Getting Plucker to work on OS X

UPDATE 2/24/03…Just go here and download the OS X installation for jPluck. You will still need Plucker for your Palm.

I have finally gotten Plucker to run on Mac OS X and I wanted to share my experience so others could enjoy this fantastic open-source alternative to AvantGo. AvantGo has not released any information on when or if they plan to support OS X and it has certainly been long enough so time to move on.

The tools:

First you will need to install Java 1.4.1 Developer Preview 6. This is available from Apple’s developer web site which is free to join, but you do need an account. There are libraries within this release that are necessary for this system to work. It may work with Preview 5, but it did not work for me with Preview 4.

Next you need to download the JPluck app which is the Java based Plucker Desktop. It’s available through sourceforge and is an easy download.

The last step is to download the actual Plucker application. This will install locally on your computer and let you choose which language version you want to use on your palm. Once you download and install Plucker it can be found within the Finder by hitting “Apple+Shift+G” and when the box pops up typing in (or pasting) /usr/local/share/plucker. You can then install the app from within the Palm OS Viewer directory (pick the language you want) viewer_en.prc is english. Hotsync it and it is installed.

The how to:

Once you have installed the Java code and hotsynced the Plucker viewer to your Palm you are ready to try out the Desktop. Within the jpluck-1.0-beta3-pr2 Folder (your version number may be different if you do this much later) is a piece named “jpluckx.jar.” This will launch by double clicking it so do that and give it a moment to become active. There is a basic navigation to the app that fortunately provides tips if you hover the buttons. You can open a document and pick the example.jxl file which has a nice array of sites to start with. More can be found from though many of those are actually in the example file.

You will have to select a destination directory and to make things easier on yourself, I recommend choosing the installation directory for your Palm desktop. This way when PluckX is through, you can hotsync and then head out, with reading material on your Palm. Since Plucker fully supports VFS, you can choose either the SD folder – /Users/your username/Documents/Palm/Users/username/Files to Install/SecureDigital (SD ) Card or simply one directory back for the basic installation. For now it will have to be two steps as there is no conduit for any platform at this time.

That should do it for you. It works for me and is working well. You might also consider joining the Plucker Mailing list which is where I picked up much of the help I needed…

26 Replies to “Getting Plucker to work on OS X”

  1. If you are running the desktop through Java, why not run the distiller that way too?

  2. This solution apparently only works on OS 10.2 (at least the Java it depends on does)

  3. What I mean is that there is a viewer, a desktop and a distiller. Your instructions suggest downloading the desktop and distiller separately (desktop a java app and distiller a carbon or cocoa app). There is a java version of the distiller on the plucker web site. Why not download that and the java desktop? Or am I missing something?

  4. Good question… JPluck only handles the desktop and distillation parts. You need the Mac Plucker part to get the Palm app and the manual.

    There is another way to do this from the command line but that was beyond my abilities. I found that JPluck was the simplest way to do this – at least for me.

  5. I had a problem activated jpluck

    I installed Java 1.4.1 Developer Preview 8
    Restarted the machine
    I downloaded and unzipped jpluck 0.8.5 then moved it to my home directory.

    Here is the exact command line enteries.

    [joeweaver:~] joey% cd jpluck
    [joeweaver:~/jpluck] joey% ls

    ICE_JNIRegistry.dll command-line.txt jpluckx.jar rulefilter.txt
    LICENSE example.jxl lib spider.jar
    bin gallery.jar licenses
    build jniwin32shell.dll readme.txt

    [joeweaver:~/jpluck] joey% java -jar jpluckx.jar
    Exception in thread “main” java.lang.NoSuchMethodError
    at distantcord.jpluckx.ui.SplashScreen.(Unknown Source)
    at distantcord.jpluckx.ui.SplashScreen.(Unknown Source)
    at distantcord.jpluckx.Main.main(Unknown Source)

    I am using Mac Os X 10.2.3

    I am not able to use the jpluckx gui

    Any suggestions. I am new to unix. Sorry. I just wanted a way to download news to my palm, now that avantgo is not compatible with palm 4 and mac os x

  6. I am no unix expert either, but the way I have gotten JPluckX 0.8.5 and the Java 1.4.1DP8 to work together is to make sure I am running the 1.4.1 code and not the 1.3.1 code which my system wants to use by default.

    Here’s what I type in the Terminal though your paths may vary based on the names on your volumes:

    /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckx.jar

  7. Jonathan,

    Thanks for the command line. But what do I do next??

    Like others, this UNIX command line stuff is another world.

    After invoking that command line is there any way to activate the app via OS X GUI?

    Whenever I double-click the jpluckx.jar I get a message about a missing Main-class definition in the manifest?


  8. Oops! Looked again and realized I had received an error message–so the command line didn’t work!

    What does this mean? I had already unpacked things.

    /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckx.jar

    Exception in thread “main” No such file or directory
    at Method)
    at java.util.jar.JarFile.(
    at java.util.jar.JarFile.(

  9. Well, I solved this. Turned out that the jpluck folder was in the WRONG applications folder!

    Geesh! OS X is so particular?and it’s so confusing having mutiple application, document, etc. folders. any solutions to all that? I installed my Palm stuff and ended up with Palm folders all over the place!

    Just so others know, once you have the jpluck folder in the computer Applications folder, and type in that command line in the terminal window, it will launch the jpluck application which looks like a regular Mac app.

    We’ll see what happens next!

  10. Thank you for starting this thread. I am a reasonably intelligent but non-tech-savvy housewife who was able to get plucker to work on my Mac OS X machine. For those of you who, like me, had no idea how to enter a command line, I’m adding a bit more detail and I hope it will help you to get started. I used my copy of Mac OS X: The Missing Manual by David Pogue to help me through this Unix stuff, otherwise, I have absolutely no working knowledge of Unix or command line entry.

    I followed all the directions provided by the original poster, (except the Java version that I downloaded was 1.4.1 Developer Preview 8 – not 6), and I followed the various bits of instruction/advice in the reply posts.

    To enter a command line, you need to open the Terminal application, which can be found by navigating to Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities/Terminal. Once you are there, you will see some text that may or may not make sense to you, followed by a % sign and what looks like a vertical rectangle. This is actually the cursor. Just go ahead and type in the command line as it is described in the posts above:

    /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckx.jar

    You are in Unix now, and text entry behaves a bit differently, so don’t let it throw you off. If you make a typo, you’ll have to delete one character at a time. You can’t just point your cursor at the error and try to fix something that is in the middle of the text string. Make sure you type in the command line exactly as it appears. There are some spaces in the text string and they are supposed to be there, so don’t omit them. Also, upper and lower case matters.

    There is one caveat to typing exactly what you see: when you get to the part of the text string that says “jpluck-0.8.5”, you’ll need to type in the version of JPluck that you downloaded. In my case, this was “jpluck-”. Just copy the exact name from the JPluck folder. Once you have entered the text string, hit enter, and JPluck should open.

    I didn’t feel that JPluck was immediately user friendly, but after reading the “getting started” info on the sourceforge web site listed above, I was able to stumble along and figure it out. Also, on my computer, the JPluck appearance seems a bit buggy. The text is a bit weird and highlighted items are completely blacked out. I assume it’s not supposed to be this way, but maybe I’m wrong. In any case, it functions quite well despite its appearance, and I was able to HotSync to my m515. The text looks great on my m515, so no complaints about the Plucker viewer.

    Now I have a question for anyone who knows more than I do. Do I need to enter the command line every time I want to bring up JPluck? I assume there are some shortcuts for entering long text strings. Any other words of wisdom would be much appreciated!

  11. Caroline, use the Script Editor to make an AppleScript like the following:

    tell application “Finder”

    run shell script “/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckx.jar” — one line

    end tell
    end try

    Save it as an AppleScript Application in your Apps folder, and drag it to the Dock, if you’d like.

  12. First, I am amazed at how many people have found this page and glad that documenting this experience seems to have helped so many. The power of the web!

    Running the shell script did not work for me, but I was able to get an AppleScript to run through the Terminal like this:

    tell application “Terminal”
    do script with command ¬
    “/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckx.jar”
    end tell

    Hope that works as an alternate for some people… Also, using a tool like Keyboard Maestro, I can actually run the script with a key command shortcut… in my case Fn+1.

  13. Why can´t someone just build a Mac OS 10.3. program where I just double-click an an it opens? Plucker as a regular OSX program with a user-friendly interface – I would pay for that!
    Others ca do it, why not the guys from Plucker??

  14. Thanks to you all for help with getting Pucker rolling! Big question; in the event I would like to uninstall the Java Preview necessary to run Pucker, which files are installed where? Is trashing the 1.4.1 from the sys/libraries/frameworks/javaVM.framework/versions file path sufficient? I’m worried about future Java updates getting confused by the preexisting preview. I’m pretty new to this Unix stuff, and would appreciate any help possible!

  15. I am not sure why the plucker team has not yet developed a GUI for this, my guess would be resources.

    As far as the Java bit goes… from what I understand, the preview release is not replacing the default installed by Apple version. In fact you may need to call the specific version you want to run in order to get jPluckX to work.

  16. Thank you very much for all these hints. Jpluck X is now up and running on my Mac. Nevertheless, I still think that the whole procedure (sucking some fixed set of web pages, converting thel into .pdb files which are saved in the “hot sync” folder) could be achieved by using a script as well. Launching this script automatically during the night would then allows us to get all information into our PDA just by syncing it in the morning. Does anyone have an idea how to achieve this dream?

    The desktop is just a friendly way to suck and convert pages, but not the most convenient one (as it is written on the plucker page: “If you ever found editing configuration files by hand difficult, Plucker Desktop is the tool for you.”)

  17. The way to do it is to use the command line and run a shell script. I was not sure how to do that myself which is why I chose to use JpluckX…

  18. I just found out that the following script launches jpluck x, sucks the pages that are listed in “example.jxl” and compresses them:

    tell application “Terminal”
    do script with command ¬
    “/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckc.jar example.jxl”

    end tell

    where the file “example.jxl” lies inside your home folder.

  19. Rather than create an applescript, it might be easier to create a “command file”. Here is the blurb you get if you search “Using Command Files with Terminal” in the OS X help:

    “If you have a command-line script that you use often, you can open and run it in Terminal using the Finder.

    Save your script as plain text with the file extension “.command”. Then use Terminal to make the file executable using chmod.

    When you double-click the .command file in the Finder, Terminal opens and runs your script.”

    In this case, use TextEdit to create a file containing the command (w/ no line breaks):

    /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.8.5/jpluckx.jar

    Save the file as, say, “jpluck.command”. The only UNIX thing you need to do is to change the permissions on the file so it can be executed: go into the terminal, move into the appropriate directory, and type:

    chmod u+x jpluck.command

    Hmm. This was easier than writing an applescript, but it seems more difficult to explain!

  20. Here are some new instructions for those of you who are Unix challenged, like me. I feel very unsophisticated compared to the other posters on this thread, but I got some private response that my previous post helped others, so I know there is a need for my “amateur” instructions : )

    Also, thank you to those who tried to help me with command line short cuts, but I wasn’t Unix savvy enough to understand your instructions. Instead, I just made a Word document that I keep in my dock, and I copy and paste the whole text string when I need it. It may not be elegant, but it works for me.

    Okay, here’s what I did to get the new JPluck .9 pre-release to work: After downloading, I installed the whole new folder into my main Applications folder. It is in the same Applications folder where the original JPluck 8.6.2 folder is located, but the two versions of JPluck are in separate folders within the main Applications folder. (The download page had some instructions about not installing the updated application into the same directory as the older one, but I’m guessing that since I kept them in their separate folders, it’s okay to have them both in the main Applications folder.)

    I then opened Terminal and used the same command line that had worked with JPluck 8.6.2, except I replaced the name of the old JPluck folder with the name of the updated one in the text string. It wouldn’t work and I got some message about “no such file or directory” and a bunch of stuff about java. After a bit of research, I discovered it was due to a space in the name of the new JPluck folder, and since spaces have a different meaning in Unix, I had to insert a “” before the space in order to tell Unix to just treat the space like a regular space and not like a command. Here is the actual command line that worked for me:

    /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.4.1/Home/bin/java -jar /Applications/jpluck-0.9-pre2-all-platforms\ Folder/jpluckx.jar

    The updated JPluck has a much nicer user interface and is faster. It also comes with lots more web sites, many of which are outside the US. It was well worth the hour or so it took me to figure it all out.


  21. If u want to write a command of a file or folder u only need to drag the folder o file to the dock. This way you will write it correctly.

  22. My config is MacosX 10.2.5, Palm Zire71 and I tried everything :
    – AvantGo
    – malsync
    – isilox (seems to work but it’s not free and the sites I need don’t work very well on it)
    – plucker (command line)
    – Jplucker
    The “plucker thing” doesn’t work because of the palm side viewer : my zire71 reboots with a fatal alert and also says it doesn’t support Zlib books.

    It has been 2 full days that I try to see channels on my PDA and I am really depressed.

    Could somebody help me please ?

  23. I found this install to be fairly straightforward AFTER I upgraded my OSX to 10.2.6. That seems to be the key. Once I did that, I never needed to touch Unix code. Did the whole thing in the GUI that OSX offers. But you must upgrade to 10.2.6 and also the Java to 1.4.1.

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