If you recently switched to GNU/Linux (from Windows) and all you do is just browse the web, play a video, listen to some music … you know the ‘usual things’, then you surely don’t really need to worry about running your favorite, Windows based applications in GNU/Linux, because GNU/Linux has apps that can do those pretty easily.
But that’s not to undermine the power of GNU/Linux, as even if you perform complex tasks such as heavy graphics or video editing, composing documents etc, then there are still, very powerful applications such as ‘GIMP’ or ‘LibreOffice’ that can come into your rescue :).
However, if you must run a particular Windows based application on a GNU/Linux distribution, then there are special kind of tools, such as ‘Wine‘ that ‘might’ be able to help you out. But because of the vast differences between both these OS platforms, there is no guarantee that you would be successful in doing so.
In fact, other than for a few chosen, popular applications, others probably would not run at all. Therefore, the best solution is to run Windows on a ‘virtual machine’ on your GNU/Linux computer.
However, if you still want to give it a go, then rather than using ‘Wine’, because it is a command-line based application and is not that newbie friendly, you can try a utility like ‘PlayOnLinux’.
‘PlayOnLinux’ is a tool that is based on ‘Wine’, but because it has a GUI, it is really easy to use (tweaking settings, a ‘wizard’ type user interface for installing applications etc). For installing and configuring it Fedora 18, please follow the below steps.
First of all, let’s add the ‘PlayOnLinux’ repository to Fedora 18 software package manger. For that, put the below command in your Terminal window.
su -c 'rpm -ivh http://rpm.playonlinux.com/playonlinux-yum-4-1.noarch.rpm'
Then enter the below command to install it.
su -c 'yum install playonlinux'
Note: Please remember that ‘PlayOnLinux’ requires about 197MB of data to download while installing. So depending on your internet connection’s speed, it might take a while.
This step might be optional, but if you use a 64-bit version of Fedora 18 and while trying to run ‘PlayOnLinux’ if you get an error saying that: ‘PlayOnLinux is unable to find 32bits OpenGL libraries …’, then that is probably because the 32-bit version of ‘Mesa library’ (a software library used for OpenGL, 3D rendering) is not installed.
If that is the case, enter the below command and it might fix it (worked for my lame Intel GPU).
su -c 'yum install mesa-dri-drivers mesa-dri-drivers.i686'
Then try re-opening ‘PlayOnLinux’ and if that was the case, then now it should be fixed.
When you open ‘PlayOnLinux’ for the first time, it might take another few more minutes for updating its settings etc. When it is finished, you can click on the ‘Install’ button and then choose the application that you want to install (if it is listed then it is supported).
You can also try installing a program manually (if it is not listed), by clicking on the ‘Install a non-listed program’ option, located at the bottom of the program list window as well.
Or, since ‘PlayOnLinux’ needs ‘Wine’ thus it is also automatically installed, you can open any Windows program, directly using ‘Wine’ as usual too. For that, select the file, and right click on it, then from the menu choose: ‘Open With’: -> ‘Wine Windows Program Loader’, as shown below.
But again, there is no guarantee that it will function properly though.
How to use it?
This might no necessary but I thought of coming up with a simple ‘how to’ on using ‘PlayOnLinux’ for installing applications, both manually and automatically, might come in handy for new users. So here it goes.
Automatic method …
First, open ‘PlayOnLinux’ and then click on the big fat ‘Install’ button.
This will open a window that contains a list of supported programs. They are well categorized, you can also search and find applications, so it should not be a problem. This is the easiest way of installing a program as ‘PlayOnLinux’ will take care of everything for you (such as automatically downloading the dependencies etc) thus enhancing the compatibility.
Also, when you select to install certain applications from this list, they will be downloaded from internet, rather than giving you the ability to locate their setup files as well (such as while installing ‘MS Paint’, ‘Internet Explorer’ etc).
Anyhow, for this example, let’s say that I want to install ‘MS Paint’. Then I can locate it by either going over to the ‘Graphics’ category or can simply search and find it. Once done, select it and then click on the ‘Install’ button at the bottom (to the right) of this window.
This will open up a ‘Welcome’ message, simply click on the ‘Next’ button to continue.
As soon as you do that, ‘PlayOnLinux’ will create a file called ‘virtual drive’, automatically. If you don’t know what that is, then a virtual drive is a folder inside PlayOnLinux’s main folder, in which ‘PlayOnLinux’ keeps installed applications and their files.
You can install multiple apps on a single ‘virtual drive’, but it is recommended that you create a new one, each time you install a new application. This will be done automatically by ‘PlayOnLinux’ (except for the manual installation, more below).
There is nothing you have to do, as when it is finished creating a virtual drive, it’ll take you to the next step and will start downloading some files automatically.
As said above, when you install certain applications, before installing the actual program, ‘PlayOnLinux’ might first download and install a different version of ‘Wine’ (shown below). This is also normal, as some applications only run on a certain version of ‘Wine’. If there are other ‘dependencies’ for running this app, then they too will be downloaded.
When those are done, ‘PlayOnLinux’, again depending on the application, will download it from internet (as with ‘MS Paint’) or will let you choose its setup location. For the files that are automatically downloaded, the installation is pretty automatic.
Below for example is a screenshot while trying to install Microsoft Office 2003.
It tried to detect my CD/DVD ROM, so if I had one, then ‘PlayOnLinux’ will detect the CD/DVD and start the installation automatically. But here, as I don’t have a CD/DVD ROM attached, I can choose the ‘Other’ option.
Then in the next step, I can manually enter the folder path of MS Office 2003 (or whatever the program that you’re trying to install) and click on the ‘Next’ button to start the installation.
Then ‘PlayOnLinux’ will open its setup and you can install that program just as you would do in Windows (when in doubt, make sure not to change the install destination).
When everything is finished, you will be taken to the ‘PlayOnLinux’ main window and the newly installed application will be listed on it. Whenever you want to run it, you can select the program and click on the ‘Run’ button.
Manual method …
If you have an app that is not listed on the supported list, then installing it manually is the only way.
Plus, if you know what you are doing, and already have the setup for a certain app (let’s say it is one of those that are going to be automatically downloaded by ‘PlayOnLinux’), then too you can save some network bandwidth and time by installing it manually.
For this example, I’m assuming that I want to install ‘KMPlayer’ (an excellent media player for the Windows platform), though it crashes while trying to play multimedia files, after installing.
Open ‘PlayOnLinux’ and click on the ‘Install’ button.
Then, once you get the application list menu window, click on the option called ‘Install a non-listed program’, that is located at the bottom left of that window (shown below).
This again will bring up a ‘Welcome’ message. Just click on its ‘Next’ button to continue.
On the next step, you’ll be asked whether you would like to create a new or update an existing ‘virtual drive’. Since we are installing a new application, click on the first option called ‘Install program in a new virtual drive’.
Then you will be asked to give a name to it. Again, as mentioned earlier, since virtual drive is a folder where this program will be installed, it is better to give the name of the program. Since I want to install ‘KMPlayer’, I’ll simply name it as ‘kmplayer’.
Then, you’ll be taken into a new window, and will be asked whether you would like to tweak additional settings. As mentioned earlier, some Windows programs only run on a certain version of ‘Wine’, plus, sometimes, you have to manually tweak a setting or two as well.
Since you are a new user, just ignore this message box and click on the ‘Next’ button to continue.
On the next step, you will be asked whether it is a 32-bit or a 64-bit virtual drive that you would like to create. If the application that you are trying to install is a 32-bit one, then choose the ’32 bits windows installation’. If it is a 64-bit one, then choose ’64 bits windows installation’.
In the next step, the virtual drive will be created (finally! :D) automatically.
Then in the next step, you will be given the chance to manually locate the installation file of that program (whether it is in your HDD or CD/DVD, USB etc). In this example, I’ have located the ‘KMPlayer’ setup file.
Once that is done, click on the ‘Next’ button.
As soon as you do that, the setup of that program will be executed, and you can continue with it for installing, just as you would do in Windows (here too try not to change the default install location, just go with the default one).
If it was successfully installed, it will be added to ‘PlayOnLinux’ main window, and you can run it by clicking on the ‘Run’ button. Well, that’s pretty much it.
For getting more information, please visit this ‘PlayOnLinux’ home page. Good luck.