Linux

Linux is no longer just for computer geeks, programmers and nerds.

It’s actually a full-blown OS that’s as intuitive and easy to use as a Mac and FAR less bloated than Windows! You rarely, if ever, need to go into a command line (just like Mac and Windows).

And BOY does it have a lot of Ham software. If you haven’t seen it in awhile, take another look!

There are some GREAT free programs for Ham operators on Linux.

In addition to standard programs like Firefox, Chrome, Adobe Acrobat, Office or Google Earth, there are some unique Ham programs on Linux too. Check out this logging software!

FLDigi runs over here too!

Check out the CubicSDR software!

 

…and for the few programs that you might want from the world of Micro$oft, there’s a great utility called Wine that let’s you run those too!

 

If fact, there’s only ONE Windows program that’s tricky to set up in Linux (or Mac)… Winlink Express. So here’s a RARE example where a more advanced user needs to go into a command line. For that, here are the instructions:

 

INSTALLING RMS EXPRESS ON LINUX WITH WINE

These updated instructions (as of July 2018) are based on the earlier versions found here (a big thanks to dcj21net): https://dcj21net.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/install-rms-express-linux/

The above instructions only worked with RMS Express 1.4.4 – these new instructions discovered and tested by K6ETA will work with the latest versions including VARA and ARDOP support.

Before we get started, please note that DotNET support using Winetricks is very tricky. If you aren’t computer-savvy, I strongly recommend you use a $39 commercial product called Crossover to avoid many frustrating issues getting DotNET to work properly. If you opt for the easier Crossover method, see Appendix 2. If not, the Winetricks method below may or may not work for you. You’ve been warned!

First we need to associate your user name with serial access for rig control, etc.

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USERNAME

sudo usermod -a -G tty $USERNAME

sudo usermod -a -G audio $USERNAME

We need to start with a fresh version of Wine, so back up your old wine ‘bottle’ and clear caches.

mv ~/.wine ~/.wineBU     then (if it exists)     rm -rf ~/.cache/winetricks

We need Wine 1.8 with 32bit architecture from the official Wine repository (newer versions may not work with DotNet). For installing Wine on a Mac, skip the lines below and follow these instructions.

Linux instructions to install Wine 1.8

sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386

export WINEARCH=win32

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install wine1.8 wine-gecko2.i386

sudo apt-get install wine-mono4.5.6 wine-mono4.5.6:i386

sudo apt-get install gnome-exe-thumbnailer

We need the latest winetricks utility to help us install components – see notes in appendix 2

cd ~/Downloads

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Winetricks/winetricks/master/src/winetricks

sudo chmod +x winetricks

sudo mv winetricks /usr/bin/winetricks

 

Windows emulation should be set to Win 7. For linux (skip this on Mac) our sound driver must be ALSA …Pulseaudio causes distortion with many USB soundcards. We will also install Microsoft .NET 3.5sp1 and Visual Basic runtime using winetricks:

winetricks win7

winetricks sound=alsa

winetricks -q dotnet35sp1

winetricks vb6run

You may be prompted to download and install wine-mono or wine-gecko. You will need these too. IF YOU ENCOUNTER ANY ERRORS INSTALLING DOTNET, Winlink Express won’t install. See appendix 2.

We will need a COM1 port for rig control. This command will make a symlink (aka, an alias or shortcut) for COM1 in the dosdevices folder, which points to the USB device – usually ttyUSB0 on linux

ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 ~/.wine/dosdevices/com1

Now add the COM port to the windows registry.

gedit ~/.wine/system.reg

After “#arch-win32”, add the following two lines, save and exit.

[Hardware\Devicemap\Serialcomm] 1131331688

“COM1″=”COM1”

For VARA support, download these components:

http://spinfax.org/VARA_companents.zip

and place them in ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32 and if any exist, replace them.

Download Winlink Express (RMS Express) from the website. http://winlink.org/RMSExpress

Extract the zip file, and then double click on RMS Express Setup. Click Next and accept all defaults (yes, including installing on C: ) Once the Setup finishes, run RMS Express by clicking on the icon on the desktop or in the menu (under Wine)

Fill out your setup information – entering Call Sign and Password may pull your info. Click Update. Now you’re ready to use RMS Express. If the properties window keeps losing focus, move your mouse off the window.

Use RMS Express normally. You may be asked to install additional software. Install them normally, just like windows. Accept the default locations. I’ve tested two of the helper applications.

Install ITS HF using defaults when prompted for propagation information. Follow the link in the message box. ftp://autoupdate.winlink.org/User%20Programs/

 

Appendix 1: Common Problems

Most problems stem from installation problems with DotNET 3.5sp1 or setting up the COM port. PLEASE NOTE that the newest version of Wine (and Crossover 17 and newer) use a new COM port scheme, which will erase your symlink every time you reboot! To fix it, see this post.

DotNET support is not very good using the free Winetricks software. Some versions of Linux simply won’t work and most will only work if you follow the above steps exactly. If you’re willing to pay $39 for Crossover, that software makes installing DotNET very easy on both Linux and Mac.

If you want to use the free Winetricks installation method, make sure there are no errors when installing DotNET 3.5sp1. If you see an error, it’s likely that your Wine installation wasn’t fresh or you installed the wrong version of Winetricks, wine-mono or wine-gecko. Make sure there are no existing “.wine” or “.cache/winetricks” folders in your home directory before starting.

You need you be sure not to install 64 bit versions of wine components. Be absolutely sure to use the following command in any terminal window before trying to install any wine components:

 

export WINEARCH=win32

 

If you opt for the commercial Crossover method, simply create a new Windows 7 bottle named “Ham Applications” or something similar, then click on “Install a Windows Application” and select “browse all applications” and find “Non-Applications/Components/Microsoft .NET 3.5 service pack 1”. Use the same method to install “Microsoft Visual Basic 6 Runtime Service Pack 6”. It’s also a good idea to install “Fonts/Core Fonts” to make everything appear correctly. Paying $40 is a pain, but trying to install DotNET using Winetricks may not work in the end. Your choice.

When making the COM port symlinks, be sure to follow the instructions verbatim. This will only work if your Wine folder is named “.wine” and it’s in the home directory. Also make sure you used the correct name (all things in Linux terminals are case sensitive) for the USB/Serial cable.

 

Appendix 2: Using Crossover for DotNET and Visual Basic

The $39 commercial product called Crossover can be used to avoid many frustrating issues getting DotNET to work properly. Here’s the process to use Crossover instead of Winetricks above.

Please note that Crossover uses the directory ~/.cxoffice instead of ~/.wine for its bottle structure. Substitute .cxoffice for .wine in any instructions above if you use Crossover.

Use Crossover to create a bottle (recommend using the name “Ham” or something similar). Install “Microsoft Dot NET 3.5 service pack 1” in that bottle, then install “Microsoft Visual Basic 6 Runtime Service Pack 6” for VARA support. These components can be found in Crossover’s application list under “Non-Applications… Components”. Now download and install RMS Express in that bottle as well.