YNAB & Linux

When YNAB 3 first launched, we advertised it as being compatible with Windows and Mac. Soon after we launched, we got a lot of enthusiastic reports from users telling us that YNAB was working great on their Linux machines as well. We use the Adobe AIR platform for YNAB, and were thrilled to hear it was working flawlessly for Linux customers! By popular demand, we began advertising that YNAB was Linux compatible as well.

That worked quite well for us for quite a while, but recently things have begun to change. As we’ve grown in popularity, we have increasingly found ourselves troubleshooting obscure install issues for Adobe AIR on various Linux flavors, many of which we were not familiar with. If a Linux customer had a problem, it took us ten times as long to provide the same incredible level of support that we could for Mac or Windows. Furthermore, our Linux customers were, as a percentage, having more problems getting AIR installed correctly. To paraphrase a recent potential customer who was having trouble getting AIR working: “If you advertise Linux compatibility, I expect it to be easy.” He’s right! We only want to advertise YNAB for platforms that we can enthusiastically proclaim, “This will work great for you! We promise! If it doesn’t, we’ll work until it does.” The fact is, we can’t do that for Linux anymore.

On top of that, Adobe no longer officially supports AIR on Linux, and we don’t want to make implicit guarantees about future compatibility with YNAB 4, 5, 6, etc. So, even though YNAB will probably work on your flavor of Linux (perhaps with a bit of Googling and some command-line know-how), we can’t guarantee it, and are no longer advertising YNAB as “Linux compatible.” If you’re the persistent sort, please feel free to install an older version of AIR and then give YNAB a shot!

29 Responses to “YNAB & Linux”

  1. Monty

    One of the reasons I bought into the YNAB concept (and bought YNAB less than 2 months ago) was the advertised Linux support through Adobe Air. As my current installs of YNAB are working perfectly on my desktop running Ubuntu 10.04 and laptop running Lubuntu 11.10, I don’t have any cause to need support so all is well. Somehow Adobe dropping AIR on Linux passed by me unnoiticed but it does appear likely one of the Adobe partners will pick up AIR for Linux. Hopefully Linux users won’t be left out in the cold when it comes to running AIR applications. I’ve never understood why Linux has not become more popular than it is. I’ve got 2 desktops, a laptop and a netbook running Linux and a desktop running Win 7. I spend more time messing with that one Windows desktop to keep it running well than the four other machines combined.

    Please don’t let the Linux operating system and all the Linux users out there fall off your radar. As good as your product is, I won’t spend my money on it if it won’t work on Linux.

  2. Joel

    Linux hasn’t become more popular as it is because it’s really a OS for those who have a pretty good knowledge of computers and software. It’s not plug-n-play like companies and general users need their OS to be. Aside from arguments that Linux is superior, the fact is, it’s more involving and perhaps that’s why Adobe gave up. Not sure as that’s news to me as well but Linux will never be a superior OS until it becomes intuitive for the casual user. At this point, it’s still not.

  3. Oraculum

    YNAB just because I got to run on Linux and for me is the best linux application to control finances, for me it works normally on my Ubuntu 11.10.

    I think you should rethink this strategy of withdrawing support to Linux, because Linux has been growing a lot lately

  4. Andres Riofrio

    This post makes me a bit sad, because one of the main reasons why I bought YNAB is that I could count on it working _anywhere_: in my Linux machine, in my Windows machine, in my (future hopeful) Mac machine. I haven’t had a problem running YNAB on Linux lately, although I’m on Windows right now because of a driver bug in Ubuntu a couple of months ago (I currently run Ubuntu Server inside VirtualBox, and use Mintty to SSH into it). Linux is harder to maintain, but for someone who does a lot of coding and doesn’t have the money for a Mac, it’s the tool of choice. And dual-booting is a hassle.

    In any case, I hope you guys continue to provide some support for Linux, as it’s very important for at least some of your customers.

    Thanks for a great product. (PS: Thanks to YNAB, I will hopefully have a new used car a year from now! :D)

  5. Kenny D.

    I understand the reasoning here. YNAB is an Adobe AIR application so YNAB is supported everywhere AIR is supported. AIR is no longer supported on Linux so I don’t see how YNAB can be expected to officially supported on Linux.

    That being said – I think until unless YNAB is updated to use a new version of AIR not available on Linux, it should continue to work. Hopefully someone more familiar with AIR than me can chime in on that?

    Also, if I remember right, Adobe had what amounts to an open source program similar to AIR but targeted at more devices (think TVs, Bluray players, tablets, smart phones, etc) as well as computers. Not sure if it would be possible to run that on Linux, Mac, and Windows as well as tablets and make YNAB work on that?

  6. Dan A

    Yes this is sad but the bigger problem is AIR for Linux. I also run “Pandora.air” and I am sure there are many other .air applications out there. The Open Screen Project has indeed taken over development of AIR and it will only be a matter of time that AIR for Linux will be back.

    So YNAB, will you continue to develop a .air version regardless of who creates the run time environment? The problem is bigger than YNAB but please don’t add another nail to the coffin. Thanks.

  7. Taylor

    @Kenny, We expect that YNAB probably will work for Linux users who install the older versions of AIR. We were seeing some support cases though where that didn’t work for them or was quite fiddly based on their Linux flavor and other installed (or uninstalled) packages/libraries.

    And yeah, you can target mobile/tablet platforms with AIR now too. They’re doing some cool things there, and rest assured, we are investigating. :)

    @Dan We are indeed planning on AIR applications for the forseeable future. We really like it as a development platform. With things so uncertain at present, we want to make sure we don’t overpromise ourselves. It wouldn’t surprise me though if YNAB continues to run great on Linux. Until we know more though, we just can’t promise it.

  8. Dan A

    Taylor, understood.
    Glad to see you are still thinking about us Tux’s. :) Thanks.

  9. Rubycut

    You should continue support for linux. But you can limit yourself to one mainstream distribution. Let’s say ubuntu. That would make your support life easier.

    • Jesse

      @Rubycut, that’s a pretty good idea. We may revisit that once the dust settles here with some other stuff. Though it’s questionable whether the dust ever settles.

    • Les

      That’s a great solution! Ubuntu is now the third largest operating system in the world, in use by more than 20 million users. Many other notables, such as Linux Mint, are based on it as well, so this would be a decent compromise. I love YNAB, and I stopped using Windows about two years ago on all of our our family’s computers, as well as in the office. Jesse, it would be amazing if you would consider this.

  10. Bahamdein

    Why you try to support Adobe Air for free, you should refer all users who have Adobe AIR issues to contact adobe support, or to use “community forums”.
    Limit your self to support issues of YNAB only, discard issues related to Adobe.
    Also, you can select one or 2 Linux distributions (for example: Ubuntu)for instructional details, pre-deploy tests, web how-to, and manuals.

    Again, I want to flag an issue rised before, I purchased this product because it support Linux, also I have switched to this product because of that reason. It is hard to keep switch every year.

    Also, while the issue only is losing staff time, you can provide “community forums” which could be looked by one of staff for certain hours.

    I prefer to look again for such decisions, which has alternate options could cover the main issue and increase customers who are linux base users..

  11. billy larlad

    I respect your decision 100%. Not only is it your call, but you guys made it pretty respectfully. Good for you!

    Still, I just wanted to say that there are Linux users like myself who will factor this into their decision to buy or not buy YNAB. I’m fortunate that I can boot into Windows, but I’m sure many can’t or won’t. I won’t hold it against you lads that you dropped Linux support, but at the same time I have to decide whether it’s convenient for me to spend 60 dollars on a piece of software for a tertiary OS. Just sayin’!

  12. Tomas Herman

    Yeah, it works fine for me aswell (under wine 1.4, ubuntu)

  13. Brian Holt

    Works for me too under Ubuntu 12.04 (also wine) – no problems with installation or use, its really smooth.

    What I’m struggling with is the Cloudsync/Dropbox integration. I’ve got Dropbox installed under Linux (not wine) but when I attempt to activate Cloudsync, YNAB doesn’t think I have Dropbox installed and helpfully directs me to the Dropbox website to download it.

    Jesse, do you think there might be a way in which I can ‘point’ YNAB to my existing Dropbox installation instead of the automatic registry check?

    • Carsten Grimm

      You could try to install dropbox in wine and ‘point’ this dropbox installation to your actual dropbox folder on linux. It might be better to have the wine-dropbox never sync, though …

      • Carsten Grimm

        From what I can see, you can just save the budget in any linux-wise-dropbox-synced folder. Just tell YNAB that the budget is local. I have tried this and I haven’t seen any problems so far.

  14. Tyrin Price

    I have YNAB3 working fine under wine in Linux Mint 14. I decided to try Debian (64-Bit v7 Wheezy) once more (the source for ubuntu and all its derivatives like Mint) and have not yet figured out how to get it working.

    I installed multiarch support, ia32-libs and ia32-libs-gtk.

    Has anyone figured out how to get it working with 64-bit Debian Wheezy?

  15. Tyrin Price

    This is how I got YNAB3 installed in 64-bit Debian 7 (Wheezy) natively… that is without needing to install from Wine. NOt sure how to do this for YNAB4, though.

    First thing is to add i386 architecture with…
    sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386

    This adds i386 to the file /var/lib/dpkg/arch

    update apt with…
    sudo apt-get update

    Now, install the ia32-libs package with…
    sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

    Then install the ia32-libs-gtk package with…
    sudo apt-get install ia32-libs-gtk

    Download the Adobe Air 2.6 deb at…

    Install that file with …
    sudo dpkg -i adobeair_2.6.0.19170_amd64.deb

    Download the YNAB3 air install file at…

    Run the Adobe AIR application installer program (click activities then type adobe in the search to get to the program). Navigate to the ynab air file and tell it to install.

    This worked for me. It should work with YNAB4 if you can get the air file for it.

  16. Tyrin Price


    I forgot.. when installing the adobe air deb file the command needs to be preceeded by a library path statement…

    sudo LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu dpkg -i adobeair_2.6.0.19170_amd64.deb

  17. Tyrin Price

    The above should all be on one line. It told me that it could not be installed.. but it was installed.

  18. Augusto Sosa Escalada

    If YNAB decide to support Linux installations, you don’t need to support all the Linux distribution/releases. Like many other software solutions you can choose one or two distros/release and that’s it.

  19. Chris Clark

    Well, count me in as one potential customer who would have gotten YNAB if it wasn’t dependent on Adobe Air. I would think some of your developers would develop on Linux, but… I guess not. I’ll just never understand these things.

    • Tyrin Price

      Chris, YNAB4 works great with wine under Linux. It only needed Adobe Air if you try to run it without wine — and that was a bit tricky to get to work… not to mention it limited options to YNAB3.

      It would be nice if YNAB ran natively in Linux, but I find YNAB to be indispensable. It’s the only reason I installed wine, in fact. I tried wrestling with GNUcash for a couple of months and was never satisfied. I finally just installed wine and went back to YNAB. I have mine set up to use a dropbox subdirectory so I am also able to use YNAB on Linux, and on my android tablet … and sync from the android.

      • Chris Clark

        Thanks for the info. If that’s the case I might go ahead and give YNAB a try. I hear so many great things about YNAB that I suppose I’d tolerate a wine installation for it :)

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