Gimp Photography Words

Run Photoshop in Linux

It may be possible to get Photoshop to run in Linux but would you want to? As a research project in the interest of informing the dear readers of this blog I attempted the install.

  • First of all I had to search out an illegal copy of Photoshop because frankly I don’t have Photoshop and can’t afford it given the revenue I get from my photography. Bittorrent helpd here but, boy was it a pain. There’s a version of Photoshop floating around called “Portable Photoshop”. It’s a self contained install. Unfortunately I got hopelessly low download rates for the several torrents of this application I tried. Adobe, you have nothing to worry about!
  • While that was downloading I installed wine with a simple apt-get install wine. No surprises there. Apt did it’s job and installed everything properly.
  • Finally, the necessary bits downloaded and I unzipped it into a directory then ran wine Photoshop.exe.

How well does it run? After running Wine, up popped the Adobe loading screen and for what seemed like an age it looked for plugins and other assorted stuff. Finally, after a significant wait the Photoshop user interface appeared and I marvelled at how far Wine has gone since I last tried to run Half Life 2. First thing to do was load an image so I clicked File-Open, selected a file and clicked OK. Then, poof! An out of memory error popped up and Photoshop died!

After closing Firefox and Thunderbird I tried again. This time the image loaded but as soon as I tried any operation on it the same error popped up. After briefly searching for an answer and looking through the winerc, I didn’t bother trying a third time. Even if I didn’t have these memory problems I wouldn’t find myself using it. It doesn’t match the rest of the desktop. It’s dog-ugly actually. Windows apps usually are when they’re running in Wine. Bye bye Photoshop! It’s now deleted off my drive.

Linux users – Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, Red Hat, whatever you use, just use the GIMP. It’s a great piece of software that’s simply different to Photoshop. That doesn’t make it necessarily worse. If you are really hankering after the Photoshop UI then go play with Gimpshop. You’ll feel right at home in no time and you’ll save the 833 Euro that Adobe charges for their cash-cow. Ouch! How can any non-professional afford that?

Oh, Sven is working on colour management for the GIMP to keep all you printing folk happy!

Another alternative, Krita has come a long way since I looked at it last. I installed it this morning using Edgy’s Apt repository and it looks good. From a photographer’s perspective it’s missing a few necessary tools, although a levels tool is in the works. It does have support for CMYK but I’ve never had a use for that and as Cyrille says, all home and business printers use RGB. Some high end printers use CMYK but your local lab will print from Jpeg files so don’t lose sleep over it! I must post a comparision between the GIMP and Krita when I’ve used it before.

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

27 replies on “Run Photoshop in Linux”

Well, for those of us freelancers that need to work with a team of designers, GIMP doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t edit text created in photoshop, doesn’t have layer folders, and doesn’t open URIs or network files in Ubuntu (yes, even with the plugin from experimental Debian package repository)

That’s fine. You can afford to pay for Photoshop, so run it! I have to correct you about opening URIs at least. My copy of the GIMP has always opened remote files, just go to File->Open Location. It’s been there for years!

Thanks for commenting!

I run Photoshop just fine in Crossover Office Standard, which is fairly cheap if you really want to run Macromedia and Photoshop on Linux that is stable. The only problem I have is with some of my Photoshop plug-ins. I mainly use Gimp only running Photoshop to tweek text and to use some plug-in effects or common tools that do not exist in The Gimp.

One program that could kill the need for Photoshop on Linux isn’t The Gimp anyway, it’s Pixel Image Editor. I own the dev version and even though it acts as such it’s as close to Photoshop that you can get on Linux. Once finished I would suggest it will be better than Photoshop. It has all of the Photoshop tools and features, even slicing, and has effect brushes similar to those found in Corel Painter. It lacks plug-ins, but there is mention of making Photoshop plug-ins work – we will see, but if not I am sure a plug-in system will find its way into the final versions. Pixel is commercial, but it’s much cheaper than it’s rival and doesn’t only run on any OS but can also be ran on mulitple systems at the same time per it’s license.

Between Xara Xtreme, Open Laszlo, and Pixel Image Editor as will as the more common Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, Ajax, and Open Office I see no more need to pour money into Adobe.

I managed to get PS6 running just fine on Wine on SUSE 10.2. The only problem i’ve had so far is that PS seems to remember too many settings.. for example, a setting for one photo seems to get remembered if i close that photo and open up another.. which doesn’t make much sense and is a little annoying. The solution is to close PS and reopen it.

Other than that, it is pretty quick and no other problems. I don’t mind Gimp, just prefer PS.

Gimp has absolutely no comparative value to Photoshop. It is decades behind in what is possible with the Adobe package. The Linux community will be best served when Adobe ports their software to the Linux environment. Advances made in the last few versions of Photoshop have outpaced Gimp by leaps and bounds. It is the standard for any serious designer, and studio.

considering there is a 600$ difference in price, there better be a difference in quality between Photoshop and the GIMP. However, for what most people need to do, the GIMP does not fare too badly at all…

And calling it decades behind… considering photoshop only got the ability to edit type under a decade ago… I’m going to call a bullshit on that.

GIMP for photoshop.. do you really think GIMP is up neck to neck with Adobe’s photoshop..? i’ve tried to use GIMP, but wasn’t much happy with it.. may be its coz i’m so damn used to using photoshop..
the thing is, is GIMP as flexible as photoshop? flexible i’m refering to is not in coding… but in usage.. in photoshop there’s like a whole load of keyboard shortcuts, and mouse+keyboard shortcuts.. then so many colour profile changers, colour spectrums that could be edited.. effects that could be made… and most of all a slick UI. do you really think that GIMP is upto standards?
i rather prefer the pirated version that i get off a torrent.. already running photoshop cs3, and it IS freaking awesome..

Hashir – you’re not serious are you? You’re using an illegal copy of Photoshop and comparing it against a free piece of quality software? If Photoshop was free then you’d be right, but Photoshop CS3 costs over $600. When you’ve paid for your software get back to me.

I haven’t checked out the latest Gimp release yet (mine is about a year old), but from what I saw Gimp cannot be compared with Photoshop when it concerns picture processing. The lack of 16 bit color space (actually 15 bit as in PS CS2 or CS3) render Gimp totally useless for picture processing tasks. Furthermore I wonder if the dcraw version incorporated into Gimp supports 16 bit. I also tried Cinepaint – which does offer 16 bit or even a bigger color space – but it’s missing many of the features that Gimp can already offer, let alone PS.
I would really like to use PS under Linux. Actually, I run a dual boot PC ONLY to be able to use Photoshop. I’d be a much happier fellow if I could totally dump my Windows installation – I simply don’t have the time and nerves to deal with all those vital security updates and addons (requiring restarts to run) just to do some work on it.
I’ve also tried several free or commercial Linux-based alternatives, but there is nothing yet that can completely replace Photoshop (for picture processing). The best I found so far under Linux is Lightzone for RAW conversion, but it lacks many important features such as the transform tool of PS. I also found that it introduces noise, which may be a setup problem, but I couldn’t fix it yet.
I’ve used a trial version of Pixel which looks promising, but it still was too unstable to use.
Last not least there is the color management issue under Linux, which doesn’t get much attention. I’m using the Little CMS which works fine, but I need to run Windows to calibrate my screen with a Gretag Macbeth Eye One 2 as it doesn’t support Linux!!! A shame! I don’t have much hope that the calibration software can be run under wine or even a commercial crossover Linux or similar, since the software must work close to the hardware when calibrating a screen.
Putting all these factors together it’s a daunting task to get a workable Linux station for photo retouching and printing. If only someone could show me a way to answer these concerns and get a workable Linux solution.

Eye One 2 is working nicely under Linux with Argyll v0.7 (another CMM for Linux). No problem to create a high quality profile.

To avoid a dual boot PC only for one SW product you should have a look on VisualBox which is a virtual PC under Linux. I have a Windows 2000 running but even Windows Vista is supported.

It should be noted that all printers- no matter whether they are cheap or high-end- use CMYK. It’s just the way the world works. Even the very cheapest inkjet printer has a color cartridge that is made of cyan, magenta, and yellow inks (the K in that stands for black, which is already in the black cartridge). And since the type of colors on your computer screen (RGB) are produced in a different way, they do not print out accurately. Color management is incredibly important for this reason. If you have ever printed something and gotten something slightly darker or lighter or off-color, you know what I mean. CMYK is VERY important because if you want anything sent to a professional printer to come out looking properly (and you don’t want them to charge you extra for fixing up your file for you) you need CMYK.

If you’re not working with printed materials professionally then it’s fine enough to just use RGB as a color mode, but as I said, it’s not accurate because printers have to make their best guesses for colors in a color mode that isn’t native to them, whereas with CMYK the printer knows exactly how much cyan, yellow, magenta and black to shoot onto the paper to make the proper colors. I haven’t worked too much with GIMP yet (the multiple windows kill me, and after learning Photoshop it’s really hard to get used to the placement of things, even with Gimpshop), but if it doesn’t have CMYK support (again, haven’t looked for it yet) then something really needs to be done about it.


Your a retard.

You can not compare Photoshop to GIMP. Photoshop is an amazing piece of software with tools you will never ever see in GIMP. While GIMP is free that is fine, its a great piece of software for being free. But to bash on Photoshop because your piece of shit computer doesn’t have the memory to run it and additionally your installing it on an OS that its not ported for than your a fucking tool.

Your a biased Linux geekfag who has it out for Windows and anything that is made for Windows/Mac and not Linux.

Your comment is American ignorance at it’s best.

Dear Dumb:

Just as a point of order, as you may have noted when typing “Donncha” into your little rant there, the man’s name is Donncha. That’s about as American as borscht. He’s Irish. Irish ignorance is it’s own particular brand of stupid, slightly less fulsome than the American variety, but his post is an example of neither.

Additionally, since you’re so keen to directly address other people, you may wish to note for future diatribes that “your” is the possessive – “your handbag, it belongs to you” – and “you’re” is the contraction – “you’re a moron” – used as the short form of “you are.”

Example: “You’re awfully rude and your mother would be ashamed of you.”

Hope that helps!

I use Photoshop for Website and some more Digital Art (en-tyrael -> Deviantnick).
I installed Ubuntu on my Notebook last weekend and started GIMP – read hot discussion about how good how bad.
After 15 minutes I closed it with the knowledge – theres a reason for paying such high prices for photoshop. I only reached the text tool in GIMP and some geometric forms. But the textool gives it the deathly strike.


I’ve tried Gimp. It’s all fine for home users. I wouldn’t waste money for Pshop. But If You don’t want compromise the outcome because it is your job than go for Pshop. It’s worth the money than. For those who don’t agree try to play around with color curves and tones; color selection etc, and you will see the difference. I was actually very disappointed when I found out that the gap between these two is still quite large.


For starters, GIMP cannot really be compared to Photoshop. It’s nothing to do with preference, really, considering everyone I know who was great with making graphics using GIMP who has switched, not all of them have, over to Photoshop has loved it and improved on their already above average graphics.

However, I myself use Linux, on a crappy computer at that, and it has worked fine for me. I use Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” (Linux Mint 8 “Helena” at another Location) and it has worked well on both versions.

Wine does make the theme suck, that I will give you, however, I don’t think that the ‘look’ of Photoshop should matter when it’s capabilities far outstretch GIMP and is, in general, more powerful.

Honestly, from a neutral point of view, I have to say these:

1. Gimp is no match – photoshop is on top.
2. I tried many times to stick to gimp but kept returning to ps because of the learning curve.
3. I don’t know gimp too well but I think I’m correct to say that editing drawings that have been painted already is something almost impossible. Yes, it is easy to just keep drawing but making changes to what has been done is a mess.
4. Bottom line – gimp is free, but is that the trade-off?

Any gimp tutorials are highly valued. I’ll pay for them if you have any 🙂


I’m so tired of people saying Photoshop is way better than GIMP… Of course it is. It’s a small (probably more medium) open source project. It hasn’t spent millions trying to be the best image editor, nor is it trying. If you look at their web page their goal was to make a free Photoshop alternative with the look, feel, and usability of Photoshop. Maybe they haven’t made a Photoshop replica, but they don’t have Microsoft funding and Unlimited developers working on it 24/7.

And for the article the isn’t saying that GIMP is better, he is saying that GIMP is a good alternative for linux user’s and non-professionals. In my opinion if you are a professional than go for the high end expensive stuff.

Now let me be clear when I say this, I am not saying GIMP is better than Photoshop, or that Photoshop sucks. I am simple COMPARING 2 IMAGE EDITORS with the price as a very major factor. So, GIMP is good for an open source project. it is a great alternative for amateurs to do image editing for free and not have to pay $600 for Photoshop.
Also, if you are a professional using linux and need photoshop there are ways of getting it to run. And if that fails then just do a dual boot.

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