Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2018/ Installing StudioTax 2017 on Wine

Installing StudioTax 2017 on Wine

As predicted in last year's rant, I have less income this year than last. However, I managed to get StudioTax working under Wine for another year. I am not thrilled that I am alienated from the tax system, but at least my tax info is not on the cloud, and I do not have to use Windows to get my taxes filed.

Here is what I did. I installed StudioTax 2017 on Xubuntu 16.04.

I could not get the program working stably with the version of Wine that is in the Ubuntu repositories. Per instructions, I had to uninstall the wine packages that I tried before.

I needed to install the latest stable version from the WineHQ repositories, as described here on https://wiki.winehq.org/Ubuntu:

wget -nc https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/Release.key
sudo apt-key add Release.key
sudo apt-add-repository https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/

I enabled i386 architectures, as suggested in the document:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

I then installed the wine-stable package from the repos using aptitude (apt works too):

apt install wine-stable

Then I followed instructions from a mix of instructions on the WineHQ wiki (some of which I wrote): Wine 2014 and Wine 2015.

First I set the version of Windows to win7:

WINEARCH=win32 winetricks settings win7

This prompted me to install Mono and Gecko, which I allowed.

Then I installed dotNet 4.5 and MSIE6 (which irritatingly downloaded Service Pack 3, and set the version of Windows BACK to WinXP):

WINEARCH=win32 winetricks dlls dotnet45 ie6

so I had to reset the Windows version:

WINEARCH=win32 winetricks settings win7

Finally, I got the Windows installer for StudioTax from the StudioTax website linked above. I then had to extract the MSI files:

chmod u+x StudioTax2017Install.exe
./StudioTax2017Install.exe /extract

Finally I installed StudioTax:

msiexec /i StudioTax.msi

This created an icon on the desktop. Running this icon worked.

If I tried to use the old version of Wine from the repositories, the program would install but would crash frequently. Also, the mouse pointer would be invisible when it was in the StudioTax window, which was a dealbreaker for me.

I was able to file my (simple!) taxes fairly straightforwardly. StudioTax is not the most straightforward program to use in the world, but it is easy enough to use when you just need to input numbers on slips. It gave me some warnings when I entered information, which was nice.

StudioTax is closed source, and running it requires closed-source libraries like .NET and MSIE. So this is not an ideologically-pure solution. But I like the fact that StudioTax makes their product available for free, and I want them to keep making tax software that I can use, so I pay them some money every year. It is not free software, but it seems to be fairly close ideologically.