Installing Linux Alternatives to Windows Programs

I was in the process of transitioning from Windows to Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon x64. Obviously, programs were an important part of this transition. As described in another post, I had identified Linux programs (a/k/a packages) that seemed capable of replacing certain Windows programs. The challenge now was to install those programs on my Linux machine.

Note that my list of favorite Linux alternatives would continue to evolve. Once I went through the work of figuring out how to install a program and documenting it in this post, it would stay here. In other words, a program’s continued listing here did not imply that I continued to use it. Note also that, in a few cases, I have added notes to entries in this post, describing additional steps that might be necessary in some Linux versions other than Linux Mint Cinnamon.


It seemed that the first step in installing Linux packages was to make sure that my system had access to the appropriate repositories. A repository was simply “a storage location from which software packages may be retrieved and installed on a computer” (Wikipedia). (Of course, Linux Mint was based on Ubuntu, which was based on Debian Linux — except that Linux Mint LMDE was based directly on Debian, without the Ubuntu middleman.)

A search yielded relatively scant information on repositories for Mint specifically; a more comprehensive explanation appeared in an Ubuntu community wiki page. Even so, it was not clear, from that page — and perhaps it could not be very clear, at a general level — whether use of any particular repository was a good idea.

Another Ubuntu community page indicated that, at least from an Ubuntu perspective, there were four repositories. An Ubuntu package management page clarified that the Main and Restricted repositories were the standard Ubuntu repositories. Beyond those two, there were the Universe and Multiverse repositories. These latter two could have issues related to licensing, security, and/or compatibility. It seemed this would also be true, often to a greater degree, with Personal Package Archives (PPAs), which would apparently not be part of any repository.

In short, going beyond the Main and Restricted repositories would permit access to thousands of additional packages, at some potential risk to security and stability. It appeared to me that Linux users (including the authors of those Ubuntu pages) were not especially afraid of the extended repositories or the PPAs. And that seemed reasonable, at least if I stuck with the widely recommended Linux packages that dominated my list of Windows alternatives.

That was the situation in Ubuntu. Now, how did the situation in Mint differ? I found it difficult to obtain a clear answer to that question. For instance, there did not appear to be an answer in the top results produced by one obvious search. Among less obvious search results, a GitHub page seemed to list many repositories, some of which appeared quite minor. A different search led to an explanation that the people responsible for creating and maintaining Mint did not adopt Ubuntu packages wholesale, but rather selected most and rejected some, apparently on grounds of compatibility.

If nothing else, the search seemed to indicate that Mint did not adopt Ubuntu’s Main, Restricted, Universe, and Multiverse repositories. But this impression seemed incorrect in light of a GitHub page. It appeared that there might not be a webpage listing the official repositories — that the only available list would be that provided in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list file. I looked at that file in a new Mint installation. Its contents, largely matching the GitHub page, were as follows:

deb rosa main upstream import #id:linuxmint_main
deb rosa main #id:linuxmint_extra

deb trusty main restricted universe multiverse
deb trusty-updates main restricted universe multiverse

deb trusty-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb trusty partner

That list seemed to indicate that Linux Mint fully adopted all four of those Ubuntu repositories (i.e., Main, Restricted, Universe, and Multiverse), along with a few Mint-specific repositories. On another question, there did not appear to be lists of specific apps available within repositories, though evidently it was possible to run commands that would search repositories for specific apps.

Beyond the official repositories, a search led to one user’s unanswered request for a list of the best unofficial Linux Mint repositories. Other search results supported the conclusion that there was no such list — that, beyond what was already available through the standard Mint tools, it was going to be a guessing game, making a decision on the fly as to whether a particular repository or PPA seemed reliable.

On that basis, I updated the Official Repositories, as described in more detail in another post. Basically, I went into Software Sources. That program was available either by Start > Administration > Software Sources or through Synaptic (i.e., Start > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager). In Software Sources, I clicked on each of the two mirrors and allowed tests to run, and then selected the fastest mirror in each case, with a preference for nearby mirrors. Then I clicked the Update Cache button at the upper right corner. Note: if Synaptic was not already installed, I would have had to use these commands to install it, entering one command at a time and waiting to see if it ran successfully:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install synaptic

Originally, I felt that the logical next step would be to proceed to the next tabs in Software Sources: PPAs and Additional Repositories. But more recently I had concluded that it was easier and potentially more informative just to enter commands, most of which were already provided by others. Indeed, once I arrived at a settled list of preferred Linux programs, I believed I would probably be able to add my whole list of PPAs and Additional Repositories by combining those commands into a single script. But at this writing, I was not yet at that point. So instead of providing a list of repository commands here, the next section of this post provides those commands one at a time, in connection with the programs to which they pertain. So this concluded the preliminary steps I had to take regarding repositories.

Program Installation

Now I could get started on the actual installation of the list of Windows-replacement Linux programs that I had chosen, as discussed in that other post. I started this process by looking for each of those packages (as Linux programs were often called) in Synaptic.

Synaptic indicated that some of the packages on that list were already installed: transmission-gtk, firefox, vlc, thunderbird, wget, tar, gzip, ntpdate, flowblade, gnome-disk-utility, clonezilla, and simple-scan. Of those, some were marked with an exclamation mark in a gray box. I could not find an immediate explanation, but I suspected this was a warning that these were not only pre-installed but were also built in, in the sense that other parts of this Linux distribution might depend on them.

That left a number of packages on my list that did appear in Synaptic, but were not yet installed. Those (and other packages that I decided to install, in the attempt to use these and/or certain Windows programs) were audacity, easymp3gain-gtk, pinta, handbrake, arista, skype, smplayer, midori, bleachbit, recoll, hardinfo, gsmartcontrol, hugin, ncdu, clementine, ttf-mscorefonts-installer, secure-delete, wipe, playonlinux, locate, f3, winff, and cups-pdf. (Later, in Cinnamon 18, I added gedit as well.) Installing these programs was very easy. When I looked them up in Synaptic, I marked them for installation. In many cases, marking them meant including other programs on which they depended. Usually that was automatic, but in the case of gscan2pdf, I had to manually include djvulibre-bin, unpaper, and an OCR package (i.e., gocr, tesseract, ocropus, or cuneiform), of which I chose tesseract-ocr. When I had finished going through the list, I clicked Apply.

Now all that was left on my list was Linux packages that were not listed in Synaptic, for various reasons (see e.g., Debian Administrator’s Handbook), and would therefore have to be installed in some other way. For many of these programs, looking up and applying the installation steps was much more time-consuming than it would have been for Windows programs. These remaining programs, and my findings and outcomes, were as follows:

  • VeraCrypt. From the VeraCrypt page, clicking on the link for the Linux download put a .tar.bz2 file in my Downloads folder. With the aid of instructions, I right-clicked on it > Extract Here. In the resulting subfolder, I double-clicked on the desired file, which in my case was veracrypt-1.17-setup-gui-x64 > Run in Terminal > Install VeraCrypt. The startup icon was now available in Start > Accessories. I deleted the installation folder and stored the downloaded .tar.bz2 file in a folder on a separate drive, so I would have it for future installations. VeraCrypt ran successfully. It was not exactly like the Windows version, but it was reasonably close. Note: the solution was to install dmsetup (sudo apt-get install dmsetup) if an attempt to mount a drive in VeraCrypt produced this error:

No such file or directory: dmsetup


Later, in Ubuntu, installing VeraCrypt required this command, in the folder where I had extracted the files from the download: sudo ./veracrypt-1.17-setup-gui-x64, where that was the name of the extracted file that I wanted to install. That installation produced a message stating “Requirements for Running Veracrypt: FUSE library [and] device mapper tools.” One source said those should already be installed on Debian and Ubuntu systems; another said this was referring to fuse and dmsetup. Searches in Synaptic confirmed the presence of the former but not the latter. But installing the latter did not make VeraCrypt work: its icon was unresponsive, and an attempt to start its GUI from the command line yielded a cryptic “Syntax error: ‘(‘ unexpected.” One source said that was a consequence of running the 64-bit version. But that was what I had run on Cinnamon previously (above). I also encountered a minor problem when using VeraCrypt: it would pop up an extraneous message, “VeraCrypt is already running.” I put in a question on it. There did not appear to be any obvious fix.

  • Opera. The Opera people made clear that installing a Debian package would take care of everything. But I wanted to work toward automating these installations to the extent possible. Therefore, in lieu of the Debian approach (described with other installations, below), I followed their alternate installation suggestions by entering these commands, one at a time:
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb stable non-free'
wget -qO- | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install opera-stable

That last command was optional, insofar as I could search instead for opera-stable in Synaptic, and install it there, once I had entered the other commands. This way of installing Opera may or may not have been responsible for some minor problems I had with Opera in Cinnamon. It seemed that it might have been better to use the Debian approach after all.

  • VirtualBox. Another post provides a detailed discussion of different methods of installing, and of problems I encountered before finding the solution that worked best for me.
  • PeaZip. A search indicated that PeaZip was not a thriving part of the Linux Mint system. I decided to try it nonetheless, based on recurrent positive remarks about it. I had a hard time understanding how to install it. I found some advice for the portable version, but it sounded like that would be more complicated to use than the installed version. There also seemed to be complexities for the installed version. For instance, in an apparent conflict with other sources, LinuxG seemed to say that I could only install the “portal” (evidently meaning portable) version on a 64-bit machine. UbuntuHandbook told me to download the latest version and then run this command before installing that download:
    sudo apt-get install libatk1.0-0:i386 libc6:i386 libcairo2:i386 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386 libglib2.0-0:i386 libgtk2.0-0:i386 libpango1.0-0:i386 libx11-6:i386 libcanberra-gtk-module:i386

    Given UbuntuHandbook’s acknowledgement that a different package (i.e., libgmp3c2) required for an earlier version of PeaZip was not in the Ubuntu repository and thus “may conflict with other packages on your system and cause problem” (sic), I decided to see if all the packages listed in that command were shown in Synaptic. They were; in fact, they were all already installed. So, in the spirit of complying perfectly with the instructions, I ran that command. It did seem to do something — updating what was already installed, perhaps. Then I double-clicked on the downloaded PeaZip .deb file. That opened the GDebi (Debian) Package Installer. I clicked Install Package. Start > All Applications didn’t show a menu icon for PeaZip. But PeaZip did come up as an option when I went to a zipped file > right-click > Open with Other Application. Installing the .deb file without the foregoing command did not alleviate that particular problem.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.5.5. As detailed in another post, the last available Linux version of Adobe Reader was version 9.5.5. That download (and, presumably, earlier versions) was available in a .deb file. AskUbuntu provided instructions for installation in older versions of Ubuntu. In Linux Mint MATE 18, I tried just double-clicking on the .deb installer. For its status, GDebi said, “All dependencies are satisfied.” It seemed, then, that I did not need the additional packages named in the AskUbuntu instructions. In GDebi, I clicked on Install Package. The installation completed. For some reason, this did not give me an icon in Start > Applications > Office (or All), where I had seen such an icon while composing the earlier post. But I did see adobereader-enu:i386 version 9.5.5 listed in Synaptic. A Linux Mint forum thread suggested running this command:
sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386 libnss3-1d:i386 libnspr4-0d:i386 lib32nss-mdns* libxml2:i386 libxslt1.1:i386 libstdc++6:i386

That returned an error for “lib32nss-mdns*,” on which I posted a question. But when I entered acroread, Adobe Reader ran and was able to open a PDF. I was not sure whether the command just shown made any difference. When Adobe Reader ran, it produced an error in Terminal: “Failed to load module ‘atk-bridge.'” A search led to no immediately obvious explanation for or solution to that. Since the program was working, it appeared I did not need the alternate installation suggestions offered by Anderstood.

  • Google Chrome. In a VirtualBox virtual machine (VM) in Linux Mint MATE 18, I clicked on the download link for the 64-bit .deb file and chose the “Open with GDebi Package Installer” default option > Install Package. That gave me a message:

Same version is available in a software channel

You are recommended to install the software from the channel instead.

I wasn’t sure if “channel” was Deb-speak for something other than Synaptic. I thought I had already looked for google-chrome in Synaptic. But at this point I looked again, and there it was. So I installed google-chrome-stable that way. Unfortunately, when I started Chrome using the icon in Start > Internet, this gave me a video mess that I was able to shut down only by guessing where the X in the upper right corner of the Chrome window would be. I ran Synaptic again and marked Chrome for complete removal — and then remembered that I could just roll the VM back to the previous snapshot. A YouTube video said that the .deb installer was all I needed, so I went back to that. (For some reason, the video didn’t seem to encounter the message about the software channel, or perhaps they edited that out.) But that didn’t work any better: the video mess was back. I rolled the VM back and tried again. For Mint 17, InfoWorld offered some commands that seemed equivalent to what I had just done. I decided to try a set of commands recommended for Ubuntu 16.04, suggested by UbuntuManiac, in case Mint 18 had departed from Mint 17 in some relevant regard:

wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list'
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable

But no, that didn’t work either: same result as before. The problem wasn’t somehow limited to the Start menu icon; I got the same thing when I ran the google-chrome-stable command. It appeared that these methods were working well for others; was the problem that I was trying this install in MATE rather than Cinnamon? I saw that, in Terminal, the last of those four commands (sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable) was producing a seemingly endless stream of errors, many of which looked like this:

[4756:4756:0707/] [.CommandBufferContext.CompositorWorker-0x2c2389f06500]GL ERROR :GL_INVALID_VALUE : ScopedTextureBinder::dtor: <- error from previous GL command

A search for information on that output led to a suggestion to try running google-chrome-stable –disable-gpu. That worked. The source of that suggestion noted that I might also have to do this in Opera, since it too was Chromium-based. To build this solution into the Start menu launcher, I went to Start > Internet > Google Chrome > Properties and added –disable-gpu to the end of the Command line. I tested that; it worked.

So apparently the problem with Chrome wasn’t in the method of installation, but in the program’s interaction with the GPU (i.e., graphics processing unit). Note that those suggestions, and other posts arising from my search, all seemed to involve VirtualBox. In other words, it seemed the GPU in question was the virtualized VirtualBox GPU, not my physical computer’s hardware GPU. It seemed that others who weren’t having this problem were probably running Chrome in a native Linux system.

  • Google Earth. Another post details my efforts to find the best solution within a VirtualBox VM. That solution was as follows: (1) Before starting the VM, disable 3D acceleration. (2) In the VM, double-click and install the .deb download from Google. (3) Enter these commands:
cd /opt/google/earth/free
sudo wget
sudo tar xvf ge7.1.1.1580-0.x86_64-new-qt-libs-debian7-ubuntu12.tar.xz
sudo apt-get install libfreeimage3
sudo apt-get install libgstreamer0.10-0
sudo apt-get install libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-0
  • LibreOffice. Linux Mint 17.3 offered this preinstalled, but to see the latest version in Synaptic, I was advised to run a command to add a repository:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-5-1

Then I went into Synaptic and clicked Reload and then Settings > Repositories. That put me into Software Sources, where I clicked PPAs. Sure enough, the libreoffice repository was there, along with its accompanying source code repository. I closed out of Software Sources. Back in Synaptic, I searched for libreoffice. Yes, I could see that the latest version was 5.1.3. But my installed version was still 5.0.3. How to upgrade? In effect, UbuntuHandbook advised killing Synaptic and then going into Start > Administration > Update Manager > Refresh > Install Updates. It seemed that, the first time I hit Install Updates, it just showed me the list of things it was going to update; I had to do it again to make the actual download and update happen. Once that was done, I went back into Synaptic, searched again for libreoffice, and confirmed that I now had 5.1.3.

  • LastPass. I downloaded the installer and, as with VeraCrypt (above), saved a copy from my Downloads folder to another folder (with a name I would recognize if I needed to install it again), unzipped it, double-clicked on “” (the “.sh” being short for a shell executable file), and chose Run in Terminal. I did not see that this achieved anything, though: there did not seem to be an icon in the Start menu, and Firefox sync had already brought the LastPass add-on along with it from my Windows machine — as Chrome sync would also do shortly.
  • Pale Moon. I downloaded, saved, and unzipped the .tar.bz2, and then ran the file, as with LastPass. This ran a nice installer/uninstaller program. At the end, it gave me a message:

The oxygen-gtk/gtk2-engines-oxygen package has been detected on your system. Some versions of this package may conflict with Pale Moon and cause crashes. Please either upgrade the package, or switch to a different theming engine if you have problems with Pale Moon.

A search yielded no insight. I decided I didn’t like that message. Back in the installer, I chose Uninstall Pale Moon. Then, drawing from advice, I tried the installer again, this time using the Show Versions button. That produced another message:

Close Firefox

Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system.

So I closed Firefox. But then the installer opened Firefox again. The resulting page provided a link to archived versions of Pale Moon. The advice was to download version 24.6.2 (the i686 .tar.bz2), dating from one year earlier. So I did. Then it occurred to me that maybe the installer would let me enter its exact name (palemoon-24.6.2.en-US.linux-i686.tar.bz2). I tried that and clicked OK. It didn’t work. Never mind; I bailed out of the installer. As I viewed the commands listed on that advice page, I got the impression that this package was not reliably compatible with my Linux. A search led to a more recent page with largely similar commands — among which, for my 64-bit system (and assuming full Ubuntu compatibility), the first one as follows:


That first command was enough: it terminated with a “Not found” error. I knew from my Windows experience that Pale Moon was a nice browser. I was not yet sure whether it was fully developed in Linux, or where the best advice would be. I noticed that it was not yet in the Linux Mint repository, and that the two sources of advice upon which I had just relied were not consistent on whether I should try to install the i686 or the x86_64 version. I decided to postpone further grappling with Pale Moon until I needed it.

  • Cinelerra. A search for installation guidance yielded a total of two English-language sources. One source started with an unexplained suggestion to add the Cinelerra PPA for Ubuntu. I found that and, based on prior experience, achieved success with these commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cinelerra-ppa/cinelerra-cv-stable
sudo su -c "apt-get update && apt-get install cinelerra-cv"
  • I-Nex. I found instructions for installing the stable version:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:i-nex-development-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install i-nex

Unfortunately, that last command resulted in an error: “Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.” Right before that, I saw a handful of indications that I-Nex depended on various gambas3 packages. I started Synaptic and clicked Reload to get a translation. Its bottom bar said, “0 broken” packages. A search led to suggestions that seemed to say this command could be helpful and would almost surely not be harmful:

sudo apt-get clean; apt-get autoclean; apt-get autoremove; apt-get clear cache ; apt-get -f install

But several parts of that command returned errors. At least some of those were probably because Synaptic was still open. Before closing Synaptic, I searched and found that i-nex was now listed as available. Marking it for installation in Synaptic brought up a dialog conveying what looked like the same messages as when I ran that command in Terminal (e.g., “Depends: gambas3-runtime but it is not going to be installed”). I closed Synaptic and tried again with the clean, autoclean, autoremove, clear cache, and install commands. For some reason, they all worked individually (e.g., sudo apt-get autoclean) except one (i.e., sudo apt-get clear cache), but returned errors when concatenated with semicolons as shown above. The clear cache command said, “Invalid operation clear.” But it was what the experts had told me I could run! A search led to indications that clearing the cache was complicated. So I gave up on that. Instead, as advised, I tried this:

sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get -f install

The source of that advice said that my results meant my effort had failed, but I began to doubt that they were talking about exactly the situation I was facing, so I ceased at this point to follow that source. Instead, I tried sudo apt-get install i-nex again. It produced the same error as before: “You have held broken packages.” In Synaptic, I tried to install gambas3-gb-image, one of the troublesome gambas packages listed in that Terminal output. It seemed to install OK. I tried the sudo apt-get install i-nex command again. Oops. This time, it said that the gambas3-gb-image package installed (or “to be installed”) was a version older than i-nex needed. The situation seemed to be that I was attempting to install the updated version of i-nex, but it required the updated version of gambas, and I wasn’t going to get that from the official Mint repositories because that updated version of gambas had not yet been adopted in the Mint-approved repositories. An alternate approach to get a newish version looked complicated. For now, I-nex was going to have to wait until the repositories caught up.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder
sudo apt-get install simplescreenrecorder-lib:i386
  • DupeGuru (including the previously separate DupeGuru Picture Edition). The website seemed to indicate that I should download a relatively recent version. I chose the .deb file (the amd64 version, where I had a choice) for dupeguru for the latest Ubuntu release, which at this point was Xenial Xerus. I saved a copy, double-clicked to open GDebi Package Installer, and clicked the Install Package button. This succeeded: I now had two working dupeGuru icons in Start > Accessories.
  • Zeegaree Lite. I downloaded the .zip file, right-clicked > Extract Here, navigated to the folder containing the file, right-clicked in that folder > Open in Terminal, and entered this command: python It failed, apparently because (as the website had warned me) I first needed libqt4-sql-sqlite, python-pyside, gir1.2-unity, and gir1.2-notify. I looked those up in Synaptic, marked and installed those that I did not already have, closed Synaptic, and retried the command. That worked, and brought up Zeegaree.
  • Multi-Core System Monitor (MCSM). The webpage said I needed to start by installing gir1.2-gtop-2.0, so I did that. But at neither GitHub nor LaunchPad could I find a MCSM installer that I could understand. A search yielded no other insight. A comment described this program as “abandonware,” insofar as there had been no response from the developer for over a year. So I gave up on it.
  • Double Commander. A Linux Mint Community page seemed to say that I could get this program through Synaptic as doublecmd-common. Synaptic offered version 0.5.8, whereas the homepage indicated that the latest available version was 0.7.2. That seemed like a considerable difference in versions. I decided to go with the advice of LinuxG, which was to run these commands — and they worked (although ultimately I decided not to use Double Commander):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexx2000/doublecmd
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install doublecmd-gtk
  • Foxit Reader. The download page offered a link that opened a dialog offering 32- and 64-bit Linux, probably because I was working on a Linux system at this point. It gave me a .tar.gz file that, when backed up and unzipped as with VeraCrypt (above), yielded a FoxitReader… file. Double-clicking on that produced a working icon in Start > Office. As described in another post, unfortunately, I came to be sorry that I had installed Foxit.
  • ImageMagick. TecAdmin advised me to enter certain commands, but I found I had to revise them as follows:
sudo apt-get install php5 php5-common gcc
sudo apt-get install imagemagick
sudo apt-get install php5-imagick
service apache2 reload

When I tried to run those commands later, though, I got errors for php5, php5-common, and php5-imagick. Those messages said the package “is not available, but is referred to by another package. This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source.”

  • MultiSystem. UnixMen recommended these commands:
sudo apt-add-repository 'deb all main'
wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install multisystem

The last step informed me that it was going to require a surprisingly large 218MB of disk space (37MB of new downloads). I was interested in MultiSystem as a Linux alternative to YUMI. But I rarely used YUMI, and besides, they said a Linux version was on the way. I decided that I could probably continue to use YUMI in Windows (in either a VM or dual boot) to meet this need for the time being. So I bailed out of the MultiSystem installation, went into Software Sources > PPAs, and looked for the repository that I thought I had just added, intending to remove it. But for some reason it didn’t seem to be there.

  • Beyond Compare. From the website, I downloaded the .deb package, and processed it as with dupeGuru (above), with the addition of the required license key.
  • QuiteInsane. I downloaded this .tar.gz, but did not handle it as in the case of VeraCrypt (above). I went into the .tar.gz before unzipping it and looked at quiteinsanegimpplugin-0.3/quiteinsanegimpplugin/docs/en/index.html. Unfortunately, the steps recommended there were beyond my present ability — I could have tried, but we were beginning to reach the limits of the amount of time I could invest in such matters at this point.
  • Blender. This was available through Synaptic, but Slackermedia advised getting the latest version directly from the Blender website for the best codec support. That was a .tar.bz2 file for version 2.77a. But MintGuide said I could also get the latest version with the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thomas-schiex/blender
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install blender

The first of the foregoing commands produced (a) a statement that this method of installing Blender  would give me “a compromise between ‘edgyness’ and stability”; (b) advice to use sudo adduser [username] video to add the user (i.e., ray) to the video group; and (c) a suggestion to install nvidia-modprobe, though I was not sure whether that would be relevant only if I went ahead with NVIDIA’s CUDA toolkit, which MintGuide also recommended. I also saw several indications that Blender needed glibc 2.11, but I was not sure where that might stand at present, given that Debian had reportedly shifted to eglibc and back in recent years. I decided to postpone these additional changes until I had a better sense of what I was doing and what I needed. The last of the three commands (above) gave me an indication that I would be downloading 61MB. I said yes. This did indeed give me version 2.77a, same as if I had downloaded the .tar.bz2, but with what I hoped would be the advantage of being updateable through the repository.

  • Shotcut. UpUbuntu recommended these commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:haraldhv/shotcut
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install shotcut
  • XnView MP. The advice in this case was to use these commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dhor/myway
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xnview


  • Wine. As detailed in a previous post, I had found Wine relatively difficult to install. In this try, I started with these commands:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa

I went into Synaptic > Reload > search for wine1.8. There it was, with a star next to it, indicating it was newly added. I installed that, and also winetricks and winbind. Now I entered another command: WINEARCH=win32 winecfg. That opened dialogs offering to install mono and gecko. I clicked Install on those. When those were done, the winecfg (i.e., Wine Configuration) dialog opened, with a focus on its Applications tab. There, I changed the Windows Version from XP to Windows 7 > OK. There were lots of error messages in Terminal, but I had learned, and had been told, that it was probably OK to ignore most of them.

Next, for IrfanView and possibly for some other programs, I needed to copy C:\Windows\System32\mfc42.dll from my Windows machine. This was a dual-boot machine, so I had direct access to Windows drive C. It was listed under Devices, in the left pane of the Linux file explorer, at least when View > Places was selected. Clicking on that drive mounted it, and then (on my machine) it also became available at /media/ray/PROGRAMS. (PROGRAMS was the name I had given that drive in Windows.) (Needless to say, to avoid going through all these steps again, mfc42.dll was another file that would be useful to keep handy for future Linux installations, in a folder that would not be trashed if a new Linux system was installed over the old one.) I copied that mfc42.dll file from Windows drive C and put it into the same location in the Linux file system. That is, since my username was ray, I pasted mfc42.dll into /home/ray/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32. (Note that .wine was a hidden folder, visible via Ctrl-H.)

Then, back on the command line, I entered winetricks > Select the default wineprefix > Install a Windows DLL or component > mfc42. This led to a dialog in German. I clicked Ja rather than Nein. That finished the installation. I tested it by copying the .exe file for a portable program from a Windows partition over to the Linux desktop. There, I right-clicked on that file > Open With > Wine Windows Program Loader. That worked.

This concluded the installation of the Linux alternative programs that I had compiled. Now I would continue with other aspects of the setup of my Linux system, as described in another post.

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3 Responses to Installing Linux Alternatives to Windows Programs

  1. Stefano says:

    Hi Ray,
    great stuff mate, I really appreciate your blogs!!

    I need a good scanner program to convert my 1000s slides to digital.
    I have a dedicated slide scanner and managed to install it on Ubuntu 16.04.
    The original software is (to say the list) pitiful, so after much research it seems that the best Linux option is to use GIMP with the Quiteinsane plugin.
    Did you manage to install Quiteinsane?

    A costly alternative is VueScan at US75.

  2. Ray Woodcock says:

    I didn’t go any further with QuiteInsane — just downloaded it. Glad you like the material!

  3. Am following the same path using Parrot Linux

    Anyone want to compare regularly used software for Linux, beginning with Google Chrome:

    Google Chrome no longer works on the 32-bit version of Debian. Consider moving to the 64-bit Debian version.

    Install Google Chrome on Debian 9
    Download the Google signing key and install it.

    wget -q -O – | sudo apt-key add –
    Set up Google Chrome repository.

    echo “deb stable main” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list
    Update repository index.

    sudo apt-get update

    Install Google Chrome using the below command.

    apt-get -y install google-chrome-stable

    Access Google Chrome
    Once the Chrome installation is complete, you can start Google Chrome by typing below command in the terminal or Going to Activities on Debian.

    Command Line

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