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Sunday, June 06, 2004

Reading ebooks in Linux

For some time, I've been disappointed that there isn't a good Palmbook reader for Linux. This is strange, since some Palm-equivalents actually run on a Linux OS, but I've finally found a solution to my liking.

WINE, the Windows emulator, is a good program but not the easiest to comprehend or manipulate. In my case, it was almost unusable because every time I ran it, it would take 3-4 minutes to run the fonts through some process or another. After a little digging, I learned that I had to tell WINE how to find a place to load the Windows fonts automatically, which, since I run a dual-boot machine, is in the Windows Fonts directory.

I told it how to find them by going into the WINE configuration file, which is done by using the terminal to go into /home/user/.wine and running GEDIT CONFIG. I only had to change one line, (the italicized line below), and remove the semicolon that commented it out.

; the TrueType font dirs you want to make accessible to wine
[FontDirs]
"dir1" = "/mnt/windows/winnt/Fonts"
;"dir2" = "/usr/share/fonts/truetype"
;"dir3" = "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TT"
;"dir4" = "/usr/share/fonts/TT"

Palm Reader then worked without the excruciating delay, but I was getting an error saying that Windows 98 or better was required, so I made one more change, (again italicized below).

[Version]
; Windows version to imitate (win95,win98,winme,nt351,nt40,win2k,winxp,win2k3,win20,win30,win31)
"Windows" = "win2k"
; DOS version to imitate
;"DOS" = "6.22"

Finally, for ease of use, I created a launcher by first creating a little text file called winpalm, which does nothing more than change the directory to the one containing Palm Reader and call WINE PALM\ READER.EXE. The launcher command is simply SH WINPALM. Pick an icon, and you're reading .pdb files in Linux. I don't do much reading this way, preferring my Dana most of the time, but it's a nice option if you're going to sit down and have a sandwich while you're reading.

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