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While many Adobe Photoshop alternatives exist, Photoshop remains at the forefront of image editing software. Although for many years Adobe’s ultra-powerful software was unavailable on Linux, it’s now easy to install.
Let’s learn about how to install Photoshop on Linux!
Adobe Photoshop vs. Alternatives on Linux
Linux is an incredible Windows and Mac alternative which comes in a variety of flavors. Likewise, you’ll find loads of Photoshop alternatives that run superbly on Linux, ranging from GIMP to Inkscape. Which is great if you don’t want to go through the process to install Photoshop on Linux.
Moreover, tons of these Illustrator, Lightroom, and Photoshop substitutes are freely available, including a lot of online tools that can replace Photoshop. So you may feel as though you don’t need Photoshop or Adobe Creative Suite.
However, many so-called Adobe Photoshop replacements aren’t up to scratch.
As tests show, many common surrogates provide similar features to Adobe Lightroom, not the full-fledged Photoshop. Largely, these develop RAW image files and catalog image libraries. For layering and correcting elements such as contrast and color, these software options fall short.
Therefore, Photoshop is the best, rather than a contender. Repeated tests have concluded that Adobe is the top choice for photo editing software. For starters, there’s an issue with Photoshop replacements reading Adobe XMP metadata for displaying RAW image files with Adobe settings. Similarly, Adobe doesn’t properly read proprietary files and metadata from competing software.
Thankfully, you can install Photoshop on Linux via two different methods: using a virtual machine or using Wine. And remember, there are plenty of Adobe apps worth installing that go beyond Photoshop.
Install Photoshop on Linux Using a VM
Since Photoshop runs like a champ on Windows, Linux users may simply install a virtual machine. Then, Photoshop runs on Windows within Linux. To accomplish this, you’ll need:
- A virtual machine such as VirtualBox, QEMU, or KVM
- Compatible Linux distro
- Compatible version of Windows
- Adobe Photoshop installer
First, install your preferred virtual machine.
Next, install a copy of Windows within your VM. With a copy of Windows running in your virtual machine on Linux, just launch the Adobe Photoshop CS6 installer.
In short, you’re running Photoshop on Windows, and running Windows within Linux. That’s about as easy as it gets!
Install Photoshop on Linux Using Wine
Alternatively, you may run Adobe Photoshop on Linux using Wine and PlayOnLinux.
As Yassen Dadabhay reveals, Photoshop CC 2014 runs on Linux. However, CC 2015 does not. You can also run Adobe Photoshop CS4, CS6, and Lightroom 5 on Linux using Wine. Among the biggest challenges when switching from Windows to Linux is software compatibility.
What you’ll need:
- Wine (optional but recommended: PlayOnLinux front-end)
- Adobe CS4, CS6, or CC 2014
The easiest means to install Adobe Photoshop on Linux is using Wine plus the PlayOnLinux front-end. Wine is an open-source compatibility layer which allows certain Windows programs to run on Unix-like operating systems.
PlayOnLinux provides a pretty front-end for Wine, which makes software installation a breeze. Also worth noting is that you can use Wine to run Windows apps on macOS as well as on Android devices.
Download and Install PlayOnLinux
Head over to the PlayOnLinux download page and select the proper package or run the command. Because the generic installer is a tar.gz file you’ll need to download and extract it. Alternately, PlayOnLinux features installation methods for various Linux distros:
For Arch Linux, run:
pacman -Syu playonlinux
However, on Debian, simply download the appropriate DEB file. Note that Debian Wheezy users must install the package wine:i386 to properly get PlayOnLinux functioning. Enter:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | apt-key add - wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_wheezy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list apt-get update apt-get install playonlinux
Meanwhile, if you’re running Debian Squeeze enter:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | apt-key add - wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_squeeze.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list apt-get update apt-get install playonlinux
Then, for Lenny, run:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | apt-key add - wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_lenny.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list apt-get update apt-get install playonlinux
Debian Etch users, use:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | apt-key add - wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_etch.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list apt-get update apt-get install playonlinux
Alternately, for Ubuntu download the DEB file. Again, if you’re on Ubuntu Precise or superior, you’ll need the wine:i386 package for PlayOnLinux to properly run. Like Debian, for previous Ubuntu releases, you’ll need to install PlayOnLinux via the command line.
Install on Trusty with:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | sudo apt-key add - sudo wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_trusty.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install playonlinux
If you’re using Saucy, run:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | sudo apt-key add - sudo wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_saucy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install playonlinux
Then, for Precise use:
wget -q "http://deb.playonlinux.com/public.gpg" -O- | sudo apt-key add - sudo wget http://deb.playonlinux.com/playonlinux_precise.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install playonlinux
Frugalware users run:
pacman-g2 -S playonlinux
Finally, Fedora users can install the Yum package.
Install Photoshop Using PlayOnLinux
With PlayOnLinux installed, run the program. Next, select Install a program from the left-hand side of the screen or from the top menu.
Now, in the search bar look for Photoshop. You’ll find options for Adobe Photoshop CS4, CS6, and Lightroom 5. Choose Adobe Photoshop CS6. After that, select Install.
Once you hit Install, you’re prompted for a PlayOnLinux warning which appears before every PlayOnLinux install. Accept this and proceed. Now, the PlayOnLinux wizard installation wizard begins.
Eventually, PlayOnLinux asks for you to select the installation file. Locate this on your hard drive.
With your install file chosen, click Next.
Now, PlayOnLinux creates a virtual drive and proceeds to install several items including Adobe Air. You may see a notification that Microsoft fonts are not installed. Check I agree and click Next.
When the installation completes, you’re ready to install the actual Photoshop program. You’ll see a notification that installation may fail.
If it does, wait a few minutes and try again. However, on my system, Adobe Photoshop on Linux installed flawlessly. After the initial set up, select either Install or Try if you don’t have the full version. Regardless, you’ll need to sign in with your Adobe ID. Once you’ve signed in, install Adobe Photoshop. Next, you’re ready to run Photoshop CS6 on Linux.
You’ve Now Installed Adobe Photoshop on Linux!
Despite the plentiful alternatives for Linux, Adobe Photoshop remains the top pick for its excellent layering. Additionally, for long-time Photoshop users it’s tough to find a program that maintains compatibility with previous Photoshop files. While I used Photoshop for many years, I attempted to replace it with GIMP. However, GNOME failed to properly load my layers.
Installing Photoshop on Linux remedied this issue.
Moreover, many of the best Photoshop replacements require payment. Therefore, if you’re going to pay it’s best to simply shell out money for the genuine Photoshop rather than a substitute. Since Photoshop CS6 comes as a one-time payment, it’s more economical than the Creative Cloud subscription.
Whereas PlayOnLinux is a fantastic software option, you may use the standard Wine. Still, for those seeking a Wine frontend, Vineyard is a neat alternative to PlayOnLinux.
And for more on Photoshop, check out how to install and use free brushes.