Though I’m a long time Linux user, it’s only been a few weeks since I went “cold turkey” and made Linux my primary operating system. LibreOffice has been serving me just fine for all my document work, I’m running much of my daily task work with Google and Thunderbird with Lightening as serving my email and calendar needs just fine.

I’ve found many great development tools too. But, there has been just one Windows application that I have really missed. TopStyle – the CSS editor.

There is a pretty good CSS tool installable from the Ubuntu software center, CSSEd Editor, and for folks with good visual design skills it’s probably plenty powerful enough but TopStyle has a first rate visual preview and didn’t find a way to do that in CSSEd.

So, I broke down and installed TopStyle on Linux.

Yep, TopStyle is a Windows program and I’m running Linux.

To solve this problem we will use WINE to run TopStyle on Linux. “Wine” is a translation layer for Linux running on Intel x86 machines that is capable of running Windows applications. Note that this is not an emulator, so performance is good, but Wine won’t let you run 100% of the applications out there. You can read more about Wine [ HERE ]

Lets walk through getting my Windows program (TopStyle 4) installed and running on Ubuntu Linux.

First, I’ve copied the TopStyle installer to my Linux desktop.

When I double-click on the .exe file to run it I get the following dialog.

You can see that Linux, by default, doesn’t understand the Windows executable file format.

To install Wine, start up the Ubuntu Software Center and enter the word “wine” into the search box.

You will select and install the package “Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer (meta package).

Click install and wait for installation to finish executing.

The meta package will install the the packages you see indicated above. Once this is done you can close the Ubuntu Software Center.

Now we can try to install TopStyle again. This time right-click on the TopStyle.exe installer file.

Select the “Open With Wine Windows Program Loader” option.

This time, instead of the error the TopStyle installer starts up just fine.

After walking though all the installer steps there are two links to start the program deposited on my Ubuntu desktop.

They both work so I’ll keep the one with the TopStyle icon and double click on that one.

After entering my license key  viola !

Now I can have my cake and eat it too. m

My hard core Open Source friends might object to my lack of purism but I’m a pragmatist.There is some really great software that is only available for Windows. Using wine, I can choose free / open source applications whenever they are available and I can fall back to the existing Windows applications that I’ve used in the past if I can’t find a suitable Linux replacement.

Have fun and let me know if you have questions and post requests.