Updated: April 15, 2022
Welcome. This article is another part of my ongoing series on moving away from Windows as my primary operating system. A few months back, I realized that the simplicity and user-focused control of the classic desktop so far present in Windows will most likely be gone, or at least, become severely reduced in the coming years, and that I don't want to partake in that journey. Instead, I will be having my own journey.
I told you about my rough plan, and I already outlined how you can get SketchUp and Kerkythea working in Linux. Now, I want to talk about a lovely, highly useful relic. KompoZer. It's a WYSIWYG HTML editor that's last been updated some fourteen years back. And yet, it's still around, and I still use it, because it does the job. Now let me show you how you can get it working in Linux.
Hey, doesn't it already work in Linux?
Yes, it does. In a way, you don't really need this article. First, you can manually try to get it working by grabbing the ancient Deb files from the Ubuntu Pangolin archives, and figure out how to make those run. Second, you can use the snap package available from the Snap Store. Provided you don't want to be doing that, then the third option is to get the Windows-based version running through WINE. I specifically want to cover that here, because option 1 is too complex, option 2 is too easy, and option 3 gives you 1:1 parity with your Windows experience.
Another good question. Why a fourteen-year-old program that doesn't even support CSS 3.0? The answer is simple. For quick writing and page editing, KompoZer is the friendliest one around, if you believe me and my workflow efficiency wisdom. There are tons of modern programs that perform a similar function, but somehow, their overall look & feel is behind KompoZer, in me book.
True, KompoZer won't do a 1:1 end result you need, but it is an excellent canvas for preliminary work, upon which you can then add the finishing touches in modern software, or manually, in a text editor. That is, do the bulk of your writing, prep your articles offline all in KompoZer, and then fiddle with whatever else is needed to get the final output. If you think I'm talking nonsense, do a little test for yourself, measure your overall time, your mouse clicks, your actions, the switch from source to page view and back, whatever else you need in the workflow from an early idea to a published page, and you will see that KompoZer wins.
The only question remaining is, where do you find KompoZer? Well, it's a very simple program, and it's essentially portable. You can indeed grab the portable edition from PortableApps, or even grab your existing installation from a Windows machine, similar to what we did with Kerkythea. In my case, I had KompoZer 0.7.10 in a folder, and I simply copied it over to a Linux machine. You can try with the 0.8b3 version, or anything that strikes your fancy.
The first step is to have WINE installed on your system. I am going to use the exact same method outlined in the SketchUp Make 2017 tutorial. I have the WINE repositories added, and I installed the 6.X branch on my system (at the time of writing). Easy peasy.
Very simple again, and after our Kerkythea work, this should be rather easy.
- Copy the KompoZer folder and place it somewhere inside your ~/.wine directory, preferably into a standard location like drive_c/Program Files (x86)/.
- Create a menu entry (plus icon).
- Enjoy KompoZer.
Indeed, I placed KompoZer in the following path:
/home/$USER/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/KompoZer 0.7.10/
And then I created the WINE entry in the Plasma system menu, with the command being:
wine "/home/$USER/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/KompoZer 0.7.10/kompozer.exe"
Alternatively, you can use the following command structure, similar to how WINE itself configures apps:
env WINEPREFIX="/home/$USER/.wine" the command as above ...
And here we go, the awesome little dinosaur in action:
Another success. This is a good, encouraging start. It would be a bit harder to get enthused about my effort here if I faced error after error, failure after failure. That doesn't mean things won't get tricky in the future, especially with games and office stuff, but hey. We've got four years before Windows 10 goes EOL, and so there's no need to rush or panic.
In general, as you can see from the Kerkythea and KompoZer examples, anything portable should work without any problems. And you already know I use IrfanView and Notepad++ through WINE, as well. But then, those have never been the true blockers in going full Linux. Anyway, that's a box ticked. I'm gonna go chillax now, before tackling on a fresh challenge. Enjoy, and see you soon.