This is a question that I get from time-to-time, so I thought that it would be useful to create a tutorial.
If you are using the Linux operating system on your computer, this post will show you how to run MetaTrader 4/5 and Forex Tester on your computer.
If you have never heard of Linux before, I will also get into why it might be something that you would want to use on one of your computers, instead of installing the dreaded Windows as your primary operating system.
However, if you have some money to spend and really want a trouble free computer I recommend a Mac.
But Linux does have its benefits.
Why Use Linux?
If you haven't heard of Linux before, it is a free operating system that was first released in 1991 and was supposed to rival Windows and the Mac OS. But it never gained a lot of mainstream popularity due to all of the technical know-how that was needed to even install the simplest things.
It is open source software (free) and just like the Android mobile operating system, the functionality that you can get with a particular version will depend on the company that customizes it.
One version has emerged as the clear leader for the general public is Ubuntu. They even have versions for phones and tablets. This is the flavor of Linux that I will be talking about in the rest of this post.
My friend Adam Jowett uses it for social media and web browsing when he is trading. Here is a picture that I totally stole from his blog.
However, don't let the “ugly stepsister” status on the desktop fool you, it is still a very powerful and secure operating system that several major stock exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange currently use it to run their servers.
I have personally installed it on a couple of PCs and it is actually pretty nice. If you are looking for something to just do email and some web surfing, it is perfect…and free. But if you want to run other programs on it, that is when compatibility becomes an issue.
It is also optimized to run using much less computing power, compared to other operating systems. So if you want to revive an old computer, Ubuntu would probably run quite well on computers that would otherwise freeze up with Windows.
But can Ubuntu Linux be used as a legit trading platform?
Yes it can…with a little tweaking.
Using Wine To Install Metatrader Linux (Free)
The first way to get MetaTrader Linux working is to use Wine. The good news is that it is free and it can be used to run Windows programs on Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X. It is basically a lightweight Windows emulator that allows Windows programs to run within these operating systems.
The bad news is that it cannot run Forex Tester 2. That is when you will have to use the the solution in the next section.
If you are having issues with Wine, you can also try CrossOver. It is a paid product, but they do have a free trial. The CrossOver programmers have contributed a lot to Wine however, so you probably want to try Wine first.
Using VMWare Player (Free) + Windows (Paid)
Another way that you can go about this is to download VMWare Player. Unlike VMWare Fusion for the Mac (which I love), Player is free.
The best part about Player is that you can create snapshots of the operating system and you can just save it for later, in case something gets messed up. However, there is a catch…you have to install Windows on it.
This is where you would have to buy Windows…or you could obtain it through other means, which I know nothing about. Regardless of how you get it, I recommend Windows 7 at this point. Microsoft just stopped support for Windows XP and although that was my go to Windows version, the risk of vulnerabilities is just too high to make it worthwhile.
Yup, there is no way around it, sometimes you really do need Windows. However, the upside is that you will have maximum compatibility with Forex Tester 2, MetaTrader, and any other Windows program that you need to use.
The question then becomes, why not just install Windows as the main operating system? You could do that, but let's face the facts…Windows sucks blue whale balls. You will spend more time fixing it than actually using it.
By using another operating system like Linux or OS X as your primary operating system and only using Windows when absolutely necessary, you keep your hair and remain a generally pleasant person to be around.
But these aren't your only options.
Although MetaTrader and Forex Tester 2 are the industry standards when it comes to charting and backtesting, if you are willing to experiment with other platforms, you may find that they work well enough for your needs.
One thing that you can try is the desktop version of Trade Interceptor. As you probably know, I'm a big fan of their mobile app, but their desktop software leaves a little be desired.
Still, it runs on Java, so it will run on almost any PC and it has backtesting functionality. So it is something you may want to try. I'm really rooting for TI, I think they can really do some amazing things in Forex.
Another thing you can try for charting is using the Java version of your trading platform, like the platform that Oanda has.
Charting is generally not great with these platforms, but it may be good enough for you and save you the headache of trying to figure out a Metatrader solution.
However, you would still need to figure out a way to install Forex Tester for backtesting.
So that is how you can turn your Linux computer into a Forex trading computer.
It can take a little time to setup, but it will work.
There is a certain satisfaction that comes with using a free operating system like Linux…even if it does require some additional steps to get working.
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