Installing VA Smalltalk on openSuSE 12.2 32bit

Regular readers of my blog may know that we are working on a Seaside Application that is to be deployed on a Linux Web Server on the Internet. VA Smalltalk does support Linux, even though using VA Smalltalk for development work on Linux is not as nice and convenient as on Windows. But at least for testing, packaging and fixing some last bugs, VA Smalltalk runs reasonably well on Linux.

Over the last few days, I was on the hunt (and still am) for a problem with calls to an external library that causes no troubles on Windows, but ends with a General Protection Fault on Linux. Luckily, the Library does log its activity, so I know the library finishes its job, but control never returns back to our VAST application (We’ve added log entries right before and after the call to the library). Maybe I’ll write a little bit more about this later.

So I wanted to test whether this is only a problem in Ubuntu 12.04 (missing libraries or whatever) or if it is reproducible on openSuSE 12.2. I’ve been using SuSE for more than a decade, even longer than that, because I remember running a distro named LST (Linux Support Team) back in the early nineties, and I think that was the predecessor of SuSE that shipped on a CD or some twenty floppy discs…

Installing on Ubuntu runs quite flawless (I just updated to VAST 8.5.2 a few days ago and hod no problems at all), so I expected no problems on openSuSE. The installation of openSuSE in VmWare Fusion is extremely easy, and I was full of energy to install VAST on openSuSE. I kicked off a terminal, entered su – and ./setup & . Usually, this shell script starts a graphical installer that looks pretty similar to the one you know from Windows. From there on, all is very simple and boring.

Not this time.

The terminal said something like it had errors and I should please look into /tmp/vastInstall-output  . No graphical installer in sight.

And here’s what I found in that file:

VA Smalltalk, Version 8.5.2 
VM Timestamp: 4.0,(NC) 8/7/2012 (84)
(C) Copyright Instantiations 1994, 2012.  All rights reserved.
(C) Copyright International Business Machines Corp. 1994, 2006.  All rights reserved.
Virtual Machine PID: 3908
Commandline args {

VM Options {
Xlib: connection to ":0.0" refused by server 
Xlib: No protocol specified

ERROR: Failed to open default display - exiting.

This happened in Gnome, KDE and IceWM. Luckily, Seth and John from Instantiations knew what I have to do and posted it to the VA Smalltalk support group. All that needs to be done is to configure the X server to allow local connections to the display for all users who need to start X programs. So before starting the installation, you have to execute the following commands (as root):

xhost local:root
xhost local: <user name who wants to start VAST>

You can then run setup to install VA Smalltalk as usual (please make sure you run it as root). These settings are not permanent, so you have to repeat the commands for every start of VA Smalltalk (so it’s helpful to add these commands to the abt startup shell script – which I plan to do once I have a little time. All that’s needed is to find out the current user that runs the script…).

I don’t fully understand the reasons for this, because you can start xclock, xeyes etc. even before that. But I keep this info here for further reference. VAST now runs on openSuSE 12.2 and I am happy I asked on the support forum.

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