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How to Install Gnoetry 0.2 from Github in Ubuntu/Xubuntu

October 19, 2015


These instructions will guide you through building Gnoetry 0.2 from source on its native operating system, Debian Linux (Ubuntu in this case). I have only tested the installation process described below on Ubuntu and Xubuntu systems, versions 12.04 and 14.04, but they should work on other recent versions. For a user’s guide for Gnoetry, or if you would like to run a pre-installed Xubuntu virtual machine with Gnoetry already installed within Windows or Mac OS X, see the Install the Gnoetry 0.2 on Xubuntu VirtualBox Appliance post.

Most of these instructions require that you use the Terminal. You can find this in Ubuntu/Xubuntu in the Accesories category of programs which come with the operating system (see Ubuntu’s UsingTheTerminal page for more information). All commands that you will run in the Terminal are formatted in a system font in the instructions for clarity. You may type these lines in or copy and paste them into the command terminal using a right-click of your mouse if you like (shortcuts like Ctrl+v and Ctrl+c do not work in the Terminal).

If you are not familiar with running commands and programs in a terminal, one important thing to always keep track of is what directory you are in. This is indicated in the prompt just before the $, and will always begin with a / or be ~. The instructions below make sure to note which directory you are in at all times, as you will be changing directories.

NOTE: If you are planning to install Gnoetry onto an Xubuntu system, you may follow all of the instructions as written. If you are running Ubuntu (with Gnome or Unity), Lubuntu or Kubuntu, you will likely want to use a different text editor than mousepad in the optional custom launcher tutorial (gedit and leafpad are both good GUI text editors, then there’s always vim and nano for command-line editors).

1. Install required packages

Open a new Terminal window (you can use the Ctrl+Alt+t short cut or locate the Terminal Emulator in the main menu). You are always located initially in your user’s home directory when a new terminal is opened. Enter the following command and hit enter to execute it.

sudo apt-get install git libglib2.0-dev python-dev

2. Download gnoetry source files from GitHub

You should still be in your home directory (~), but you can use the command in the first line below (cd ~) to navigate to your home directory. Hit enter to execute. In the second line, you will use the git program to clone the bugfix branch of Gnoetry from Github.

cd ~
git clone -b bugfix --single-branch

3. Build (make) Gnoetry

Next, you will change directory (cd) to the newly created gnoetry directory and run make to build gnoetry on your system.

cd gnoetry

NOTE: If make errors out and does not build gnoetry, check the error messages for missing packages to install. Use the same sudo apt-get install command as in Step 1, followed by the package name, to install any missing packages. Email me the error message if you need any help.

4. Run Gnoetry

Now you can run Gnoetry. Navigate to the ~/gnoetry/interface directory to run the gnoetry script. Since you are already in ~/gnoetry, you can just cd into the interface directory.

cd interface

5. Running Gnoetry from a New Terminal

Finally, when you wish to run gnoetry later on from a newly opened terminal, you will need to use these commands.

cd gnoetry/interface 

6. Learn how to add your own source texts, etc. (Read the user manual)

Now that you have Gnoetry running, you can learn more about using it and adding your own source texts for new projects. Download the user manual to learn more about it:

Gnoetry 0.2 Virtual Appliance Installation Guide and User Manual

Create custom launcher for Gnoetry (OPTIONAL – Xubuntu only)

Lastly, if you would like to create a custom launcher to sit on your desktop, add to your program menu, or add to Unity or a dock, follow the instructions below. They are a bit more advanced than the instructions above. Note that you may wish to use a GUI text editor that is already installed on your system instead of mousepad. In general, gedit and leafpad are both great, simple text editors. You can install them with sudo apt-get install gedit or sudo apt-get install leafpad.

NOTE: Step 2 uses a bash script to open gnoetry. The only reason for this is that I could find no other way to create a command for a launcher (see Step 3 below) which opened gnoetry directly, and I could never get the script which comes with Gnoetry to open correctly from a launcher. Telling the launcher to run my simple script is a convenient workaround.

I’ve tried to make this work in Ubuntu (which uses the Unity desktop), but have become too frustrated. I recommend you use Xubuntu (Ubuntu running the XFCE desktop instead of Unity) generally at this point if you want to run gnoetry.

1. Create a directory to store a script to launch the application

From the terminal, enter the following command.

mkdir ~/.local/share/applications

2. Create the in the new directory

mousepad ~/.local/share/applications/

The above command will create the new file and open it in an editor. Paste this text into the editor, making sure to replace [username] in the third line of text with your username. [For example, my username on my system is user, so my home directory is /home/user, and I would enter bash /home/user/.local/share/applications/ into the Command line below.] When your are done, save the file:

# Script for Gnoetry launcher

cd /home/[username]/gnoetry/interface


After saving the file, you may close the editor and terminal windows.

3. Make the launcher for your desktop

A. Right-click on the desktop and choose “Create new launcher.”
B. Next, input the information as shown in the image and typed below, replacing [username] with your username. [For example, my username on my system is enduser, so my home directory is /home/enduser, and I would enter bash /home/enduser/.local/share/applications/ into the Command line below.]

Name: Gnoetry 0.2
Comment: Human-computer poetry generation
Command: bash /home/[username]/.local/share/applications/

To change the icon, click on the button that says “no icon,” click on the top drop-down menu and choose the bottom option, “Image Files.” Next, navigate to your home directory (look for the little house icon next to your username in the left navigation panel), then the gnoetry directory, then the art directory. Double-click on alfred-jarry.png to set the icon.

Icon selection window for custom launcher.

Icon selection window for custom launcher.

Below is a screenshot of the new launcher’s configuration from my own installation. As noted above, be sure to use your own username and not user or [username] in the Command form field.

A filled out Create Custom Launcher window.

A filled out Create Custom Launcher window.

C. Click either “Save” or “Create” to make the launcher.
D. Right-click on the launcher, go to Properties. In the Permission tab, click to box to “Allow this file to run as a program.”
E. Double-click on the new launcher and choose “Mark Executable” when given the option. Gnoetry should now open from the desktop launcher.

NOTE: If the launcher does not work, go back and make sure that you have put your correct user name in steps 2 and 3. You can always edit the desktop launcher by right-clicking on it and selecting “Edit.” For the script, the simplest way to correct it is to go through Step 2 again in the Terminal.


You should now know how to install Gnoetry 0.2 from source and create a custom launcher in Ubuntu. If you run into any problems following these instructions, please email Eric Goddard-Scovel at for assistance. I will be happy to help.

Digital Poetry Program: LINEmaker v0.2

August 25, 2015
LINEmaker (2015): The title image for the LINEmaker program, created in LINEmaker.

“LINEmaker” (2015): The title image for the LINEmaker program, created in LINEmaker.

After a long break, I have finally returned to learning the Processing generative/interactive arts programming language. I wrote my first working program, LINEmaker v 0.1, almost two years ago, and finally I have it in a finished form. Version 0.2 is currently available in source code (if you want to run it in Processing 2.2.1 or Processing 3 beta) as well as in Java applications for Windows and Linux systems. You may download these from my Github page.

LINEmaker is meant to be a tool for creating a very specific kind of visual poem (I call them “new lines”) which I began making in the OpenOffice and LibreOffice word processors. Each poem is a single line of text with the font spacing and scale settings set so that the characters are compressed on top of each other and can make lines and blocks (as well as other configurations).

The LINEmaker program is more flexible than LibreOffice, as the user can use the mouse to set the character spacing (with horizontal movement) and the font transparency (with vertical movement). A simple title screen has been added in version 0.2, as well as an editable text field in the main application screen.

Below is an animated gif of a simple new line poem which shows 31 repetitions “hl” as the mouse stretches them across the screen. As I moved the mouse from left to right, the space between each character grew to produce this accordion effect. Click on it to view it in more clearly at its full size.

Caption: “h to H” (2015): An animated gif of a simple new line consisting only of the letters “h” and “l.” The animation shows the poem accordion outward as the mouse moves from left to right.


I hope to make more interactive digital poetry programs as my skills develop. There are some exciting libraries like Rita, Wordnet and NextText that I plan to start working with. In the meantime, download and enjoy the program.

An Illustration, as in Rose goes for the kill (Stein Poem)

August 10, 2015

Rose was a lion.
She had learned to feel it.
The grass does not care to impress us.
Little specks of potential.
Why run around the matter?
     All of us end up dead.

The more you see it, it empties.
Illustration: like blood.
How many things were run down.
So Rose could look proper.
And comfortable.
     But Rose was not like them.

The masters have time to kill.
She doesn’t brag about misfortune.
It’s easy to follow them down.
The grass because the grass is swollen.
Someone who’s in it;
     It sure isn’t pretty.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following texts:
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Howard R. Garis, The Curlytops at Uncle Franks Farm


Four Illustrations of Rose (Stein Poems)

July 3, 2015

The following four poems all came from the same instance of Gnoetry 0.2, worked through repeatedly and saved as several variations. I kept certain words or parts of each line as I worked down through the poem each time, later abandoning them if they ceased to work for the emerging poems. I hope to continue making these for a while longer.

1  |  An Illustration, as in Rose on the surface

Rose was not flashy.
So she went on instinct.
The grass did not say so, anyway.
And when you lose touch with them?
Was I awake or not?
     The grass looks like weakness.

The more we all know the body.
Illustration: the heart, a line.
These are the unfaithful.
So throw out your bearings.
And later, the empties.
     No good will come of it.

Those who live on the surface.
It is not any comfort to sing.
These boys are brittle and gloomy.
The grass because grass is over.
Flies are infectious;
     And no one here can sing.


2  |  An Illustration, as in Rose the master

Rose was a master.
So Rose went on instinct.
The grass did not notice the bodies.
Love was not about themselves.
Why should we air our bodies?
     The masters must know.

The more we all like something.
Here is a microscope.
These are the songs they bring.
So she began to sing.
And there was a big room.
     How do we know to sing?

And when you go into the room.
Will you ever see anyone else?
Like some city to some animal.
The grass because grass is easy.
Names are for ourselves;
     And the green plants, too.


3  |  An Illustration, as in Rose in flames

Rose was not enough.
And she did not have more.
The grass did not have to dream or hurt.
It made her clutch the surface.
Why is life like that to you?
     A good place in ruins.

The more we all learn about stuff.
Here it is best for you.
Those who dare to listen.
So Rose had a headache.
And that was one end.
     The hay came down with it.

And when you are all there is.
Will you ever fall into the flame.
People learn to do things their way.
The grass because grass is better.
These are the edges;
     And the others burn.


4  |  An Illustration, as in Rose of the fragile heart

Rose began to smoke.
She never did like the clouds.
The grass does not care if people know.
Little specks of compassion.
Why do they do the right thing?
     Just let them be broken.

The more you can make it better.
Is it any good for others?
They do not want to break.
So Rose would have enough.
And then just try to be.
     But Rose knew how to hide.

This is a heart made of salt.
Every morning it is the same.
Get rid of values and tactics.
The grass because the grass is broken.
Rose is grown hard now;
     And all their hearts as well.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following texts:
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Howard R. Garis, The Curlytops at Uncle Franks Farm

Accidental, as in what the lion says (Stein Poem)

June 29, 2015

If a lion could talk, we would not understand him.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein (tr. G.E.M. Anscombe)

She cannot be blue.  There is no blue in general.
Just try it.  So rosy and pink with yourself.
So let us think for now only of meaning.
Dear me the thing is incomprehensible!
Also maybe you are incompatible.
You should never go into long descriptions.
If you hear clearly what the lion says.
Why a lizard or a man may be plainly anxious.
And wild animals have nothing to say to you.
Your imagination full of cuts and trembling.
You are indistinguishable from it.
Just past and above it is by accident.
The definition must be accidental.
The edges of the same place cannot burn twice.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following texts:
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, Corrected Stanzas in Meditation
Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays

More Free Grass (9 “Haiku”)

June 29, 2015

Only text.  Have we
not stood here like trees in the
eyes of publishers?

I myself do not
drive an engine of free speech
and variety.

It cannot fail.  Code
becomes law; code extends the
control of others.

O manhood, tangled
in the administration
of democracy.

The soul as softness,
possibilities.  Can we
get service at night?

There is no escape
for you and me, but we do
not need the future.

It’s crazy to me
to believe that property
is the dream of life.

I swear I never
had any limit.  Yet there
is no need for me.

More formalities…
if you do not buy it, you
are a miracle.

Composed in collaboration with Gnoetry 0.2 and these texts:
Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Careless, as in a little lonesome Rose (Stein Poem)

June 18, 2015

After a long break, I’ve come back to the Stein Poems series, eventually to become the book same: a Stein wreader. This poem uses Stein’s book, The World Is Round, as its principal source text (weighted 50%). It is a delightful book written for children, although some find it too “difficult” for their reading level (I hate when people use this word to speak about poetry).

Anyways, enjoy.

Well well Rose is a cowboy, too.
With all the legs of little lonesome,
The stars were big and round with glasses.
Almost every school will send for a wagon,
Drawn by the time you see it.
The grass looked like measles on buckskin,
The stars were not always sold there but they still flew.
Draw a picture of its legs,
Janet said, it will stand there.
I am talking about a sick pony in school,
Or it might be called a receiver, you see.
Did you see it there was an O and animals.
Did she see it.  The hours spin away,
For he is careless in winter.
It makes Rose cry and thunder so.

Composed with Gnoetry 0.2 and the following source texts:
Woods Hutchinson, The Child’s Day
Gertrude Stein, The World Is Round
Howard R. Garis, The Curlytops at Uncle Franks Farm


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