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REBOL for COBOL programmers

Ubuntu 64-bit installing and running

October 17, 2018

This is a short, personal, specific explanation of one person's
experience installing REBOL on a computer running 64-bit
Ubuntu 18.04. At some point in REBOL's past, development on
non-windows computers dropped off, and installation on such
computers became a bit of a struggle for the not-so-technically
adept. This document explains one pathway to getting REBOL
operating on one particular computer, in case that information
is helpful to anyone else.


1. Target audience and references
2. Download REBOL/View and get it running
3. Put REBOL in a friendlier place.
4. Try a script

1. Target audience and references

The target audience is anyone who wants to use REBOL/View on a computer running GNU/Linux and has had a bit of trouble. This document explains one specific way to get it running on one specific computer. In other words, this is not the only way, or the best way. It is just a way.

The computer in this situation was a 64-bit computer with a 64-bit version of Ubuntu, version 18.04. Actually, and I don't think this is relevant, it started out at version 16.04 and then I got a message suggesting an "upgrade" so I said OK, and it seemed to be updated automatically to 18.04.

This document might have some holes so to speak.

This document was written AFTER I was able to get REBOL running. So it is based on my memory, plus some false starts that might or might not be relevant. Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to wipe everything out and go back to the beginning, to discover the best pathway to success. If you follow the steps below, it might work, but it also might not.

2. Download REBOL/View and get it running

Go to the REBOL web site at www.rebol.com.

Click the "Downloads" item on the menu bar at the top.

Scroll down to the REBOL/View section.

Select the "Linux x86 libc6 2.5" item (rebol-view-278-4-3.tar.gz). Click the link to start the download.

In the dialog box that appears, select the "save" option. The file will go to the "Downloads" folder in your home directory.

Locate the rebol-view-278-4-3.tar.gz file. Your goal is to unpack it which I did with the command line. If you don't have a command line available, you will have to make a little detour here go get one. Here is a suggestion. Go to the "software" button on the left of the screen and search for "konsole." The resulting window should show it, with a button to install it. Install it, and then you should have a button for it on that left button panel.

As for how to actually search, it seems that if you click the "software" button and then when the window appears you just start typing, a search field will appear. Not loving the Ubuntu interface.

Start konsole and go to the Downloads folder:

cd Downloads

Uncompress and unpack the downloaded file with these two commands:

gunzip rebol-view-278-4-3.tar.gz
tar -xvf rebol-view-278-4-3.tar

Go into the folders that have appeared with these two commands:

cd releases
cd rebol-view

Look at the files present and you should see one called "rebol." Make it executable with the following command:

sudo chmod +x rebol

At this point, REBOL should NOT work because it is a 32-bit program in a 64-bit environment. Run the following commands to install what is needed for 32-bit running:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386
sudo apt-get install libstdc++6:i386 
sudo apt-get install libx11-6:i386 
sudo apt-get install libxcb1:i386 
sudo apt-get install libxaw7:i386 
sudo apt-get install libfreetype6:i386 
sudo apt-get install xfonts-100dpi 
sudo apt-get install xfonts-75dpi

Things get fuzzy here

When I did this, I knew I needed some 32-bit libraries but I did not know which ones or where to find them. Somehow, I found one to try, and I did try it, and it did not work. Then I found the above commands on the rebol4 chat room of altme, and they did work. Unfortunately, I don't know if the ones I first tried were relevant in any way. What if they were a necessary first step, and the ones above were a necessary second step? If that would happen to be the case, then the ones above would not work because they are just the second step, so to speak, and the first step is missing. Or, it is possible, and more likely, that the above commands are all that you need and my unsuccessful first step was not relevant.

Anyway, after entering the above commands, restart the computer. I had to shut mine down because try as I might I could not find a way to just restart it. Not loving the Ubuntu interface.

After the restart, start konsole again and go back to Downloads/releases/rebol-view. Try to run rebol:


The REBOL desktop should appear. Use the "User" menu option to set up your email address and email server names. If all went well, you should get the message, on the REBOL desktop, that you are connected to the internet. After you set up your email information you should be able to send email with REBOL, unless you are using REBOL at work where there might be some security restrictions. Click the "console" button to get a REBOL command prompt. Try this:

send (known-valid-email-address) "test"

And then check the known-valid-email-address to see if the message went through. If you are on a company network, use an internal address because sometimes security policies prevent "relaying" which seems to be messages going out in some way that is not through the official email server.

3. Put REBOL in a friendlier place.

That first execution created, in the home directory, a folder called ".rebol" (that is, dot-rebol so it is hidden) and in that folder is the "user.r" file where email preferences are stored. Since that folder seems to be in a known location, you can move the rebol executable to some location outside the "Downloads" folder if you want to.

Start konsole. Enter the following:

echo $PATH

The result of this command is all the places where you could put REBOL. I tried the bin directory, which oddly did not exist, so I did this:

mkdir bin

Then I went back to the downloads area and put rebol in the above folder in this manner: Note that swhite is the name of the account on my computer. Yours will be different.

cd Downloads/releases/rebol-view
cp rebol /home/swhite/bin

The above command should put rebol in the bin directory and run it, and it should come up with the rebol desktop. Note that in this case you did not use the dot-slash notation to run rebol, because it was in the "execution path" as they say.

4. Try a script

At this point you should try making a script to see how to run scripts. You might need a diversion to get a text editor. Here is what I was able to do.

Click the "software" button, and when the windows appears just start typing "gvim." You should get a window showing gvim as an option, with a button to install it. Click the install button. When it is installed and you get a button to launch it, do launch it. You should get a blank editing window, and also, an icon should appear in that launcher on the left. Right-click the icon and in the pop-up menu, click "lock to launcher." This should put gvim on the launcher so you can start it again.

When you get an editor operational, make a test script, perhaps like this:


alert "Done."

Save it as test.r, and it should go into your home directory.

Start konsole. Verify that the script you created is indeed in the home directory.

ls -l

Then start REBOL.


Click the "console" button to get the REBOL command prompt.

Try to run the test program.

do %test.r

The alert box should appear.

At this point you are on your own for setting up your scripting environent the way you like it. You might want to put all your scripts right there in the home directory, or you might want to make one or more sub-folders for scripts or projects. Theoretically, from any subfolder, you should be able to run REBOL and "do" a script as shown above. Unfortunately, it appears that you are NOT able to double-click a REBOL script to run it as you can with Windows.