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Windows Emulator (WINE)

Started by Donald Darden, October 26, 2007, 08:41:13 AM

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Donald Darden

With something like 90 percent of PC users conditioned to work with Windows and having programs and applications designed to run under Windows, a very real concern is whether all that work, cost, and time is at risk if they decide to make the move to an alternate OS.  There are several possible ways to eleviate the problem, and the same solutions will not suit everyone.

WINE has been around for awhile, and is often mentioned as one possibility.  In use, you type "wine: followed by the name of the application to run under it, and if everything works, you can use that application under one of the Linux Distributions.  But that is a big IF.

To begin with, WINE is still evolving, and likely unsuited for major graphical support.  There are a couple of commercial alternatives that might work better, and the WINE USER GUIDE takes care to discuss this at some length.

I currently have Knoppix 5.1.1 installed as an alternate OS on one of my PC partitions, and can use the WinNT (2K/XP/Vista) NTLDR routine to boot to it if I so choose.  How I accomplished that is discussed on a different thread.  It came with wine 0.9.12 preinstalled as a package, but I used apt-get to remove it; as it is outdated and needs to be replaced with the latest version, currently 0.9.47.  But there is no prepared package specific to Knoppix, so I need to be able to install it in a different manner.  That is one of the topics covered in the rather lengthy Wine User Guide (about 60 pages).

Running down the Wine User Guide was a bit difficult.  It is available through the home page of www.winehq.com, but not in a printable version.  Trying to print from the web site is tedious, with lots of additional frames included.  That makes for a piecemeal approach and lots of extra paper and ink.

I went through the laborous process of creating a new HTML document with Word, and using cut-and-paste from the web site to extract just the Wine User Guide contents and put it into that document, then compressed that document into a zip file that appears below in this post.  I give all due credit to Wine HQ and the developer/writer, but really, having it in printable form makes it easier to read and use.

If you take time to study Wine, you will realize that you cannot pass it off as a simple solution to the Windows App problem.  It's become almost commonplace for people to say, "oh, you can just use Wine".  I've been guilty of that myself, but little did I realize that it is not so easy, because I have never tried it before.

I'm certain that I am not the only person in this boat.  Hense the setting up this board, which now invites those with a similar interest to participate.

-------------------------------- UPDATE ----------------------------------
Okay, I spent some time converting the HTML version over to RTF, which may prove better for some people.  I made a few word changes and modified the font in a few cases, eliminating some unnecessary page breaks, trying to make it slightly smaller in size.  Both files are now in the attached ZIP archive.  In reading through the Wine User Guide, I found a lot of really useful information, making it a good reference on a number of topics.

Kent Sarikaya

Donald, I was writing about this and the possibility if it would be available under linux. When I went to put the link in, I see they have it out for Linux.
This is the very popular program for the MacOS to run windows apps, Parallels. I have seen it on various vidcasts and hear nothing but praise for it.

I have not tested it, but thought you might be interested. I did download the latest ubuntu (Gutsy Gibbon) and will try to do a full install on my notebook again this weekend.


Donald Darden

Hi Kent.  The Parallels' product is actually a VM (Virtual Machine) product rather than a Windows Emulator. There are plusses and minuses with both approaches. Since they are radically different in how they work and what they do, I have a separate board set up now for VM Solutions.

I think the Wine approach is far more limited in terms of moving forward, since it will always be only an imitation of Windows rather than the real thing.  VM gives you access to the real thing, but in a confined way.  And a multi-boot approach gives you the real thing, but as an alternative that requires a reboot.

I suspect that those really serious about trying to work across various operating systems will want to explore and possibly utilize a mixture of approaches.  They may even stumble on workarounds to get past some of the limitations normally associated with a given approach.  This will hopefully prove to be a meeting place for people intent on moving in that direction.