Release GPlates as Snap or Flatpak for Linux

The .deb package no longer meets dependencies in Ubuntu 23.04. It might be more efficient to release this as a Flatpak so that there is no dependency searching for Linux desktops, and those using non-Debian based Linux distros can also enjoy GPlates.

Here’s a Debian package to try on Ubuntu 23.04 (let me know if it works and I’ll add one to the GPlates 2.3 public release downloads).

However you’ll need to start GPlates from the terminal using…

QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb gplates

If you start it by typing just gplates then the GPlates viewport will get corrupted (ie, no globe is visible). And you’ll see the error message “Error: Unknown error”.

It has to do with Wayland (which is a replacement for the X11 window system). Specifying QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb forces GPlates to use X11 instead. I tracked it down to a failure to initialise OpenGL (via the GLEW library).

By the way, an alternative to specifying QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb is to disable Wayland. That also works.

I think typing just gplates worked on the older Ubuntu 22.04 because it wasn’t using Wayland for some reason (as indicated by… "Warning: Ignoring XDG_SESSION_TYPE=wayland on Gnome. Use QT_QPA_PLATFORM=wayland to run on Wayland anyway." …after running gplates).

The next GPlates release will use Vulkan instead of OpenGL. So I think the above is a suitable workaround for Ubuntu 23.04 considering we’re no longer using OpenGL going forward (and there are various issues getting GPlates to work properly with OpenGL under Wayland, such as here and here).

Yes I think this is a good idea, and will look into it for future releases (we had a quick discussion here: about Flatpak vs Snap vs AppImage).

Hi, thanks for your reply, John.
Unfortunately it’s still having dependency issues with that one too. It’s requiring libboost-python1.74.0-py39, and I cannot find it in any of the default repositories.

Sorry, I should have mentioned the package to try is gplates_2.3.1-beta.6_ubuntu-23.04-amd64.deb. You might be using gplates_2.3.0_ubuntu-21.10-amd64.deb (which has the Python 3.9 dependency).

Thank you, I now have GPlates running. That helped a lot.
Is there any way I could get a .desktop file working with that? If not it’s fine, I just wish Wayland played nice with other applications.