Currently I use QGis for my day-to-day GIS operations. But the limitations are there - mostly in the geoprocessing arena. Vector and raster operations are a bit fragile and buggy at the moment, mostly because they are fairly new to QGis. A grand effort by Carson Farmer et al has greatly increased the analytical capabilities of QGis but there is still a way to go. Meanwhile gvSIG, with the Sextante toolbox, has it all. At least in theory. Time for me to try it out again.
So, off to the web site, and download the latest version. Its a Java app, and I keep getting bitten by incompatible Java environments so I downloaded the version for Linux with the included JRE. It's a big .bin file, so once downloaded you chmod it executable and run it. Choose an install directory and components, and there it goes. All ready to run.
First thing I notice is that the java environment doesn't resize properly. No matter how I stretch or refresh the window, the blue desktop remains fixed size. The grey area is unusable:
Oh well never mind, let's have a look at the interface:
yes, well peace to you too. This menu has one option concerning DBF file encodings. I went 'huh?' and tried something else. Let's load a shapefile.
First you have to create a new "View", so click on the View icon and there's a new view. Double-click or hit 'open'. Now, how to load that shapefile?
Ah, the menu bar has changed. Okay, let's hunt. Layer? No, not there. Shalom? Nope. File? Nope. Oh, it's under View then Add Layer. That's not a standard place for adding things. Usually the View menu is for stuff like zooming in and out. Oh well.
At least now I've got the option. Hit it!
Yeah. Blank. There's controls in there, since random clicking does things. But I see nothing. Oh well, let's quit and try something else:
Blank again. Most of the dialogs are blank, including Help. There's no obvious errors on the console either. I have to hit Ctrl-C to kill it.
Normally I blame these problems with java apps on JRE incompatibilities, but I have no idea what is going on here. I'm running on Ubuntu Karmic on a PC and everything else works nicely. Obviously something is messing up gvSIG since plenty of other people must be using it. Ideas welcome. I think my next step is to try it with a new clean username. But that shouldn't be necessary in this day and age...