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Deployment of Wine

The project is to build a Linux Mint machine to have the identical functionality and ergonomics as the existing Windows 10 machine.
Having established that there is no way to migrate fully from Windows to Linux, the project now needs to consider running Windows apps in Linux.This is a big change to the strategy of the project.This is a big change to the deployment of a Linux workstation, a crushing admission of failure, and the opening of a whole new world of risks to an otherwise secure operating system. Environment & required functionalityFor this blog post, Wine was tested on: The Linux Mint Xfce 19 virtual machine "Bilbo", on host Windows 10 laptop "Saruman"The Linux Mint Xfce 18.3 virtual machine "Gimli", on host Windows 10 host "Legolas".
Alternatives There are alternatives to Wine/PlayOnLinux, notably the paid software Crossover. Software selection Wine and PlayOnLinux are present in Linux Mint by default.  If uninstalled following advice fr…

A fail: Okular PDF Reader (an alternative to Foxit PDF Reader for Linux)

The project is to build a Linux Mint machine to have the identical functionality and ergonomics as the existing Windows 10 machine. This stage relates to reading and annotating PDF files.  It is a test of a secondary piece of software following a fail of Foxit PDF Reader for Linux.

Environment & required functionality

Reading and annotating PDF files need to happen on the following machines:
  • The Linux Mint Xfce 18.3 laptop "Gandalf";
  • The Windows 10 laptop "Legolas".
The synchronisation agent is Google Drive in Windows 10, and grive2 in Linux Mint.

Alternatives

From the fail of Foxit PDF Reader, alternatives are required.

Sources:

Software selection

From the above sources (especially Linux.Com of 2014), it looks like Okular might the best candidate for a test.

Evince failed to qualify because it seems unlikely to meet the minimum requirement of annotating PDFs.

Installation experience

Easy, but not necessarily the desired outcome.

In Gandalf's admin account, used Software Manager to find Okular.  Selected and installed Okular 4.15 (so it said) via Software Manager (part of KDE flathub).

Took a very long time, >30 seconds for <300Mb of disk space consumption.

In the CLI, top revealed no particular problems, Gandalf was working all the time.  Bounced Software Manager to kick the process.  Found out that Okular had indeed been installed and clicked to launch it, to prove installed.  Okular launched.

Oddly, Okular was not immediately available from the Xfce start menu, but ran from CLI as okular.  App "Application Finder" also found Okular, but didn't run it.

However, logged out of admin, logged into non-admin user, Okular now appears in and runs from the start menu, as it should.

User experience

Immediately presented with normal-looking window, menus are accessible by keyboard, and the standard keyboard shortcuts are available.  Good start.  CTRL+O opened the file open dialogue box in ~/documents.  So it should be simple enough to type ../grive/PRIV/Project[...] to navigate to the folder in which the test PDF file is located?

Nope!  Okular's file open decided it couldn't cope with this and presented a false error message about being unable to open a file that it hadn't been told to open yet.  Accompanying the false error message was an undesired piano-like sound effect.  (Had Gandalf's apps got a general permission to make any noises?)  Had to revert to using the keyboard (or the mouse) to use the GUI objects to navigate to the test PDF file.  The alternative would have been to use the CLI out the outset.

(A minor irritation, but one that demonstrates that, once again, a different Linux app uses a different set of libraries that re-invent the triangular wheel... there appears to be too little standardisation in the Linuxverse, too many forks, too much false choices.  This can happen in the Windowsverse, but Windows developers just seem less keen to re-invent wheels!)

Opened a known good test file and the file is all present & correct, complete with annotations saved previously on Legolas and grived to Gandalf.  However, there is no ability to annotate from within this instance of Okular.

Okular's About reveals that it is 0.24.2 on KDE platform 4.14.16.  This is nothing like as advertised in the Software Manager.

There might be a different way to find the appropriate version of Okular, but this will then turn into a wild goose chase.  At this rate, the Windows user will be constantly testing software instead of actually using it to be productive, and should therefore stick with Windows.

Conclusion

Okular did not meet the minimum requirements, so counts as a FAIL on this project.

Test completed May 2018.

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