MSI packaging on Linux

One of my pet projects ( used .msi packages for Windows installation. And not to keep Windows builder, I sat down and figured out how to assemble under Windows.

MSI packaging tools

To build the .msi-package I use Wix (

To not bother with writing XML-files for Wix, I use WixSharp (

WixSharp is self-sufficient. No additional installation is required to build installation packages. WixSharp archive also contains Wix.

Build .msi package is very Windows-specific. As a result, I decided to use Wine in Linux container. Ubuntu 16.04 using as a guest operating system.

Installing: Wine

Installing Wine in Linux-container was not trivial. Main problem that Wine actively uses 32-bit libraries.

To solve this problem you need to add support for 32-bit architecture:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

You can then install Wine:

sudo apt install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install wine1.8 winetricks

Installing: Microsoft .NET on Wine

To begin, you need to install the Microsoft .NET on Wine.

Using 32-bits environment

Microsoft .NET 4.0 can be installed on Wine only in 32bits environment.

This will get you a 32-bit Wine environment:

# Using 32bits environment
export WINEARCH=win32
# Place Wine data to separate directory
export WINEPREFIX=$HOME/.wine-i686/

Add GUI support to Linux container

GUI is needed for Microsoft .NET installation.

Simplest way to get GUI on remote Linux host: connect by SSH with X-server forwarding.

This can be done by command like:

ssh -X remote-host

Unfortunately, the default container that does not give effect, since there is not installed xauth.

To fix you need to install the xauth container:

sudo apt install xauth

Installing .NET

Actually .NET can be installed with the command:

winetricks dotnet40

At the same time, it will ask to manually download a number of files from Microsoft, but it has not caused problems.

Solve the error: The specified user does not have a valid profile

System.IO.FileLoadException: The specified user does not have a valid profile.  Unable to load 'WixSharp, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=3775edd25acc43c2'.
File name: 'WixSharp, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=3775edd25acc43c2'

This error I came up due to the use ManagedAction.

Solved by adding the magic key to the registry:

wine reg add "HKLM\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows NT\\CurrentVersion\\ProfileList\\S-1-5-21-0-0-0-1000"

Solve the error: Unhandled exception 0xe0434352

System.IO.IOException: The parameter is incorrect.

   at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError(Int32 errorCode, String maybeFullPath)
   at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError()
   at System.Console.set_OutputEncoding(Encoding value)
   at csscript.CSExecutionClient.Main(String[] rawArgs)
wine: Unhandled exception 0xe0434352 in thread 9 at address 0x7b83ac1c (thread 0009), starting debugger...
err:winediag:nulldrv_CreateWindow Application tried to create a window, but no driver could be loaded.
err:winediag:nulldrv_CreateWindow Make sure that your X server is running and that $DISPLAY is set correctly.

This error bothered longer than the others.

The main problem is that it only appeared in the build with Jenkins. When I connect via SSH is not reproduced. I suspect that the reason for this problem is the lack of a terminal in the build with Jenkins.

The solution was simple: it was enough to update the file csrcs.exe, incoming in WixSharp set.

Since cscs.exe and WixSharp created by same author, I asked him to update the cscs.exe (

As a result, this problem no longer relevant with WixSharp v1.0.35.0 or later.

Solve the error: light.exe : error LGHT0216

light.exe : error LGHT0216 : An unexpected Win32 exception with error code 0x65B occurred: Function failed during execution

This error is due to the fact that Wine still not fully compatible with Windows. In this particular case, Wix can not verify the generated package.

To work around this error, you can simply disable packet inspection correctness, passing the parameter -sval to light.exe.

In the case of WixSharp it looks like this:

Project project = new Project("Test");
project.LightOptions = "-sval";
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