Not logged inRybka Chess Community Forum
Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / Using Linux for Chess
1 2 Previous Next  
- - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-07-29 14:30
I was wondering if one can use Linux for chess, e.g., will Aquarium, SF, and Komodo work under Linux?
And if so, what version of Linux would be recommended by the experts for a newbie who has never used it and wants to avoid the spyware Windows 10?
Parent - - By RussiaToday [fr] Date 2016-07-29 18:48

Firstly congratulations for avoiding M$ windows 10.
Aquarium : only windows.
SF : windows, linux, mac, android
Komodo : windows, linux, OS X, android

I recommend a linux version with a lof of users, with the most frequented forums, an important community which will help you and easy to use. In one word : UBUNTU

Try it before, use a liveCD or a liveUSB then if you are satisfied install your Ubuntu.
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-07-29 18:53
Hi RussiaToday:
Thanks most kindly for the advice. But you say that Aqr6 cannot be used under Linux. That is deal killer since I use Aqr2016 all the time.
Is there a UBUNTU forum and/or version of UBUNTO that you would suggest I download?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-07-29 23:00
You need to install Wine. That kind of emulates windows and a lot of software runs with it. See

I would go for "Ubuntu gnome". The standard ubuntu has a strange user interface. Mint and cinnamon are interesting as well, but gnome is just good :-)
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-07-31 03:44
I will go with Ubuntu gnome, even though I have no idea what that is :)
How soon when you and the ChessOK will have Aqr2016 working correctly with Linux?
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-07-31 09:44 Edited 2016-08-03 09:59
It depends on the ChessOK team. I informed them during beta testing, but it looked like they didn't have time to care about these linux issues. Maybe they will invest time in the future, maybe not. I don't know, but I'll inform you when it works and update the Aquarium on Linux FAQ.

Sometimes such issues are solved with a new Wine version as well, so there are two possible solutions :-)

Ubuntu gnome just uses a different user interface than the standard ubuntu. The other serious alternative is Linux mint, which is a bit more comfortable for users coming from windows. Actually Mint is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian, so the complexity is decreasing from Debian -> Ubuntu -> Mint . However, you can't use the gnome shell on mint (at least not that easily) and the gnome shell is just great. :-)
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-03 13:41
Just to add: I exchanged a copy of Aquarium for a copy of the Shredder GUI for Linux back in 2009 or something like this. Stefan told me that he almost knows every Linux customer in person, so producing Linux GUIs is nothing for someone with commercial interest :-)
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-08-03 21:41 Edited 2016-08-03 21:48
That was 7 years ago.
1) Chess OK now has a fairly large and sophisticated user base for Aquarium.
2) Komodo and SF maintain up-to-date Linux versions.
3)  Chess OK (with your help) are top notch programmers, who could do a port for Aqr2016 to Linux pretty easily, especially as Aqr 2015 already is supposed to work well on Linux.
I am just trying to cheer you and Victor on to the goal!
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-04 12:06
well, my part in Aquarium is small. really small.

ChessOK and the Aquarium team are not big. Aquarium programming is something like a two men show? I'm not sure how big the user base is, but it is not "that" big to have a large linux fanbase.
A true port for linux is not something you would ever want them to do, because that means wasting ressources. Making it work with Wine is achievable and realistic, because it takes some days for each new version, not months.

For a chess engine its a different story. Chess engines are small programs compared to a GUI. They are rather easy to port, although it may take longer for some engines based on strange libraries.
Parent - - By Sesse (****) [no] Date 2016-08-05 20:04
Mostly, it is about chess engines talking very little to the OS. You need to fire up some threads, have some locking primitives, read from stdin/stdout, and that's it. A GUI program, on the other hand, has a huge OS surface. The only realistic way to deal with multiple platforms is to use a widget set that's already cross-platform (for Windows/Linux, that typically means Qt), and that only solves the GUI part of the problem.

/* Steinar */
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-08-05 21:18
I think that Sesse and Felix should get together with Chess OK. Together they could get Aqr2016 working pretty quickly in Linux/Wine.
Parent - - By Sesse (****) [no] Date 2016-08-06 11:06
I don't think it would be very hard to get it to work in WINE, at least given source code for both sides. (I've patched WINE for specific programs before.) Whether ChessOK wants to spend resources on such a project is a different matter.

For my own part, the only thing I've ever used Aquarium for is to see how it accesses the 6-men tablebases :-)

/* Steinar */
Parent - - By Master Om (Bronze) [in] Date 2016-08-07 15:25
If Aquarium will Run quietly on Linux or if there is a native linux aquarium i will ditch windows  forever.
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-07 17:57
Well, the 2015 version is working fine. Only lately there are issues due to the new tree format.
Parent - - By Master Om (Bronze) [in] Date 2016-08-08 01:23
Frankly Speaking I dont find substantial difference between 2015 and 2016 if u interact heavily.
If 2015 version is working I am definitely going to use Linux for chess.
Also I have downloaded Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS and Mint linux Mate 18 sarah. What do u recomend ?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-08 02:34 Edited 2016-08-08 02:38
I use Ubuntu gnome and actually just had a quick look at mint quite some time ago. Mint seems to be better than ubuntu in some respects, it's slightly easier to use if coming from Windows and comes with a better default installation. Although I read that using the gnome shell isn't that easy with mint and you need to use cinnamon. Since I love the gnome shell, I won't go for mint :-) A collegue of mine installed the gnome shell after using cinnamon and mate and told me that he loves it, too.

My recommendation: Both are good, if it's your first Linux mint may be a bit easier to use, although not "that" much.
Parent - - By Master Om (Bronze) [in] Date 2016-08-08 14:48

But if aquarium runs with wine what engines to use ? Those UCI engines exe or the linux versions ?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-10 19:19
exe is easiest, for native linux versions see the trick by Jesse in this thread
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-08-11 00:37
Since you recommended installing Wine so that one could use Aquarium, wouldn't we have to use the Windows version of engines in that set up?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-12 10:53
yes, but Jesse wrote a trick with "inbetween" in this thread, basically you connect to inbetween.exe which establishes an ssh connection to the native linux engine. this is a workaround, but you can use a native linux engine then.
Parent - - By Master Om (Bronze) [in] Date 2016-08-12 15:03
I yesterday installed win 10. Now xfccplay is not working. Its blanck and cannot communicate to servers i think.
any work around ?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-12 20:44
no idea, you could ask in the aquarium forum...
Parent - - By Master Om (Bronze) [in] Date 2016-08-13 06:23
No idea?
But I thought you have IDeA since u have aquarium :lol:
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-13 08:56
I simply don't use IDeA or xfccplay, at least not regulary. I mostly work with trees and the database features and so on. Nobody uses all Aquarium features :-)
Parent - By Master Om (Bronze) Date 2016-08-13 14:57
I agree on that. I use IDeA but not all idea features. Complexity decreases efficiency.
Parent - By CrazyKnightGR (*) Date 2016-09-20 23:14
Try the new version of AQ2016 (build 912),
you can download it with your serial at

I use linux and works fine with this version.
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-07 17:56
Steinar is qualified for such a task, I'm not. I'm one of the guys only saying "It's not working, but I don't know why" :-)
Parent - - By Vegan (****) [ca] Date 2016-07-29 19:00 Upvotes 1
the majority of games are all designed for windows, so that is why more still use
Parent - By shrapnel (***) [in] Date 2016-09-21 14:23
Parent - - By CrazyKnightGR (*) Date 2016-07-29 19:21 Edited 2016-07-29 19:32
Hello cma6, I personal know that Aquarium 2015 works without problems with wine and from engines SF, Komodo and Critter has builds for linux and are working even better than windows (better NPS), (and crafty also but its weak engine), but also u can run almost any windows engine through wine if you using for example software like aquarium or fritz. You will have problems only with chessbases products like fritz and chessbase database (I managed only to run fritz 9 and chessbase database 11 with few bugs), but there is a good alternatives like scidvspc (personal choice and the compile procces is very simple, and the best is that you have the source and can realize any idea you  have (if you are a programmer).

A good choice is Mint linux ( with Cinnamon or MATE (personal like the second) its very stable and very user friendly. With linux you will free your self for virus, crashes, hackers, low perfomance (a least 15% faster on same machine), format, new installation of windows, defragments, steady fall of your computer performance etc, only if u have special needs like premiere, autocad etc you will to do dual booting.

The only drawback for linux is hardware support if u have a part thats no supported and limited good games and special applications. Also u have to be patience to learn the new OS.

To take a picture, I use linux from 2009 (after an hacking incident on windows 7, which cost me money and time (and also some stuff like latest pics and video from my kids) with the same perfomance as the first install (maybe and better now!!) with only doing, one time on 2 months a harddisk cleaning, with zero incidence of virus, hacking, lost material from hard disk disasters etc). Even when my hdd was dying I was notified from system and I lost NOTHING!!! Now I remember windows like my worst night mare. I use windows (7) today (dual booting) only to play flight simulators and to tranning my opening repertoire with CPT before tournaments.

Hope I help !!

PS: On linux the best flight simulator with a perfomance gain 35% than the same software for windows is by far X-PLANE :)
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-07-31 03:36
"A good choice is Mint linux ( with Cinnamon."

I am a bit confused. Is "Mint Linux with Cinnamon" a form of Linux/wine? Because Felix has told us to use Linux/wine with Aqr2015.
Parent - By Labyrinth (*****) [us] Date 2016-07-31 05:07
Linux is an operating system. Examples of operating systems include: Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android, IOS.

Linux comes in many distributions. A distribution is just a set of software that comes with the Linux kernel (the core OS). Some popular distributions include: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Debian.

One important piece of software for use with Linux is a desktop environment, which is basically the graphical user interface that you see. Otherwise Linux is not much more than a command prompt: text on a screen waiting for commands.

Some popular desktop environments include: Unity, Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Cinnamon, Mate. Here's a link that gives some info about them.

Some Linux distributions have a favored desktop environment, or one that they use by default. Unity with Ubuntu for example, and Cinnamon with Mint.

Wine is a program that can run on Linux. It's a program that allows windows programs to run on Linux, as otherwise they would not.
Parent - By CrazyKnightGR (*) Date 2016-07-31 10:20
Already answered Lab.. for me and he is correct 100%

My advice to you: 1) Before you make a hard install of wherever distro you choose, (a) it's important to know your machine (download a system information tool like speccy http// and (b) try first the live mode of distro, this can save u alot time. 2) If you have a problem, visit the distro forum, and use the search option for you problem and only if you don't find a solution, ask for help by post.

May the force be with you ! :-)
Parent - - By CrazyKnightGR (*) Date 2016-07-31 11:18
Until now I haven't buy the new version to test it, probably on September (after my vacations and before national championship begin) I will, but if something hasn't dramatically change with Aquarium we (linux users) can help to fix it. The good think with AQ is that's written primary on delphi pascal, make extented use of xml settings and it's not based on special hardware drivers. But for a temporary solution you can dual booting or using vmware.

Don't be afraid ... above all linux isn't only a OS, it's a community (like this site), we help each others.
Parent - - By cma6 (****) Date 2016-07-31 16:49
Thanks to Labyrinth, CrazyKnight and Felix for their very valuable introduction to the Linux world for a complete newbie to Linux. The Aquarium community is fortunate to have such experts available to teach us newbies!
As my system builder will be building my dual-Xeon system next week, I will have to make a command decision as to which version of Linux he should install as a dual-boot with Windows 10 Pro.
The main varieties of Linux from which I have to choose are now Ubuntu/Gnome ; Ubuntu/Unity ;  Ubuntu/KDE. I assume these 3 work equally well as a Windows dual-boot?
Unfortunately, I don't have the capability of following CrazyKnight's excellent suggestion ("try first the live mode of distro, this can save u alot time.'')
  The two key issues I still have:

1) a key comment of Labyrinth's: "Wine is a program that can run on Linux. It is a program that allows Windows programs to run on Linux, as otherwise they would not."   Can I assume that the 3 above versions of Ubuntu all have Wine, so that the 3 will all run most Windows programs equally well?

  2) Based on what you Linux experts know, which of my 3 choices would you recommend with respect to running my 3 chess programs (and secondarily other Windows programs) and which of the 3 desktop environments makes the easiest transition for a Windows user?
Parent - - By Labyrinth (*****) [us] Date 2016-08-01 03:08

>Can I assume that the 3 above versions of Ubuntu all have Wine, so that the 3 will all run most Windows programs equally well?

Not sure if they come with wine, but you can always get it without a problem, and yeah, would run fine on those.

>which of my 3 choices would you recommend with respect to running my 3 chess programs

Well SF and Komodo have Linux versions, so they're good to go. Aquarium will need wine.

One thing that concerns me is that wine will try to run the engines themselves under its windows extraction layer. Can anyone comment on that being a problem? Should be easy to test because running a Linux engine under it would just produce an error if that was the case right? I don't have a Linux box to test it on at the moment.

>and which of the 3 desktop environments makes the easiest transition for a Windows user?

My personal opinion is that KDE is the most 'windows like' out of those. Gnome design philosophy is closer to that of MacOS, with Unity somewhere between.
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-01 10:22
You can only load windows engines then. But there's this netchess trick which allows Linux engines as well, but this is quite complicated. So just load the windows engine (64 or 32 bit).
Parent - - By Labyrinth (*****) [us] Date 2016-08-01 11:28
Is there any performance concern with running a windows engine through Wine like this though?
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-01 11:49
there shouldn't be a big difference, although there may be a little. I didn't test it. But since Wine is not an emulator, its performance is good in general.
Parent - - By Jesse Gersenson (***) Date 2016-08-02 22:33 Edited 2016-08-02 22:38 Upvotes 1
I use Debian and also Xubuntu which is ubuntu with the xfce windows manager. The benefit of xfce is it doesn't (visually) change -- it always looks like windows 98.

Here is the iso for Xubuntu 14.04:

After you install it run these commands from a terminal:
sudo apt-get install wine gufw && sudo gufw

turn the firewall 'on'.

"netchess" doesn't work with current operating systems.

InBetween.exe by Gunnar Malin works.
It is what I use to connect Arena, which is a windows program I run on my linux machine with the command 'wine Arena.exe', to a 24 core linux machine which runs a development version of Komodo.

InBetween has two files.. InBetween.exe and InBetween.ini. One is the executable and the *.ini file is a text file you must edit. Note, you can change the name from InBetween to something else but make sure the base filename is the same, ex. MyNewEngine.exe & MyNewEngine.ini

1. Stick both InBetween files in a folder. And in the folder also put plink.exe.
2. install an ssh server on your linux machine, in xubuntu you do this with the command:
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

3. make sure ssh is working by trying to connect to your machine with this command (change 'yourusename' to your actual username):
ssh yourusername@localhost

you should be prompted for your password. enter it and you'll get some 'thanks for connecting' text and a command prompt. type exit to close the connection and return to your non-ssh command prompt.

4. set up InBetween.ini. Here is an example:
Priority := high
CommandLine := PLINK.EXE -ssh -pw SecretPassword USERNAME@localhost "/home/USERNAME/linux-engine"

The text in bold face will be changed; replace SecretPassword with your actual password and change USERNAME to your USERNAME and linux-engine with be komodo-10.1-linux or stockfish_15082821_32bit or something similar...

5. run "wine InBetween.exe" from the command line and answer 'y' when asked to cache the machine key.
6. In Aquarium, or any windows based GUI, use InBetween.exe as your engine.
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-02 22:50
ah, that's cool. Didn't know this "InBetween" script. I'll give it a try :-)
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-02 23:13
thanks for the instructions, Jesse! works like a charm!

Now I can tell that the speed difference is about 10% (just a quick test and looking at the kn/s at depth 18)
Parent - - By Jesse Gersenson (***) Date 2016-08-03 19:29
You're welcome Felix.

InBetween also can translate uci messages. So, for example it could change this,

setoption name Threads value 1

to this
setoption name Threads value 32

I.E everytime your GUI tells the engine to run on 1 thread, InBetween will translate the message into 'tell the engine to run on 32 threads'. This is useful in ChessBase -- which limits the value of threads to the number of cores on the local machine. It likewise limits the RAM values.
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-04 12:11
that's a funny workaround, although I don't use Chessbase software anymore :-)
When I got a copy of Chessbase's Rybka 4 edition, I gave it to a pupil since it didn't run with Wine at that time. That changed in the meanwhile, but I don't use Chessbase products, therefore.
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2017-09-16 10:50
Just to add: Don't forget to make the engine executable (right click, properties, access, execute as program) :-)
Parent - - By gsgs (***) [de] Date 2017-09-19 15:07
that doesn't always work, there are restrictions which I don't fully understand.
Usually copying the files to a subdirectory of "home" lets me make them executably
Parent - - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2017-09-20 09:26
the formatting of the drive needs to allow making files executable (so FAT32/NTFS drives will not!). Otherwise I could imagine problems with rights (but a chmod command with sudo will always work). That your home directory has problems sounds unusual, because you will have both rights and a proper formatting.
Parent - By gsgs (***) [de] Date 2017-09-20 10:29
I meant home/.../  _does_ work.

chmod is often not allowed. "not permitted"
I especially remember problems with terminal (jackpal,termux) in Android
(being new to Linux)

There should be a Linux without these restrictions ?!?
Parent - By Felix Kling (Gold) [de] Date 2016-08-17 19:32
Actually a problem with crashes after sygyzy tablebase usage is gone if using the native stockfish :-)
Parent - - By CrazyKnightGR (*) Date 2016-09-20 23:57
Also some minutes ago I have download the AQ2106v901. The first impression is good! The program is faster and stable. Trees doesn't work out of box and some objects doesn't show correctly or at all. Tomorrow I will post more details and (hope) ways to bypass the problems. If anyone has allready "invented the wheel" would be nice to contact with me.
Up Topic The Rybka Lounge / Computer Chess / Using Linux for Chess
1 2 Previous Next  

Powered by mwForum 2.27.4 © 1999-2012 Markus Wichitill