Gun control isn´t about guns. It´s about control.

With a few mouse clicks and several trivial violations of the fundamental laws of the universe, you can enjoy your favorite Alchemy Mindworks software on Linux-based computers. Trust us...

But first, a word from our sponsor...

Some of the graphics at this page were created, managed and enhanced with Graphic Workshop Professional and GIF Construction Set Professional from Alchemy Mindworks. You'll no doubt see banners here that were assembled with Animation Workshop. To learn more about these applications, please click on the foregoing links or visit the Alchemy Mindworks home page.

The Alchemy Mindworks page also features Pagan Daybook to start your day with whichever god seems appropriate — the painting to your immediate right was drawn from its database of artworks — Presentation Wizard to assist you in creating multimedia Windows presentations, The Ultimate Screen Clock to give you unprecedented mastery over time and space... well, over time, anyway... and various other epic works of software.

Modesty would forbid my mentioning the extensive listing of my books herein if I were at all modest.


The contents of this page are copyright © 1995 — 2018 Alchemy Mindworks. Some portions are copyright © 1995 — 2018 Steven William Rimmer. The copyright holders specifically prohibit reproduction, transmission, duplication or storage of this page or any portion thereof in any electronic or physical medium, under any circumstances. Reproducing all or part of this page against our express wishes may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. The lawyers made us say that.

Please contact us for reproduction rates if you'd like to reproduce all or part of this page on paper. If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks.

Of course I´m out of my mind. It´s dark and scary in there.

Legal notice: If you read beyond this paragraph, you do so with the understanding and agreement on your part that all the information and advice in this article are provided entirely at your risk. You absolve and hold harmless the author of this page, Alchemy Mindworks and its related corporate entities, as well as the stockholders, shareholders, employees and suppliers thereof for any loss, damage or expense arising from your use of the information provided herein, including but not exclusive to attorney's fees and costs, however they may occur. You acknowledge that some of the references in this article are to technologies not developed by or under the control of the author of this page or Alchemy Mindworks, and over which they have no control. The lawyers made us say that.

In a perfect world, there would be a single, universal operating system for computers, and it would be stable, flawless, inalterable and supported by its developer at no cost. In addition, in said perfect world, elected officials would be honorable and trustworthy, consumer goods would cost what they're worth rather than what the market will bear and green would be a color rather than a religion.

If such a world existed, we'd live there, and you wouldn't be reading this.

In this world, there are several largely incompatible, funky and effectively unsupported operating systems. Windows is one of them, and while it's the most widely used, there are workable alternatives. The most engaging of these is Linux, which has the advantage of being effectively free and the disadvantage of having a lot of programs available for it, but very little software. Many of the programs require that you be a programmer to use them.

As much as we'd like to port our Windows applications to run under Linux, the reality of doing so is seriously daunting. Linux comes in well over a dozen popular distributions and the Goddess knows how many less widely-used ones. Every one of those distributions exists in innumerable versions, not all of which are backward compatible. Creating a port of one of our applications to run under Linux would involve an undertaking just this side of a total re-write, and thousands of hours of work.

Our apologies to the penguin... it's not likely to happen any time soon.

There is, however, a way to run Windows software — including most of our stuff — under Linux without rewriting much of anything. You can install an open-source, no-cost addition to Linux called Wine, which provides duplicates of the Windows software interface, or API, to Windows applications running on a Linux system. This, in effect, tricks Windows software into thinking it's running under Windows while it stealthily translates all the software's calls and requests into comparable functions that exist under Linux.

This document will discuss installing Wine, installing Alchemy Mindworks applications under Wine and the issues involved therein. Please keep in mind that it, like Wine — and as has been said of late, like Windows — is a work in progress.

Did we mention this isn't a perfect world?

Save the whales! Trade them for valuable prizes.

You can find out more about Wine at Wine HQ. Wine is easy to install — most of the time — and considering what it does, it works surprisingly well.

As you might imagine, this isn't the same as working perfectly.

Binary installs of Wine are available for Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora, SUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD and Sun Solaris as of this writing, and the source code for Wine is available, should you wish to compile it under an otherwise unsupported implementation of Linux.

The first important thing to keep in mind about Wine is that it won't be of much use unless the computer it's installed on is running an Intel-compatible processor. This includes pretty much every personal computer on earth, with the exception of older Macintosh systems.

It's also worth noting that while the current generation of Macintosh computers run on Intel processors, they won't run Wine as it's distributed due to problems with the Macintosh implementation of Linux. There is a Macintosh-specific version of Wine, called Darwine, which addresses this — it's addressed in a separate article.

To install Wine, click on the Get Wine Now link in the Download section of the Wine HQ page, locate your implementation of Linux and follow the instructions. If you're using a current release of Red Hat, CentOS or Fedora, you can install Wine, as we did, by opening a terminal window, running su and typing:

yum install wine

Once Wine is installed, you should see Wine as an item in the Applications window of your desktop.

Poor memory is not the same as a clear conscience.

The process of installing Wine will create a folder structure on your hard drive to represent the C: drive of a Windows system. It resides in a hidden directory called .wine in the home directory of the user who installed it. As such, if your user name is sloth, the directory /home/sloth will include a directory called .wine.

If you're new to Windows, it's probably worth mentioning that they're called directories under Linux and folders under Windows, because Windows is just huge on metaphors.

The problem with hidden folders is that they're hidden, and as such, you can't see them. Run the File Browser from the System Tools sub-menu of the Applications menu of your desktop and enable Show Hidden Files in the View menu to enable you to see this directory... or folder... or whatever.

If you double-click on the .wine folder, you should see a folder called drive_c, and within that, folders called Program Files and Windows.

Forgive and forget, but keep a list of names.

The Windows folder includes libraries that duplicate the core functionality of Windows, as viewed by a Windows application, but none of the software that installs with real Windows. As such, common applications such as WordPad and Paint aren't available under Wine — the latter will prove to be a problem.

Wine is now good to go.

Brands are for cattle.

While a simple Windows application will now run under Wine, there are several things that a complete Alchemy Mindworks application might find to be missing. The first one is a library called msvcp60.dll, which most of our software likes to have on hand. In its absence, applications like GIF Construction Set and Graphic Workshop won't run under Linux, and perhaps more annoyingly still, will not say why they're misbehaving.

Check to see that msvcp60.dll exists in the .wine/drive_c/Windows/System32 folder for your Linux system.

If this proves to be missing under your Wine installation, you can have Winetricks install msvcp60.dll for you — Winetricks will be discussed later in this article.

The second problem is slightly more obscure. Alchemy Mindworks software stores its documentation as HTML documents, which require a web browser to view them. Linux typically installs with the Firefox web browser, but this is a Linux application, not a Windows application. A Windows application that wants to open an HTML document won't have access to the Linux installation of Firefox.

The first thing you'll need to install under Wine, then, is Firefox. Visit the Firefox web page, download the Windows version of Firefox and double-click on it in the Linux File Browser. It will install under Wine.

If you´re not outraged, you´re not paying attention.

You're now ready to install some actual software under Wine. In this example, we're going to install GIF Construction Set Professional. The installation procedure discussed herein should be applicable to any contemporary Alchemy Mindworks application.

Double-click on the gcsp70.msi or GIFConstructionSet.msi installer for GIF Construction Set Professional in the Linux File Browser to open it. Work through the installation screens — it's all pretty much self-explanatory. It's a profoundly good idea to allow the installer to install GIF Construction Set to its default folder.

We'd like to take this opportunity to note that if you use Alchemy Mindworks software to do productive work, even if it's running under Linux while it's doing it, you need to register it.

GIF Construction Set is now ready to rock... mostly.

Can´t sleep... the clowns will get me.

Installing GIF Construction Set Professional should have created a wine glass icon on your Linux desktop for GIF Construction Set. Double-click on it and GIF Construction Set should run under Linux. Alternately, you can open GIF Construction Set from the Wine sub-menu of the Applications menu of your Linux desktop.

We too were shocked when this actually worked.

Honk if you do everything you´re told.

In the event that it doesn't work for you — that is, if you double-click on the icon and nothing happens — the most likely cause of the problem is GIF Construction Set proving to be unable to find msvcp60.dll, as discussed earlier in this document. Make sure you've installed it in your \windows\system32 folder.

When GIF Construction Set Professional first boots up, it will probably complain about being unable to find Windows Paint. This is normal — the default installation of Wine doesn't include Windows' ancillary applications such as Paint, and as such you wouldn't expect GIF Construction Set to be able to find it. We'll address this one in a moment.

Pretty much everything in GIF Construction Set will work, with the following exceptions.

  1. The Movie import and export functions are a tad obstreperous. As of this writing, the AVI codec support in Wine seems to be broken, and attempts to save an animation to AVI will fail. Attempting to select a different video codec crashes GIF Construction Set. As these are Wine issues rather than GIF Construction Set issues, we can do little but wait for the development people behind Wine to address them. You can save animations to AVI if you disable the Write Compressed Movies item in the GIF Construction Set Profesisonal Setup window. The MOV functions should work if you install QuickTime.

  2. The Paint function in the Image block edit window won't work, as GIF Construction Set couldn't find a Paint application.

Also, note that the Help menu may appear at the extreme right end of the GIF Construction Set menu bar under Linux.


By default, Wine will present applications running under it with two lettered drives. Drive C is the top of the Windows folder structure — that is, the contents of the .wine\drive_c hidden folder in your home directory. Drive Z is the top of your Linux directory structure. If you want to work on animations stored somewhere on your hard drive that's not under your .wine folder, you'll need to select drive Z.

If you open the Wine Configuration item from the Wine sub-menu of the Applications menu of your Linux desktop, you can fine-tune some of Wine's stealthier aspects. You can, for example, assign additional drive letters for use under Wine's simulation of Windows. This can save a fair bit of rodent action if you keep all your graphics in a particular Linux directory which you'll want to open quickly from within GIF Construction Set.

You can set the version of Windows that Wine will pretend to be. It's unclear what this setting actually does under Wine — we recommend setting it to Windows 7.

Finally, you can set the font resolution in the Graphics tab. You should leave this at its default value, 96 DPI. Increasing it will loose a number of cosmetic demons and wraiths upon GIF Construction Set, and many other Windows applications running under Wine.

The lack of Windows Paint under Linux is a problem for GIF Construction Set, and it's one that can't be resolved without a bit of stealth. To the best of our knowledge, Microsoft's web page does not include a downloadable installer for Windows Paint.

There are several ways to address this:

  • If you don't actually need the Paint facility under GIF Construction Set, disable the Search for Paintbrush item in the Display tab of the GIF Construction Set setup window. This will disable the search each time GIF Construction Set starts up.

  • You can download the installer for an older version of Paint from Microsoft's web page. There's a detailed discussion about doing so at our blog. This is by far our favorite way to resolve this issue, as the "classic" Windows Paint application is a good match for the sorts of tasks GIF Construction Set typically requires of its Paint function.

  • You can install another Windows paint application under Wine and configure GIF Construction Set to use it whenever you click on Paint, as discussed in the GIF Construction Set Reference document in the Manual. Click on the ? button in the GIF Construction Set tool bar. Being mercenary capitalist swine, we'd suggest our e-Paint software.

You can install the current Alchemy Mindworks animation plugins under GIF Construction Set running on a Macintosh... and they'll largely work, too. One possible exception is the 3D Effects #1 plugin, which uses some features of Windows that don't appear to be entirely functional under some builds of Wine.

Shouldn´t it be spelled fonetic?

Wine installs with just enough simulated Windows to perform the basic functions of the Windows software environment. It lacks a number of the resources that real-world Windows software likes to have available — and that includes most of the Alchemy Mindworks applications.

There's a third-party script by Dan Kegel called Winetricks that will automatically install many of the things Wine lacks, all without requiring that you search the Internet for files and then figure out where to put them in your Wine directory structure. Winetricks is only slightly more complicated to use than a toothpick, and no trees were cut down to make it.

To use Winetricks, you'll need to:

  1. Download Winetricks — this is so obvious as to quite likely obviate the need to mention it, but someone would no doubt have complained if we hadn't.

  2. Install cabextract, a command that Winetricks assumes is part of Wine, and which in fact is not as of this writing.

Neither of these tasks is likely to tax the mind of a liberal politician — much — and they can be performed whilst deep in a coma for the rest of us.

You'll need to open a terminal window and navigate to your .wine directory, as discussed earlier in this article, to install and run Winetricks.

The procedure for installing cabextract varies a bit, depending upon the distribution of Linux you're using. Assuming you have Fedora, Debian or one of the other distributions that's supported by the yum package installer, type:

yum install cabextract

The cabextract program will be downloaded and installed. You can download cabextract from the cabextract web page if you need to install it manually.

Winetricks is actually an elaborate shell script. To install it on your system, type:

chmod +x winetricks

The Winetricks script will download to your .wine directory.

You can use Winetricks either as a command line program or through its interactive user interface. The first thing you should do is run Winetricks as a command line function to install the Windows standard TrueType fonts, which will make a lot of things look nicer under Wine. Here's how to do this:

sh winetricks corefonts

If you have a fair bit of hard drive space, you can install all the available Windows TrueType fonts like this:

sh winetricks allfonts

Having done this, it's a really good idea to install all the available Windows media codecs as well, like this:

sh winetricks allcodecs

This involves Winetricks downloading a number of things from Microsoft's web page. Microsoft's installers will pop up windows to let you specify where their contents should be installed. Be sure to accept the default locations for all of them.

If you didn't like the look of installing msvcp60.dll by hand, as discussed earlier in this article, you might want to have Winetricks do it for you:

sh winetricks vcrun6

Here are two more useful Winetricks commands:

sh winetricks mfc40
sh winetricks mfc42

These install two Windows libraries that are used by a number of third-party applications, including some of our plugins.

To see everything Winetricks can do, type:

sh winetricks

The Winetricks user interface will open. Select the objects you want to install and click on OK. It's a really good idea to make sure you understand what each of these things actually does before you install it.

You can find more about Winetricks at the Wine web page.

I believe in dragons, good people and other fantasy creatures.

The following are the current Alchemy Mindworks applications and plugins, and their likelihood of getting along with Wine. This list pertains to the current releases of our software — many earlier editions were not huge fans of Wine.

The reality of running Windows software under Linux is that not everything Windows does, and hence Windows software expects, is available in the environment of Wine, or works absolutely as it does under Windows. The differences are slight, the issues are trivial... but this is more than enough reason for software to misbehave. Software lives for opportunities like this.

Graphic Workshop Professional  Installs and runs under Wine. The digital video issues that pertain to GIF Construction Set, as discussed earlier in this article, are also applicable to Graphic Workshop.
GIF Construction Set Professional  Installs and runs under Wine, subject to the limitations discussed earlier in this article.
Presentation Wizard  Not applicable to Wine, as it creates Windows executables that could only be used under Linux by other users who have installed Wine.
Animation Workshop  Installs under Wine, requires the Winetricks corefonts installation prior to use or really nasty things may happen. You have been warned. The digital video issues that pertain to GIF Construction Set, as discussed earlier in this article, are also applicable to Animation Workshop.
The Ultimate Screen Clock  Installs and runs under Wine, although its screen saver isn't applicable.
Pagan Daybook  Installs and runs under Wine, although its screen saver isn't applicable.
Calendar Wizard  Installs and runs under Wine — its printing functions haven't been tested as of this writing.
PNG MNG Construction Set  Installs and runs under Wine, subject to the same limitations discussed earlier in this article for GIF Construction Set.
e-Paint  Installs and runs under Wine.
Digital Camera RAW Plugin  Installs and runs under Wine.
Animation Plugins  Install and runs under Wine — the 3D Effects #1 plugin may encounter Windows resource issues, rendering it unworkable under some builds of Wine.

The foregoing represent our tests of our products under Wine, and should not be interpreted as an assurance or guarantee that they'll work for you. Please be sure to test the evaluation copies of the applications you're interested in on your Linux system before you register them.

In the US, a woman gives birth every twelve seconds. She must be found and stopped.

In running Alchemy Mindworks software under Wine, it's important to keep in mind that you'll be using it in an environment for which it was not designed. Wine is a well-written Windows simulation, and its developers appear to be striving to improve it. None the less, the possibility remains that some of the functionality of our applications may not work correctly under Wine.

Unless you encounter a genuine software bug in our products, these issues pretty much always arise from a not-quite-perfect Windows-like environment, that is, Wine is still experiencing a few growing pains. For the most part, we're unable to provide assistance with Wine-related issues pertaining to our software.

We urge you to evaluate our products thoroughly if you intend to run them under Wine, and make sure that they'll do what you expect of them. Not to put too fine a point on it, if you register Alchemy Mindworks software and then decide that it doesn't get along with Wine, you're sunk.

You can always spot the pioneers... they're the ones with the arrows in their backs.


The contents of this page are copyright © 1995 — 2018 Alchemy Mindworks. Some portions are copyright © 1995 — 2018 Steven William Rimmer. The copyright holders specifically prohibit reproduction, transmission, duplication or storage of this page or any portion thereof in any electronic or physical medium, under any circumstances. Reproducing all or part of this page against our express wishes may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. The lawyers made us say that.

Please contact us for reproduction rates if you'd like to reproduce all or part of this page on paper. If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks.