.

SOFA Statistics working under Karmic already

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The SOFA 0.7.1 deb package installed successfully under Karmic alpha 1 so it has now been tested in Jaunty and Karmic.  Intrepid should work but feedback would be welcome on this.

Further refinements to Windows installation

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The welcome window for the Windows installer now lets people know in advance that there will be multiple packages installed as part of the SOFA Statistics installation.  The delay when displaying HTML for the first time has now been put into the first-time startup process and the user is warned in advance.  The goal is to make it easy to successfully install SOFA Statistics.  The improved welcome screen can be seen under the heading “Why does Windows installation require so many packages” in the FAQ (

NB the latest version is now: (

Resolving Windows installation glitches

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

If you had problems installing the Windows version of SOFA 0.6.8, try 0.7.0 (  It resolves the main issues with that installation package.  Version 0.7.0 also resolves some other issues within SOFA and represents the first of the 0.7 series – the goal of which is to enable importing of spreadsheets and other, non-SQL database type data.

The Windows comtypes package relied upon by SOFA 0.6.8 proved to be faulty.  The 0.7.0 version of SOFA Statistics, which has just been released, uses an older version of comtypes (0.5.2) which is known to work.  A version of comtypes 0.6.0 for python 2.5 is apparently forthcoming.

There is still a delay when using SOFA’s table making functionality for the first time while comtypes generates some data it needs.  NB this is a one-off delay which doesn’t affect anything else.  Ideally, SOFA will handle this process better in a forthcoming release.

Launchpad puts the Open into Open Source

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

I have made some more revisions of SOFA Statistics (bugs fixed, mainly regressions after refactoring).  Launchpad makes it easy to see every difference between the different versions. Truly, nothing is hidden which shall not be revealed!  These are very powerful tools, all made available through the power of open source.

Using Bazaar on Launchpad

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Just started using Bazaar on Launchpad to provide distributed version control for SOFA Statistics.  Very nice.  And commands like:

bzr commit

bzr push -m “description in here”

are very easy to remember.

Also adding lots of public and internal process documentation.  Soon it will be back to adding new features.

Registered with Sourceforge, Freshmeat and Launchpad

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Working on raising the search profile of SOFA Statistics.  The project is now registered with Sourceforge, Freshmeat and Launchpad.

Windows package will be Python 2.5 only for now

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Unfortunately SciPy does not have a Python 2.6 installer yet.  The MySQLdb package does but it is not from the central sourceforge location ( Also see  For the time being, therefore, the Windows package for SOFA will be a Python 2.5 version only.

BTW nearly ready to release the packages once project hosting is finalised.

The licence is AGPL 3.

SOFA for Windows Package under testing

Friday, May 15th, 2009

A windows installer for sofa statistics has been created and is currently undergoing testing on clean machines.  NSIS was used to create the installer, which necessitated learning a new script language.  The language used by NSIS is a cross between PHP and assembly and was quite a shock after the elegance of python.