Getting Adobe Digital Editions to work in Ubuntu

Today we have a guest blog post from my wife Angela.  She is an avid Ubuntu user (in fact, so are our kids) and a great web researcher in general.  She wanted to borrow digital editions of books from our local library; however, the books are only available in the form of digital handcuffs.  So she set herself the task of getting Adobe Digital Editions (DE) working on Ubuntu lucid.  Without further ado, here's her story:

  1. You need to install Wine (available in the package manager).
  2. On the Adobe Digital Editions page is a link to an installation TechNote (not far below the message that your system doesn't meet the minimum requirements).
  3. Under the heading "Windows Solutions", subheading "Manually install Adobe Digital Editions" is a link to download the latest installer for Windows. Click this and choose to SAVE it to your computer (not the RUN option).
  4. On my computer it appeared as "Adobe Digital Editions.desktop" which is an unknown file when you click on it. Right click on this icon and in the drop down box go to Properties -> Permissions and make sure the box "Allow Executing File as a Program" is ticked.
  5. Downloading an ePub book that runs in DE gives you an .acsm file. This is just a digital key or certificate. I found the first time I used it, I needed to drag and drop the .acsm file onto it for it to load into the library. After that I only had to click on the .acsm file, and it worked as it apparently does in Windows.

I have now installed this on three separate computers, and have noticed inconsistencies, probably related to the version of Ubuntu and/or Wine installed.  These are some possible bugs I have noticed - sadly I didn't pay attention to which versions they correspond to:

  • For some reason DE did not always appear in the list of applications available in Wine (under the Applications drop down menu). Not sure why.
  • I noticed that although everything else seems to work okay (bookmarking the pages in the book I am reading, etc.) books "borrowed" from the library that have expired say on the bookshelf marked "expired" instead of disappearing. However this might be normal for Adobe DE even in Windows.
  • On one install, the next time I restarted my computer after shutdown, the digital editions application icon on my desktop had lost the permission to allow it as an executable program (see above) and I had to re-enable this.
  • On one install it won't close from the [x] in the window; I have to click on the little book icon on the upper left hand side and choose "close" from the drop down menu.
  • Occasionally I get an .acsm file that doesn't work and find I need to go into Properties -> Permissions and tick the "Allow Executing File as a Program" option (this appears to be random and may be related to the certificate, not the DE install.)
  • An I/O error has almost always been a problem at my end, and I have needed to check the settings in the Wine registry.