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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
How to use FocusWriter in Puppy?
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Joined: 12 Jun 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 06:30    Post subject:  How to use FocusWriter in Puppy?  

Hey guys. First post here. I've run Puppy before on some older machines and I'm wanting to put it on a Netbook that I use solely for writing but there's one hitch.

I've been running Elementary OS on it for a year or more but honestly that's far more operating system than I need. I just need it to boot fast and run my favorite writing software, FocusWriter. FocusWriter is an open-source program that allow you to write in full-screen mode and you can customize the colors of both background and foreground. It also shows word count and lots of other useful info at a glance.

Now the source code is available but to this day (having used Linux for over 15 years) I don't think I have EVER once successfully compiled a program. Every single time I have ever tried it has ALWAYS thrown an error no matter what piece of software it was and what OS I was installing it onto.

There are RPM and DEB packages available, but I don't remember Puppy being able to handle either of those.

So how do I get FocusWriter installed in Puppy? Thanks!

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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 3913
Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 11:44    Post subject: FocusWriter -- but for which Puppy?  

Hi drmoreau,

Various Puppy devs have published versions of Focus Writer. The problem is that each version may only work with one or more, but not all, versions of Puppy.

In response to your question, I did a Wellminded Search, http://wellminded.net63.net/, on the term "FocusWriter". Scanning the results indicated that it needs both python and qt, and which versions of those varies.

Deciding not to compile FocusWriter yourself as a maiden project was a good call. Smile

Short of compiling FocusWriter and its python and qt dependencies for your Puppy, I see the following solutions available.

1: Install any version of Wine and use the Portable XP version of Focus Writer. From experience, I know this solution works. Any version of Wine will run under any Pup.
2. Run a version of Pup for which FocusWriter has already been created; perhaps X-Precise 2.4, for which Geoffrey has created a FocusWriter pet, and specified and created all the necessary pets it needs. Scroll down from here after noting the QT dependency: http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=759549#759549. The Puppy Package Manager of X-Precise 2.4 will offer the correct version of QT. I haven't used this Pup. When you unpack (or deploy) the ISO, you may find it included a file named "adrv_xxx.sfs". Adrives contain various applications but Puppies which use them can run without them. If you do so, you have a base Puppy which uses only about 100 Mbs of hard-drive and very little RAM. You can add to that base only those applications you actually want.
3. Mix and Match: After doing a Wellminded search and reading the posts concerning an available version of FocusWriter, try to locate the versions of QT and Python it requires and install those into your favorite Pup. It helps if you install a Translation Addon to your browser unless you speak French. Doing so enabled me to translate Medor's post:
"Hello, The pet-FocusWriter 1.5.3 works well on Slacko-5.7.0, it requires the sfs of qt-4.8.2. ... Sincerely, Fido."
Per petihar, FocusWriter 1.5.3 can be found here: https://archive.org/download/PuppyLinuxCarolinaPetFiles/focuswriter-1.5.3-i486.pet.
I couldn't find a Qt-4,8,2 SFS, and there may be a smaller Qt package somewhere, but the pet found here should work with Slacko 5.7 and the above linked FocusWriter pet, http://www.smokey01.com/01micko/pet_packages-slacko/. It should also work under Slacko 5.6 which, despite its version number, was actually created after 5.7.

Before embarking on any kind of mix-and-match experimentation, I recommend that you either backup your SaveFile/Folder and/or apply the instructions given by jpep's on how to avoid automatic Saves. http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=662326#662326

While I don't ordinarily recommend running Wine + XP apps, you've indicated that your goal was primarily to use FocusWriter on an old machine. With that objective in mind, might I suggest the following: download the latest version of Carolina, http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=821914#821914. Remove it's adrv_vlina_1,3,sfs, Install Wine and the XP FocusWriter Portable. That will probably run lighter than a Linux version of FocusWriter requiring QT and a Pup including many applications you don't want.
Read the following regarding general information on how to work with programs under Wine. http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=814296#814296, but note in your case I'd recommend Carolina's Wine pet, via its Package manager [Menu>Control>Software>Package Manager --or something like that]. You might try its FocusWriter first to see if you also experience the icon problem reported. But if you have to resort to the XP Portable, note that unlike the instructions given in the above post for working with Wine-portable, the bash command to call a XP program is


The above presumes you run Puppy as a Frugal Install. If your system is so under-powered that you must use a Full Install, I recommend that you first test things using a Frugal Install, following jpep's instructions and making note of what worked. Once you get that working, if you find it still necessary to run as a Full Install, rebuild as a Full Install. It's very difficult to experiment running a Full Install, as every change takes place immediately and may not be "undoable."

Hope this helps,

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Joined: 30 May 2010
Posts: 2379
Location: Queensland

PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 19:21    Post subject:  

mikeslr is on the money, though it don't need python.

You don't say which pup version, but I've packaged the required files for precise, these HERE may work for you, the focuswriter is an older version, but focuswriter-1.5.3-i486.pet should work with these files.

Carolina and Carolina-Vanguard have Qt by default and the latest focuswriter-1.5.3-i486.pet is in the repo, I think Tahr has Qt also.

Carolina: Recent Repository Additions

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Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 3635
Location: wales ... by the sea

PostPosted: Tue 16 Jun 2015, 10:46    Post subject:  

focus writer now also in the tahrpup repo
Bionicpup64 built with bionic beaver packages http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=114311
Xenialpup64, built with xenial xerus packages http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=107331
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Joined: 24 Jun 2015
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 16:29    Post subject:  

A fellow writer, how wonderful!
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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 3913
Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Tue 12 Feb 2019, 15:55    Post subject: focuswriter for Xenialpup and Slacko 5.7.x  

Hi All,

666philb noted above that focuswriter is in the Tahrpup Menu. If you're running Slacko 5.7.x (any variation of 5.7) or xenialpup, you can obtain focuswriter for your Puppy here: https://www.mediafire.com/folder/3c869ewtz1wc8/. The one for xenialpup bears the name focuswriter-1.5.5-i686; Slacko's bears the name focuswriter-slk32-1.5.5.

Things to be aware of: Reads and writes both RTF and Odt files. Suggest after installing, if you use it as your default wordprocessor that you Right-Click "doc" files and customize to have them open in geany or your defaulttexteditor.

Take some time to examine what tools can be added to focuswriter's toolbar which is only displayed when you scroll to the top of its window. Most formatting tools --such as bold, italicized, strike-out, Align Right, etc-- can be easily reached, But you'll find many other via Setting>Preferences>Click the Tool Tab. One I think is essential to add is "Minimize" as without it on your Toolbar it's rather difficult to switch to another application without closing focuswriter.

The other worth adding is Spelling.

There are only four themes you can choose from, none of which I'll really crazy about. I'll post back when I've figured out how to create your own.
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Joined: 15 Dec 2013
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Tue 12 Feb 2019, 16:46    Post subject:  


or anyone else who might be seeking it::


I needed to locate this .sfs some years ago to enable the running of a certain program in Precise, think a browser but no longer recall tbh.

Therefore the file name rang a bell. Smile
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Mike Walsh

Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 6397
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Tue 12 Feb 2019, 20:14    Post subject:  

@ Mikeslr:-

Now this isn't bad, all things considered. Distraction-free writing; yup.....neat idea. But I still had to research on the web in order to find out how to change the font & point size; who the hell would've guessed that you need to go into Settings, select Themes, hit the 'New' button, then select your font type & size as part & parcel of creating a brand new theme??? Rolling Eyes


Jeezus H. f***ing Christ alive. That is not intuitive, not by a long chalk. Graeme Gott has got some strange ideas about settings/preferences, is all I can say...!!


@ a_salty_dogg:-

I've got 4.8.0, 4.8.2, 4.8.5, 4.8.6 and 4.8.7, if anybody needs 'em. I was checking over the 'archives' earlier this evening; I had no idea I'd collected so many different versions..! Mind you, it never hurts to have a selection to choose from... (*grin*)

Mike. Wink


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PostPosted: Wed 27 Feb 2019, 20:57    Post subject:  

Hi Mike,

Just stumbled upon your post. You're right. There's no easy way to change fonts. May I suggest an alternative. Don't change fonts. Laughing Rather than spending time deciding which of the hundreds of fonts possible would be the best for some section of text, when you should be switched to another, making the decision of which other, and the time it takes to do the switching, you could be doing some actual writing.

The objective of focuswriter is to provide an vehicle for distraction-free writing. Changing fonts is a distraction. Unless your default font is dingbats, pretty much any font will generate the same understanding as any other.

Just so those who haven't used focuswriter will not get the wrong idea, we are talking about actual fonts, not such effects as bolding, underline, italicize, superscript, subscript and strike-out, all of which are available from the Format Menu.

Also, the post you linked to was written in 2010. The criticisms mentioned there have all since been addressed. Other than the one you mentioned. And those I mentioned.

I had intended to spend some time trying to figure out how to change 'the back-drop' covering a good portion of the screen beyond 'white page with black text' theme I chose. But, I've been distracted. Rolling Eyes
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Joined: 12 Dec 2011
Posts: 1157

PostPosted: Thu 28 Feb 2019, 13:06    Post subject:  

To the Two Mikes.
I set up Focuswriter in Music2go Artful to be able to get to the fonts from the toolbar pronto, click on the pallete icon and edit and the font changes etc are there.
I guess you could nick the gottcode root config,local share gottcode,
and use it as a template.
Good thing with Focuswriter is, you do get your RTFs back, whereas with another programme beginning with Ab and ending in Word sometimes you don't Smile

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