Friday, March 27, 2009

Installing IEs4Linux and additional language support

I am using the English version of EeePC Linux on my 4G, but I need to browse Traditional Chinese websites very often. And since some websites (e.g. HSBC e-banking and the Hong Kong Jockey Club) only support IE (Internet Explorer), I have to install IEs4Linux for these websites.

It is very easy to install IEs4Linux but very difficult to customize the installation, especially because MSIE is language specific. In Linux, this is never a problem. It is just a matter of choosing the correct font and input method. But for IE it is complicated.

If I use English locale for my EeePC Linux, I can only run IE of English language version. On the contrary, if I use Traditional Chinese locale for my EeePC Linux, I can install and run IE of both English and Traditional Chinese language version. The latter, however, is slow and prone to hang up. So I decided to go for the English version, and instead install Microsoft Global IME later.

Installation is straight forward, you can refer to the General Instructions on the Installation page of IEs4Linux. In a summary, it is:

1) Set up repository for your package manager. Add this line to /etc/apt/sources.list and update cache (or add repositories via the Synaptic GUI):
deb p701 main dev
sudo kwrite /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update
2) Install wine and cabextract
sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
[NB. If you have Debian lenny or some repo with a higher version of wine or required libraries, it may prevent you from installing from repos.]

3) Download IEs 4 Linux to "My Home"

4) Extract and run the install script "ies4linux"
tar zxvf ies4linux-2.99.0.tar.gz
cd ies4linux-
[NB. The GUI installation tool is not very responsive. So be patient because depending on your network, it may take some time to download the cabs from Microsoft. You can check if installation is complete by running /home/user/bin/ie6.]

Installing Chinese Language Support for IEs4Linux

It took me a while to figure out how to do this. In the beginning, I just download and install tcmondo.exe with WINE but the Chinese language support never show up in IE.

After checking through the ies4linux install scripts, I found that IEs4Linux install IE and its own WINE version of Win98 to a different folder: /home/user/.ies4linux/ie6/. So, if I just click on a Windows program and install with WINE, it will end up installed to the default folder of WINE (/home/user/.wine/) and will not show up in IE. So, I need to change $WINEPREFIX and also the WINE Windows version to win98 before I can proceed to install tcmondo.exe. In summary, the steps are:

1) Download tcmondo.exe (or the language pack you want from Microsoft Global IME)

2) Run winecfg to change Windows version to "Windows 98"

3) Set WINE environmental variable $WINEPREFIX to /home/user/.ies4linux/ie6/:
export WINEPREFIX="/home/user/.ies4linux/ie6/"
4) Install tcmondo.exe
wine tcmondo.exe
Now I have Traditional Chinese language support for my IEs4Linux. You will also need to select your language preference in IE, but I suppose everyone knows how to do this.

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