Solar Fire is the preeminent software for professional Astrologers of all stripes. It’s simple, uncomplicated interface belies the numerous techniques and raw power. Solar Fire is a window based and runs on most versions. I personally like running Linux Mint as an OS. It loads quickly, runs flawlessly, and is very secure. My desktop machine is set up as a dual boot machine, meaning that I can run either Windows 10 or Linux Mint. I’m usually in Linux Mint unless I have to run some software that doesn’t currently run under Linux. So the other day I was playing around when I got an order for a chart from my website, 4phases.com. I didn’t want to reboot into Windows in order to calculate and email off the chart to the client and that’s when inspiration struck. Why don’t I try installing Solar Fire on my Linux box using WINE?
For those of you that don’t know what WINE is, it is. Wine is an alcoholic beverage made with the fermented juice of grapes. I’m just kidding. WINE is a software compatibility layer that allows you to run Windows software on Linux based machines. It’s perfectly legal since you’re not actually running Windows and has been around since 1993. If you are interested in learning more about WINE, check out this link.
I’m running Linux Mint. I already have WINE and winetricks installed on my machine. If you are going to try and install Solar Fire 9 and don’t have these two installed you’d need to head over to your software manager and install/config (really very simple) before attempting this. Installing Windows software (including Office) is really just a matter of clicking on the setup app and installing it as you would under real Windows. I copied over the installer from the Windows side of my computer and opened my email with my registration information. Double clicked, next next done. Reboot machine. Now the real test, will it run? I double-click on the Solar Fire icon, it launches and fails with a weird “ocx missing error”. Not to get too complicated but this sometimes happens and it just means the software needs the missing item. This is were winetricks comes in. launching winetricks I was able to select the missing component and wine tricks installs it.
Once installed I reboot the system and try launching again. First, the Solar Fire launch window appears then I’m presented with the usual dialogs about updating. I bypass them some error is thrown again but I dismiss it. Glory!! I’m presented with the main window for solar. I import my charts file from the Windows machine. I’ve seen WINE do some amazing things only to disappoint me when I try to run the actual software so I start playing around with the software. Now I’m getting excited, everything works as it would under windows. Here are just a few windows running under Linux Mint.
Needless to say, I’m pleased as punch. I’ve tested extensively and everything works with just one exception. When you view the calendar 1 day and 7 days works great its the monthly calendar that starts to calculate and then crashes the program. This is a shame because a number of my clients count on me sending them monthly calendars. BTW, side note, it was the calendaring export to Outlook (with interpretation) that initially sold me on Solar Fire 8. I love having my personal moon VOC on calendar. Aside from the monthly not working this is a game-changer for me as I can stay much longer in Linux AND be able to do my Astrology work. It’s good to know there is software (professional grade) that will now run under Linux. If you don’t have Solar Fire, I highly recommend getting it. It is by far head and shoulders the best in class. You’ll find the best prices over at Hank Friedman’s website. If you do pick up a copy please let him know, Ken Saunders sent you. I’d really appreciate it.