Zotero standalone automated installer (Linux)

edited September 15, 2020
[Edit 24/10/2012: For the Ubuntu repository, see http://forums.zotero.org/discussion/25317/install-zotero-standalone-from-ubuntu-linux-mint-ppa/]


I created a simple installation script for Linux. It downloads and extracts Zotero standalone. It also creates a menu entry. I felt this might be convenient for those on Linux, as currently a manual installation is required.

The script is hosted on GitHub. The easiest way to use it is probably by copy-pasting the following commands into a terminal.
wget https://raw.github.com/smathot/zotero_installer/master/zotero_installer.sh \
-O /tmp/zotero_installer.sh
chmod +x /tmp/zotero_installer.sh
Hope this is useful for anybody!

  • Sebastian,

    Thanks for this! Just used it to install on Linux Mint 12.0. Simple and Effective! :-)

  • edited January 24, 2012
    Ubuntu users remember: $ sudo /tmp/zotero_installer.sh

    Use the `sudo' command, or you'll probably get an error. The installer requires root access to the directories it needs to install, at least for the (g)lobal option, which is what I chose, as I have more than one user on my box.

    Just thought I'd share this; I hope it's useful.

    Best Regards,
  • Many thanks Sebastian - works well on Ubuntu 11.10 (I also prefer the Aa icon (the Z icon of Zotero is rather ugly).

    Best, Martin
  • AFAIK after using the installer auto updates are not possible. It would be a good idea to have a ppa for this or to have zotero standalone in the repositories.

    I tried to update via the standalone menu help>check for updates

    The response is "update available but your account has insufficient privileges to install it"

    To fix this I ran Zotero standalone as superuser. Assuming the installer has a fixed directory it installs to, mine was

    sudo /opt/zotero/zotero

    now using the help>check for updates offers the option to install the update and it goes smoothly.

    Nevertheless, it might be a good idea for developers to put zotero in the repos, to get auto updates, especially security related, without having to check manually
  • If your user account owns the Zotero Standalone installation, then you can auto-update. From a security standpoint this is a much better idea than running Zotero as superuser.
  • if you use the local (default) installation, auto-update should work.
    It installs to $HOME/.local/share/applications

    I think Zotero devs have said that they're reluctant to get into the business of supplying specific distro builds.
  • "I think Zotero devs have said that they're reluctant to get into the business of supplying specific distro builds."

    I understand that the reason is not to favour any distribution over another? If so that would be rather incomprehensible to me if the alternative is to not provide any convenient install (and update) method for Linux users at all. Even for the average enthusiast computer user Ubuntu has become almost a synonym for Linux on the desktop.

    I would personally appreciate a packaged version of Zotero for Ubuntu very much and I am also honestly convinced that the existance of such a package would support the propagation of Zotero in a community of users that is very active in contributing to Software that is produced for the public benefit in terms of writing comprehensive bug reports, proposing patches and the like.
  • it would also just be extra work. Devs would not just have to package the .deb, they'd also either have to set-up and maintain their own ppa or deal with the submission process to the canoncial or debian repos.
    Also, if you have ever spend time on a non-Ubuntu linux forum, you're probably aware that non-Ubuntu linux people are _very_ passionate about the fact that Ubuntu is not synonymous to linux.

    The other reason is that it may well not be necessary for Zotero to do this: You can request packaging of software at Ubuntu/Debian:

    Currently updates on linux take exactly two clicks (Help--> Check for updates), which is hardly forbidding, though obviously less convenient than automatic repo updates - I think Zotero might make updating automatic, too, though.
    Installing consists of either running one simple script (see above) or just downloading and unpacking Zotero (and then starting it by double-clicking on Zotero). While obviously Zotero should be as easy to use as possible, your argument about a sophisticated user community kind of falls apart at the point where that is asking too much.
  • Zotero's Linux build is distributed exactly the same way as Firefox. Mozilla doesn't package Firefox for any distros either.
  • @adamsmith

    Thanks for your response. Your arguments are certainly right and I did not consider some of them before.

    I still think it would be very nice to find Zotero in the Ubuntu Software Center but probably the Ubuntu community is the better place to address this.

    Someone already created an according request on Launchpad (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/782079) and I subscribed to it now.
  • The development cycle from code to package is a distro splits the code step from packaging step.

    Zotero developers generate the code just like the Mozilla people do with Firefox. It is up to the packager that puts the distro together to incorporate the code to meet the standards of their distro.

    Hence, if you want a Ubuntu version of Zotero I would bring it up to the Ubuntu forums. In some communities like OpenSuse there are automated building services that can assist a novice to generate a distro with custom applications.
  • edited February 22, 2012
    I created a KB article for this. Once packages exist for other distributions, it can be updated to reflect that.
  • Dan - you forgot to include the link & I can't find the article in the KB list.
  • edited February 22, 2012
    Sorry, messed up the tag. Fixed.
  • edited February 22, 2012
    would it be OK to include a link to the thread where Sebastiaan describes and links to his linux install script, or do you have security concerns? It's a nice little time-saver.

    edit: oops - that would be this thread...
  • edited February 22, 2012
    I didn't include a link to this thread on purpose, but I guess it'd be OK if accompanied by a warning that people use it at their own risk. (Obviously this isn't to suggest that Sebastiaan's script is in any way dangerous—just general principles.)
  • Worked like a charm on Chakra Linux

    Thanks Sebastian!
  • I forgot to bookmark this discussion and consequently totally missed that people were actually using my script. Great to hear that it's proven useful!
  • edited May 10, 2012

    I used this tool to install Zotero Standalone on Linux Mint 11, and I recall being impressed. Thanks.

    However, now I am running into trouble in upgrading. Elsewhere on the forums, I get the impression that its because my account does not have sufficient privileges to access the folder that ZS is in... but I have no idea how to correct that.

    I tried uninstalling ZS (to reinstall to a fresh updated version) via the 'uninstall' option in the menu (which did nothing), and by command line:

    ben@ben-HP-EliteBook-8540p ~ $ sudo apt-get remove zotero
    [sudo] password for ben:
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    Virtual packages like 'zotero' can't be removed
    The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
    Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 16 not upgraded.

    So this script makes ZS a 'virtual package'? And what is that? I have absolutely no idea how I might upgrade ZS.

    Any help? The learning curve is pretty vertical for me on this.

  • edited May 11, 2012
    Hi Bengilna,

    I'm not sure what the Virtual zotero package is, but it's not related to the installer script (as far as I can see). The easiest way to update is probably to run Zotero as root and update it using the built-in updater.
    sudo /opt/zotero/zotero
  • edited May 11, 2012
    But as Simon noted above:
    If your user account owns the Zotero Standalone installation, then you can auto-update. From a security standpoint this is a much better idea than running Zotero as superuser.
    If you don't know how to change directory permissions, google 'chown' (and all the more reason not to run things as root). You certainly don't want to run Zotero as root all the time, and if it's owned by your user then auto-updates will just work without your having to run it as root every time there's an update.
  • Thanks both, Sebastian and Dan - got it working now (I used Dan's method).

  • Great job Sebastian! and fantastic support from the others :)

    Sebastian, do you use Ubuntu? any chance of putting this in a ppa? or someone else?
  • ah, just notice that "default version" in script is 3.0.6 which should read 3.0.7 :)

    Fantastic job guys, next step to get into some repos or ppas. :)
  • Sebastian, do you use Ubuntu? any chance of putting this in a ppa? or someone else?
    I actually maintain a PPA for Qnotero and QuiEdit, two programs I'm developing. But packaging Zotero is (for me) not trivial. I might look into it though, because it would be very convenient for a lot of people.
  • I found your ppa later, Qnotero is great!
    If you have the knowhow to get the packaging process started, I would assume other Zotgero users with the tech knowledge would contribute.
    My tech knowledge is medium-low, but I will assist you where possible.
    Research proposal due in 2 weeks, but have a month of more availabililty after that.
  • edited October 20, 2012
    Well, I finally got around to packaging Zotero in the Cogsci.nl PPA (for Ubuntu/ Linux Ming). It's rather crude, but should hopefully work. See also Let me know if it works for you!

  • Sebastian: Please note that I have tried the above ppa with Ubuntu 12.10 and it doesn't seem to work for some reason - just thought you would like to know! Yours, Martino
  • edited October 20, 2012
    Hi Martino,

    Thanks for the heads up. I simple hadn't build any packages for 12.10 yet, but they should be available now!

  • Hi Sebastian

    Well done and thank you - works fine!

    Yours, Martino
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