Ask Klaus!

Adding Alice


Hello, I'm a teacher who would like to familiarize my students more with Alice (Randy Pausch's visual programming language), yet I can't reliably work with it at home. Any ideas on the best way to get Alice visual programming language to work in Linux? Thank you. Don Davis


In general, look for software specifically for your operating system. After a short search, some Debian packages showed up for Alice. If you add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file,

deb stable contrib

you should be able to install the (old) version 1.4 of the programming language's run-time environment with the following command:

sudo aptitude install alice-runtime

At least for Debian/Lenny (and Knoppix), this seems to work.

Under "Alice 3 beta" at the developer's website [3], you can also find a Linux "offline installer" for version 3 [4]. At 516MB, it is amazingly large, and I did not look inside. This beta installer is a self-extracting shell script that can be run by typing the following after download:


Alice is a 3D framework for Java with its own visual development platform – similar to Eclipse – so you probably only need to have Java and a few Java extensions (Beans) installed as a prerequisite. This is just a guess, though. If you try the beta, please let me know whether it worked. :-)

Note: Make sure you have the most recent stable JRE installed. The best compatibility is usually reached with Sun Microsystems Java [5].

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