JAL/Package Manager

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Package Manager Utility

Package Manager is the installer utility for the J Application Library (JAL). GUI interfaces are available from:

    • the J6.02 session menu - Run|Package Manager
    • the J8 jhs browser interface - link|jal
    • the J8 Qtide menu - Tools|Package Manager

A console interface is also available for jconsole users and optionally for non-jconsole users in the form of the jpkg verb.

Using Package Manager

Package Manager installs packages. A package is either an addon or the base library, and is identified by a name and version number; has a short caption and a longer description; and contains a number of files to be placed under the ~addons/<category>/<addonname> folder.

The Package Manager window and Preferences dialog

The list of available packages is called the catalog. Initially it is downloaded from the server and a local copy is saved. In order to keep the catalog current, it is loaded from the server periodically (automatically on each start or manually, as per Preferences).

The catalog and packages are downloaded from Jsoftware's web server (no personal data is sent to the server). The functionality of Package Manager therefore depends on an internet connection. An internet connection is required for the initial catalog download (setup phase), otherwise Package Manager will close. Once initial setup has been completed, Package Manager can start in off-line mode for browse-only functionality, but will need to go online in order to update the catalog or download packages.

Step by Step

The following instructions apply to the J6.02 GUI, but may also be useful for J7 Gtk users.

Starting Package Manager

  • Start J
  • Select Package Manager under the Run menu (J6) or Tools menu (J7 and later)

Initial Run (Setup)

  • Setup Repository dialog appears
  • Select Yes if you have an internet connection to download the catalog and proceed to setup
  • Select No to cancel setup and close Package Manager

After successful Setup the log window shows Updating server catalog... Done. along with the addons and library status. You can install any addons now (see below).

Subsequent Runs

  • If Catalog at Startup is Always Ask
    • the dialog Read Catalog from Server is presented
    • Select Yes to connect to the server and enter on-line mode
    • Select No to read the off-line catalog from disk and enter off-line mode
  • Otherwise either on-line or off-line mode is selected automatically

By default each time Package Manager starts you will be asked if you want to Read Catalog from Server. Use Tools|Preferences...|Catalog at Startup to automate the decision if you prefer.

Browsing Packages

Package Manager allows you to browse the available and installed packages in both on-line and off-line mode.

  • use the left menu to filter messages by group
  • use the Status or Category selection below to choose grouping
  • observe Installed and Latest available version of the addon or base library
  • select items clicking on the name to view a description at the bottom

Installing Packages

The application lets you choose packages to install. The package list shown can be configured by selecting from the list on the left, which is either a list by installed status, or a list by package type.

  • select packages by either
    • using checkboxes directly
    • using a combination of grouped Selection buttons at the bottom
  • press Do Install button
  • observe the log window at the bottom
  • wait until the message Done. and addons and library status appear.

During the installation the GUI is disabled, so it is necessary to wait until all selections are installed. If an error occurs, the process will be interrupted and a message with the possible reason will be displayed in the log window. See the Troubleshooting section in that case.


If the Package Manager is not working properly, likely causes are:

  • You are not online, and so are not getting the latest server catalog.
  • You need to authenticate against a proxy server to access the internet. Package Manager uses wget to retrieve packages from the Jsoftware web server. See User:Dan Bron/WgetAndProxies for instructions on how to configure wget to use a proxy server.
  • If you suspect that an addon is not installed correctly, open the ~addons folder in file explorer, delete the addon folder (if it is present). Issue Tools|Rebuild ... from the Package Manager menu. Now the addon should be indicated as not installed. Select it and try installing again.

Diagnosis. To verify that an addon or the base library is installed correctly, download the corresponding archive manually from the distribution location directly, extract to a separate folder, and diff with the destination folder under J. If there are differences, verify that wget and unzip are configured correctly.