Picasa, an image management tool from Google (available for Windows and Mac), has a lot of cool features, such as incredibly simple photo sharing, facial recognition, and a great image viewer. Unfortunately, Google stopped releasing a version for Linux a couple versions ago. This isn’t a huge deal, as the Linux version was – in reality – nothing more than the Windows version bundled with Wine, a framework which allows many Windows users to run on Linux, using Linux libraries when possible and Windows libraries as necessary.
Unfortunately, version 3.9 (the latest version) has problems on Linux. Users can install it via Wine the regular way, but when asked to login, are unable, as the Login screen stays blank.
What to do? Fortunately, the problem is a fairly simple one to solve. It occurs in the first place because Picasa is using OAuth to sign in, and needs a web browser to accomplish this. The solution? Install Internet Explorer 6.
Let’s first assume you don’t have Picasa installed. To install it, we’ll first want to add the Wine personal package archive (PPA) to our system, to ensure the latest version. So, open up the Terminal.
First, type sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa to add the Wine PPA to your system’s software lists.
Now type sudo apt-get update to update your system’s software lists, followed by sudo apt-get install wine1.3 winetricks to install Wine and Winetricks (which we’ll use to install Internet Explorer 6).
Note: As of March 7, the latest version of Wine is 1.4, not 1.3 as installed above. This is because the Ubuntu PPA currently only offers version 1.3, although the version in the PPA is actually the 6th release candidate for 1.4, so it should update eventually to the latest release.
Now you can install Picasa. Simply type wget http://dl.google.com/picasa/picasa39-setup.exe to download the installer.
Then use Wine to install it. Typing wine picasa39-setup.exe will take you through the process.
You’ll go through the entire installation process just as you would in Windows.
If you would try to log into your account now, you would see the same blank screen as shown earlier. However, we can easily fix that, as mentioned, by installing Internet Explorer 6, which is why we downloaded Winetricks when we installed Wine. Type winetricks ie6 to start that process.
Just as when you installed Picasa, you’ll now have a chance to walk through the typical Internet Explorer installation.
Once installed, try to login again. You should see something like this.
Success! You should now be able to see that you are logged in by checking out the upper right corner of Picasa (or by attempting to use any of its features that require you to be logged in).
On one hand it’s too bad that it’s necessary to jump through hoops like this in order to get Picasa working on Linux, just as it’s unfortunate that Google doesn’t release an official Linux version (after version 3.0), even if it is just the Windows version bundled with Wine. Still, the fact that getting it working, and working as well as it does, is nice for sure.