All I really wanted was to use GridTracker. It’s a program that maps your contacts live as you are using digital modes like FT8. The problem was, there wasn’t an easy way to install it on Ubuntu. Well, easy is debatable, but there certainly was no deb package that you could just install. Granted, in situations like this it is often best to build from source to make sure that it is properly set up for your machine. But, if you want a quick shortcut, there is always alien.

According to the manpage for alien:

       alien is a program that converts between Red Hat rpm, Debian deb, Stampede slp, Slackware
       tgz, and Solaris pkg file formats. If you want to use a package from another linux
       distribution than the one you have installed on your system, you can use alien to convert
       it to your preferred package format and install it. It also supports LSB packages.

It is really easy to install and even easier to use in Ubuntu. You can install it from the normal repository:

$ sudo apt-get install alien

and to use it you simply give it an input file that you want to convert, like so:

$ alien -d ./gridtracker-1.21.0928-1.x86_64.rpm 
gridtracker_1.21.0928-2_amd64.deb generated

The “-d” specifies you want a deb package. Of course, “-r” will convert a deb package into an rpm file. Depending on your system setup, you may need to run this as root or with sudo, especially if installing the package after built with the “-i” flag. The most important caveat is that this may still have dependency issues and the like, so your mileage may vary, but this worked rather well for me!

Linux – keep it simple.

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