Naming tree fails

i’m trying to get started and the first thing to do is start a tree or two (i tried to start four) and name it/them, but it is not happening or not being save when i quit. restarting has more trees but the names i gave them are not there. i rand a file scan on the “.gramps” subdirectory and no file has a path name or clear (not compresses, encrypted, or scrambled) content with the names. i must be doing something wrong but i don’t know what.

i have repeated these steps a few times and get the same results.

i am running Gramps from package version 4.2.8~dfsg-1 from the Ubuntu repository on Ubuntu Linux 18.04.5 LTS last upgraded yesterday and Python 3.6.9 (the latest this Ubuntu version has and the one i use for my own programming).


the best thing to do would be to start with a supported version of Gramps that will work with the newer python version. Currently that is Gramps 5.1.3 released just recently. You can find the instructions on the Gramps wiki to install the latest version for Linux from a *.deb file.

Download - Gramps

You might have to uninstall the older version first.

User manual link

Gramps 5.1 Wiki Manual - Gramps

I noticed that an older version did not commit the name change very intuitively. You had to actively confirm the change. But 5.1.3 commits the name changes very easily. But this is among the less important reason to move past version 4.

So the best suggestion is to backup the trees you’ve already created and then upgrade to the 5.1.3 version. (There’s a 5.1.3-1 ubunto download available in )

As to scanning the .gramps subdirectory… isn’t that the application folder rather than the user folder? The security considerations for OSes mean that you only install programs in the Application workspace and data goes where the access restrictions are lower. So the working databases are in subfolders in the grampsdb folder. Under the 5.1 version, the databases backend was switched from bsddb to SqLite. There were changes because of this. The user-friendly name for each tree is now stored in at “name.txt” file in the folder with the database file.

The Database files are ‘working’ files. (These working files are currently handled in a style similar to the way the OS uses file naming structure and filepaths are used to manage Temp files. Based on unique generated encoded names. Hopefully in the future, there will be some evolution that makes Gramps less dependent on that fragile design.) The XML backups and exports are used for data exchange. So the system suggests naming them to follow the user-friendly names.

nothing popped up to confirm any changes. since the tree was new and empty, that did not seem odd. so i went ahead and clicked “New” for another one.

i have put nothing in the trees, yet, so there is nothing to back up.

i am a command line user, primarily. i have been doing Unix support and administration since 1982. that means my perspective of the file space comes from there. databases are just files unless the database has special handling to optimize over raw storage devices. SqLite onliy uses files.

the files “name.txt” did not have the names i entered. is it safe to just put the names there directly?

i already junked the failed attempts so i have nothing to make a backup of in the context of Gramps. i’m basically starting fresh. i have a GEDCOM from Ancestry stored in another folder. it has 2670 people in 51670 records in 1496333 bytes. not much to worry about.

The confirmation is procedural rather than a dialog. If I recall, you had to hit ‘enter’ or ‘return.’ Just clicking another action button (after typing the name) simply discarded the change. However, that’s irrelevant once you move to 5.1.x version. And the Tree can be renamed at any stage. The name is a bit pointless unless you’re transferring an entire Tree out of gramps.

SQLite DOES only .db files. But Gramps uses those other files to simulate something like a mandatory metadata system. databasetxt, lock, meta_data.db, name.txt apparently have to be synchronized with the sqlite.db file in a folder in a folder in the filepath defined in the “Family Tree” tab of the Preferences.

I cannot recommend direct editing the file. The name.txt is too new & thinly documented. There are many variants of line and file terminators that can be automatically embedded by different text editors. (Unexpected LF, CR, EOF, and similar non-printable control characters can really mess up your day. Silent failures are hard to diagnose.)

a better way to change a name is much the same way i see many web sites and applications do it. that is to have a page or frame come up with one or more settings, show the current values, have a user input to change the value (wheel for colors, calendar for dates, input field for text, etc), and a green or yellow SAVE button.

i’ll see how 5.1.3 does it, soon. suggestions relative to experience with the latest version would b best.

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