Scrivener 1 for Linux?

Is there a native Linux version 1 available or do I have to use Scrivener under wine? The native Linux version I was using ran out 7th Nov.

While I have nothing strictly helpful to contribute, I can offer some information which may save someone a few minutes worth of investigation:

  • As of 17:37:43 EST, beta 0.0.46 still runs on my system, but come midnight I don’t expect it will do.
  • The old Linux download link has been 404’d (probably yesterday)
  • Almost, but not completely in the style of the late Douglas Adams, the shiny, new Windows 1.0 pages direct Linux users to the forums, which cheerfully direct Linux users to the shiny, new Windows 1.0 pages.

It was not so long ago that another Linux beta release was delayed beyond the previous beta’s expiration; the suggestion from LiteratureAndLatte was to change the system clock — apparently under the delusion that the system clock exists only for such trivial functions as informing the user of the local time and date. I’d love to see Scrivener on Linux thrive, but the likelihood falls sharply once Linux users begin to feel they aren’t taken seriously.

Disclaimer: I’m not staff. My involvement with the project consists of using all three main versions, slapping together .deb packages from the tarballs that Lee provides, trying to work out bugs on a volunteer basis, and asking Lee lots of stupid questions.

While your frustrations are understandable, it may help to ease your worries and frustrations about the Linux version–and give you more hope for the future of it–if you consider the following factors:

  • Lee is, at this very moment, putting together a Linux beta that doesn’t expire until March 31st of 2012. It ought to be available as a tarball before the current beta expires tonight, and I should have a .deb package ready within a couple of hours thereafter. (At some point soon I plan to teach myself to make rpm packages, as well, but I want to get this whole deb thing down cold first, and figure out how to reproduce and fix a couple of bugs that only seem to be occurring on a few 32-bit installs using the new QT 4.7.4 libraries.)

  • It doesn’t look like there’ll be a gap here, but even if there were, a gap between beta releases would in no way be an indication of “not taking Linux seriously.” The primary purpose of a beta is testing. It’s been stated many times that, in addition to bugs, there may be occasional gaps, and required workarounds. That’s to be expected with a beta. It’s what you at least tacitly agree to when you install beta software–any beta software–along with volunteering to report bugs. The benefit of beta software to end users is the opportunity to give input on the development of the project so that when they purchase the final version, it will be as bug-free and pleasant for them to work with as possible.

  • Keep in mind that Scrivener for Linux is based on the Windows version, so until a new Windows version is done, it’s pretty much impossible to produce a new Linux version. Everyone would have loved to have a new version sooner, instead of going right down to the wire with it, but there are only so many hours in a day, and thanks to factors beyond anyone’s control, Lee and company were working pretty much around the clock to get the final Windows version out the door on time.

  • Even though I’m just a volunteer with no official standing, I think it says something that Lit&Latt is coordinating with me toward the end of making better Linux versions–including better installers and better support for more distros–and are now hosting the last unofficial package I built on the Lit&Latt servers. (I was down for the count with bronchitus when 4.6 was released, but the last .deb also expired on the 7th.) Not because I know a lot about what I’m doing–I’d love some help with it!–but because I wanted installer packages for myself, and have been building them and making them available to others.

  • Lit&Latt has expressed a desire to support Linux, but one challenge with officially supporting a paid Linux version is how many distros there are. Officially supporting a paid native Linux release brings with it some fairly hefty obligations, and the devs are committed to not making promises until and unless they are absolutely certain they can keep them. As in, until and unless they can promise a stable Linux release that can be guaranteed at least to work on a list of specified popular distros (IMNSHO it’d be best to focus on, say the top five at distrowatch and work downward from there), and continue to work when those distros are updated. This is an indication of taking Linux very seriously, and while it’s certainly doable, it isn’t going to happen immediately. Remember that the official Windows release, on which the Linux version is based, was just finished last night.

To give an example of some of the kinks to be worked out, we’re seeing issues right now on some installations thanks to the change in the current version of the QT libraries from 4.7.2 to 4.7.4. This is an issue because Scrivener is dependent upon specific, modified versions of the 4.7.2 libraries, and the two iterations don’t mix well. Now, I’m sure there’s a simple fix for this, and that someone more experienced than myself would have already found an answer (I do have an idea of where to start), but this and other challenges are the main reason that the Linux version is primarily community-supported right now, with a “best effort” at support from Lit&Latt. These are things that need fixed before an official Linux release can even be considered, though. (EDIT: Lee moved things to the 4.7.4 libs, so this is no longer an issue.)

The more users willing to jump in and help out with Linux (or specific distro) issues, the better and more well-supported the Linux version will be. I mainly use the native Linux version, and I have confidence that even if it were never officially supported, Lee and company, along with the Scrivener for Linux user base, would continue to keep the Linux version going.

Anyway, I hope this addresses some of your concerns. I’m just learning my way around this whole packaging and compatibility thing, and like I said, I’ll take all the help I can get.
(P.S. I think it also says something that we’ve got our own forum now, instead of being hidden in the basement of the Scrivener for Windows forum. :wink:)

Totally agree with what Rob said:

  1. Beta is beta, not for mission critical work (although I do feel I should have exported my current work before 7/11. Doh…)
  2. Fully confident the Linux native Scrivener is underway. Thanks Lee. And congrats on getting the Windows version out.
  3. deb file: thanks in advance, Rob. Keep up the good work! I am certainly appreciating it.

As a programmer, I couldn’t disagree more — sloppy betas make for sloppy production code. More than anything else, the concept of “beta release” is legal, rather than logical; technically most open source projects have never left “beta”.

With regard to the other comments, I neither agree nor disagree. Rob raises some interesting and debatable points, but doing so without also committing time to the project would be duplicitous. I do consider it, but the fact that midnight has come and passed, the current beta has expired, and I can find not so much as a note from Literature & Latte regarding the circular links to a non-existant Linux beta suggest a few things…

If this had been my first impression of Scrivener on Linux I wouldn’t have bothered with a second. Lee and volunteers such as Rob are seemingly not getting the support they deserve — yes, this is pure conjecture, but potential volunteers and customers are drawing their conclusions as well. I don’t know many persons willing to take a chance by committing to a project which inspires caution rather than confidence. Sure, these are small issues, easily fixed by a brief staff note on the forum or web site, padding the Windows release a day or two to ensure Linux customers aren’t put off, etc. The obvious question then, is “why has no one bothered to fix them?”

That said, I haven’t yet written off Scrivener, and I hope no one else has either. I’ll even help with Rob’s .deb packages if he wants (do you know about the 32bit compatibility changes in Oneiric x84_64?) but I’ll limit my commitments in accordance with my confidence.

Lee and I are exchanging files and working on the Linux version even as I type this. Ran into an unexpected snag on my end, because I’m lame like that.

It’s after three am where I am, so I may have to close my eyes for a few hours soon and hit this again after sunup. The good news is that in the meantime, the Windows version works awesometastically in Wine.

Thank you Lee and Rob for your hard work in producing the Linux version, I really appreciate your effort.

Thanks for that, but to clarify and make sure the credit goes where it’s due, Lee is the one who does all of the actual work on this. My contribution pretty much consists of shuffling around the files he provides, asking a bunch of dumb questions, typing in fakeroot dpkg-deb --build whateverscrivenerversion , and uploading.

In other words, Lee actually builds it and makes it usable; I just stick it in a box and gift-wrap it so that ya’ll can have a nice, pretty deb package with a ribbon and a bow. :wink:

Sorry for the double-post, but I just sent the Linux 1.0.1 deb to Lee. Get it at
It installed without a hitch on my 64-bit Natty running Gnome 2 (using the 64-bit installation instructions below). Haven’t had a chance to test it on anything else yet, and it’s after 5am here, so I’m going to bed. :wink: This one expires March 31st, 2011. Should have some updates before then, of course. (For one thing, I’d like to see if spell-check can be improved in the Linux version.)

For 32-bit systems:
As usual, it should install on most 32-bit Debian/Ubuntu-based systems with a double-click.

For 64-bit systems:

There are a couple of extra steps for 64-bit systems (like mine).

If you want spell-check to work on a 64-bit system and haven’t already done so, you’ll need the appropriate 32-bit libraries in place before installing Scrivener itself. (Don’t worry; this won’t overwrite any of your existing libraries.) To do so, download getlibs from and install it.

Once getlibs is installed, run the following commands from the terminal:

getlibs -p libaspell-dev


getlibs -p  libaspell15

Now you’re ready to install Scrivener.
Navigate to the directory you downloaded the .deb to and run:

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture scrivener_1.0.1_beta.deb

Once Scrivener is installed, launch it from either from the launcher it creates in the office section of your main menu, or by typing “Scrivener” (case-sensitive) on the command line.

Thanks for all your hard work!

Rob, there’s a tiny error in your instructions. The Debian/Ubuntu package installation should read

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture scrivener_1.0.1_beta.deb

Fixed. Thanks.

Ubuntu 10.10 has multiarch support, thus --force-architecture is depreciated for Onieric and beyond; if this were hosted in a PPA, one could simply:

sudo apt-get install scrivener:i386

If the releases will be packages rather than tarballs, why not use

If cross-distribution compatibility issues are a concern (i.e. if Scrivener isn’t LSB compliant), than the easiest (to maintain) solution might be a tarball/sharchive with an install script. (many companies have done this successfully, there are some great FOSS tools out there)

I run Ubuntu 11.10, and right-clicking the .deb offered the option to “Open with Ubuntu Software Center”; I decided “why not?” and took it. It opened up the Center and had a nice page for it, I clicked install, and ran into the following warning:

The alert gives the buttons “OK” and “Ignore and install”.

I’m not sure what effect this will have on my machine if I install it anyway (I’m new to Linux and know near-nothing), so I’ll wait for a reply from you.

Aside from that, I like the integration with the Software Center, and thank you for volunteering time into this :slight_smile: I’ve been waiting for a Windows version of Scrivener for ages, lost my Windows machine and replaced it with a Linux one only to find that L&L finally developed something for the platform I left…so thanks, to Lee for working with Linux and you for helping put it together.

@Garrison–There’s been talk of doing some kind of universal (or semi-universal) installer, and I’ve also asked about doing a PPA. It’s up in the air at this point, but I can definitely think of worse ways to go than a .tgz with an install script. (My personal preference would be a PPA, but that’s because I’m lazy and like just being able to type in, “sudo apt-get install whatever,” and so on.) On the other hand, we’ve got the BitRock installer builder, which if I understand correctly may be able to create universal Linux installers–I just haven’t had time to mess with it yet.

@Dropcap, that should be fine–I just got so used to typing in the dpkg command that I didn’t even try the software center in 11.10. Because, obviously, I’m a dork. :wink: It’s basically doing the same thing as the command line method.

As a human being, I can’t help but comment here. Sorry.
Scrivener is not open source. L&L is using the beta as a true beta for testing. People like Rob are donating time and not inconsiderable expertise to help out here, so try and be nice. Your access to version on Linux is not a right and that should be remembered. That said, if you do have some availability to help in the testing, then I’m sure it will be gratefully received. And then we speed along to getting you Linux folks to actually pay for something. :wink:

I can’t speak for all Linux folks, but while I love the FOSS idea, not everyone else does. (Artistically, I like the creative commons license–if it’s good enough for Trent Reznor, it’s good enough for me.) That having been said, money talks. If a program works well under WINE, I’m not adverse to throwing some money a programmer’s way along with a note that says “Hey thanks for not being a douchecanoe about linux.”

Some companies (cough Hackshield cough) will deliberately break programs so they can’t work with linux or WINE. We got really lucky with Literature & Latte.

The question was more about the error that popped up, not the installation method. Is not having “a valid Installed-Size control field” a bad thing?

Since you and others don’t seem to be having trouble with Scrivener after installing, I’ll go ahead and install. I thought I should note the error, though, in case you or the developers wanted to look in on whether it is something that needs fixed or not.

This is a beta, after all :slight_smile:

Yesterday was a charmed computer day for me. I upgraded to Ubuntu Onereic without problems, installed Wine and purchase and installed a copy of Scrivener v 1.0.1. It worked! Like others though I can’t bare the clotted looking fonts in wine so I installed the .deb offered. Beauteous! Thank you Lee and Rob and everyone who worked so hard to make this available for Linux. I’ve lusted after Scrivener forever, but am a die-hard Linux user so …

Thanks again.

@Dropcap–Oh, I definitely appreciate you saying something; I just wanted to reassure you that it wouldn’t eat your babies or drink all your beer or kick your dog or anything if you installed it that way. :wink: And yeah, Lee and company have been great about providing solid binaries, but I’m still feeling my way around the whole package-building thing, so anything that seems glitchy (for instance, the issues that I and a couple of others are having with templates) is most likely due to the fact that I’m still learning. Sounds like I have yet another thing to research how to do, now, eh?

@ekotyk–You are muchly welcome, ma’am. (Er… With “Eve” as your sig, I assume it’s ma’am. No offense intended if I assumed wrong.) And yeah, Scrivener was the one thing that kept me in Mac-land for so long after discovering the joys of Linux. In fact, when my little iBook died, I resorted to hackintoshing a triple-boot PC laptop, and later on running a hackintoshed VirtualBox machine–Just so I could run Scrivener. So yeah… When I found out Lit&Latt were working on Windows and *nix versions, I think I may have actually squeed out loud. :smiley:

(Hope the above doesn’t come off like I’m dogging Mac OS, by the way–It’s a perfectly good desktop Unix distro, and it fills a need for many people; I’m just no longer enchanted by it.)

Although PPAs are by far the most convenient, I also like Kovid Goyal’s upgrade approach for Calibre. The program notifies you if there is an update available on startup. If you choose to update, you are directed to a web page with a one-line command that you can copypasta into terminal. Press return, wait a couple of minutes, and you’re in upgrade city with green lights to the 'burbs. Works for me.

Last time I did any programming was to lock up a Z-80 machine with assembly language, but I imagine that for a programmer, this is much easier than maintaining a PPA, and while not foolproof, seems to get the job done reasonably well.

Just a thought. Thanks to whoever did the deb, this was the first one that worked for me (the problem was on my end, not yours).