Perseus code goes Open Source!

From Greg Crane comes the much-anticipated word that all of the hopper code and much of the content in Perseus is now officially open sourced:

November 9, 2007: o *Install Perseus 4.0 on your computer*:

All of the source code for the Perseus Java Hopper and much of the content in Perseus is now available under an open source license. You can download the code, compile it, and run it on your own system. This requires more labor and a certain level of expertise for which we can only provide minimal support. However, since it will be running on your own machine, it can be much faster than our website, especially during peak usage times. You also have the option to install only certain collections or texts on your version, making it as specialized as you wish. Also, if you want to use a different system to make the content available, you can do so within the terms of the Creative Commons license. This is the first step in open sourcing the code: you can modify the code as much as you want, but at this time, we cannot integrate your changes back into our system. That is our ultimate goal, so keep a look out for that!

Download source code here

Download text data here

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13 Responses to Perseus code goes Open Source!

  1. Brett says:

    Where can I find a procedure for compiling the code and getting Perseus 4.0 up and running? How much memory is required?

    Asking from ignorance

  2. Wm Annis says:

    The perseus-hopper bundle itself contains README and INSTALL instructions (in HTML). The instructions include estimates on how long it will take this or that step to complete. Several of the data-analysis and database loading steps have completion times measured in *days*.

  3. Brett says:

    Thank you. Days? wow.

    These downloads are Unix based. Can one make it run on Windows?

  4. Wm Annis says:

    I’m afraid I have no idea. The JSP frameworks I think run on Windows fine, but most of the install steps look rather Unix-centric. It might be possible to make it work there, but I’m pretty ignorant of Windows.

  5. Jenny says:

    I haven’t been able to download the text package, possibly because of its size. I think splitting it into a number of separate tarballs of 100MB or so would make the texts more accessible.

  6. Brett says:

    Sounds like a little educational post on manipulating and using this software is in order. I imagine many who would enjoy this package are better at reading literature than manipulating code. Is the inference that this will only run on a client with a Unix-based OS correct? After all, most networks are run by Unix, but the clients run Windows or Mac OS.

  7. Jenny says:

    The install instructions appear to be for Linux. As mentioned above a certain level of expertise would be required. What you have here is a server application which requires a web server and database.

  8. Rich Christofferson says:

    Well. So far so good.Right now I’m running chunkify-corpus.
    My question is for the next step in the INSTALL.html. It says:
    “Assuming you have loaded one or more lexica”. I can’t see
    where this is done, Does the chunkify-corpus take care of this?

    All the same.
    This is quite a build.


  9. Nikodemos says:

    So is this fantastically wonderful news, or the opposite, a big disappointment for many people?

    The answer is likely: both.

    It is really wonderful that they have opened this up, 3 cheers to Perseus and all.

    But keeping this restricted to linux clients (and more)…?!

    I have downloaded the entire thing, tried all I can, it is apparent that this is not ONLY just for people with a high degree of expertise, but also, for those who will run and access this from linux. Something really should be done about this. What a waste (thus, answer two: a big disappointment). Why make our hearts leap with anticipation, only to find out it is nearly impossible to make use of this without fully flinging oneself into changing over to linux, and more?

    So here is a question: If it were possible to take a poll of the Perseus server (personified of course, I doubt it really can collect information on what type of OpSys accesses its site), we could inquire: In your entire lifetime of providing access to clients of Greek and Roman primary texts, what percentage of those pings (or whatever it is called, accessing of a webpage on Perseus) have been from Linux OpSystems, and how many from Windows? I suspect it might be, 95% Windows, 5% linux (and that might be being generous). Oh, sorry, work into the 95% Mac OSs. But same point applies.

    Last of all, much of what makes this a disappointment, and even inappropriate, is that Perseus is boldly displaying on the top of its pages a big link saying: “Perseus is Changing: Please Visit Perseus 4.0 for the Latest Version!” “Please visit”??!! This is not an obscure link that says: “To technical software programmers interested in open source material, click here.” The EXPECTATION that is given by this broad banner announcement is that, surely, this must be for *me* / for everyone — great, hurrah! Perseus 4 for me! But no. Even further, however, Neither is there a clarification that says: This will only work on linux! Clearly, this is inapproriate, and misleading. They should change this rather than stringing us along (indeed, the message of such a banner is: your visiting an OLD Perseus page, come get updated, check out the new).

    Sincerely hoping that the disappointing news will be addressed and that the wonderful news will prevail.

  10. Chris says:

    I lived under a stone for the past 6 months, so just discovered this item. This is incredible good news; you get half a gigabyte of texts and all the cool tools to deal with them!!!
    @ Nikodemus and the others: In the readme for the code, it says : “The hopper can only be installed on Linux and Mac OS X. It currently will not work on any Windows operating systems.” So if you still are stuck with Windows, you should take this as a welcome opportunity to get out of that hole. If you can’t handle Linux, Mac OS X seems to be a pretty fine choice (and with the current hardware you can still continue to run those essential Windows application, but they are in a sandbox and can not damage your whole system).

    Anyway, congratulations to the Perseus team, you are really leading the pack and providing a tremendous amount of inspiration for other fields.

  11. John Jackson says:

    The opening of Perseus has allowed others to port the “data” to other platforms. Two that come to mind are the Diogenes program that runs on Firefox and the Palm Pilot version of the Parsing tool for Greek and Latin and the linked Liddell Scott Lexicon.

  12. me says:

    The Idiot’s Guide
    to Building a Perseus Development Server
    Thoughtfully produced for fellow programmatically challenged Perseids (present & future)
    Thomas L. Milbank
    with generous assistance from
    Robert F. Chavez
    Anne Mahoney
    Clifford E. Wulfman

  13. The above-referenced guide is for the older Perl-based 3.0 version of the hopper which is no longer supported. For the latest open source code, texts and instructions for Perseus please see

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