If you are using a Linux distribution such as Debian or Ubuntu, you should use the distribution’s Albatross package, python-albatross, unless you intend to make changes to the Albatross code. Ubuntu users will need to enable the universe software source if it isn’t already enabled - under Applications, select Ubuntu Software Center, then select the Edit menu, and Software Sources.

If you are installing from the source, please read on...


Note that, where possible, you should install packages provided by your distribution, rather than building all the dependancies yourself.

If you wish to regenerate the documentation, you will also need:

  • Sphinx 0.6.2 or later.

  • LaTeX

    Only required if you want to build the PDF or PostScript documentation.

    On Ubuntu, install the texlive package (and dependancies).

  • dia

    The diagrams in the documentation are edited and rendered to PNG and EPS format using dia version 0.97.

  • GraphViz

    Used to auto-generate some diagrams.


Unpack the package archive to extract the package source:

$ tar xzf albatross-1.42.tar.gz

This will create an albatross-1.42 subdirectory. Inside the albatross-1.42 directory are a number of directories:

  • albatross

    Contains the Python code for the package.

  • doc

    Contains the documentation source.

  • samples

    Contains all of the sample programs discussed in this document.

  • session-server

    Contains a simple session server which works with the Albatross server-side session mixin classes.

  • test

    Contains the unit tests.

The Albatross package uses the distutils package so all you need to do is type the following command as root from the top level directory:

# python install

If you have problems with this step, make sure that you contact the package author so that the installation process can be made more robust for other people.

If you already have a copy of Albatross installed and wish to test the new release before installing it globally then you can install an application private copy. If your application is installed in /path/to/proj then the following command will install a copy of Albatross that is only visible to that application:

$ python install --install-lib /path/to/proj --install-scripts /path/to/proj

If you wish to build the documentation, run:

$ cd doc
$ make pdf


$ cd doc
$ make html


There are a number of unit tests included in the distribution. These have been developed using the unittest package which is standard in Python 2.1 and later.

Run the following commands to perform the unit tests:

$ make test

If you want to do more than run the unit tests, you can start to work your way through the samples which are presented in this document.

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