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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.

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