Using Gramps on Linux and Windows is causing problems with sharing the same data. Windows is on version 3.4.8 but Linux on 3.4.0. Data exported from Windows does not import into 3.4.0 on Linux. How can share data across when using different versions? Even if versions are the same at some stage, they will fall apart again. Are there conversion tools available, or a more suitable data format for this purpose? I tried GEDCOM but all the media links are lost.

  • Apparently Gramps Portable (which runs on Windows) is also on version 3.4.8. Would it be possible not to use a Windows installation at all, but to run Gramps on the Windows computer via a Linux Live CD?
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 18:12
  • 1
    Yes I can do that. Using XP in a VM on Linux. That is working but not very elegant. I've chosen gramps for the task so I can use it on multi platform.
    – ahagele
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:14
  • I was suggesting the opposite, to use 3.4.0 when on Linux, and a Linux live CD when you are on a Windows machine, and using 3.4.0 consistently. It's not elegant, and it loses any features found in 3.4.8 that 3.4.0 doesn't have, but you avoid the problem of conversion.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:26
  • Sorry, not much use to me. The Windows version is used by non computer literate sister half way around the globe.
    – ahagele
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 23:05
  • It might be worthwhile to add that information to your question, so that people understand the limitations on how much you can debug. Also -- welcome to G&FH.SE!
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 23:12

3 Answers 3


Although it's not obvious on our download page, we always try to release a Gramps version for all platforms at the same time. You can download version 3.4.8 for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows here:


For Linux, you need the .deb file from the list, and not the latest version recommended by SourceForge on the top of your screen, because that would give you version 4.1.1.

You can probably install the .deb file by double clicking it, just like you would install a .exe file on Windows. You may then see a warning that there is an official version from your Linux distribution, but you can ignore that and continue the install process. The files that we distribute on our official SourceForge download page are safe.

If all goes well, starting Gramps from the menu should now give you 3.4.8. If it does not, remove 3.4.0 with your Linux software manager first.

  • Fantastic. That is the answer I was looking for. With this I can always just match in Linux whatever my sister as Windows user is running.
    – ahagele
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 2:36

I'll take a stab at providing an answer -- or at least, some useful debugging questions -- although I am not a GRAMPS user.

On the Wiki page: Gramps 4.0 Wiki Manual - Manage Family Trees the section on Importing data describes which formats are available for importing files into GRAMPS.

The wiki cautions:

Please recognize that importing a database is different from opening a database. When you import, you are actually bringing data from one database into a Gramps database. When you open a file, you are editing your original file.

Further down on the page, they have a section Gramps XML and XML Package import with the following information:

The Gramps XML and Gramps XML Package database are the native Gramps formats. There is no risk of information loss when importing from or exporting to these formats.

  • Gramps XML (.gramps): The Gramps XML file is the standard Gramps data-exchange and backups format, and was also the default working-database format for older (pre 2.x) versions of Gramps. Unlike the GRAMPS V2.x grdb format, it is architecture independent and human-readable. The database may also have references to non-local (external) media objects, therefore it is not guaranteed to be completely portable (for full portability including media objects in the Gramps XML package (.gpkg) should be used). The Gramps XML database is created by exporting (Menu Family Trees ->Export...) to that format.

  • Gramps XML package (.gpkg): The Gramps XML package is a compressed archive containing the Gramps XML file and all media objects (images, sound files, etc.) to which the database refers. Because it contains all the media objects, this format is completely portable. The Gramps XML package is created by exporting ( Menu Family Trees ->Export... ) data in that format.

The thread [Gramps-users] How can I import to an older version? has a question from a user who posts:

The .gramps file you are importing was made by version 4.1.0 of Gramps, while you are running an older version 4.0.3. The file will not be imported. Please upgrade to the latest version of Gramps and try again.

Are you getting a similar error?

I don't know if any of the discussion in that Gramps-users thread will provide any clues. Unfortunately the Wiki only discusses the process of bringing forward data from earlier versions of GRAMPS to later ones. If you can figure out which build the Windows version is on versus your Linux version, you may be able to search for other conversations that will have more information by searching for conversations about the individual build numbers.

The Wiki page on database formats says that Gramps 3.4 - 4.0 use database format 16. Are you sure that your sister is using 3.4.8? Could she have downloaded the most recent version 4.1, which uses database 17?

On the page Run Gramps from a Portable Drive the wiki says:

Software Versions

While these instructions help you easily move your Gramps data between computers, no testing has been done to explore compatibility between different software versions. It is recommended that you only move your data between computers that share the same Gramps, Python, database and operating system versions. The more those versions differ, the greater risk of database corruption and data loss. You are encouraged to export your database to GRAMPS XML for safety when moving the data between computers with differing (or unknown) software versions. Do this on your known safe computer before moving to an unknown computer, and again when you have finished with Gramps on the new computer before moving back to your regular computer.

Does your sister explicitly perform an export, or are you trying to import a copy of her file which she has simply saved? (Sorry if that's a nonsensical question -- I haven't looked at Gramps in several years.)

  • I suppose the core of the issue is why can't there be the same current release version for all the platforms. Then a simple S/W update would get everything back in sync.
    – ahagele
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 23:12

I think you should use GEDCOM and resolve why your media links are lost.

I believe Gramps does already export the media links to GEDCOM. For example, see this GEDCOM file created by Gramps and look for the "1 OBJE" tag and you'll see a "2 FILE" line under it which should contain the path to the object.

So there's three possible reasons why your media links may not transfer.

  1. Your GEDCOM export has not included the media links. If that's the case, maybe there's some Gramps option you're missing to turn those on, or you're not including your media properly in Gramps.

  2. Your Gramps version is not importing the media links again. If this is the case, it is a bug in Gramps and you should report it and get it fixed.

  3. You must ensure that your media is put into exactly the same directories on the machine you are importing. That would be the only way the links will point correctly to the files.

Maybe keep a copy of all your media files in one directory, so then you'll be able to transfer that single directory every time easily. The example file has all its media in the /home/jgoulet/Documents/Genealogy/Gallery/ directory.

If your Unix machine uses a different syntax for specifying the path or if you put your files in a different directory, then use a text editor to change all the occurences of the source machine's media directory in the GEDCOM to that of the destination machine's media directory prior to import.

  • Do you have a favorite editor for viewing/editing GEDCOM files? (assuming you aren't using an alpha of BEHOLD!)
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 21:31
  • 2
    @JanMurphy To view or edit the GEDCOM itself, I use a text editor. Ultra Edit actually, but notepad is fine as well. To view the data, I use Behold. And Behold is way past alpha already and at version But it doesn't export to GEDCOM yet.
    – lkessler
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 22:55
  • 1
    Sorry, my terminology is faulty. I was envisioning that you might have a version of Behold with more features which was not ready for release to the general public, that might handle GEDCOM. The word 'alpha' was the wrong term to use.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 23:25
  • 3
    Behold is not designed to be a GEDCOM editor. It is designed to be full featured genealogy data editor that can import a GEDCOM file and will soon be able to export a GEDCOM file. The version I'm working on will add life events and in-place consistency checking.
    – lkessler
    Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 3:00
  • 1
    Actually, the exact information you want to know about what information is lost in GEDCOM export is given on the Gramps wiki here: gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php?title=Gramps_and_GEDCOM That article suggests you use the GRAMPS XML format to avoid data loss between GRAMPS programs as @JanMurphy answered. See if that works for you and if it transfers properly between platforms. It might or might not. If not, you'll have get the programmers to fix the GRAMPS XML transfer, or else have to resort to plain GEDCOM.
    – lkessler
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 3:41

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