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Adding Alice

Question:

Hello, I'm a teacher who would like to familiarize my students more with Alice (Randy Pausch's visual programming language), yet I can't reliably work with it at home. Any ideas on the best way to get Alice visual programming language to work in Linux? Thank you. Don Davis

Answer:

In general, look for software specifically for your operating system. After a short search, some Debian packages showed up for Alice. If you add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file,

deb http://www.ps.uni-sb.de/alice/download/debian stable contrib

you should be able to install the (old) version 1.4 of the programming language's run-time environment with the following command:

sudo aptitude install alice-runtime

At least for Debian/Lenny (and Knoppix), this seems to work.

Under "Alice 3 beta" at the developer's website [3], you can also find a Linux "offline installer" for version 3 [4]. At 516MB, it is amazingly large, and I did not look inside. This beta installer is a self-extracting shell script that can be run by typing the following after download:

sh Alice3BetaInstaller-Complete-3.0.0.0.61-linux.sh

Alice is a 3D framework for Java with its own visual development platform – similar to Eclipse – so you probably only need to have Java and a few Java extensions (Beans) installed as a prerequisite. This is just a guess, though. If you try the beta, please let me know whether it worked. :-)

Note: Make sure you have the most recent stable JRE installed. The best compatibility is usually reached with Sun Microsystems Java [5].

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