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Screenwriting Application Celtx is Back as a Snap

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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Lately I’ve been reading into the process of creating Snap packages, one of the most popular universal Linux package formats used to distribute software. While Imaginary Teleprompter has been distributed as a Snap for quite a while, not all Snap packages are built in the same way, so I set myself the goal to package a few applications that are different in nature.

Containerized applications, such as the ones provided through Snaps, have certain advantages over the ones in traditional Linux packages. My favorite advantage is that they can contain all the libraries the program needs to run and not depend on having the right version of a library installed on your system. You may always want the latest, well patched libraries for your server applications, but some desktop applications are not updated as frequently and may depend on older libraries. An application may even be discontinued but provide value to users for many years after its release.

This was the case with Celtx, a screenwriting desktop application that was discontinued by its creators, who continued to work on a much modern, web based version of the software you can find at https://www.celtx.com. While Celtx for the desktop has been discontinued since 2012, it is still one of the most useful screenwriting applications I’ve used. Luckily for the world of Free/Libre Software, Celtx was released under the Mozilla Public License 2.0, which permits repackaging and redistribution. So it was time to Snap it!

I built this Snap on an Ubuntu 16.04 base because this was the last LTS version of Ubuntu to be able to run Celtx. It’s not possible to run Celtx with an 18.04 base due to changes in the newer versions of the dependency libraries. I must say, Snapping Celtx turned out to be the easier than expected. All I needed was the official documentation and the “Debugging snap builds” YouTube live stream by Alan Pope. I cannot say the same about the other snaps I’m working on, but that’s a topic for next month’s blog entry.

You will find the source code for this Snap at:
https://github.com/javiercordero/celtx-snap

And you can install Celtx as a Snap from: https://snapcraft.io/celtx

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