I want to download a free eBook from the eLibrary of my university. It only opens in Adobe Digital editions which is only available to Mac and Windows. It's a .acsm file.

Is there any native Linux client that works on Ubuntu 14.04? (I have Xubuntu 14.04 64 bit.)

I want a gratis one, not necessarily open source.

3 Answers 3


I created a program called Knock to convert ACSM files to DRM-free EPUB files at the command line:

[user@computer:~]$ knock ./example.acsm
downloading the file from Adobe...
removing DRM from the file...
DRM-free EPUB file generated at ./example.epub

The program is gratis and libre. This isn't a client/reader per se, it just let's you convert the ACSM file to a DRM-free EPUB file, which you can then read with any gratis EPUB reader. It also works for ACSM files that point to PDFs.

  • This is an interesting project, thanks for letting me know, I accepted the answer because apparently, it's a solution to the problem. However, I have not tested it because I'm no longer a student so I don't have access to the ebooks. Hopefully, someone could give it a try and let us know. Thank you for your efforts in creating the project
    – Lynob
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 5:18
  • Does this also work for PDFs?
    – Jonathan
    Commented May 8, 2022 at 19:29
  • 1
    @Jonathan yes it does work for PDFs Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 4:11

As far as I know there is no easy solution for this. There is no ADE for Linux, and since the .acsm file isn't the book itself but just a purchase ticket that allows you to download the book on Adobe's servers, it makes it harder to create a program that would fool Adobe's servers to retrieve the book content with the .acsm. It seems like the best you can do is using Wine (and complain to the eLibrary of your university that you don't spend $$$ in tuition fees to get books full of DRMs)

Another solution: Converting a ADE document (Adobe Digital Editions, acsm) to PDF.

  • 4
    hopefully they hear what I say :)
    – Lynob
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 17:35
  • 3
    Winetricks actually comes with an installer for ADE, making the process a snap. (I'm on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and I used the Winetricks GUI.)
    – Jellicle
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 2:31
  • @Lynob Another solution would be converting a ADE document (Adobe Digital Editions, acsm) to PDF. Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:49
  • it's your question and still unsolved right? so still no answer
    – Lynob
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 1:05
  • 1
    @Lynob that's another approach, and if you are willing to pay I pointed to a tool that might work. Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 1:08

I will try to list all the solutions I've found.

  1. Tested solution: It's working, and very easy.

    First install Wine on your Linux OS. Then download Adobe Digital editions.

    Then install the file you downloaded from Adobe (It was ADE_4.5_Installer.exe, for me), in the Wine virtual Window. If you don't know how to use wine, see this doc: How to install and use Wine on Linux

  2. Install a Virtual Windows guest OS on Linux. How to Set Up a Windows Virtual Machine in Linux.

  3. If you failed to install virtual machine or open with Wine, and if you really need this program, install a Windows/Linux dual boot on your computer. How to dual boot Windows/Linux on the same computer

  4. Use a virtual Android phone (or a real one) and install the Adobe Digital editions for Android. Virtual smartphone software, Memu

You can also try to emulate MacOS, or iOS.

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