The Linux community has been calling out to Adobe for years to get a port of their flagship software. It turns out, this will probably never happen (for many reasons – come conspiratorial in nature). So, how are Linux users to get their Photoshop on? Well, one option is GIMP. Now, I am also a graphic designer and use GIMP for everything I do. But I know there are things that are a real challenge in GIMP that Photoshop users can do in their sleep. And as my clientele continues to grow, I must expand my skills with the help of Photoshop. We all know I’m not about to step way back in time and start using Windows again. So, my choice is either to buy a Mac or install Adobe Photoshop CS5 with the help of WINE.

I’ll warn you… this is not easy, but it works.

We’ll install in a Ubuntu 11.10 desktop, but we have to first install CS5 onto a Windows machine first. Why? Because there are a few directories that must be copied over to the Linux installation. So here’s what you do:

If you don’t have the full version of CS5, download the 30-day trial from the download page.

Install this on your Windows machine. After the installation is complete, you have to export the Adobe registry branch with the following steps:

  1. Go to Start | Run and type regedit and hit Enter.
  2. In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE
  3. Select Adobe branch.
  4. Click | File | Export
  5. Save the file as adobe.reg.
  6. Copy this exported file to your Ubuntu machine.

Once you have this installed and the registry information copied, go to the Ubuntu machine and, if you don’t already have WINE installed, install it. With WINE installed, you must copy the following directories from the Windows machine over to the Linux machine:

  • “C:\Program Files\Adobe\” to “$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Adobe”
  • “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe” to “$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Common Files/Adobe”
  • “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\CS5” to “$HOME/.wine/drive_c/users/Public/Application Data/Adobe/CS5”

The next step is to import the registry keys. This is done with the following command:

wine regedit adobe.reg

Now install the necessary Windows dependencies with the following command:

winetricks vcrun2008 msxml3 atmlib gdiplus vcrun2005 corefonts lucida tahoma uff

Finally, you should now be able to run CS5 with the command:

wine “~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS5.1/Photoshop.exe”

No, it’s not a perfect solution… but it might be the only solution we Linux users ever have, should we long for the power of Photoshop. I probably won’t use CS5 much, as I have developed a fairly solid set of GIMP skills. But on those occasions, when I absolutely must have Photoshop, I can be thankful WINE exists.