First 'stable' Wine puts Windows apps on Linux

First 'stable' Wine puts Windows apps on Linux

Summary: The makers of Wine, a compatibility tool that allows Windows applications to run on Linux machines without Windows installed, have released a stable version of Wine 1.0.

The makers of Wine claim that version 1.0 is the first such "stable" release and have said that although compatibility is not perfect, thousands of applications are reported to "work very well."

Member and former president of Linux Australia Jonathon Oxer told that the Wine project is "an attempt to make Windows irrelevant."

"Essentially, it's an effort to supplant the underlying operating system layer and allow Windows software to run on a Linux platform without requiring Windows to be installed," he said.

A challenge for the Wine project is creating libraries that perfectly emulate Windows libraries.

"It never will be stable because the target keeps moving. As each new version of Windows comes out, the underlying libraries are also changed and so, Wine has the same problem as a typical Windows developer who is attempting to write software to run on Windows," said Oxer.

Oxer said he considers the tool a Linux "migration path" for existing Windows users because they can move their applications across, even where they haven't been designed to run on Linux. Although Wine's original purpose was to provide a compatibility layer for office applications, the most popular use of the tool today is for gamers who want to play Windows games on Linux systems.

The only non-gaming application in Wine's top 10 most popular applications is Adobe Photoshop CS2, which is in second place behind Guild Wars.

Wine, not surprisingly, has been the target of anti-piracy campaigns by Microsoft. In 2005, Wine users were prevented under the Windows Genuine Advantage scheme from receiving Windows updates.

Fellow internet giant Google, however, has chosen to support the program, recently contributing cash to the open source project to ensure that Adobe's Creative Suite software still runs on Linux systems.

A list of Wine-compatible applications can be found here.

Topics: Windows, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Virtualization

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Ridiculous

    Poor W32 support. Basically no .NET support.

    It must be wonderful to spend 15 years working on something billed as a 'Windows Compatibility layer' and, in spite of not meeting any sensible compatibility benchmark with perhaps the exception of Photoshop, declare oneself at version 1.0 stable.

    I have used used wine, and while I appreciate the effort that was put into it, it's a borderline failure.
    • Still, look at all of the applications that DO work under Wine. That is a

      HUGE success. And, yes, Windows is a huge hair ball, and constantly changing. It is nothing short of a miracle what they DID achieve.
      • And yet still a failure

        as it still is not a real, viable alternative to Windows.

        To a great many people "works pretty well" equates to "won't risk my business on it".
        • Wine is not a Windows alternative

          Wine is desind to give Linux users more applications. Linux Apps + Some Windows Apps > Windows Apps alone.
        • Many "risk there business" on Wine ...

          All the major animation studios (Pixar, Disney, ILM, and Dreamworks to name a few) use Crossover on Linux to run Photoshop for their still image work. Crossover if you haven't been told is an implementation of Wine with some additional gui dialogs and scripting.

          These studios actually contributed to the Wine project to get Crossover to work better with Photoshop. So if these corporations are using Wine on multi-million dollar productions what makes Wine [b]not[/b] a viable option for the one or two applications that has no Linux or OS X version available?
          • Crossover Rocks!

            I use crossover office. It is fantastic. It allows me to run all my Microsoft Office apps as if they were native to Linux. I love Wine, and appreciate all the hard word that people have put into it.
        • For many applications, Wine works VERY well, as one other poster noted,

          there are a lot of people using it to run one or two critical applications that they need that are Windows only.

          So, Linux + open source apps + some Windows apps running under Wine, IS a very viable alternative to Windows for many situations.
        • Depends on the business.

          At my work, most workstations are Windows, but permanent employees are given the option of Mac or Linux. I'm a software engineer, and nothing I do requires me to be on Windows. I write all of my programs to be compatible with most operating systems. You couldn't pay me enough to use .NET, that is an evil that should have never been released on this world... fortunately most experienced developers agree, and it's had poor adoption.
          • I'll second that!

            And expand upon it - Experienced developers stay away from Microsoft technology. It's bad enough that we have to use Win32 - but .NET??? How about DOT NOT?

            Seriously though - lots of dev guys flocked to it for job reasons. I'm fine with that - I don't judge a developer by his tools - I judge the company and its managers by the tools they require their developers to use. If you're a DOT NET Shop, then you have a dummy for a manager. A Softie, if you will.

            Just saying.

        • Windows pacifier maybe...

          Linux distros themselves are the alternative and their more than viable. Wine is just there to pacify the few nagging apps that may require Windows. In a few years Wine may very well be unnecessary.
          • Unnecessary, maybe, but even so,

            what I'd like to see is an option to have Wine integrated enough into the Linux kernel so that it is automatic in its execution of Win32 apps making even thinking about Wine or what's under the hood unnecessary for the end user.

            I use Wine (I recently switched to CrossOver) for a bunch of stuff that I have to use that are Windows only, and for some Win32 apps that I find better than its Linux counterpart. I used to just have an XP VM running, and I still do for some stuff, but more and more, I'm able to not have to use it and just stay in the environment I enjoy best.

            It's all about choice, my choice.
    • It's good enough for X% of users today...

      ... and it's steadily improving. The next release will
      probably run quite a few more current apps, and will
      be good enough for more users. And so on. It will probably
      never run *all* windows apps, so it won't satisfy *all* users,
      but as time goes on, fewer and fewer people will laugh at it.
      • One thing that many do not realize is that you can port software to LInux

        using Win Lib, and this is exactly what Google has done with some of their applications. If the owner of the software does the porting, they can make sure that they do not use any of the esoteric Win32 calls that do not have well defined behavior. Then it appears just like any other Linux application. You run a Linux binary (that calls WineLib), not a Windows binary.
  • Another great thing about Wine is Wine Lib. With that, you can compile a

    version of your Windows program for Linux, that integrates much better with Linux. That is the route that Google took for some of their applications.
    • Normal people don't care.

      When you buy a new PC, Windows doesn't cost more than $40 dollars. Costs about $95 if you add it later.

      Normal people also don't compile anything. They just pay for the software and use it to make good money in their field. Normal people use their computer to get something done, not to tinker with it. That goes for any field.

      Normal people = regular users, not tinkerers.
      • IF I am..

        correct, you do not have to have Windows. Wine is designed
        to let you run Apps without Windows.
        • You are not correct.

          Wine still will not run everything. It will not run AutoCAD in 3D mode. All I was saying is, regular folks will install Windows and be done with it. Normal people don't care if Windows is running their applications. But they will care if Wine doesn't launch their favorite application. Normal people don't care if a small block Chevy is mounted in a Mustang but it can be done with a lot of work. Normal people don't want to be bothered with a lot of work. Turnkey operation is still king.
          • Normal people...

            ...will install Windows and, maybe a few months later, wonder why they keep getting kicked out to a blue screen.
          • Talking about the old days again.

            Most normal people will not install Windows for it comes with the new machine. As for the blue screen, my customers do not experience for I would get a call. One did for the hard drive failed. Now run along.
          • There Are No Normal People

            Anyone who speaks authoritatively about what "normal" people want is, without exception, a clueless blowhard, and usually one sawing away at the same old, dull, tedious bit of "common wisdom."

            People all have their own particular needs. Wine serves the needs of more than enough people to not only continue robust development as open source, but to attract the attention of companies like Google.

            In other words, speak for yourself, speak from facts you can backup, or shut it. Stop supporting your arguments with an army of straw men. It's annoying enough that I had to sign-up just to say so.