I’ve helped many people try Linux after switching from Windows, and they all inevitably have the same question.
“Hey, Linux is great! But how can I install my favorite Windows application on it?”
On the surface, it seems like the obvious answer would be no. Windows software is written for the Windows platform, and Linux software is written for the Linux platform, and never the two shall meet. If you want to use your favorite Windows application with Linux Mint 11, you need to either find a Linux version, or find another application that performs the task you want to do.
However, there’s a way around that.
That way is a software application called “Wine”, an acronym that means “Wine Is Not An Emulator.” It’s actually a compatibility layer that lets you, in theory, run Windows applications on a Linux system. Not all applications work, some work better than others, and some require considerable tweaking before they will work. However, if you’re willing to do the research, you can get your Windows application working on Linux Mint 11.
Configuring Wine can occasionally be a challenge, but Wine installs quite easily and runs just fine on Linux Mint 11. To install Wine, use this command at the Terminal prompt:
sudo apt-get install wine
Enter your password to authenticate, and apt will download and install Wine. The combined packages come to a little under three hundred megabytes, so it might take a while to install depending upon your connection speed.
After the installation is finished, you’ll have three new Wine applications available through the Application menu:
-Winetricks, a useful series of scripts for installing common Windows applications.
-Configure Wine, which lets you tweak settings for both individual programs and Wine as a whole.
-Uninstall Wine software, which lets you remove Windows programs installed via Wine.
To install Windows software in Wine, you need to right-click on the installer file and select “Open With Wine Windows Program Loader.”
However, you’ll probably first need to mark the installer file as executable. Depending on the application, Wine might not be able to install it if its installer file isn’t executable. For instance, to mark an installer file in your Downloads folder named INSTALL.EXE as executable, use this command at the Terminal prompt:
chmod 755 ~/Downloads/INSTALL.EXE
After the file has been marked as executable, you can then-right click on it and install with Wine. Follow the default prompts, and your program should install. After the installation is completed installed, you can launch it by going to the Applications menu, to the Wine category, to Programs, and clicking on the program’s icon.
You can also install Windows software with Wine through the command line, which is often the easier way to do it. For instance, to install the example above, you would use this command:
If the application did not install, you’ll probably have to change the Wine settings. The best course is to probably browse the Wine application database and see if you can find the correct settings there. The database contains settings and tips for installing thousands of Windows applications, and you can find it here:
Generally, Wine is very good at backwards compatibility – the older an application is, the more likely it is that Wine will support it.