My experience running Photoshop CC 2015 on LM 18.1 Serena

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jameskga
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My experience running Photoshop CC 2015 on LM 18.1 Serena

Postby jameskga » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:47 pm

I am writing for the benefit of other users who might have been suffering like I was trying to run a stable Photoshop on Linux Mint. I rely heavily on Photoshop for my professional work, but I refuse to operate under Microsoft's watch, especially since I am a journalist and it's my responsibility to protect sources from the PRISM Program and countless others like it.

I tried every iteration of Wine and even older versions of Photoshop I had lying around. I couldn't get anything to work. And then I remembered a solution I used way back in 2008, when I would run Windows to play Starcraft in a virtual machine on my girlfriend's Macbook.

So to get Photoshop working, I installed VirtualBox and the GUI (which are right next to each other in the Software Manager), and then I installed Windows 7 32-bit (legit! you can still get a Win7 Ultimate key for as low as $15 on the market, which is great because I consider it more capable even than Win10). I dedicate only 1024 MB (1 GB) to the OS, and just 18 MB video memory (default), which is plenty enough for Photoshop.

I don't even let Windows 7 update. In fact, I disable network access from VirtualBox, to keep Windows from ever touching the outside world. I know it sounds like overkill to run an entire OS just for a single program, but even on my underpowered $400 laptop with a weak processor and 4 GB RAM, it starts up fast and runs quite well.

For sharing files, VirtualBox requires you create a shared folder for passing files between the guest OS (Windows) and host (Mint).

I hope this helps others in my situation. Also if you have any advice or suggestions how I can improve my setup I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!
OS: Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya Xfce (64-bit)

powerhouse
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Re: My experience running Photoshop CC 2015 on LM 18.1 Serena

Postby powerhouse » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:09 pm

More than 5 years ago I too got fed up dual-booting to run Windows for nothing but Lightroom and Photoshop. Back then I built a machine that would run a Windows 7 VM on Linux Mint using Xen VGA passthrough. Today I use the same hardware (a little improved with SSDs and better graphics) to run a Windows 10 VM on Linux Mint 18.2 using KVM/qemu with VGA passthrough.

I wrote 2 tutorials - one for Xen (perhaps a little outdated), one for KVM (see the sticky on the top of this forum). Provided you got the right hardware, this is the way to go. My Windows VM performs within a few % as fast as a native installation on the same hardware. For all practical purposes, it's as good as running Windows on bare metal. Even better, if you consider how easy it is to backup and restore a Windows VM, and even porting it onto different hardware is possible.

EDIT: I wanted to thank the OP for providing a simple, easy to follow advice on how how to run Photoshop on Windows 7 in a VM. Your approach is down-to-earth, no special hardware required, which will suit many more readers. The approach I described above is mostly for high-end hardware and the process to achieve the goal is complicated. I mentioned it as an alternative for those who have the right hardware (or can afford it).
Last edited by powerhouse on Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Asus Sabertooth X79, i7 3930K CPU, 8x4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM, Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler, Gigabyte GTX 970 + PNY Quadro 2000 GPU, Asus Xonar Essence STX, Sandisk Extreme 120GB + Samsung EVO 850 250GB SSD + 5 HDD, Corsair 500R case, SeaSonic 660W Gold X PS

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Re: My experience running Photoshop CC 2015 on LM 18.1 Serena

Postby jameskga » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:38 am

powerhouse wrote:More than 5 years ago I too got fed up dual-booting to run Windows for nothing but Lightroom and Photoshop. Back then I built a machine that would run a Windows 7 VM on Linux Mint using Xen VGA passthrough. Today I use the same hardware (a little improved with SSDs and better graphics) to run a Windows 10 VM on Linux Mint 18.2 using KVM/qemu with VGA passthrough.

I wrote 2 tutorials - one for Xen (perhaps a little outdated), one for KVM (see the sticky on the top of this forum). Provided you got the right hardware, this is the way to go. My Windows VM performs within a few % as fast as a native installation on the same hardware. For all practical purposes, it's as good as running Windows on bare metal. Even better, if you consider how easy it is to backup and restore a Windows VM, and even porting it onto different hardware is possible.


What do you like about those VMs better than Virtualbox which is in Mint's software manager? I like to keep everything as vanilla as possible, for support purposes, which is why once I got this working I have not ventured out.

I am curious as to whether I could run a Win 10 VM on a current gen PC and graphics card, to play modern Windows-only games on there...
OS: Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya Xfce (64-bit)

powerhouse
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Re: My experience running Photoshop CC 2015 on LM 18.1 Serena

Postby powerhouse » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:01 am

jameskga wrote:
powerhouse wrote:More than 5 years ago I too got fed up dual-booting to run Windows for nothing but Lightroom and Photoshop. Back then I built a machine that would run a Windows 7 VM on Linux Mint using Xen VGA passthrough. Today I use the same hardware (a little improved with SSDs and better graphics) to run a Windows 10 VM on Linux Mint 18.2 using KVM/qemu with VGA passthrough.

I wrote 2 tutorials - one for Xen (perhaps a little outdated), one for KVM (see the sticky on the top of this forum). Provided you got the right hardware, this is the way to go. My Windows VM performs within a few % as fast as a native installation on the same hardware. For all practical purposes, it's as good as running Windows on bare metal. Even better, if you consider how easy it is to backup and restore a Windows VM, and even porting it onto different hardware is possible.


What do you like about those VMs better than Virtualbox which is in Mint's software manager? I like to keep everything as vanilla as possible, for support purposes, which is why once I got this working I have not ventured out.

I am curious as to whether I could run a Win 10 VM on a current gen PC and graphics card, to play modern Windows-only games on there...

Yes, provided the CPU, motherboard and graphics card fulfill the necessary requirements. The performance of the Windows 10 VM is within a few % of that of bare metal performance (that is when you run Windows directly on the same PC).

It's perfect for Windows games and that is usually the reason why people run VGA passthrough.

The caveat is that although many processors do support VT-d (IOMMU), some have better support than others. I run LM 18.2 with a 4.10 kernel and qemu 2.5 and don't need any packages that aren't from the repository. But in some cases you would need to compile a patch such as the ACS patch or the i915 arbiter patch. It all depends on the hardware you got.

KVM with VGA passthrough is not as easy as VirtualBox and you should be familiar with Linux, though I have seen complete beginners who managed to get it work.
Asus Sabertooth X79, i7 3930K CPU, 8x4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM, Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler, Gigabyte GTX 970 + PNY Quadro 2000 GPU, Asus Xonar Essence STX, Sandisk Extreme 120GB + Samsung EVO 850 250GB SSD + 5 HDD, Corsair 500R case, SeaSonic 660W Gold X PS


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