Friday, September 18, 2009

Fine Wine

No, we are not taking a break for refreshments. Instead, we are going to look at the third way that you can run applications built for Microsoft Windows in your Ubuntu environment. Wine HQ, or “Wine” as it is commonly called, is another recursive acronym (“Wine Is Not an Emulator”). Wine is an application that allows computers using Unix-based operating systems to run Windows applications, not emulate them. The way this works is that Wine is an implementation of the Windows application programming interface (API). It’s okay if your reaction was “Huh?” An application programming interface is actually the interface that allows one program, let’s say Microsoft Word, to communicate with another program, Microsoft Windows. When applications written for Microsoft Windows utilize a format that GNU/Linux operating systems can’t understand, it is due to the API.

Wine actually implements the Windows API, so it acts as a translator for an operating system like Ubuntu. When a Windows application tries to do something that Ubuntu doesn’t understand, Wine takes that program’s instruction and modifies it into something that Ubuntu will understand.

What does that mean? It means that with Wine, you can run programs designed for Microsoft Windows on your Ubuntu computer! That’s right, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, even Microsoft Access all run on any Unix-based operating system using Wine.

Using Wine has distinct advantages over the other two solutions we have discussed. First and foremost, you don’t need to purchase a Microsoft Windows license. Since you are not installing Windows and you aren’t emulating Windows, you don’t need a license. Wine, like Ubuntu, is free.

With Wine, you don’t have to reboot the computer as you would with a dual-boot system. Also, your processor doesn’t have to share resources with a virtual machine as you would if you relied on VirtualBox. While both of the prior solutions are solid and have their merits, I truly believe that Wine is a much better solution for the home and small business user.

That’s not to say that there are no drawbacks to using Wine. Where Wine will run quite a few programs flawlessly, some programs may encounter small errors when run through Wine. Also, Wine will not run every program written for Microsoft Windows. While the list of programs that run with no issues is constantly growing, it is by no means complete. Currently, close to 10,000 applications are in the Wine database; these are some of the more popular ones:

Dreamweaver. Web authoring tool
Flash. Web animation tool
Microsoft Office. Office suite
Kayako Live Response. Help desk suite
Timbuktu Pro. Computer remote control software
Counter-Strike. Popular game
Madden NFL 08. Popular game
Inspiration. Visual thinking software used by schools
ExamView. Software for creating tests
Encarta. Encyclopedia

If you want to find more applications that run on Wine, visit their web site for a complete database of applications and notes on how well they run,

Although the programs you find under the Ubuntu repositories and many of the others that exist in the open source community may be free of charge, many applications written for Microsoft Windows are not. Make sure that you abide by all licensing and purchase agreements if you plan on using Wine. Just because you are using a free operating system doesn’t mean all of your software is going to be free.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Osborne Media How to Do Everything Ubuntu

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