I'm playing around with Electron lately.

One of the things I wanted to do was build the Electron Application for Windows on my Linux development box, which runs Debian.

I used electron-builder for building the app.

In this post I'll focus on making electron-builder build the app for windows and will ignore setting up electron, electron-builder and making the electron app.


You need Wine 1.8+. Debian will install Wine 1.6.2.

To install Wine 1.8+ on Debian:


To make electron-builder build for windows, the following is needed in package.json:

  "build": {
    "appId": "com.aaronlenoir.gnucash-reporter",
    "win": {
      "target": [

For convenience, I have the following scripts too:

  "scripts": {
    "pack": "build --dir",
    "dist": "build",
    "pack-win": "build --dir --win",
    "dist-win": "build --win"

That way, I can run npm run pack-win to build for windows.


Electron-builder needs Wine in order to build for windows. So I had installed it using apt:

apt-get install wine

Problem 1: Wine version

The first run, I got the following error:

$ npm run pack-win

> gnucash-reporter@0.0.1-alpha pack-win /home/user/electron/gnucash-reporter
> build --dir --win

Skip app dependencies rebuild because platform is different
TypeError: Invalid Version: it
    at new SemVer (/home/user/electron/gnucash-reporter/node_modules/semver/semver.js:293:11)
    at compare (/home/user/electron/gnucash-reporter/node_modules/semver/semver.js:566:10)
    at lt (/home/user/electron/gnucash-reporter/node_modules/semver/semver.js:600:10)
    at /home/user/electron/gnucash-reporter/node_modules/electron-builder/src/packager.ts:473:7

Note the strange message: TypeError: Invalid Version: it

Looking at the stack trace, it looked like it was checking the version of Wine. But apparently the version was not a valid Semver version number: "it".

The mystery was solved however, asking wine for its version:

$ wine --version
it looks like multiarch needs to be enabled.  as root, please
execute "dpkg --add-architecture i386 && apt-get update &&
apt-get install wine32"

Now it was clear where "it" came from. So I followed the instructions and ran:

dpkg --add-architecture i386 && apt-get update && apt-get install wine32

After that, wine had the following version:

$ wine --version

So I ran npm run pack-win again:

And received the error:

Error: wine 1.8+ is required, but your version is 1.6.2, please see https://github.com/electron-userland/electron-builder/wiki/Multi-Platform-Build#linux

Problem 2: Getting Wine 1.8

I'm not very familiar with debian, but I always assumed apt would give me the latest stable version of applications.

I followed the instructions on: https://github.com/electron-userland/electron-builder/wiki/Multi-Platform-Build#linux

But they don't work well on Debian, since it can't find the appropriate packages.

I found these instructions on the debian wiki, which worked:

  • Add this line line to /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-backports main
  • Update the package lists
sudo apt-get update
  • Then, for 64-bit systems:
sudo apt install \
      wine/jessie-backports \
      wine32/jessie-backports \
      wine64/jessie-backports \
      libwine/jessie-backports \
      libwine:i386/jessie-backports \

After this:

$ wine --version
wine-1.8.6 (Debian 1.8.6-5~bpo8+1)


After this the build succeeded:

user@debian:~/electron/gnucash-reporter$ npm run pack-win

> gnucash-reporter@0.0.1-alpha pack-win /home/user/electron/gnucash-reporter
> build --dir --win

Skip app dependencies rebuild because platform is different
Packaging for win32 x64 using electron 1.4.15 to dist/win-unpacked
user@debian:~/electron/gnucash-reporter$ ls
build  dist  install-builder-deps.sh  LICENSE  node_modules  package.json  README.md  src  test
user@debian:~/electron/gnucash-reporter$ cd dist/
user@debian:~/electron/gnucash-reporter/dist$ ls
linux-unpacked  win-unpacked

win-unpacked, in windows, looks like this:

And running the executable ran the application without any issues.



You need:

  • Electron
  • Electron-Builder
  • Wine 1.8+

Debian runs Wine 1.6.2 standard, and you need to add the "jessie backports" package source to your system in order to install Wine 1.8+.

For reference, the practice application I'm building in electron is on github: https://github.com/AaronLenoir/gnucash-reporter.