Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to install Formatta 7.0 on Ubuntu 10.04 using Wine

I do some volunteer work for the ELCA, and I recently found out that a good deal of the forms that the ELCA uses are in the ".pff" file format. For those of you that have never heard of the ".pff" file format, it is a format used for the Formatta Filler Tool. Currently, there are downloads available for Windows and Mac, but there is no mention of Linux. I will explain the steps that I used to get this program running on Ubuntu 10.04, without any assistance from the software maker, using WINE. For more info on WINE, read the WINE wikipedia article.

Go to Applications --> Ubuntu Software Center.
Search for "wine" and install "Wine Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer (Beta Release):

Once installed, download the Formatta Filler 7.0 PC file.
Go to the location that you downloaded the file, right-click the file, and select "Properties".
Make sure to click the "Allow executing this file as a program" check box.
If you don't check this check box before you continue, you'll get a "blocked" error when you try to run the file, like the one below:

Right click the file again, and select "Open with Wine Windows Program Loader" and follow the prompts.
Your program should now be available under Applications --> Wine --> Programs. Sometimes, you may need to reboot for the GNOME menu to update itself.

You should now be able to run your program in Linux.

Keep in mind that with this method, your mileage may vary. Not every Windows program will work, but some of them will. I still prefer native Linux applications, but this is a way to bridge the gap when a Linux application simply doesn't exist and an alternative is not available.