Farewell for now

Well, the universe has decided I should be doing other things.

Weather far outside the norm for Austin lead to burst pipes in the upstairs of my home while I was away overnight. (Pet sitting for a friend who needed to go to a funeral.) Massive destruction. Since I was living precipitously already, it means some immediate drastic changes.

It leaves no resources to help with Gramps anymore.

Hoping for a better 2023 for us all and good luck with your family quest,

You will be welcomed back any time. Get yourself sorted. Best wishes for a much better New Year.

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You will be back Brian.

Everyone always seems to find a path back to their genealogy. Let’s hope it is not a long hiatus.


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Good luck Brian to face these difficulties. Happy New Year anyway and come back to us soon.

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Brian, you have made an enormous contribution here, and very many thanks. Hope you can get yourself back on your feet without too much trauma.

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All the best for you as you face these challenges :pray:

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Is it that you can’t afford a replacement computer? You have been helpful here, and I have various spare parts if you can cover shipping from Missouri. Would you be able to follow diagnostic steps, replace components (I am expecting a motherboard at minimum if the house flooded while the computer was on the floor and on), and install a new OS? If you don’t have a Windows 10 license to use, it would be an easy Linux distribution like Linux Mint.

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Wow, that sounds really tough. I hope you can get things sorted out soon.
And thank you for all your work on Gramps. Look forward to seeing you back sometime.


Actually, I’d been relegated to an old laptop for a few years now. It is pushing towards failure but went pet-sitting with me. (One-by-one, the smart power supplies failed on what was once a surfeit of desktops in the house. No amount of surge protection or line conditioning has helped. Planned obsolescence?)

This bump in road weaves from a 3 bedroom house to everything salvageable fitting in a 10 foot by 15 foot storage space. Well, home loss is one way to de-clutter one’s life.

Keep looking on the bright side. Has the weather improved ?

Yes. Sweater weather today.

Brian, Isotammi project feels compassion for your difficulties. We in Finland are now used to support Ukraina and would like to help You too for your valuable Gramps support. Our team collected 200 euros for a new computer. Provide me privately your Paypal or other account number to transfer them. Hope that others join this action.

besr regards Pekka Valta


This is incredibly kind of my acquaintances at the Isotammi project. I am overwhelmed. Thank you.

I will be running a very tight budget for the next 90 days… until the closing of the sale on the ruins of my home. (Hopefully insurance will recover SOME of the 2/3 loss of property value.) I can eke out about $300 USD to add to the fund. Maybe a bit more. Any excess could go into the Gramps donations. Then in 90 days, I could make a contribution equal to the remaining purchase price into the Gramps donation fund.

Perhaps your kindly collected fund could go directly towards purchase of a reasonable Linux laptop that would be appropriate to running Gramps and for learning minor Python & Glade development for the next couple years? (This disaster has been a push to change my life. Why not make it a push towards learning Linux & Python too? Perhaps I can do minor tweaks and might stop annoying Serge so much. I already had significant experience with Windows and Mac.) Is $500USD enough for a Linux laptop with an SSD and a reasonable amount of memory?

To keep things above board, perhaps someone else could select the Linux laptop and handle the purchase? (Having diligently avoided shopping for a computer for a decade, I don’t even know the players anymore. I certainly don’t know which Linux to specify.) Since my malware detection skills are SO outdated, I don’t buy ANYTHING online. So someone with electronic pay accounts would also save discovering how to safely set up a PayPal or similar online account. Any remainder could be a donation to the Gramps project

My external touchscreen HDMI monitor thankfully survived. Which is great because of my poor vision. I can refinish the surfaces of the computer desk.The return to normalcy of Gramps would be welcome. Helping in the community has been an escape that I already miss.

A friend has offered a room for this month so that I can locate and move to an apartment with less haste. That means I am not homeless. But after this month, my options should begin to open up. And my time should open too once I’m moved and unpacked again.

Thank you again,

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Hi Brian,
in my opinion it will be most likely, that several peope do the same.So it might be better, you decide yourself, what is most urgent. Please let me know, how I can contact you for a bit bit of support. You helped me and others a lot with your work for GRAMPS. Now it sholud work the other way round. By the way: I myself living in Germany have other relatives in Austin and I just sent a mail to find out, what is up with them after reading your message. Please contact me directly via mailto:mail@evolve-systemischeberatung.de. Do not hesitate!!!
All the best for you


The day after, I was talking to others buying emergency plumbing repair supplies at the hardware store. We were discussing workarounds for certain supplies being sold out. The plumber among us commented that that panic calls were nothing compared to last year.

This storm had no snow/ice, was only a day and no widespread power outage. It caused less widespread damage than last year’s snow & ice storm that lead to a week without power for a lot of central Texas.

It was just unlucky that the high winds ripped siding & sheathing off the house and then blew frigid air into exposed plumbing. Had I been home, the water would have been quickly cut off at the street and caused minimal damage.

Another decision is somewhat beyond me right now.

Days are filled with constant interruptions related to selling the property while scurrying to recover, pack & dispose of belongings. And trying to remove surface wreckage so the buyer can work on damaged structural work.

I pen these notes trying to relax enough to fall back asleep. Or while stuck waiting in line somewhere.

Maybe a separate thread discussing a cost-effective starter laptop for Gramps would help more than just me? There are always users needing a new system. And with the crazy inflation, many retired users on fixed budgets may be finding Micro$oft based software suites too pricy to consider. (And Apple products would be further beyond reach.)

The move to Linux is a big jump too. There are SO options from which to choose. But new users cannot make an informed choice without experience. Is Ubuntu the flavor of choice for Gramps developers?

I would not recommend this distribution. It boasts ease of installation and ease of use, but there are too many hidden design decisions in it for my taste. In addition, I don’t like the Unity desktop.

The decision you have to make is how you’ll use your laptop. Will it be Gramps-dedicated or a general purpose laptop with office software, internet browser and a few “common” utilities.

Considering that Gramps is based on GTK+ widget, your desktop should be GNOME or MATE which IMHO is lighter and perhaps more familiar to us old-timers.

My suggestion would be Linux Mint or OpenSUSE.

I personally use Fedora (with KDE Plasma desktop) but you could find installation a bit difficult as a starter. You can also have a look at distrowatch.com for descriptions of the many existing distros but you may be overwhelmed by the numbers.

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I had previously skipped over the Linux download information. But now notice that the Fedora section has duplicates for version 35.

Despite being a bit much for a starter, Fedora appears to be more actively updating the Gramps version with its distros. That may be more important in the long run than easing the pain now.

It is unlikely that I will be doing much with Gramps until I’m in an apartment and settled in a new job. At that point, a distraction might be welcome.

I see a Gramps laptop as necessarily being a general purpose system. GIMP and a drawing package (to modify output from charts), a couple browsers, spreadsheet, word processor, python editor and validator, Glade, PDF tools, OCR scanner tools, whatever GitHub sync tool, a SQLite toolset would all be needed as accessories for Gramps.

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@emyoulation Sorry to hear about the loss of your house.

Your contributions here have been invaluable and I’m sure the group understands you need time to reset your affairs, and appreciate your return whenever that may be.

Could you send me your PayPal account by DM, please?

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Then a general-purpose distro like Fedora is a good choice.

When you’re ready, don’t hurry. Allow for installation failure. I’d recommend you start with the default installation (Fedora GUI is very nice and easy to use) just to get used to it (It is a matter of 1:00-1:30 hours on my 10+yr-old 1.1Ghz laptop. Have a try with the various apps, then throw everything away.

To be safe, it is important to partition your hard disk so that your personal data are not erased next time you do a full system install. The Fedora installer allows you to partition during installation. My recommendation is one FAT partition for UEFI (64MB, /boot/efi), one partition for /boot (512MB), one for the root / (64GB but you may be move generous if you install really many applications; mine is used only at 32% and I have really many apps), one for /home where your personal data will be stored (150GB minimum). You can add a swap partition but considering the size of current memory, this is not really necessary. My desktop has 16GB and I run without swap without noticing an impact on performance (in my workflow which has no game nor demanding graphics apps).

I have configured the UEFI and /boot partitions as physical partitions and all the others as logical volumes si that I can grow them without moving if necessary. Don’t go for logical volumes and partitions until you feel at ease with Linux.

Once you have succeeded installing Fedora in “basic” mode. Start over again to partition your disk at your convenience. Once this is satisfactorily done, create your accounts and start working. Again don’t hurry. The environment is easy to use but sufficiently different from Window$ that you need to re-learn things and re-educate your “muscle memory”.

Don’t do critical work during this transition. And, as always, frequently backup.