Linux Box + Wine + X11 + ? = Profit!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by skyfex, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. skyfex macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2004
    A few months ago I played around with a Linux box (Ubuntu Linux). I eventually abandoned it because I had a hard time getting everything working properly. But there was one of the thing I played with that I'm interested in trying again.

    Essentially, what I did was install Wine on the Linux box. Then I set it up so that I could SSH it through After some fiddling, I managed to run most Windows applications on Mac OS X by having them run on the Linux box. But there was a problem. The text mostly didn't work at all. All buttons, menus, textviews, etc. was blank. I figured this might be some problem at the Mac OS X end, because running Wine locally on the Linux box worked fine. But I never could figure out what it was.

    Has anyone else done this before? It would be cool if someone could write a tutorial so that people could set up an old linux machine on the network to run Windows apps. In my experience it was a lot faster than VPC (on my PowerBook) or VNC-ing to a Windows computer. I would really like to get this working.

    Darwine seems to be coming along well. But I'm not going to rush to buy an Intel Mac when they come, and I'm less than optimistic about the QEMU emulation.
  2. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    sounde like you're on to something...

    ..then again, i didn't understand half the stuff you were saying, but it sounded promising to me...
  3. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Yep someone did it before, with Internet Explorer no less. It was posted on those forums, so do a search to find the thread. It's quite awesome actually.
  4. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    Pretty cool. Still, by the time I hauled out my old PIII 500MHz and got everything running, the Intel-based Macs will already be shipping... ;)
  5. skyfex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2004
    I found the thread, but that does not solve my problem. And I also thought someone experienced with Linux could write a tutorial for us who's not so experienced. I could write one if I figure out how to solve the problem, but I think someone else would write a better one ;)
  6. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Okay this is probably going to sound harsh, and I really don't mean to be. But you're basically asking someone else to do a significant amount of work strictly for your benefit! With Linux, the best way to learn is usually to dive in and figure this stuff out for yourself.

    Font management in Linux has improved tremendously, but it can still be a pain in the patoot at times. There's no way I'd even try to help someone with this sort of issue unless I had full access to their box.
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I've always wondered why there are so few Linux distros that ship with WINE pre-configured. At least, I don't think there are really many? I know SLAX does, but it's a live CD only. And there are a few, I think, that sell shipped with CrossOver Office.

    Anyway, like Westside Guy said, your problem will be hard to tele-diagnose. But the most obvious answer is that you don't have the font that the Linux box uses available in X11 on your Mac. Try resolving that and/or a different install. Start basic and get Damn Small Linux running.
  8. skyfex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2004
    I was afraid it was gonna sound like that. I was just wondering if someone had done this and run into the same problem, and if so.. what the fix would be. I wasn't asking someone to try and set it up on their own just for me.
    And I was pleading for someone to write a tutorial - not for my sake - but because I think a lot of people with little skills in linux and little patience is interested in this kind of thing. It's probably not hard if you set up the box for only that purpose, and a lot of people have old 500mhz PCs lying around. I really think it would benefit the Mac community if we made this easy for people to do.
  9. y0zza macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2005
    I've used X11 forwarding between my Linux and OS X machines a lot. No problems with fonts here.
  10. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Uh, if the whole point is to run Windows apps, why not use VNC? Just install Windows on the PC and run VNC, then run VNC Viewer on the Mac and connect to the PC. It works fine.

    Then again, if you have a reasonably fast Mac, like my 1.2GHz iBook, you can get VPC 6 and it will run Windows, and Windows programs, without any external hardware at all.

    And BTW, where is the "Profit" in the thread title supposed to come from?

    (edit) And if you really just want to fool around with Linux, you can run most distributions in VPC too.
  11. iindigo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    What if people don't want to screw around with the rest of the Windows desktop and GUI and just want to run their Windows apps concurrent with their Mac apps? Personally I'd rather do this than have to deal that nightmare named Windows in any form wether it be emulated or real.

    Plus you have the geekiness factor :D
  12. skyfex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2004
    Both VNC (even UltraVNC with drivers) and VPC is too slow for my taste. And X11 forwarding has the advantage of giving you the windows directly on your desktop. I find it a much better solution.

    Well.. I fiddled around and actually, I don't seem to have the font problem anymore. Perhaps Tiger fixed it (I also upgraded to Ubuntu 5.04) But now I have another problem. A lot of apps don't seem to work over X11 forwarding. Trying to run gimp I get:
    gksudo doesn't work either. But openoffice does. wine does. Mysterious :p

    The title comes from a south park episode. Think the original was:
    Step 1: Collect Underpants
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit
  13. skyfex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2004
    Well. Update:
    I found that using the ssh -Y switch instead of ssh -X fixed the crashes. But now I have the font problem again. I tried installing freetype on the Mac, but that didn't help at all. *sigh* This is why I don't like Linux. It teases you with these really cool features. But there's always some bug or problem that you need to spend hours in config files to fix. :(

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