At Work with Linux: openSUSE 11.4 and Marble Virtual Globe 1.0.0

One reason for installing openSUSE 11.4 as a virtual machine in the lab was to serve as a platform for Marble. I'd been introduced to Marble via Marble-in-a-Box, and I've been impressed with it ever since.

I'd been introduced to Marble by another engineer at the office. We were part of a small three-man team working on a SOA-based system for tying together live systems, virtual trainers, and constructive HLA federations in order for them to interoperate. As part of the design, I'd implemented a platform-neutral view of the data being shared amongst the participants.

To prove to everyone, including ourselves, that we really were handling all this common data, we decided to display the data via some 3D visualization tool. We limited our search to visualization tools that could show our data as an overlay over the skin of the earth with a minimum of hassle. In the end we elected to use Google Earth, and convert the data into KML, providing access via a web service.

Although we didn't demo with Marble, we were impressed enough with Marble to keep it in the back of our collective mind, and to install a full-up version on a regular openSUSE installation when Marble reached a 1.0 release. It's now installed and operational, as you can see below.

Marble is available to openSUSE as a regular installation package, which you can install via Yast. The installation process will also install all the KDE dependencies Marble needs to function normally. Note that this is openSUSE with the Gnome DE.

The only weird little issue was at first startup; two dialogs were displayed saying that Marble couldn't write to its configuration file down under .kde4. Other than that it started up and ran. Since this was just a smoke test, I'll learn more in the near future as I begin to dig deeper into Marble. But for now, it looks like it's doing all right.


  1. A Marble developer here:

    Thanks for the kind words about Marble :-)

    It's also interesting to know that Marble can view KML files (as well as some gpx, osm and soonish even shape files).

    If you want to follow the latest news about Marble you can also join us on facebook

    or Google+.



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