Installing the Newton Ubuntu Package

There is a deb file available for download at the SourceForge page for Newton. Download that file, then run sudo dpkg -i [DEBFILE] substituting the filename in for [DEBFILE]. Assuming all dependancies have been met, it will install just fine. If you get errors, read them carefully as they give clues as to what dependancy you need to install. If you need further help, send an email to the mailing list.

Installing Newton on Debian Sid

Carlos Liu is maintaining a package for Debian Sid which is available from the following sources. You can add these lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file to make it available to your machine. deb unstable main/newton deb-src unstable main/newton

Installing the Bazaar Development Code

There is a public Bazaar repository at LaunchPad where you can use the latest development code if you want to test, or just want the latest features. Caution should be used when using this code since it should be thought of as unstable, however I do my best to keep it relatively safe. Please backup your data often to ensure you don't lose anything. To backup your Newton data, run tar cvzf ~/newton-data.tar.gz ~/.newton/data/ This will create a tarball called newton-data.tar.gz in your $HOME directory. To restore this data, type cd ~/.newton/ tar xvzf ~/newton-data.tar.gz Note that this will overwrite your current data with that which was backed up.

Install Bazaar

To use the Bazaar code, you will obviously need Bazaar installed. To do this in Ubuntu type sudo apt-get install bzr

Getting the Code from Launchpad

Get the code from the Bazaar repository by typing bzr co lp:newton This will put the source code in a new directory located in your current directory called "newton".

Installing the Bazaar Code

To install the latest bzr code, simply enter the root directory of the source tree and enter the following: ./ --prefix=/usr sudo make install The very latest development version of Newton is now installed. To update, since this code changes from time to time, type the following in the root source directorybzr updateThis will update your source to the most recent in the repository. If there are any changes, you will need to rerun the installation commands above to have your installation reflect them.

Installing the Source Tarball

These steps can be taken to install the Newton tarball onto an Ubuntu system. Make adjustmets as necessary for your distrobution. Probably the only differences will be in the dependancy package names and the method used to install them.

Known Deps for Building the Newton Tarball

  • python-gnome2
  • python-gnome2-dev
  • python-gnome2-extras
  • python-gnome2-extras-dev
  • python-glade2
  • python-gtk2
  • python-gtk2-dev
  • libgtk2.0-dev
  • libglade2-dev
  • libgconf2-dev
  • gnome-common
  • libxml-parser-perl
  • autoconf
  • automake1.7

If you use Ubuntu, the following command will install all known dependancies:

sudo apt-get install python-gnome2 python-gnome2-dev python-gnome2-extras python-gnome2-extras-dev python-gtk2 python-gtk2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libgconf2-dev gnome-common libxml-parser-perl autoconf automake1.7

Running the following set of commands on an Ubuntu install with all dependancies met will install the tarball.

These instructions assume you are in the directory where you want the Newton source to be located. NOTE: replace [VERSION] with the version of the tarball that you have.

tar xvzf newton-[VERSION].tar.gz cd newton-[VERSION]/ ./configure --prefix=/usr make sudo make install

Now you should be able to right-click the panel that you want to add the applet to, choose "Add to Panel", and pick "Newton Personal Wiki" from the given list of applets.


  1. I get an error that says: "SystemError: NULL result without error in PyObject_Call".

    This error is currently under investigation. The current suspect is the gtkspell module in python-gnome-extras-2.10 (python-gnome2-extras-2.10 in Debian/Ubuntu speak). I am currently using version 2.11 of the module and the error does not occur. If upgrading is possible (or worth it ;P), please do so. The latest version of the module as of this writing is 2.11.2. I will update this post as the source of the problem is uncovered.

    UPDATE: I think this is fixed in the latest versions of Newton.

  2. I get an error that says: "RuntimeError: Error setting language".

    It appears that the way I've attempted to determine your locale in version 0.0.8 of Newton is not foolproof.

    UPDATE:I think this is fixed in the latest versions of Newton.

  3. I get a window that says "The panel encountered a problem while loading "OAFIID:GNOME_NewtonApplet".

    This could mean pretty much anything. It appears to be a generic catchall error for panel applets. The best thing to do is run Newton using this command at the terminal: newton test. This will run the program with the applet in a tiny window of its own instead of on the panel. Any runtime errors will appear in the terminal that you ran the program from. This error is invaluable to me as it will help me fix the bug. Please create a new ticket at the Newton Trac page here and attach that output, or send an email to the mailing list.

  4. After I install, the applet does not appear in the "Add to Panel" list.

    There are several reasons for this..

    • Please be sure that you specified the install prefix when you ran the configure script. This is done by running the configure script like this ./configure --prefix=/usr. If you didn't specify, then the program installed to the /usr/local prefix and GNOME cannot find the files required to make the applet appear in the list. The solution is to run make uninstall in the root source directory to clean up the current install, then reinstall using the proper prefix.

    • You may need to restart gnome-panel in order to make the applet appear. I'm not exactly sure whether this is a common issue or if I need to explicitly "register" with bonobo somehow to make it appear immediately. For now, restarting the panel works by typing this: killall gnome-panel

  5. I get the message "ImportError: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory"

    You don't have Mozilla installed. Newton uses an embedded Mozilla (Gecko) widget to render the HTML content. The engine comes with the Mozilla browser. I have the file two times (once with the mozilla-browser package and once with the mozilla-firefox package) located in /usr/lib/mozilla and /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox. As of now, I'm not exactly sure which one is being used by Newton, or whether it even matters.