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For the longest time, one of the biggest complaints about Linux was that users couldn't install the software they needed to be productive. Thanks to numerous advances, that is no longer the case -- and one of those advances is Wine.
Wine is a compatibility layer that makes it possible to run Windows apps on Linux. When you combine the lengthy list of applications you can install on Linux with the built-in app stores, the universal package managers Snap and Flatpak, and Wine, the list of available software is considerable.
If you're curious as to what apps can be run with Wine, here's a searchable database that lists the apps, from games to productivity tools, and everything in between.
But how do you actually run those Windows apps on Linux with Wine?
Let's get to work.
How to run a Windows app on Linux with Wine
What you'll need: I'll demonstrate the process on Ubuntu Desktop, but Wine can be installed on most Linux distributions. In order to install Wine, you'll need a running Linux distribution and a user with sudo privileges. That's it.
1. Open a terminal window
The first thing to do is log in to your Linux desktop and open a terminal window.
2. Install Wine on Ubuntu-based distributions
Install both Wine and Winetricks, which is a tool to make configuring Wine easier, with the command:
sudo apt-get install wine winetricks -y
3. Install Wine on Fedora-based distributions
If you're using an RHEL or Fedora-based distribution, you would first have to add the necessary repository with the command:
In the resulting window, you'll want to click Select the default wineprefix and click OK. In the next window, select Run winecfg and click OK. You can then configure the version of Windows you want Wine to mimic by selecting the option from the Windows Version dropdown and clicking OK.
Winetricks allows you to also take care of a number of other options, such as installing DLLs, fonts, and more.
Run the installer with the command wine npp.*.exe. Finally, the Windows install wizard will open, where you can click your way to success.
Once the installation completes, you'll find the Notepad++ launcher in your desktop menu.
Installing a Windows app with Winetricks
Another cool trick up Wine's sleeve is the ability to install a Windows app directly from within Winetricks. If you run the Winetricks app, which can now be launched from your desktop menu, and select Install an application, you'll be greeted with a list of applications that can be installed directly from the GUI.
This method will automatically download and run the necessary installer file, and then open the install wizard to complete the process.
Further configuration might be needed
Notepadd++ is a fairly simple app to install with Wine. You might find there are some apps (especially games) that require further configuration. Should that issue occur, you'll want to run the Winetricks app again to take care of those configurations.
How much work needs to be done will depend on the app you want to install. If you receive errors when trying to install a Windows app via Wine, you might have to do a bit of research to figure out what configurations are necessary for that particular app.