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The Answer Guy

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?)Dreaming about xBase tools for Linux

From Michael "Mookie" Kepler on the L.U.S.T List on 04 Jun 1998

Is there a FoxPlus program for Linux ? When I use the SCO FoxPlus on Linux with iBCS module running, it can not read the data files.

Jyh-shing Chen

Michael "Mookie" Kepler

Ha! Dream on! I'm decloaking and posting just because I'm glad to meet another living dinosaur. I, too, have too much experience with and an irrational attachment to FoxPlus.

(!) I presume Fox-Plus is an xBase product related or similar to FoxPro. If so you might look at WorkGroup Solutions "Flagship" (http://www.wgs.com/fsad.html).

This is a full dBase compatible system, and xBase compiler. (Actually I think it does a "compile to C" --- then you'd use gcc to actually produce your binaries. That makes it more portable I suppose).

You could also look at Christopher B. Browne's incredible annotated link farm of Linux business and productivity applications:
... which has a page specifically one xBase dbms packages for Linux at: http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/rdbms05.html

Oddly enough Christopher doesn't mention Versasoft's dbMan (dbMan IV or dbMan 5.x). Perhaps the product has been discontinued. I couldn't find any URL for it though there are a number of references. I just guessed at "versasoft.com" and glanced at their web site, which only mentions one product (VersaTOOLS; a FoxPro add-on?). I've blind-copied the one e-mail address listed thereon, so that he can respond with any info on the fate of dbMan, if he feels so inclined.

So in answer to your question:

Yes! Dream on! There are dbms apps for Linux, and you DON'T have to use SQL.

(Also, if you ever want to work with a dbms package that's less like "DOS" and xBase, nothing like SQL and more like Unix shell script programming, look at Revolutionary Software's package: /rdb -- they have a Linux version. Apparently this /rdb is related to Rand/Hobbs RDB -- Christopher's pages talk about this a little bit.

(?) I made my living pushing the limits of Sco FoxPlus for five years, starting in 1989, making it do things it was never meant to do. It is frustrating that so many people think that SQL and Relational are synonyms, and that Relational and XBase are mutually exclusive. Every database application I created with FoxPlus conformed to the Relational data model. There is nothing in FoxPlus to prevent this.

Please let me know if you find anything FoxPlus-esque that works under Linux. I've been looking myself and have found nothing comparable. If they would just release the source code, we could get somewhere. Whenever I encounter a trivial programming task, especially ones involving tabular data, I always think of how much quicker and easier it would be to turn it out in FoxPlus than 'C', or _shudder_ PlSql (yuck!).

(?)From Thomas Good on the L.U.S.T List on 5 Jun 1998

Jim - I have the opposite problem. I want to lose foxpro in favour of SQL. I run an odd mix of dbs including Postgres, Progress and FoxPro. The foxpro is sitting on a dos box and is need of extinction. It is (obviously) single user and so the person who sits on the box has to do all of the data input and answer the phone - doing queries as requested.

I am moving her data onto a linux box and I want to shift the code from foxpro to SQL. Any converters out there? Front end is not too important as I will use perl (5 with DBI 0.91 and DBD-Pg 0.69). I just need to rework the existing queries...thanks!


----------- Sisters of Charity Medical Center ----------
Department of Psychiatry
Thomas Good, System Administrator
North Richmond CMHC/Residential Services

(!) Look at Christopher's web pages (I cited it in my longer message but it's at: http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/)

Specifically he lists a some conversion utilities and .DBF libraries at: http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/rdbms05.html

Also don't forget to check the LSM (Linux Software Map). Here's a couple of entries from there (not listed on CBB's pages):

 Title:          Light DBF client/server dbms (LDBF)
 Version:        0.9.9 beta
 Entered-date:   17NOV95
 Description:    This is client/server dbms that operate with
                 DBF files and compatible with Foxpro CDX indexes.
                 Clients connecting with server via TCP/IP
                 and works with databases as on local machine.
                 Supports transactions,multi-user operation,
                 stored procedures,triggers,
                 password security,logging all operations,
                 flexible configuration.Implemented main suite of
                 xBase operators.
                 Includes DLL of LDBF API for Windows.
 Keywords:       LDBF,ldbf
 Author:         vlad@torn.ktts.kharkov.ua (Vlad Seriakov)
 Maintained-by:  vlad@torn.ktts.kharkov.ua
 Primary-site:   sunsite.unc.edu (/pub/Linux/Incoming)
                 707 Kb ldbf-0.9.9.tar.gz
                 930 b ldbf.lsm
 Alternate-site: ftp.kiae.su ( /linux/misc )
 Platforms:      Linux 1.2.0 or later with IPC support
 Copying-policy: Freeware


Title:          dbview
Version:        1.0.0
Entered-date:   20APR96
Description:    dbview is a little tool that will display dBase III and
                IV files. You can also use it to convert your old .dbf
                files for further use with Unix.
Keywords:       database dbase view convert
Author:         joey@infodrom.north.de (Martin Schulze)
Maintained-by:  joey@infodrom.north.de (Martin Schulze)
Primary-site:   sunsite.unc.edu /pub/Linux/apps/databases
                10kB dbview-1.0.0.tar.gz
Original-site:  ftp.infodrom.north.de /pub/Linux/Devel/dbview
                10kB dbview-1.0.0.tar.gz
Copying-policy: GPL

Title:          libdbf
Version:        1.4
Description:    Tools for manipulating dBase files
Keywords:       unix dbase
Author:         beacker@sgi.com
Maintained-by:  Nobody to my knowledge
Primary-site:   Wherever you put it.
Original-site:  news::comp.sources.misc
Platforms:      Unix (This copy linuxified)
Copying-policy: No commercial use, no charging for distribution (see README).
Entered-date:   01JAN96

Those were all found just using the "dbf" search string on a local copy of the LSM (just a text file I keep around since I do so much Linux support work).

There's are several Linux Software Map search engines and searchable Linux Software Database sites out on the web. I don't even have a "favorite" one any more.

Linux Search Database
... which found this one:
  Title: AppGEN
   Version: 0.2 alpha
   Entered Date: 11JUL96
   Description: Database application generator and 4GL for Postgres95 and
		HTTPD. DBase DBF file to SQL Convertor.
   Key Words:	Application Generator 4GL SQL Web WWW Forms Postgres95 DBF
   Author:	Andrew Whaley
   Primary Site: sunsite.unc.edu /pub/Linux/apps/databases/postgres
   Alternate Site: GPL'ish End

... or try:
Linux Links (by Goob!) at:
(The search engine is not too hot, but the hierarchy of links is great). There is a reference there to a semi-free package called X2c (the portable xBase compiler). X2c seems to have some features for creating binary CGI interfaces to your DBF databases. Which might be an alternative to converting it to SQL, if you aren't worried about some of the concurrency and integrity and business rules enforcement that are associated with SQL --- or even if you just need a quick interim solution to use while you're doing the xBase to SQL port.

Another place to check into is:
The #LinuxOS Webpage: Linux Software Search Engines and Indices
As the name suggests that site is maintained by principals of the #LinuxOS IRC channel on EFNet and it contains a list of Linux link farms, search engines and indices (what a surprise!).

So, I'd say there's plenty of places to look.

(?)From Michael Kepler on the L.U.S.T List on 5 Jun 1998

I'd just like to thank you (Jim Dennis) for your very comprehensive and helpful responses to the XBase question. I had no idea there were so many database options available for Linux. I joined this conversation out of idle personal interest, but now I think I see some possibilities for solutions for current needs we have at our company.

Thanks again,

Michael Kepler
VP Systems Development
Metro One Telecommunications

Copyright © 1998, James T. Dennis
Published in Linux Gazette Issue 30 July 1998

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