Thousands of free applications. Ease to install. What if this isn’t enough? What if you just need that Windows application to do some special task? As with everything in Ubuntu, there’s a solution for that. The solution is Wine. Wine (a recursive acronym meaning “Wine Is Not an Emulator”) is a software layer capable of running Windows applications on Linux. The project began as early (in Linux lifetime) as 1993, as a way of supporting Windows 3.1 applications on Linux. Today the need of this kind of support is more apparent than ever, so Wine should be one of your biggest allies in your move to Ubuntu.
Why is it so important? Given the fact that Windows is the most popular desktop OS, it is a fact that there are many applications that are developed to work only with that platform. It’s sad but it’s also true. So many users feel trapped in an expensive OS which they don’t want just because they need to run an application. It shouldn’t be that way. There’s the classic chicken and egg dilemma: few people use Linux because of lack of applications; developers don’t port their applications to Linux because there are not enough users. Wine is the tool for breaking this vicious circle.
Installing Wine is fairly easy. Installing Windows applications to run on top of it, on the other hand, can be quite challenging. Not everything works out-of-the-box as you would like. Wine is just a tool that is in continuous development and that takes a great deal of input from its users. The Wine community deserves much credit for evaluating and reviewing applications.
Many users around the world try to install Windows applications on Linux by using Wine and share their experiences in http://appdb.winehq.org. Not surprisingly, the most tested applications are actually games!
We will examine now how to install Wine, how to make its initial configuration, and how to install a sample application. If you have a program that you’d like to see running in your new Ubuntu desktop computer, we recommend browsing the Applications Database for advice on how to make it run. There are more than 10,000 applications in the database, so it is very likely that you will find yours.