The Semplice Version 2 Installation on Debian

1.0 Introduction

Debian is one of the oldest active distros around and is the 'parent' for many child distros: you can argue the entire Ubuntu family tree descends ultimately from Debian, too. It's therefore good to know that Semplice is a first-class citizen on Debian and all its progeny. The only real point of weirdness as far as Semplice-on-Debian is concerned arises (potentially) from the fact that, by default, the non-root user created when installing Debian itself does not get given sudo privileges. That's a problem for Semplice, because it needs to access the /usr/bin folder, which requires elevated privileges: without them, the installation would fail. Accordingly, Semplice tests for the existence of sudo privileges and, if it finds them, proceeds exactly as it would do on any other distro. If it discovers that you lack sudo privileges, however, then it will ask you to supply the root user password first. With root privileges acquired, it will add you to the /etc/sudoers file. With that done, the Semplice installer can then ask you to supply your own password to access your new sudo privileges. After that, everything proceeds normally.

Just be warned, therefore, that on Debian, a line will be added to the /etc/sudoers file that grants the user installing Semplice full sudo rights on the system. That may not be something you want to live with permanently, in which case you should run visudo after the Semplice installation completes and remove that extra line. Semplice does not need sudo privileges to run. It simply needs them to be installed, so revoking sudo privileges post-install is perfectly fine.

For this article, I'm using Debian 12 and the LXQt desktop environment, but it's been tested on Debian 12 with KDE, Gnome and XFCE too.

As with all these installation articles, I assume a fresh, default installation of the underlying operating system. I always assume, however, that any installer-provided options to install third-party programs, drivers or audio codec support are taken: not that it makes any difference to the way Semplice works, but I just like to be clear on what my working assumptions are 🙂

2.0 The Installation

We begin by opening a new terminal session and typing the commands:

bash seminst

The first 'cd' just makes sure you're in your /home/username folder. The wget command downloads the Semplice Version 2 installer. The bash command then launches that installer:

A screen-full of warning text advises you that installing Semplice will make quite considerable changes to your system. Those changes are as follows:

  • Full system update, if needed
  • Installation of ImageMagick, Ncurses, Cuetools, Flac, Ffmpeg, Curl, Dialog and other minor audio-visual helper programs
  • Installation of thebuild-essential program group, along with python, allowing source code to be compiled into working executables
  • Installation of odio-sacd, in order to be able to work with ISOs ripped from SACDs
  • Installation of the python audiotools package

Additionally, of course, once all that preparation has been done, the Semplice installer will... er, install Semplice Version 2!

You can decline to proceed at this point, but if you wish to proceed, type 'y' and press [Enter]:

Whether you see this prompt or not will depend on how 'pristine' your installation of Debian is. Out of the box, Debian does not grant the non-root user any sudo privileges (and is one of the only distros I know of that behaves in this way). That's a problem for Semplice, because it needs to be able to copy files into /usr/bin, which does require elevated privileges. So the first thing the Semplice installer has done, under the hood, is to check whether you, the user running the Semplice installer, has sudo rights. If you do, you will immediately be prompted to supply your own password at this point. On a vanilla Debian install, however, it will detect that you don't have sudo privileges and will therefore, as you see here, prompt you first to supply the root user's password. Once you do that, it will temporarily become root, add you to the /etc/sudoers file and then prompt you to supply your own password so that you can acquire sudo rights:


Again, note the wording here: this time around, it's your own password that's required, not root's.

Once you've navigated this privileged user merry-go-round, you'll see that various software packages begin to be downloaded in the usual fashion:


On my vanilla Debian install, this stage of proceedings required I download 112MB of software, which isn't nothing... but isn't exactly a mountain of data either. After just a few minutes, therefore, the software prerequisites are downloaded and installed and the Semplice installer changes to display this:

This is a 'waymark' of sorts: it's telling you that the installation of third-party programs and libraries that Semplice depends on has completed successfully. If you now click [OK] at this point, the Semplice installer will move on to the next stage of the installation process, which is the installation of the Odio-Sacd ISO-reading program:

Again, click [OK] to proceed:

The odio-sacd installation process then involves a lot of downloading and building, including a mysterious colour change at the 5% mark! Once it completes, the Semplice installer changes once more to display this:

Click [OK] to start this next phase of the install process:

You'll see a series of dots appear in a region towards the bottom of the screen. Each dot represents one of Semplice's files; if an 'X' appears instead of a dot, it means that fetching the file has failed for some reason. You'll be offered a chance to re-try should any failures occur. If worse comes to worst, you can simply re-run the entire installation procedure (by re-issuing the bash seminst command) to fix any errors arising from, say, this site's temporary unavailability. A re-run Semplice installation will whizz through the software prerequisites part of proceedings (because, of course, everything Semplice depends on has, at this point, already been installed) and jump straight to this file copying routine. Once all the files have been fetched without error, you'll see this new message appear:

This is the file verification procedure: Semplice generates a hash sum for each of the files it's just downloaded and compares that hash sum with a list of known good hashes that I keep on this site. If the two match, we can be sure that your downloads were good ones. If they don't, you'll be warned and a second attempt to fetch known-good files will be made. Click [OK] to kick off the verification process -and be patient, because it takes a while to complete and there's no particular evidence of anything happening whilst it does so. A blinking cursor in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen is about all the indication you'll get that the installer is doing something, I'm afraid! After what will feel like hours, but is in reality only a matter of 30 seconds or so, you'll hopefully see this:

This is the point where you know the Semplice installation has completed and been successful. If instead you get a message that says, "Verification of downloaded files has failed: Click OK to try downloading again" then you should click [OK] (or press [Enter] which amounts to the same thing) and let the installer have another attempt. It is in any case unusual to need a second attempt, however, and usually the second attempt fixes things without drama. If Semplice seems to behave oddly or fails to function as advertised elsewhere in this user manual, however, you may want to try re-installing it at a later time: Semplice doesn't use a database or other form of persistent storage of any great consequence, so re-installing the program multiple times does no harm.

3.0 Running the Program

With Semplice installed, the next question is: how do you run it? That kind of depends on your choice of Desktop Environment. In the LXQt one I'm using here, I click the start menu and then drill down to the Sound & Video menu, like so:

Note that you may need to reboot your system before the new menu item actually appears -but there's certainly meant to be a new menu item called 'semplice2', complete with Beethoven iconography, in that Start menu option. KDE places the program launcher similarly; on Gnome, you have to invoke the full-screen program launcher and hunt for it in the various pages of launcher icons there. Other desktop environments sometimes have a 'Multimedia' menu rather than a 'Sound & Video' one: in any event, you should be able to find the launcher somewhere on your system! Additionally, you'll notice from the above screenshot, for example, that the Semplice installer usually tries to place a program launcher somewhere on your desktop, too (it's right there, on the left-hand side of the desktop, just above the trash can icon).

Be warned that if you try to use that Desktop launcher to run Semplice, you will be alerted with this message:

Debian-based distros dislike launching executables from the desktop: it's a potential security risk after all. Therefore, trying to do so provokes this prompt to confirm that you really do want to 'execute' the launcher. No such prompt arises when you use the Start menu -> Sound & Video launcher, because the Start menu is considered to be the 'safe place' to run things from. So, use either launcher as you prefer, but the one buried in the Start menu is intended to be the 'proper' launcher, and the one on the Desktop is provided merely as a convenience: you may well decide to delete that desktop icon completely before too much time has passed!

Having said all that, you can always open a regular terminal session and launch the program just by typing the one-word command semplice. The trouble with doing this, however, is that it will mean Semplice is running within a terminal that might not be of the correct size (it needs to be at least 103 columns wide and 28 tall) and which you've configured to have a particular colour and appearance scheme, and the results can be quite unpredictable:

Here, the LXQt default terminal is configured to use a sans serif font that's quite small, in a vaguely blue hue, and with a semi-transparent background that lets the Debian logo from the desktop wallpaper 'bleed' through. Some people (me!) find that tricky to read as a result. What you're really supposed to see, and what you will see if you launch the program with its dedicated in-menu program launcher, is this:

The "proper" program launcher runs Semplice within its own xterm window and, in doing so, is able to control that window's size and choice of colour scheme: as you can see, it favours a solid black background, mostly white text and green main menu and screen-drawing elements, along with the use of a serif font (which Semplice installed on your system as part of its own installation routine). You can, of course, alter the default profile of the standard terminal to achieve a similar result:

Here, for example, I've configured the standard terminal to use the 'Ubuntu' built-in theme and manually selected to turn off the use of 'Terminal transparency'. A version of Semplice then runs with this purple-ish, home-brew look-and-feel, whilst the "proper" green-on-black Semplice environment runs in the background. You have the flexibility to run Semplice however you like, therefore, and to make it look as you would prefer.

4.0 Post-Install Configuration

Once you've learned how to launch Semplice, you should take the time to visit the Miscellaneous menu and investigate the program's default configuration (Option 1): just tap 'M' to jump to the Miscellaneous menu, then tap '1' to activate that menu option. You can also arrow left and/or right to move the highlighted top menu option to the appropriate item and then tap '1' on arrival at the correct one. Either way, you'd see something like this:

There are four pages of configuration options, each dealing with a specific aspect of program operation. This first one, for example, has all sorts of options to do with how the program rips audio CDs. You should read the ripping-specific section of this user manual for full details on what to set and how, but I'd start by setting the 'Rip CDs to folder' option if nothing else, since that will determine where CD rips are stored on your local hard disk. The default is $HOME/Music, but that may be quite inappropriate for your purposes. Press [OK] to move to the next page of configuration options:

This time, the page concerns how Semplice's tagging options work. Again, see the tag-specific sections of this manual for specific details about each option, though the defaults here will probably be reasonable for most people. Another press of [OK] (or Enter) takes you to the third page of options:

There's only one parameter (currently!) that governs Semplice's 'SuperFLAC' behaviour, and the default is again a safe one (i.e., not to delete source files automatically after creating a SuperFLAC from them). As ever, read the relevant section of this user manual to fully understand what's being configured here. One last press of [Enter] and we get to:

These last parameters control the 'audio processing' parts of Semplice's functionality: the defaults will again be safe and applicable to most users, but if specific need arises, you'll want to tweak them here. Consult the audio processing part of the user manual for full details.

When you have just learnt how to run Semplice, it's probably a bit ambitious to ask you to configure how it should behave, with screens full of options you won't yet understand, I realise! The main thing to grasp at this point is that Semplice's behaviour in each of its main areas of functionality can be configured, and this is the place where to configure it.

5.0 Quitting Semplice

The simplest way to leave Semplice is to tap the letter 'X' (to "exit"!). If you launched Semplice from its proper menu launcher, tapping 'x' will close the Semplice terminal and return you to your standard desktop. If you opened your own terminal and launched Semplice by typing the command 'semplice', tapping 'x' quits Semplice but leaves your terminal running, with you sitting back at your standard command prompt: the terminal itself is not shut down, however.

The menu-pressing alternative to tapping 'x' is to tap 'Q' to get to the 'Quit' menu (or use the left- and right-arrow keys to navigate there) and then to take Option 2 from it. You will note that Option 2 is entitled 'Quit with no file processing': it's a clean exit from the program that doesn't try to do anything clever with any audio files that might be in the vicinity!

If you were to instead take the Quit menu Option 1, you would instead trigger Semplice's audio file 'tag cleaning' routine before the program quits -which is fine if there are no FLAC files present in Semplice's working folder. But it's not something you want to do unintentionally in a folder full of FLACs, since it involves changing the metadata associated with FLAC files: leave Option 1 until you know what you're doing with Semplice's tagging capabilities, therefore!

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