Running BibleWorks 4 under Linux

Introduction (lots of blah blah)

During the summer of '99 I was researching theological software which could be used under Linux and contacted Hermeneutika to see whether BibleWorks 4 was an option. Hermeneutika generously offered to send me a copy to try running in Linux.

Fast forward 18 months. An old friend gave me a call and told me that he'd received a flyer in the mail which offered BibleWorks 4 at a reduced price, and asked if I'd heard anything about BibleWorks. Of course! I could give him a glowing recommendation because I'd used BibleWorks 4 under Windows. His interest was Linux, however, and that forced me to come back to Unix for Theologians and see what I'd written about my BW4/Linux experiences. I found shockingly little.

In fact, I was ashamed to see how little information I'd written. I certainly hadn't justified the free copy of BibleWorks I'd received. Several things had gotten in the way: during that summer my wife and I had a baby, moved, and I changed jobs a short time later. I'd really also had limited success with BW4/Red Hat 6/Wine. I had achieved limited functionality with BW4, but never even wrote about it.

Over the past year I've had a query or two about BW4 and Linux, directed at me by Hermeneutika, and have felt guilty ever since. Now it's time to get to work.

The plan

My plan is to show you how to pull as much functionality as possible out of BW4 under Linux. The primary focus is BW4 itself, though I'm also going to take a swipe at the ISBE.

The roadmap is clear for the first few steps. With Linux installed, the next step is to get Wine configured and running (in order to run Windows programs) and then get font support in X. At that point, it's time to stop and examine what kind of functionality is available and consider how to get more.

The setup

In some ways, I'm taking the easy way out. My system is old but adequate: an AMD K6-200 with 64MB RAM and plenty of disk. Windows 95 runs on the primary drive and I've already installed BW4 on that drive. I may experiment with installing BW4 under Wine, but not today, and tomorrow doesn't look likely either.

On this system I'm running Mandrake 7.2, the "everything" install. This will prevent me from having to acquire/build/install software such as Wine and a font server. Even though RPM-based systems and I don't get along well, Mandrake is a very nice distribution. If you're using a different distribution, you may have to do more work to get the necessary components installed. Then again, if you're interested in running BW4 under Linux at all, you probably have the initiative it takes to get your system configured.

And if you care, I'm writing this series using XEmacs 21.something. As a Unix admin and programmer, I spend at least 96% of my tube time in vi, but I've always wanted to do something substantial with Emacs.

That's enough yakity yak. Let's go!

Next: Cooking with Wine

Comments? Questions? Want to share your own experiences? Let me know!