Google Earth for Linux - Beta

OK, so Goole has finally released a first version of Google Earth for Linux (beta, of course).

Well, maybe this time they really mean it when they say "beta"...
Google Earth Linux 1 Google Earth Linux 2 Google Earth Linux 3
Here's some quick observations:

  • Of course, it's not open source, you basically get a bunch of *.so files and an executable.
  • It uses a bunch of open source software packages, though, e.g. libcurl, OpenSSL, libjpeg, libPNG, libtiff, libmng, zlib, Expat XML Parser, FreeImage, and a bunch of other things. All the licenses of those projects are contained in a README, though.
  • The installer seems to be (based on) the Loki installer, at least a ~/.loki directory is created with some stuff in it.
  • The maps cache, and some other files are stored in ~/.googleearth.
  • The ~/.googleearth/crashlogs directory contains log files which are generated when the application crashes, and sent to Google upon the next restart of the application automatically. The README says that you should basically chmod 000 ~/.googleearth/crashlogs if you don't want that. They say these files don't contain personal information. I haven't seen one yet (didn't crash, yet), so I cannot tell if that's true.
  • The EULA says that Google Earth will phone home (they call it "check for available updates to the Software"), and that you automatically agree to that when you use it: "By installing the Software, you agree to automatically request and receive Updates".
  • When I start Google Earth, I get a popup window which tells me to install Bitstream Vera Sans fonts or things might look strange. No idea which fonts extactly they mean, I've got the Debian packages ttf-bitstream-vera, and ttf-dejavu, but the warning still appears.
  • After Google Earth connects to the server(s) I get to see something resembling a globe, but not really what I (or Google possibly) expected. There's simply no textures for anything, I just see (broken) wireframes (see screenshot), but that's about it.

I'll have to play around with it a bit more, maybe it's an issue with the NVIDIA drivers or something. But as I don't have the source I can basically just make stupid guesses...

(via Golem, and a bunch of other sites)


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possible problem with ATI card

As I wrote above I can not run Google Earth on my Fujitsu-Siemens notebook with an ATI graphic card inside. I use the latest ATI proprietary driver with a 2.6.20 kernel on debian etch and it works very well ... amazing quality (for the price).
I can run Google Earth on an Dell Notebook with SuSe with Intell card inside with the same kernel ...

Have you any ideas?

Have you read somewhere something

thanks in advance and best regards

solution for me was...

I just ran into the same problem with an ATI X300 card on Slackware and have it resolved.

Go as far as seeing the splash screen of a GoogleEarth install.

Go to ATI's website and download the older ATI driver for linux, I used

run it, using a command like:
sh ./ --extract ati

this will create an ati directory with all the files from the driver package.
You might want to back-up your GE files before doing the following.
Copy one file from the driver package over the top of one of the GE drivers:
cp ati/arch/x86/usr/X11R6/lib/ /opt/google-earth/

Now run GE - should work normally... now to install the missing fonts.

ATI and Google Earth

Nope, sorry, no idea. As always with closed-source software (both ATI drivers and Google Earth) you're at the mercy of the vendor. Good luck!


Google Earth for linux

The reason many people are having problems is because google earth for linux is actually just a google earth for windows that uses wine technology to run on linux. so if you are having problems with the app then you could go see they have a pretty good faq page. The reason it is so slow is it uses indirect rendering, and thinks that it is running on windows, the wine layer just emulates the windows environment, and like many emulators performance is always lost


Not only are you wrong about Google Earth being wine based (it is not), you are also wrong about wine being an emulator (it is not). Furthermore, programs run in wine are not slower than they are on Windows. On my dual-boot box, ListPro rins faster in wine on Linux than on Windows. Same for PowerPoint Viewer.

Nice when Microsoft software runs better on Linux than on Windows, no?


Um, no. I don't think Google Earth uses Wine, it's a native port. Picasa does, though.

It does. It uses Wine; go

It does. It uses Wine; go into the options dialog and turn on a setting that requires restarting. It alerts you, and the icon is a Win 2k / 9x series icon...

Lok installer?

I'm not sure about this .loki dir either but afaik remember the Loki installer used with "Civilisation CTP" had a Tk frontend. Strange thing.

binary nvidia?

You're using the binary nvidia drivers, and at the same time complaining about not being able to fix a graphics bug because you don't have the source to something? Boggle. What if it's a bug in your graphics driver?

NVIDIA drivers

Well, you've got a point. I should really stop using the NVIDIA drivers. And don't worry, I complain about them not being open source, too ;)

To my knowledge they don't even give out any specs, so there aren't open source replacement drivers either (correct me if I'm wrong; in fact I'd be delighted to be wrong in this case!). I'll try using VESA drivers, but I'm pretty sure that'll spoil Google Earth and a bunch of other (open source) programs which use, want, or would profit from accelerated 3D graphics...

Re: Problems

I have tested it too, but i had no problems. I run an up-to-date Sid with the proprietary Nvidia driver on a custom build linux- I experienced no problem, not with fonts, not with textures and it didn't crash so far. So I think your system must be special in some way.

Google Earth not installed with apt-get.


I run debian etch, kde, gnomesettings daemon,, nvidia-gforce2 mx400 graphics. athlon xp 1700, 750MB of main memory.

When I installed google earth I just ran GoogleEarthLinux.bin. Is this a bad thing to do? I suppose it is since it is outside of the apt framework.

Anyway I also got the message about Bitstream Vera Sans but after installing ttf-bitstream-vera this message went away.

I then got a message telling me that I should take out the rivafb option from my kernel and recompile my kernel and then install the proprietry ndvida graphics driver:

I recompiled my kernel and installed this driver. Now before installing the proprietry nvidia drivers the font rendering was VERY slow to the point of being unusable. After recompiling my kernel and installing the NVIDIA drivers the font rendering is very fast, faster the windows.

However now I must reinstall the nvidia drivers each time I recompile my kernel, for if i do not, xorg will not start.

Please tell me if I am doing the right thing?

The Right Thing (tm)

Well, depends on what you think the Right Thing is...

You cannot install Google Earth via apt-get, there's no such package (AFAIK). So running GoogleEarthLinux.bin is correct.

Hm, really strange, I have ttf-bitstream-vera, too, but it doesn't help... Are you running Debian unstable, stable, or testing?

If you want to use the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, you have to recompile them each time you recompile your kernel, yes (if you have a custom kernel).

If you use the Debian kernels, I think you can use some NVIDIA installer packages from Debian, but I never tried those...

HTH, Uwe.

I am running testing

I am running testing (etch).

btw, there does seem to be a debian package at this site but the link is broken. You might need to email him.

debian package

On debian there is a package that you can use to build your own package and install it with dpkg -i afterwords.
But what for, when you can do it with the GoogleEarth.bin install. I think it is an overhead.

Unfortunately I have another problem. I can not start GoogleEarth on my fujitsu notebook It hangs on initialisation ... I use debian etch here.
On my company notebook wich has intel graphic card and SuSe GoogleEartch installs and runs without a problem

I think it is because of the ATI card but no confirmation yet ... if you have any ideas let me know


Hm, strange. I currently run a custom-built and up-to-date sid, so it should work, right? I'll investigate...

Rendering Problems with Google Earth

You are not alone...

Google Earth BBS thread about "rendering problems"

It appears as though certain NVidia cards have the problem (GeForce 6200 TurboCache(TM)/PCI/SSE2/3DNOW! - is the card on my desktop and I have the problem there, but not on an old legacy NVidia card on another machine.)

If it's a GeForce 6100/6200 - those cards are WELL represented in the forum post for rendering problems I linked to above.

Ironically - the Windows version of Google Earth (yeah - not beta, the old version 3) works better than the native linux version for me right now. (The 3d window starts out small and must be resized and the fonts are stretched, but the satellite imagery loads fine.)

Right now the "rendering problems" thread seems to be the hottest in the Google Earth Linux forum.


Re: Rendering Problems with Google Earth

You wrote:

> It appears as though certain NVidia cards have the problem (GeForce
> 6200 TurboCache(TM)

This is exactly the card in my machine. And I have exactly that problems with rendering.

Just call my to lazy to read and/or research via Google, but are there any ideas or advises, how to clear this problem?? I surfed a lot to find powerful information such like this descreptions in this blog, so it would be very great, if there would be any suggestions or links to possible solutions too.

Yep, I have a "GeForce Go

Yep, I have a "GeForce Go 6200 TurboCache (rev a1)", too. I looked through the forums but couldn't find any working solution, yet. I played with my xorg.conf file a bit, but no luck there, either.

Google is aware of this, I think, it'll probably be fixed in the next release (I hope)...

I have the same problem.

I have the same problem. GeForce6200 TC, and incorrectly placed textures, using any drivers newer than legacy 71.74. What is interesting, similiar problems with rendering also appear in some windows game that I run through cedega - GTA: Vice City and Diablo II. Newer games like NFS: MW and FIFA06 also have this issues. Graphic problems doesn't seem to exist when playing native linux games (like Enemy Territory and its mod: True Combat: Elite). Are nVidia drivers a bit messy?

GeForce 6200

same problem,
Suse 10.0, with nvidia drivers for Geforce 6200
runs tuxracer just fine
but google earth is slow

GeForce 6100

I have similar problem with GeForce 6100 card. I am running Debian Etch with Debian's default kernel (2.6.18) and binary driver (1.0.8776).

Globe is not rendering properly (missing tiles). Not all tiles displayed on zoom too.