Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

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Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
Devs,

I propose that we remove the BSDDB backend in the next major release. 
Although it has served us well, it has caused problems for a small
minority of users for reasons that we still don't fully understand. 
There is no good reason to continue to support it.

The SqLite backend has proved itself to be stable and appears to be the
way forward.  It is already the default backend in v5.1.

Upgrades from family trees using the BSDDB backend will have to import a
Gramps XML backup in the future.

Does anyone have any comments, suggestions or objections?

Regards,


Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Adam Stein-3
Maybe a warning message. Should someone start Gramps using BSDDB, pop up a warning message that it will be going away. Include the version number when it's known. This will give as much advanced warning as possible.

On Thu, 2020-01-23 at 23:19 +0000, Nick Hall via Gramps-devel wrote:
Devs,

I propose that we remove the BSDDB backend in the next major release.  
Although it has served us well, it has caused problems for a small 
minority of users for reasons that we still don't fully understand.  
There is no good reason to continue to support it.

The SqLite backend has proved itself to be stable and appears to be the 
way forward.  It is already the default backend in v5.1.

Upgrades from family trees using the BSDDB backend will have to import a 
Gramps XML backup in the future.

Does anyone have any comments, suggestions or objections?

Regards,


Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 23/01/2020 23:35, Adam Stein wrote:
> Maybe a warning message. Should someone start Gramps using BSDDB, pop
> up a warning message that it will be going away. Include the version
> number when it's known. This will give as much advanced warning as
> possible.
>
We can send a warning on the mailing list, forum, blog, irc and the
headline news gramplet.

Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Adam Stein-3
On Thu, 2020-01-23 at 23:55 +0000, Nick Hall wrote:
On 23/01/2020 23:35, Adam Stein wrote:
Maybe a warning message. Should someone start Gramps using BSDDB, pop 
up a warning message that it will be going away. Include the version 
number when it's known. This will give as much advanced warning as 
possible.

We can send a warning on the mailing list, forum, blog, irc and the 
headline news gramplet.

Nick.

Is there a possibility that there are users who wouldn't see it from at least one of the items you mentioned? I figured that
the people that would be affected would be guaranteed to see the message in a popup. Certainly not critical if no popup, was 
trying to figure out a way that everybody who would be affected would be guaranteed to get the message.

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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 24/01/2020 00:22, Adam Stein wrote:
Is there a possibility that there are users who wouldn't see it from at least one of the items you mentioned? I figured that

Yes.  Not all users will use the headline new gramplet.

However, I don't expect most users care which database backend they are using.  They will still be able to import Gramps XML backups from previous versions.

Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Matt Keenan
How does one tell right now what DB backend is in use ?

Perhaps that would be good to highlight as well.

Matt

On Fri, 24 Jan 2020 at 00:28, Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 24/01/2020 00:22, Adam Stein wrote:
Is there a possibility that there are users who wouldn't see it from at least one of the items you mentioned? I figured that

Yes.  Not all users will use the headline new gramplet.

However, I don't expect most users care which database backend they are using.  They will still be able to import Gramps XML backups from previous versions.

Nick.


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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 24/01/2020 00:39, Matt Keenan wrote:
> How does one tell right now what DB backend is in use ?
>
> Perhaps that would be good to highlight as well.
>
The only easy way at the moment is via the Family Tree Manager.

I'd really like to get us back to the position where everyone uses the
same backend.  It would make support and development so much easier.

Of course power users will still have the ability to choose from
PostgreSql and MongoDB.  I'd like to make Gramps multi-user in the future.

Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

John Ralls-2
In reply to this post by GRAMPS - Dev mailing list


> On Jan 23, 2020, at 4:27 PM, Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 24/01/2020 00:22, Adam Stein wrote:
>> Is there a possibility that there are users who wouldn't see it from at least one of the items you mentioned? I figured that
> Yes.  Not all users will use the headline new gramplet.
>
> However, I don't expect most users care which database backend they are using.  They will still be able to import Gramps XML backups from previous versions.

You'll miss a lot of users, who will be royally and justifiably unhappy that they upgraded and can't load their database, so they have to downgrade, convert or export it, and then upgrade. If they're Linux users and their distro upgrades them there's no easy way to go back.

No kidding they don't care what database backend they're using. They don't know what a database backend is. I have a lot of members of my genealogical society--and this is in Silicon Valley--who think that a spreadsheet saved as a PDF is a database. Not everyone makes frequent backups to XML. Not everyone is more likely than not to really be nearly no one. You can't count on users having a current XML file unless you make it automatic (which wouldn't be a bad thing).

I understand wanting to get rid of Berkeley DB. Being able to was the whole point of creating the SQLite backend. But we have do it the right way, not take shortcuts that make our users lose their work. The right way is to put up a deprecation warning that they should export a backup to XML and convert it to SQL while Gramps still can do it. It should be in big letters across the top of the Family Trees window if there are any Berkeley DB databases found and in a message box every time they open a Berkeley DB database. You could (and maybe should) make that a dialog box that offers to do the backup and conversion before loading the DB with OK the default and a "Not yet" button.

I think that we should do that in 5.2 and remove Berkeley DB support in 5.3 (and maybe call it 6 to drive home the magnitude of the change). Even that's not really ideal because most of the mainstream Linux distros operate on a 2-3 year upgrade cycle for their stable or long-term-support versions.

Regards,
John Ralls



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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 24/01/2020 00:51, John Ralls wrote:
> I understand wanting to get rid of Berkeley DB. Being able to was the whole point of creating the SQLite backend. But we have do it the right way, not take shortcuts that make our users lose their work. The right way is to put up a deprecation warning that they should export a backup to XML and convert it to SQL while Gramps still can do it. It should be in big letters across the top of the Family Trees window if there are any Berkeley DB databases found and in a message box every time they open a Berkeley DB database. You could (and maybe should) make that a dialog box that offers to do the backup and conversion before loading the DB with OK the default and a "Not yet" button.
>
> I think that we should do that in 5.2 and remove Berkeley DB support in 5.3 (and maybe call it 6 to drive home the magnitude of the change). Even that's not really ideal because most of the mainstream Linux distros operate on a 2-3 year upgrade cycle for their stable or long-term-support versions.

OK.  We already have a convert button and script in the Family Tree Manager.

For v5.2, we need to:

1. Remove the option to select BSDDB as the default backend.

2. Warn the user if they have any BSDDB databases every time they start
Gramps, and explain how to upgrade.

3. Make the "Convert" button bold or otherwise highlighted when displayed.

4. Offer to convert a BSDDB database when opened.

I'll create a PR to do that.

Regards,


Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
In reply to this post by John Ralls-2
On 24/01/2020 00:51, John Ralls wrote:
> You can't count on users having a current XML file unless you make it automatic (which wouldn't be a bad thing).

There is an automatic backup now.  I think that it is set to make a
backup when you close the database by default.

Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

John Ralls-2


> On Jan 23, 2020, at 5:15 PM, Nick Hall <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 24/01/2020 00:51, John Ralls wrote:
>> You can't count on users having a current XML file unless you make it automatic (which wouldn't be a bad thing).
>
> There is an automatic backup now.  I think that it is set to make a backup when you close the database by default.

Well, there's a preference for that and it's checked, but it doesn't seem to be working. But I tested with a rather severely nonstandard build for debugging the nagging Gtk stability problem on MacOS. I'll investigate that when I have a chance.

Regards,
John Ralls



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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Oliver Lehmann
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hi Nick,

Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Does anyone have any comments, suggestions or objections?


Why not just auto-convert anexisting BSDDB tree to Sqlite and keeping  
the read support of BSDDB for one more major version so you can keep  
the auto-convert feature.
Then drop it in the next major version.
I know this might be a long time the BSDDB support stays in the code,  
but from the users perspective this might be the easiest way for them.  
No export/import needed no reverting to an old version - and so on....

just an idea...

Best regards,
Oliver


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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 24/01/2020 07:45, Oliver Lehmann wrote:
> Why not just auto-convert anexisting BSDDB tree to Sqlite and keeping
> the read support of BSDDB for one more major version so you can keep
> the auto-convert feature.
> Then drop it in the next major version.


This is similar to John's suggestion.


> I know this might be a long time the BSDDB support stays in the code,
> but from the users perspective this might be the easiest way for them.
> No export/import needed no reverting to an old version - and so on....


Reverting to a previous version is something we should avoid. Importing
from a backup is acceptable, but people can disable the automatic backup
and it may not be working in all cases.

There is another option that I thought of last night.  We could still
retain the ability to convert BSDDB databases even if we can no longer
open them.  I have a script that does a raw export of a database without
opening it.  I'll investigate further.


Nick.



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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
Hi all,

from a user perspective, if it is clearly communicated in the release announcement that one should convert or export the BSDDB before upgrading _and_ there is a standalone Python script to convert the database after the upgrade in case one has forgotten to do it, in my opinion that would be perfectly fine.

Best,
David


‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> schrieb am Freitag, 24. Januar 2020 12:58:

> On 24/01/2020 07:45, Oliver Lehmann wrote:
>
> > Why not just auto-convert anexisting BSDDB tree to Sqlite and keeping
> > the read support of BSDDB for one more major version so you can keep
> > the auto-convert feature.
> > Then drop it in the next major version.
>
> This is similar to John's suggestion.
>
> > I know this might be a long time the BSDDB support stays in the code,
> > but from the users perspective this might be the easiest way for them.
> > No export/import needed no reverting to an old version - and so on....
>
> Reverting to a previous version is something we should avoid. Importing
> from a backup is acceptable, but people can disable the automatic backup
> and it may not be working in all cases.
>
> There is another option that I thought of last night.  We could still
> retain the ability to convert BSDDB databases even if we can no longer
> open them.  I have a script that does a raw export of a database without
> opening it.  I'll investigate further.
>
> Nick.
>
> Gramps-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/gramps-devel




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Hans Ulrich Frink-2
So do I think.
Uli

David Straub via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> schrieb am Fr., 24. Jan. 2020, 13:44:
Hi all,

from a user perspective, if it is clearly communicated in the release announcement that one should convert or export the BSDDB before upgrading _and_ there is a standalone Python script to convert the database after the upgrade in case one has forgotten to do it, in my opinion that would be perfectly fine.

Best,
David


‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> schrieb am Freitag, 24. Januar 2020 12:58:

> On 24/01/2020 07:45, Oliver Lehmann wrote:
>
> > Why not just auto-convert anexisting BSDDB tree to Sqlite and keeping
> > the read support of BSDDB for one more major version so you can keep
> > the auto-convert feature.
> > Then drop it in the next major version.
>
> This is similar to John's suggestion.
>
> > I know this might be a long time the BSDDB support stays in the code,
> > but from the users perspective this might be the easiest way for them.
> > No export/import needed no reverting to an old version - and so on....
>
> Reverting to a previous version is something we should avoid. Importing
> from a backup is acceptable, but people can disable the automatic backup
> and it may not be working in all cases.
>
> There is another option that I thought of last night.  We could still
> retain the ability to convert BSDDB databases even if we can no longer
> open them.  I have a script that does a raw export of a database without
> opening it.  I'll investigate further.
>
> Nick.
>
> Gramps-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/gramps-devel




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Matt Keenan
In reply to this post by GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
All my DB's were in BSDDB format running 5.01 on Linux Mint.
I've just completed converting them over to sqlite, the "Convert" button appeared to function quite well.

Regarding auto backup on exit, this worked all the time when using BSDDB format, it however does not work on exit for Sqlite.
This could just be a bug in 5.0.1, am going to upgrade to 5.1.2 later and will check this again.

Is there anything I should watch out for upgrading from 5.0.1 > 5.1.2, any new dependencies (packages) I need to install ?

Do I need to uninstall 5.0.1 or can I just "apt-get install gramps_5.1.2-1_all.deb" to install over existing install ?

regards

Matt

On Fri, 24 Jan 2020 at 01:15, Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 24/01/2020 00:51, John Ralls wrote:
> You can't count on users having a current XML file unless you make it automatic (which wouldn't be a bad thing).

There is an automatic backup now.  I think that it is set to make a
backup when you close the database by default.

Nick.




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Oldest1
In reply to this post by GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 2020-01-24 4:43 AM, David Straub via Gramps-devel wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> from a user perspective, if it is clearly communicated in the release announcement that one should convert or export the BSDDB before upgrading _and_ there is a standalone Python script to convert the database after the upgrade in case one has forgotten to do it, in my opinion that would be perfectly fine.

IMO, the ability to to read data (and, hopefully, import for conversion
or at least inspection) from older versions of Gramps is a very basic
and important long term requirement.

One of the applications I have used in the past keeps insisting that the
only way forward to convert existing data to be used with the latest and
greatest new release, is from a working version of the software to be
updated, has gotten me so frustrated that I dropped it in favor of
Gramps - even though it has/d features which Gramps is only working towards.

Again, IMO, the main reason that GEDCOM, in its various incarnations,
has not gone away, is because of its, albeit limited, usefulness for
moving (at least some of the) data between applications, including from
ancient and possibly defunct applications, to the latest.

Removing read and import support for older versions of Gramps data is a
sure way to lose a good number of ordinary users who do not have the
expertise to be able to work around this deficiency.

Another instance where such data continuity is important, is the case
where where one researcher's data are passed on to someone else, with
possibly a gap of several years and/or Gramps updates intervening.

If any major software, such as a word processor or spreadsheet app,
dropped support for reading and importing data produced by earlier
versions, the users would surely complain and with good reason.

The data in any Gramps database represents in many cases a serious
investment of time and effort.  Let's not throw that away.

Please consider keeping support for reading older data, even if only as
a plugin.

Arnold




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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

prculley
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My biggest concern is for users that already have, or have 'inherited' older databases.  As others have noted, if we simply drop bsddb, we strand them unless they have an old version of Gramps to export the XML.

I think we could pare down bsddb to just the minimum to do upgrade in place, and then when we get to the v20 point do a final write to the new SQLite db.  Then trash the bsddb.  Of course we do the zip backup of original db, whatever version.

Seems to me the bsddb minimum would be open, table get, txn put etc.  No need for secondary tables, they would be regenerated at the end.  And no need for any of the api code

If you have a script that doesn't need a bsddb backend, and use it to extract the table data, we can rewrite the upgrade code to do all work in dbapi instead.  Be nice if AIO and OSX packages did not have to carry around bsddb at all.

And one of the biggest problem is testing; do we have any source for bsddb backups of various versions of Gramps dbs?  If not we will have to somehow run older versions of Gramps long enough to import old XMLs into a bsddb db.  Which sounds potentially problematic.

Food for thought...
Paul C.

On Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 5:59 AM Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 24/01/2020 07:45, Oliver Lehmann wrote:
> Why not just auto-convert anexisting BSDDB tree to Sqlite and keeping
> the read support of BSDDB for one more major version so you can keep
> the auto-convert feature.
> Then drop it in the next major version.


This is similar to John's suggestion.


> I know this might be a long time the BSDDB support stays in the code,
> but from the users perspective this might be the easiest way for them.
> No export/import needed no reverting to an old version - and so on....


Reverting to a previous version is something we should avoid. Importing
from a backup is acceptable, but people can disable the automatic backup
and it may not be working in all cases.

There is another option that I thought of last night.  We could still
retain the ability to convert BSDDB databases even if we can no longer
open them.  I have a script that does a raw export of a database without
opening it.  I'll investigate further.


Nick.



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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

Ross Gammon
In reply to this post by Hans Ulrich Frink-2
For Debian/Ubuntu users that prefer stability over the latest software
versions, I would want to offer the possibility to smoothly migrate to
SQL in the next release. I would rather not have to stick with the 5.1.x
series until after the Debian release (sometime in 2021).

I am personally still using Gramps (5.0.1 from backports) on a Stretch
laptop, and Gramps 5.0.1 on Ubuntu Eoan (19.10). Others might still be
on 4.x.

I still have a few BSDDB databases that I have been too lazy to convert
so far. I am sure I won't be alone.

Only people that started their Debian/Ubuntu experience with Debian
Buster, or Ubuntu Disco (19.04), will be likely to have started with all
databases in the default SQL.

Here are the current supported releases in Debian:
Old Stable (Stretch) 4.2.5
Stable (Buster): 5.0.1

Ubuntu:
Trusty 14.04 (LTS): 4.0.3
Xenial 16.04 (LTS) 4.2.2
Bionic 18.04 (LTS) 4.2.8

Cheers,

Ross


On 24/01/2020 13:48, Hans Ulrich Frink wrote:

> So do I think.
> Uli
>
> David Straub via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>> schrieb am Fr., 24. Jan.
> 2020, 13:44:
>
>     Hi all,
>
>     from a user perspective, if it is clearly communicated in the
>     release announcement that one should convert or export the BSDDB
>     before upgrading _and_ there is a standalone Python script to
>     convert the database after the upgrade in case one has forgotten to
>     do it, in my opinion that would be perfectly fine.
>
>     Best,
>     David
>
>
>     ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
>     Nick Hall via Gramps-devel <[hidden email]
>     <mailto:[hidden email]>> schrieb am Freitag, 24.
>     Januar 2020 12:58:
>
>     > On 24/01/2020 07:45, Oliver Lehmann wrote:
>     >
>     > > Why not just auto-convert anexisting BSDDB tree to Sqlite and
>     keeping
>     > > the read support of BSDDB for one more major version so you can keep
>     > > the auto-convert feature.
>     > > Then drop it in the next major version.
>     >
>     > This is similar to John's suggestion.
>     >
>     > > I know this might be a long time the BSDDB support stays in the
>     code,
>     > > but from the users perspective this might be the easiest way for
>     them.
>     > > No export/import needed no reverting to an old version - and so
>     on....
>     >
>     > Reverting to a previous version is something we should avoid.
>     Importing
>     > from a backup is acceptable, but people can disable the automatic
>     backup
>     > and it may not be working in all cases.
>     >
>     > There is another option that I thought of last night.  We could still
>     > retain the ability to convert BSDDB databases even if we can no longer
>     > open them.  I have a script that does a raw export of a database
>     without
>     > opening it.  I'll investigate further.
>     >
>     > Nick.
>     >
>     > Gramps-devel mailing list
>     > [hidden email]
>     <mailto:[hidden email]>
>     > https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/gramps-devel
>
>
>
>
>     _______________________________________________
>     Gramps-devel mailing list
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>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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--
Regards,

Ross Gammon
FBEE 0190 904F 1EA0 BA6A  300E 53FE 7BBD A689 10FC



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Re: Proposal to remove the BSDDB backend

GRAMPS - Dev mailing list
On 24/01/2020 17:35, Ross Gammon wrote:
> Here are the current supported releases in Debian:
> Old Stable (Stretch) 4.2.5
> Stable (Buster): 5.0.1
>
> Ubuntu:
> Trusty 14.04 (LTS): 4.0.3
> Xenial 16.04 (LTS) 4.2.2
> Bionic 18.04 (LTS) 4.2.8

Thanks.  That is useful information.

I have just written a script that copies raw data from a BSDDB database
into an empty SQLite database.  It works with v4.2 and newer.  Obviously
bsddb3 and its python bindings are still required for this, but could be
made optional.

For older versions, the Gramps XML will always be supported.


Nick.




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