Installing BibleTime on SUSE 10.0

Posted by tadelste on Dec 31, 2005 7:31 PM
LXer; By DC Parris

  LXer Tutorial

People of faith need a way to study the scriptures. BibleTime is a KDE-based application that is both mature and popular. Don Parris shepherds users through installing Sword and BibleTime from RPMs and source on SUSE Linux 10.0. If you think compiling a program from source code is akin to walking on water, just start walking and you'll see Don calm the geeky waters.

As a Christian and an ordained minister, I need some good Bible study tools to use on my SUSE Linux 10.0 box, and BibleTime is a cool tool. Unfortunately, there wasn't a BibleTime RPM for SUSE 10 on the BibleTime website, so I had to compile from sources. That sounds scary if you're a newbie, but it need not be. As long as I've been using GNU/Linux the only program I've compiled is MySQL, and that was a long time ago. If you're familiar with the old joke about the ministers fishing and walking on water, let's just say I know where the rocks are now.


It always helps me to know what the process will look like. That way I have some idea of what to expect. BibleTime is simply a front-end - or a friendly user interface, if you will - for the Sword engine. Sword is what enables you to conduct searches and so on. BibleTime focuses on presenting the data and making it easy for you to work with. Technically, we could use Sword in command-line mode, but that wouldn't be much fun for some folks. BibleTime is geared toward KDE, but also runs on GNOME. We'll be using KDE for this tutorial.

Since, BibleTime depends on having the Sword and Curl packages installed, we'll make sure we have all the correct packages. If you don't have Curl installed, you will encounter problems when you try to compile BibleTime. If you already have the right packages, then skip to Phase II. In Phase II, we'll install the Sword and BibleTime packages. In Phase III, we'll choose our modules and configure our 'desktop'. Are you ready? Let's do it!

Phase I - Package Check

I ran into a problem when trying to run configure. I found the exact same problem posted prominently at the top of the BibleTime Installation Forum with the solution I needed. I needed Curl installed. So let's "nip it in the bud", and install Curl first.

With SUSE, you can run Yast, and use the Software Management module to ensure Curl is installed. Either use the search option, or go to the package selection and look for curl under the libraries section. If it is not checked, go ahead and do so. Then click Accept. Wait for Yast to finish. With that out of the way, we can download the other packages we'll need and install them.

Visit the Sword website and use the download section to download the Sword 1.5.8 RPMs for SUSE 10.0. I suggest getting both RPMs, the sword-1.5.8 and sword-devel-1.5.8. Now go to the BibleTime download page. You need to download the BibleTime 1.5.3 source package (the file with the *.bz2 tag).

Phase II - Installing Sword and BibleTime

This is pretty simple, actually. Open up Konqueror and browse to where you downloaded the Sword and BibleTime files. Right-click on the sword RPM (sword-1.5.8.rpm), and choose Install with Yast from the Actions sub-menu. Now do the same thing with the sword-devel RPM. Try installing something that easily on Microsoft Windows! O.k., don't get too excited, because we're not quite finished yet. We also need to install BibleTime itself, and since we're doing that from sources, it'll take a little time.

Now we'll unzip the BibleTime files to the /tmp directory and then launch a terminal window to compile the program. You can right-click on the BibleTime zip file in Konqueror to bring up the unzip dialog. I chose /tmp as the directory to unzip to. Now open a terminal window, and become root by typing:

su -

hit Enter, your root password when prompted, and Enter again. Now change to the directory where you unzipped the BibleTime files to:

cd /tmp/bibletime-1.5.3

Now type:


Watching the messages scroll is kind of neat. Once configure finishes, it will tell you to run 'make'. After that, we'll run 'make install'. Assuming configure is finished and telling you to run 'make', let's go ahead and do it (it's so simple!):


O.k., if you've never done this before, you'll see a bunch of messages scrolling up the screen. Many of them look repetitive, but be assured that you're not stuck in a loop. I actually stopped the process after a few minutes thinking something had gone wrong. A helpful person in the BibleTime Forum explained that it was actually working. So let it run a while. I know this part can be kind of scary to some people, but one could also see it as fascinating.

Is it finished? Good! Boy, was that tough! O.k., not really. But people make it out to be. When it finishes, make doesn't tell you what to do next. It just leaves you at a command prompt. That means it's time to run 'make install'. You should be able to guess, based on the previous example, what the command is. That's right!

make install

Now you're done. You can close out the terminal window and Konqueror, if you like. Most of the time, when you compile programs from source (at least the ones written in C/C++), you will follow the same basic process:

  • Unpack sources and navigate to that directory
  • ./configure
  • make
  • make install

Phase III - Launch BibleTime

Go to the programs menu in KDE, and choose the Run command. You can also do this by right-clicking on the desktop. Type 'bibletime'. When it launches it will not have any Bible modules installed. So the first dialog offers you the opportunity to do that. I experienced problems connecting to the Sword site initially, but later on connected successfully. If you experience a problem, try back later.

Once connected, you will see a selection of Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, and devotionals arranged like folders and files in a directory tree. Choose the ones you want. If you are using dial-up, you will want to pick your modules judiciously, as a 15MB file can take a while to download. Once BibleTime finishes downloading and installing the modules, you'll see a dialog where you can configure how your desktop should look, among other things. Once you've set your options, click O.k. BibleTime will load momentarily, and you'll be ready to start studying.

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