Fix Kile for Ubuntu 9.04

Ubuntu/jaunty rocks, on the whole. However, to prove that newer does not always equal better, they threw in a couple of shockers. The first is the upgrade from the excellent Amarok 1.4 to the completely-broken 2.0. Head here to repair the damage.

Kile is by far my favourite LaTeX editor and suffered, though not as badly, in the upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1. Reports of various problems litter the web; in my case I see broken toolbar buttons that do nothing when clicked. This fix is much simpler. Just “sudo apt-get remove kile”, scroll to the bottom of the intrepid package page, choose your architecture, download the deb file and “sudo dpkg -i kile_2.0.1-1ubuntu1_i386.deb”. I had no dependency problems and it works just fine.

Finally – open up Synaptic, find kile and from the Package menu item select “lock package”, to prevent future upgrades.

Update: a few days after writing this, an apt-get dist-upgrade upgraded my Kile to 2.1 (despite the “lock package”). However, the broken buttons issue is now fixed for me. Go figure…

Good software, data and your brain

I recently asked the FriendFeed community about wiki usage and was struck by a comment from Allyson:

I think we’re on our third incarnation of various bits of wiki software, and we’ve finally hit on the right software for both our wet lab and bioinformaticians

By “the right software”, she means software that makes sense to the people who use it. When faced with several software alternatives, we often find there is one which for some reason, “makes sense” – it meshes naturally with the way our brains work. When you find a program that you like, it’s not only a joy to use but can enable understanding of data and processes that previously eluded you. In other words, good software doesn’t shield you from the fundamentals – it illuminates them.
Here are three examples of software that made me say: “Oh right! Now I get it.” These are not recommendations and opinions expressed are highly subjective: the point is, I like them because they work for me.
Read the rest…