With the profound changes that mobile computing has brought to the table during the past few years, one fact has remained relatively constant for the better part of a decade. Linux based computers, and specifically the Linux desktop still comprise only 2% of all the computers out there in the world. If you’re a die hard fan of Linux, then you have really have to accept that you’re almost on an island when it comes to support for Metatrader 4, ( Mt4 for short) from your broker and/or other software developers of MT4. The wonderful thing though about being a Linux user, is that other Linux users, and the Linux community of users as a whole is fantastic when it comes to helping each other out. So while you won’t get support from your broker or Mt4, other users of MT4 on Linux will probably gladly give you some assistance.
Often times this is due to necessity. When there is no tech support for your particular platform, it’s in your best interest to share your knowledge with the Linux community to solve a problem. By helping others, you’re also helping yourself and the whole community benefits, the bugs get reported to the developers, and improvements are made to the software. Linux after all is free and was the inspiration to many other open source software we all love today Googles Android OS and WordPress among the most notable.
Besides the minimal direct support you will find from your broker and developers, there are other challenges that may come with using Metatrader 4 on Linux. The biggest challenge is that there is just no guarantee that MT 4 will work 100% of the time. I’ve used Mt 4 on other flavors of Linux for several years. Puppy Linux and Ubuntu Linux worked great. Many other versions of Linux just failed miserably. I personally just opted to try various Linux versions until I found one that worked.
To run native Windows application like Metatrader 4, the most cost effective way is to use an open source application called Wine. Now while I know there are commercial alternatives out there that you can use, that just goes beyond the scope of this article. Also, Wine is a Windows emulator that is readily available and is included with almost all major releases of Linux. A few months ago after updating to Ubuntu’s version 12.04 I tried running Metatrader with the latest version of Wine, version 1.4. It was a rather simple process and there was very little I needed to install or modify.
- Be sure Wine is installed on your Linux machine. On a Linux terminal just type wine –version to be sure.
- Open the File manager in Linux and go to the mounted drive where your Windows files are and where the Metatrader Folder is located. Usually: c:Program FilesMetatrader otherwise it’s c:Program FilesYour brokers name ie. FXDD, Alpari
- Point and right click the file named ‘terminal.exe’
- Select ‘Open With Wine Windows Program Loader’
Usually there’s a delay before Metatrader opens up. It won’t open immediately like it does on a Windows machine. You have to remember that there are lots of resources that go into emulating, A lightweight program like Metatrader becomes a lot heavier outside its native environment.
If Metatrader opens up in your Linux machine, then you’re in luck. You’ve achieved something many haven’t. If however you’re unlucky in the process, there are a few other things you may want to try.
First check the version of Wine you are using. Open a terminal on Linux and enter the command: wine –version
Mine shows Wine version 1.4 In previous versions of Wine, I had trouble getting Metatrader to work. When Wine 1.3 didn’t work for me. I searched the Wine repository, uninstalled Wine 1.3 and installed Wine version 1.2 instead. It worked fine, the downgrade did not affect the functionality of Metatrader 4 whatsoever and I was able to run other Windows applications like Quicken and Options trading software.
Check the WineHQ website. Users will give feedback on what works and what doesn’t
You almost have to have the mindset that running application like Metatrader on Linux is in its Beta phase. There are glitches that happen from time to time, it just comes with the benefits of not having to use Windows just to run Metatrader. I have had Metatrader on for days on my Linux computer, without crashes or stops. I could monitor trades, update and modify the charts and run Expert Advisers. So I can tell you that there have been great improvements in the past few years. 7-8 years ago when I first started using Metatrader, using it on Linux was just an impossible dream. With the focus on mobile computing and cross platform computing, my hope is the developers move towards a web based port of Metatrader, so that Linux users don’t have to hope and wish a wonderful application like Metatrader functions.
With the background in computer science, software development and mobile technology solutions, Paul Ramos has explored cost effective innovative ways to use today’s technology with Forex and financial markets.
Some screenshots of Linux running Metatrader 4, MT4 can be found at http://www.FxFocus.org Search: Linux
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