Saturday, 15 March 2008

Beware of Firebird 2.0 Debian package

We are migrating an application to the Firebird 2.0 database manager (firebirdsql.org). Our server runs Debian (AMD64), and we used the Firebird 2.0 (superserver) Debian package as suggested in the Firebird site's FAQ section. However, when the package was installed, it appears to have silently overlooked a dependency, missing a library necessary for getting the "user defined functions", UDF:s, to work correctly. (Firebird didn't find the UDF:s, resulting in runtime errors when calls to the functions were issued from a Firebird database.)

We made sure that Firebird as well as the UDF:s were all compiled for AMD64.

When uninstalling the apt-get Firebird package, and manually installing Firebird 2.0.3 from the standard .tar.gz file, the missing dependency was spotted, and the database could be properly installed. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a record, but it might have been the correct version of libstdc++ that was missing.

As far as I can remember, this is the only time a Debian apt-get package has failed me. In addition to the fact the apt-get install of Firebird might be broken, you have to be careful not to apt-get install "Firebird 2", since this will give you Firebird 1.5! Peculiar. (But see the comment from mariuz below).

I had a similar experience the first time I tried to install Firebird from a Debian package. This was Firebird 1.5 (the Firebird 2 Debian package), before Firebird 2.0 was released. I never got that one to run either, but had to install the tar.gz version obtained from the official Firebird webserver. I can't remember exactly what went wrong at that time, but it was impossible to get the Debian package that we tried at that time to work. The manual install worked perfectly, just as it did this time.

Update: The Debian Firebird2 package (containing Firebird 1.5) appears to be discontinued.

1 comment:

mariuz said...

firebird2 is indeed firebird 1.5.x package but for historical reasons (firbird 1.5.x tree in cvs was called firebird2)

also there is firebird 2.0 for firebird 2.0.x releaseas and it will be an firebird2.1 package in the future

i don't quite understand the bug could you please make an bug report with the issue you have with UDF
http://packages.qa.debian.org/f/firebird2.0.html