[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Multiple Octave versions in one MXE-Octave installer

From: Philip Nienhuis
Subject: Multiple Octave versions in one MXE-Octave installer
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 22:50:21 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:28.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/28.0 SeaMonkey/2.25

(The below is a work in progress. As I won't have much time until mid-May and I don't know if other people deem it worthwile, I just report about a few initial steps.)

Some months ago I started experiments with integrating multiple Octave versions into one and the same MXE installer. As the MXE installer more or less puts a mini *nix-system in place, and multiple Octave versions can coexist peacefully on plain *nix, I figured this should be a piece of cake on Windows as well.
Other motives:

- Conserving some disk space (an mxe-octave built binary installation is about 750+ MB, Octave itself is altogether a mere 95+ MB)

- Easier testing of OF packages across multiple Octave versions (in /share/ (/usr/local/share) and in /lib/ (/usr/local/lib) there's one O-F package dir for multiple Octave versions)

- (Maybe in the future) Preparations / Options for lightweight installers that just add or upgrade only a new Octave version itself into an existing mxe-octave installation. Looks ideally suited for development versions - it would save lots of waiting time before a patch can be tested. BTW: this isn't only suited for multiple-octave installations; in principle it could be done right now as well.

I also figured it would be preferrable to start Octave through batch files rather than through direct "shortcuts" to the executables, because:

- This provides a great way to avoid clobbered up Windows PATHs (the ones polluted with all kinds of junk SW interfering with Octave's execution)

- It makes it fairly easy to separate multiple Octave versions installed in one and the same mxe-octave directory (see below).

I didn't yet dive into the makefiles, first I wanted to check if my idea would work at all. So it invoked a bit of manual intervention in the mxe-octave build chain (i.e., on my Linux build box), as follows:

After more or less "normally" building each Octave version, I made subdirs in the <mxe-octave>/usr/..../i686-w64-mingw32/bin directory (actually there are two; why?) named after the Octave version: currently 3.8.1, 3.9.0+, and 4.1.0+. Once installed on Windows, all "versioned" Octave executables except octave-gui.exe can still live in /bin so I left them in place; in the abovementioned subdirs (e.g., 3.9.0+) I've moved octave-gui.exe, octave.exe, octave-cli.exe, mkoctfile.exe, octave_config_info.exe plus the octave .dll files liboctave-2.dll, liboctgui-0.dll, and liboctinterp-2.dll. A few more steps are required (e.g., manually cleaning up the last built Octave version executables after installation on the Windows side).
Obviously, as soon as makefiles are adapted all of this gets easier.

Next thing was to set up the batch files required to start a particular Octave version. Until now I've done this only after installation on the Windows side, but a template like below could be included in the mxe-octave build tree as well. Assuming such a batch file is ending up in Octave's installation "root" directory, a typical example looks as follows (for -in this example- 3.9.0+):

@echo off
   Rem   Find Octave's install directory through cmd32.exe variables.
   Rem   This trick finds the location where the batch file resides.
   Rem   Note: the result ends with a backslash

set OCT_HOME=%~dp0

   Rem   Set up PATH. Make sure the Octave-version-specific subdir
   Rem   comes first. Use system environment variables for the
   Rem   Windows system dirs.
   Rem   Ghostscript is still an issue, I've left my setup for it
   Rem   in the line below:

set PATH=%OCT_HOME%bin\3.9.0+;%OCT_HOME%bin;%windir%\system32;%windir%;%windir%\system32\wbem;C:\Programs\gs\gs9.04\bin

   Rem   Start Octave (this detaches octave-gui and immediately
   Rem   returns):

start octave-gui.exe
   Rem ( or:  start octave-3.9.0+.exe )

   Rem   Close the batch file's cmd32.exe window

(watch out for line breaks)

Until now this setup works quite satisfactorily for me.

Future steps:

- Modifying the various MXE makefiles to put the Octave .dll and .exe files and octave-gui.exe in the proper subdirs

- (Perhaps) Adapting the makefile to accept an Octave version rather than "stable-octave" or "octave"

- Modifying the NSIS install script to mimic the location of the executables

- Modifying the NSIS install script to invoke the "versioned" executables ("octave-3.9.0+.exe") rather than the unversioned ones ("octave.exe"). After all, they're verbatim copies of each other (there are no symlinks on Windows)

- A make option to provide an Octave-binaries-only installer for upgrading an existing mxe-octave installation.

- In addition I suppose the location of the docs should be amended to match Start Menu shortcuts to a particular Octave version.

Some remarks:

It might be nice if the octave-gui.exe executable could be "versioned" as well. If it were, perhaps only the Octave .dll files would need to be moved into the version-dependent subdir. Maybe even the dlls can be versioned?
Yet the layout outlined above does work quite well.

Alternatively, in principle octave-gui.exe could just stay in /libexec/octave/<version>/exec/<arch>, and the Octave .dll files could be moved there as well. In the batch file this subdir could then be put first in the path rather than a <version> subdir of /bin. I did some experiments with this, but with little luck: Octave would start, but its search path would contain just "." Maybe this is due to the (hard-coded? / prefix) mechanism invoked by Octave to find its components?


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]