Guide to Running SwordSearcher on Linux Operating Systems (Updated June 2024)

Brandon Staggs

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It is possible to use SwordSearcher on Linux-based operating systems like Ubuntu with Wine. Wine stands for "Wine is not an Emulator" and is a work-in-progress that attempts to implement the Windows API without actual Windows.

However, making it work is not very easy, because SwordSearcher makes use of Windows features that simply do not work "out of the box" on Wine.

But, if you're using Linux, and you have some patience and eagerness to problem-solve, it can be done. This is how I did it.

IMPORTANT: If you are using a typical PC running Windows, and do not know or care what Linux is and have never heard of Ubuntu, please ignore this entire thread. There's no need to read it in your case!​


Before I explain how, please note that I offer no guarantee that SwordSearcher will work on Linux operating systems with Wine. I offer this as a potential alternative to using a Virtual Machine running Windows, which is really the only supported way to run SwordSearcher on a non-Windows host operating system. SwordSearcher is a Windows application and I can only promise support for using it on Windows.

That said, if you want to try it, feel free to read though this guide. If you haven't purchased SwordSearcher, please use this guide to install the evaluation version of it, before making any decisions.

I was able to get SwordSearcher 9.1 running "usable" on Ubuntu 22.04 with Wine 9.0, using the following steps along with Winetricks, a tool that aids in performing setup tasks in Wine.

The initial steps are best done in a terminal.

1: Install Wine 9​


I followed the instructions on the WineHQ wiki to install the latest version of Wine on Ubuntu 22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish), and they have instructions for other distributions.

Code:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo mkdir -pm755 /etc/apt/keyrings
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/keyrings/winehq-archive.key https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
sudo wget -NP /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/dists/jammy/winehq-jammy.sources
sudo apt update
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

Note that you need to be sure to replace the sources url with the version appropriate for your version of Ubuntu (see their instructions). If you aren't using Ubuntu, check their instructions for other distributions.

After this step was finished, I had wine-9.0 on the system.

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2: Install the latest winetricks​


I then installed the Ubuntu winetricks package and put it into self-update mode so that it would update to the current version.

Code:
sudo apt install winetricks
sudo winetricks --self-update
sudo winetricks --self-update

After this step was finished, I had winetricks 20240105 installed.

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3: Setting up a Wine prefix for SwordSearcher​


I ran winetricks to start the GUI and allowed it to do the initial setup which included installing Wine Mono. I then chose "Create new wineprefix"

Code:
winetricks

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I chose 64-bit architecture and named the prefix swordsearcher.

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Now from this point on, I saw this warning quite a bit. But 64-bit is correct for this case and what we need for SwordSearcher will work properly with 64-bit.

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Next, I closed the GUI for winetricks. Trust me, you do not want to do the next steps in the GUI, because you will be clicking OK on that warning dozens of times if you do!

So I dropped to terminal again and installed the corefonts package into the prefix I just made.

Code:
winetricks prefix=swordsearcher corefonts


This took a few moments to complete.

Next, I installed the IE8 package into the same prefix. THIS IS THE MOST CRUCIAL STEP IN GETTING SWORDSEARCHER TO WORK. Note that I do not care about Internet Explorer. I did not install the IE8 package so that I could use IE, I installed IE8 so that the wine prefix will contain necessary functional library files from Microsoft, instead of the incomplete files that come with Wine. If you skip this step, SWORDSEARCHER WILL NOT WORK IN WINE. This step is how to get working MSHTML.DLL and supporting files into the wine prefix.

The command to install the IE8 package (don't forget to specify the prefix):

Code:
winetricks prefix=swordsearcher ie8

Again, I recommend starting this from the command line. But pay attention. There is a GUI step to completing this:

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Click the "Restart Now" option at the end. This will NOT restart your computer, it will just allow winetricks to complete the task:

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Next I had to click OK several times in popup windows. Careful, they may appear behind other windows, and you will need to find them to finish:

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When it finished, my terminal window returned to prompt.

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Note that this also sets the wine prefix to Windows 7 mode.

Continued in next post​

 

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Continued from previous post

I ran winetricks GUI again:

Code:
winetricks

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I selected the new prefix.

I am now ready to install SwordSearcher into the prefix:

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4: Installing SwordSearcher​


4a: Installing the evaluation version:​

Do this if you have not purchased SwordSearcher and want to try it out to see how this will work. I'll provide steps for installing the full Deluxe versions later. If you have the Deluxe version already, just read though this until you get to the next section. You do not need to install the evaluation version first. (It won't hurt if you do.)

Download the evaluation version of SwordSearcher and save it wherever you want; I just used the default download location. I did this using Firefox in Ubuntu, and it saved the setup program in my Ubuntu home folder under Downloads.

Next I chose to "Run an arbitrary executable" in winetricks, and chose the setup program:

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The setup proceeds:

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Note: DO NOT CHANGE THE INSTALLATION DESTINATION. LEAVE IT SET TO THE DEFAULT.

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Note: LET IT CREATE THE DESKTOP SHORTCUT. We will use this later. The desktop shortcut won't work until we fix it, but if the desktop shortcut is created, fixing it is easy. If it's not created, you'll have to do it manually.

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Note: DO NOT LET IT LAUNCH SWORDSEARCHER AT THE END. It won't be the end of the world but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

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Almost there! After clicking Finish, a non-working shortcut is on my desktop:

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At this point I closed the winetricks GUI. It is no longer needed.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST​

 
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

Now I have to fix the shortcut so that it will run SwordSearcher in the wine prefix, instead of trying to run the shortcut link file that was installed into the Windows virtual drive. To do this, I opened Text Editor and selected the shortcut file on the desktop:

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So I changed this:

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To this:

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The important thing is to change the Exec property so that it runs wine using the prefix I created earlier, and runs the SwordSearcher program file that was installed into the wine virtual drive. Your exact location for the WINEPREFIX will be different than mine unless your account name is "brandon!" If you copy and paste this line below be sure to change the wineprefix path so that it matches yours.

Code:
Exec=env WINEPREFIX="/home/YOURACCOUNT/.local/share/wineprefixes/swordsearcher" wine "C:\Program Files\SwordSearcher\SwordSearcher9.exe"


Finally, I needed to allow this shortcut to be used to launch the application by right-clicking it and selecting "Allow Launching:"

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Now I can double-click the shortcut and SwordSearcher runs on Linux! (Note: for me, there is a disconcerting gap between double-clicking the icon and when SwordSearcher starts. I assume there is some time needed for Wine to spin up and do its thing. Be patient. Don't launch extra instances!)

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I'll write a followup about fixing the verse widgets and some caveats. If you have SwordSearcher Deluxe read 4b to see the easiest way to install that:

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST​

 
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

4b: Installing SwordSearcher Deluxe into the Wine prefix.​


Note that if you already installed the evaluation version you do not need to remove it. You can install the Deluxe version right over the evaluation version in-place. Just don't try to do it while SwordSearcher is running.

The only difference from 4a above is that you want to use your Deluxe setup files instead of the evaluation download. (You can't just put your serial number in; to get the full library you need to install it.)

If you have your Deluxe setup files from a prior Windows installation (look in your Downloads folder under SwordSearcher Deluxe Setup 9.1.1, etc) you can just copy them to a memory stick or over your network on to your Linux machine, then run Setup as above.

If you haven't got the files yet, here's what to do. Open the email with your SwordSearcher Deluxe Edition download instructions, and start as instructed. You're going to click the link in your mail program in your Linux desktop and let it save it.

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Next you need to run the downloader to actually download the full setup package. You'll do this from winetricks, so start up winetricks again, select your swordsearcher prefix, then run arbitrary program:

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The file you want to run is
Code:
SwordSearcher-Setup-Downloader.exe
-- this is the program that grabs the setup files from the server.

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When that starts, you want to change the location the setup files are downloaded to, so that they aren't saved into your wine prefix. Instead, we want to move up the tree and save them into the Linux file system, so you won't have to repeat the download process again in the future! Easily done, just click Change, and use the Z: drive to get to your actual Linux file system, and choose a location in your home folder. I just put them into my downloads folder.

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Once you click Open, you'll be prompted for your download auth code (see your email!) and the files will be saved to your Linux drive.

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At the end, you can have it automatically start the install process and it will work, but I recommend against this. Instead, click Close, so you can start the setup process directly from winetricks and know how to do it in the future without having to use the downloader again.

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Next, back in winetricks (with the swordsearcher prefix still active), run a file again:

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And navigate to where you had the downloaded setup files saved:

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You're looking for
Code:
SwordSearcher-Deluxe-Setup.exe
. (Note that there are other files in this folder needed for setup, too! you just may not see them if the open dialog is filtering for executable files.) Run it. From here on, the process is no different than installing the evaluation version in step 4a above, so jump there for details.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST​

 
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

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When this is done, if you installed over the evaluation version, YOU WILL NEED TO EDIT THE SHORTCUT AGAIN as described above.

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Deluxe edition, first run, on Ubuntu Linux! Time to hide some tabs and margin links!

5: Fix some font issues​


Finally, in order to get verse widgets rendering correctly, and other parts of the UI better handled, I copied some fonts that are taken for granted on Windows machines to the Wine prefix virtual drive. If you have a Windows 10 or 11 machine you can find these files in your
Code:
C:\Windows\Fonts
folder. Otherwise, a web search may be helpful, but I am not sure about the license implications of this so I won't suggest further.

The fonts needed are:

Code:
Segoe UI (segoeui.ttf)
Segoe MDL2 Assets (segmdl2.ttf)
Segoe Fluent Icons (SegoeIcons.ttf)
Wingdings (wingding.ttf)
Webdings (webdings.ttf)

With SwordSearcher closed, I copied them into the Wine prefix Windows/Fonts folder, like so:

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I found it helpful to turn on display of hidden files in the file browser. The actual location in my case was:

Code:
/home/brandon/.local/share/wineprefixes/swordsearcher/drive_c/windows/Fonts

Yours will be different based on your account name and could be different if you chose a different prefix name.

With those fonts supplied, SwordSearcher displays better.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST​

 
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

6: Caveats and other issues​


SwordSearcher uses a lot of things in modern Windows that are simply not available in Wine. So some things will look mismatched or misdrawn.

And in particular, Hebrew rendering in the Bible panel, commentary and book panels, and in the English Strong's Indexer simply does not work. in Wine. This is due to the fact that the text rendering engine supplied with IE8 is decades old and doesn't properly handle it. There's nothing to be done, except for Wine developers to eventually implement the MSHTML library more completely.

"Font fallback" doesn't work well, which means that mixed text (Greek, etc) may or may not render well depending on the font you are using. Experiment with different fonts.

Color mode won't switch completely without restarting SwordSearcher, and dark mode menus do not work well. Dark mode doesn't seem to work very well in Wine and I would suggest not using it.

More testing needs to be done to identify other problematic areas, but the bottom line is that SwordSearcher 9.1 on Wine is usable, if incomplete.

Some of these issues might be possibly worked around by me in code in the future, if I get the sense that enough people are actually using SwordSearcher this way, to make it worth the development time spent. So, if you're using it this way, be sure to let me know!
 
I've been hearing a lot lately about Linux and I'm tempted to try it, however, I don't have plans to ditch windows 😏... that's some detailed explanation there. Thanks
 
I use Linux Mint on another computer. It would be great if SS ran on it. I have been tempted to leave Windows, especially with some of the upcoming changes to Win 11.
 
I use Linux Mint on another computer. It would be great if SS ran on it. I have been tempted to leave Windows, especially with some of the upcoming changes to Win 11.
I expect you can run Wine + Winetricks on any Linux desktop distribution. It may just take some adapting of my instructions here. Mint probably has Wine and Winetricks packages. I only tested Wine 9 and the current version of Winetricks on Ubuntu, but you'd probably be able to make it work on Mint. The main thing for getting it to work is the winetricks ie8 verb that installs the Microsoft DLLs from the IE8 package.

If you're willing to put up with some of the deficiencies of Wine (mainly in some bad text rendering with Hebrew) it could be an option for getting away from Windows. (I also haven't had time to test audio in Wine, I'd be interested in whether or not this works well...)

Wine and Winetricks can also be used on MacOS, but I haven't got around to testing that yet.
 
What can I say? Not my cup of tea but seems you've very thorough here Brandon, as usual.
 
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

6: Caveats and other issues​


SwordSearcher uses a lot of things in modern Windows that are simply not available in Wine. So some things will look mismatched or misdrawn.

And in particular, Hebrew rendering in the Bible panel, commentary and book panels, and in the English Strong's Indexer simply does not work. in Wine. This is due to the fact that the text rendering engine supplied with IE8 is decades old and doesn't properly handle it. There's nothing to be done, except for Wine developers to eventually implement the MSHTML library more completely.

"Font fallback" doesn't work well, which means that mixed text (Greek, etc) may or may not render well depending on the font you are using. Experiment with different fonts.

Color mode won't switch completely without restarting SwordSearcher, and dark mode menus do not work well. Dark mode doesn't seem to work very well in Wine and I would suggest not using it.

More testing needs to be done to identify other problematic areas, but the bottom line is that SwordSearcher 9.1 on Wine is usable, if incomplete.

Some of these issues might be possibly worked around by me in code in the future, if I get the sense that enough people are actually using SwordSearcher this way, to make it worth the development time spent. So, if you're using it this way, be sure to let me know!
Brandon, thanks for this post on using SwordSearcher on Linux. I would like eventually to switch from Windows to Linux, but I would miss certain software - mostly Swordsearcher. One in our Bible study donated a copy of Crossover and I was able to get version 8 running fairly well - no Hebrew fonts of course but the search worked. I use it often. I want to try your method here with wine and see if I can get version 9 to work on Linux. Thankyou again for the post. Rod Porteous
 
I just installed SS on Linux Mint 21.1 Cinnamon (v.5.6.8) using the instructions above. The computer is an older Dell Inspiron (Intel Pentium Dual CPU T3400 at 2.16 Ghz). SS seems to be working well so far. I linked Scourby Audio as well. There was an initial error message, but it linked and is working correctly so far. Here's the error message.
Screenshot from 2024-06-10 15-31-05.png


I post more as I test this out.
 
The audio highlight color remains on the verses above the verse being read.

The KJV-TSK arrows links do not show.
 
The audio highlight color remains on the verses above the verse being read.

Unfortunately that is likely due to the old version IE8 that can be used to grab the mshtml and supporting DLLs.

The KJV-TSK arrows links do not show.

Font fallback issue, which doesn't work well in IE8. You'll have to pick a font that has the Unicode block in it that those arrows come from.
 
This looks fascinating. I will have to try it on one of my numerous Linux machines. They are all running Mint so they are based on Ubuntu LTS. I believe the future is going to be Linux for the desktop. Microsoft is slowly painting itself into a corner. First, they restricted all machines more than a few years old from running Win 11 and higher natively (there are ways to force it), and now the debacle of Copilot Recall. Not too many people are too keen on the idea of MS taking a picture of their desktop every three seconds. They say it is secure, but I trust Microsoft about as far as I can spit. With the deadline of the end of Windows 10 looming ever closer, people are going to have to do something or use a system that no longer has any security updates. In this day and age that is NOT a good idea. Back up all your personal documents and pave your drive. Install Linux and don't look back. I can't do this yet as I have Logos and Accordance that don't play well in Linux. Accordance doesn't at all. I do have Mac machines I can lean on to get by, I suppose, but there are other Windows-based programs I use as well. I'm thinking I may just have to resort to using a virtual machine for the odd bits. Once Copilot pokes its nasty little head out more and gets to the point where it is activating itself and you have to shut it off after every update, this might be the time to abandon ship. Be wary of this evil thing and watch what it does. Everything you do will be recorded in a neat little database on your drive. If somebody, through a worm or a virus or an exploit of some kind, gets into that database, all of your personal information is now public. Financial, personal, anything that you want to be kept private no longer will be. And if for some reason Microsoft decides they want access to your information, they can just break in and take it. You could sue them but they will already have the information and the damage is done. And seriously, sue Microsoft? LOL They have pitbull attornies on retainer just waiting to receive you.
But I digress. This is a very elegant solution to installing Swordsearcher on Linux. I have tried before to get it to work and failed miserably. LOL Then again, I didn't do the steps listed as above. I will be experimenting with this shortly. I have an ancient desktop upstairs that I saved from the recycler and Windoze Vista. It is much happier now that it has 4 gigs of ram and Linux running on it.
 
Impossible to complete these steps. Ie can’t be installed to a 64 bit prefix as it is 32 bit. I have spent over an hour looking for a 64 bit version or a way to force it. Impossible
 
It did not work on that machine with Wine 9.0 but it is working on another machine with Wine 8.2. I do not know why but it is working on this one down here and I am not arguing. I don't know why the other is not working. I will have to investigate further. I am having success on this other Linux box, though.
 
Impossible to complete these steps. Ie can’t be installed to a 64 bit prefix as it is 32 bit. I have spent over an hour looking for a 64 bit version or a way to force it. Impossible
64-bit version of what? You don't say.
 
64-bit version of what? You don't say.
It was refusing to install IE as it was saying it was 32 bit and the prefix was 64 so I was trying to locate a 64 bit version of IE. The machine down here with the older version of Wine worked just fine with no issues so last night I decided to go through all the steps again. I had already created the prefix so I kept going. I am not sure but I might have forgotten to update winetricks the first time through. It did work on that machine, though, when I slowly went back through all the steps. IE installed as it should and everything worked after that. The only thing I can think that might have been different was the updating of winetricks. I think I updated it the first time but I am not positive. Whatever happened, it worked. I tried and tried the first time to get it to work, though. I tried for well over an hour to get IE to install with no success. I guess the moral of the story is that if at first you don't succeed try and try again. I just didn't back up far enough in my attempts.
 
I would like to create a SS9 launcher on the bottom panel. I am not sure what to enter for the command box so it uses the PREFIX correctly. I tried the EXEC line in the desktop shortcut, but there must be a different format for the launcher. It would not let me click the OK button.
1718491902102.png

Any ideas?
 
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