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HMRC PAYE Linux support

I’ve received my “New employers” CD-ROM through the post – and it claims to support “major Linux distributions” (they really should list the ones they’ve tested).

64-bit doesn’t appear to be tested at all – it’s a pure 32-bit application. However let’s see how far we can go – these instructions are for 64-bit Debian unstable.

* /cdrom/EmployerCDROM.linux results in:
** ./employercdrom.linux: error while loading shared libraries: libpython2.5.so.1.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
* an “ls” shows that the file is libpython25so1.0 – i.e. mangled to old DOS 8.3 format
* fix this by using “UDF” not ISO9660 filessytem
** if they had burnt it with rockridge extensions then this would have worked as a CDROM
* mount -t udf /dev/sr0 /dvd

* ./splash: error while loading shared libraries: libsqlite3.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
** oh dear, lots of missing libraries (as I’m running 32-bit)
** download the 32-bit deb of libsqlite3, “dpkg-deb -x libsqlite3*deb /tmp/sql; cp -a /tmp/sql/usr/lib/libsql* /usr/lib32″
* trying this many times you will eventually do this (NB: sqlite3 doesn’t have an ia32 package)
** apt-get install ia32-libs-libidn11 ia32-libs-libnspr4 ia32-libs-libnss3
* for i in libidn.so.11 libnss3.so libsmime3.so libssl3.so libplds4.so libplc4.so libnspr4.so libnssutil3.so libnssutil3.so.1d; do ln -s /emul/ia32-linux/usr/lib/$i /usr/lib32/; done
** this is likely to be incomplete – I already had ia32-libs and ia32-libs-gtk installed

Now the program runs, but then aborts with no messages. Take a look in /tmp,. you’ll see that it’s been dumping a randomly named 10MB binary there and not tidying up. There is also an EmployerCDROM_output.log which says:

Checking for existing HMRC processes...
    ProcessID:  6523  System:  linux2
HMRC Application Initialising...
start time:  Mon May  3 10:01:52 2010
config module initialising:
  Loading master configuration from /dvd/shared/xml/configuration.xml
  Running from CD-ROM - version 2.0.084.11355 on Linux
    Installpath = /dvd
    Serverpath = /dvd/server
    Userpath = 
    User XML path = 
  Finished config initialisation.
Gui:
    base url: http://127.0.0.1:46721
Server now listening on 127.0.0.1:46721 (http://127.0.0.1:46721)
    Launching Flash interface.
The server has not received any requests in the last 20 seconds
Sending stop signal...
  
  Server has stopped listening.
end time:  Mon May  3 10:02:32 2010
HMRC Application was exited.

It appears to be trying to run a web browser, failing and so quits since it hasn’t received a request. If you point a web browser at the address listed above (http://127.0.0.1:46721) then you’ll see the application :-)

Next steps are to install this properly, not least since there are updates which need to be applied.

Comments

Comment from Chris
Time: Tuesday 4 May, 2010, 08:27

Why are they sending out applications to install, instead of doing it all on a website (password protected, if necessary)?

Comment from adrian
Time: Tuesday 4 May, 2010, 20:48

Well it’s only for internal use really. I _think_ they do offer an online calculator too TBH. Quite why I’ve just received a stack of PAYE envelopes through though is rather more depressing. Yearly tax returns must be done online but quarterly PAYE stuff can’t?