No Wine for Ubuntu-powered Dell PCs

No Wine for Ubuntu-powered Dell PCs

Summary: Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, said earlier this month that Dell will not include Wine on PCs shipping with Ubuntu because he doesn't want Ubuntu (and Linux in general) to be seen as a cheap alternative to Windows.


Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, said earlier this month that Dell will not include Wine on PCs shipping with Ubuntu because he doesn't want Ubuntu (and Linux in general) to be seen as a cheap alternative to Windows.

UbuntuThis seems to have come as a bit of a surprise to some, but it makes total sense to me. There's no way that Dell can sell a PC kitted out with Ubuntu and Wine and give people the impression that this will allow people to run Windows applications.  When this doesn't work, people would flat out blame Ubuntu for not running Windows apps.  I've used Wine a bit and most of my experiences have been less than positive. 

Sure, Wine is great for people who like to be adventurous, but there's no way that this is a product that's ready to be shipped on a Dell-badged system.  It's far too complex and beta for the average user.  For people who know about Wine, or who find out about it, it'll be there waiting for them, but to ship it on the system would be making a promise that couldn't be delivered.

[poll id=137]

This approach does present a few problems though.  For example, a while back I was interested in what kind of accessibility options were included with Linux and I was surprised to find that speech recognition is only possible by running Dragon Naturally Speaking through Wine.

Is not shipping Wine on Ubuntu-powered Dell systems a good idea?

Topics: Open Source, Dell, Hardware

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  • Will Ubuntu Dells...

    ... include a warning that all software the customer has previously purchsed and installed or at least installed will not work on the new computer?

    If any buyers were not previously familiar with Linux, I can see them trying to use the migration tool in Windows, then deciding that what they must need is one of those cords...

    Probably not much of a problem as these devices will be sold to people who are familiar with Linux and want to encourage Dell to keep selling 'em for publicity and pride.

    But the inability to run Windows software because of the awkwardness of Wine is a problem if any naive people were to purchase one of these things.
    Anton Philidor
    • They certainly should

      inform the customer of any issue such the inability to run Windows (or Mac) software on Linux. I think most people know, but it would be good to remind them of that before they make their purchase, and to inform those who don't know.

      You are right that the majority of buyers will be pre-existing Linux users, at least initially. But you will also get first time buyers who don't know Linux from Windows and just want a simple internet/e-mail machine (because the times they are a-changing). They won't have pre-existing software, but it'll be good to let the know that Windows software won't work for them.

      But the other side of that is that you get so much more free software with Linux that they may not need to buy more software. Same goes for existing Windows users, it's possible that the preinstalled or easily downloaded CD burning software, utilities, desktop software, etc. in Linux is all they need, and they can scrap their existing Windows software. Others may rely on the Windows specific titles. But if the customer is informed of everything clearly, they will be able to make a wise decision.
      Michael Kelly
      • Why should they start now...

        They dont inform you from Windows XP to Vista your software might not work.
        • And they never will

          Why scare off any potential sale by stating that "certain things will not work" with this operating system?

          Many home purchasers will just equate "will not work" with [i]Dell[/i], not [i]Linux[/i]
        • It's probably in the EULA somewhere. [NT]

    • Do Apple Stores?

      Do Apple Stores warn you that your Windows software won't work on Mac OS X before you buy a Macbook? I'm pretty sure they don't. It's just assumed that you understand that if it says "requires Windows" that means "not OS X or Linux or BSD."
      • Bad example

        Apple is a hardware brand. People know that Windows won't work on Apple. But
        Windows HAS worked on Dell, so Dell better explain why it suddenly won't.
        • Uh...rephrase that

          Windows will work on an Apple. The Apple Store will install Windows on there as a dual boot with Boot Camp. They don't sit around and say "oh that software won't work while you're booted in OS X. You'll need us to dual boot it so you can use in Windows." They just assume you can figure out on your own that the one that say "for Windows" requires that you have Windows installed & running, and the ones that says "for Mac" requires that you be running OS X at the time.

          Windows will still probably work on any Dell you buy with Linux. You'll probably have to get it separately and go through the annoyance of installing drivers, but it'll work. Just like with above, though, it should be simple enough to figure out that the software that says "for Windows" requires that you have Windows installed & running.

          Stop mixing up operating system, software, and platforms. Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows will all run on any x86 machine (yes, OS X will run on non-Apples), and Linux and OS X will run on PPC as well. Software may run on 1, 2, or all 3, depending on the program. I thought users would be able to figure out the difference between "Windows" and "the computer," but given that someone who is supposedly "tech savvy" (at least I consider reasonable to believe that anyone on ZDNet probably knows a bit about technology) can't seem to make the distinction, maybe not.
  • Secondary Sales Click N' Run ...

    The reason it because they want to drive secondary sales to Linspire's Click N' Run (CNR) repositories for Crossover.

    I voted no since I agree that driving secondary sales to CNR is a good thing. With CNR commerical software and codecs are ready for purchase and download.

    This will allow Linux to gain more acceptance as a platform with the ease of use factor of commercial software install as a selling point.

    BTW You can easily install Wine without any hassle:

    [b]sudo apt-get install wine[/b]

    or use the package manager.
    • Just a minor nit to pick...

      [B]"BTW You can easily install Wine without any hassle:"[/B]

      You can't install that which you do not know about! And chances are good that many of the new Linux customers won't know about wine. BUT for those in the know, you are correct.

      As for including wine, I voted no. This could be the very catalyst needed to start forcing vendors to port their applications to Linux and thereby start selling Linux versions and opening yet another revenue stream.

      As for the puritans that are against closed source software on Open Source solutions, go jump in a lack with lead shoes. I don't really care. What I care about is the cost must be reasonable. And right now because of the monopoly status of Windows software, many applications are outrageously priced. This could also start forcing price wars and bring the cost of applications down to a more real level. ]:)

      "Party on Garth!"
      Linux User 147560
      • Driving secondary sales ...

        You can't install that which you do not know about! And chances are good that many of the new Linux customers won't know about wine. BUT for those in the know, you are correct.[/i]

        This, my friend, goes right to the core of my post. That most new Linux customers don't know about Wine and would be more inclined to purchase a commercial implementation of Wine with the configurations and compatibility issues addressed.

        Then while at CNR they can check out the software offerings in the commercial software repositories. This will drive vendors to offer downloads through the package managers and will allow SaaS products as well. All of this is going to reduce costs to the end user without having to implement the normal retail sales channels.

        Point, click, buy and install all in one operation without the hassle of a clumsy web interface. No backups needed, just a net connection if something goes wrong. It's the future, yeah baby!
      • I'd be more than willing to pay MS prices

        if its software worked well, and as initially planned. The final products are almost always buggy and lacking important planned features.
        Michael Kelly
      • Remember OS/2

        Remember that even IBM was of two minds when it came to OS/2: they made only token efforts to woo developers to develop native OS/2 applications, while marketing like he11 OS/2 2.0's Windows subsystem that "runs all your current (16-bit) Windows apps better than Windows itself can".

        If you were a developer back then, what would you have chosen?

        Don't install Wine - encourage proprietary software vendors to create apps for all three major platforms: Windows, Linux, and OSX. Give your customers a choice. They'll eventually figure out what's best for them.
  • Third option

    "Not only no, but [b]HELL[/b] no!"

    Dragon isn't the only example. IBM is only now coming out with a Linux-native client for Bloated Goats; part of their reason has been that their MS client runs very well under WINE (to which I can attest; I used it for more than five years.)

    That said, it's a crap shoot.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • VirtualBox is MUCH better

    VirtualBox is far better than Wine. I run VBox in PCLinuxOS and it's a far more flexible, adaptable way of running both Windows and Windows Apps (plus it runs other Linux distros in virtualisation)
    Don Collins
    • That's a virtualization product

      Emulatation and virtualization require that you have a copy of the OS. Well, if you are going to do that, the customer will ask why not just run that OS natively and not use the other OS.

      [b]W[/b]ine [b]i[/b]s [b]n[/b]ot and [b]e[/b]mulator. It's a set of API which let you run win32 apps natively, so there is much less overhead. The problem is, of course, that it is backwards engineered, and therefore less than perfect. But a native solution is preferable to having to buy another OS, and certainly Dell won't shoot itself in the foot by offering that in the poackage.
      Michael Kelly
  • Nit to pick regarding the poll question

    "Should Dell bundle Wine on Ubuntu systems?" should be "Should Dell preinstall Wine on Ubuntu systems?", because it is still a part of the (extended) bundled system regardless. A simple line command or a few clicks of the mouse will install/enable it, as long as you have an internet connection.
    Michael Kelly
  • Rather silly

    After all, if I remember correctly, Wine is easily installable over the Internet on any Debian-derived system, which Ubuntu is. It's not like excluding it is going to prevent anyone from running Wine.

    That said, Dell does have the privilege of determining what software they're going to preload, even if the decision makes little logical sense.
    John L. Ries
  • Mind shift

    For almost every Windows app, there is a Linux alternative. People do best if they try these first, before they resort to emulators. Native is best, a mind shift is needed!

    Greetz, Pjotr.
    • Great now point me in the direction of a site...

      that lists the windows applications and then presents a list of comparable linux apps and a feature comparision.