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Summary:

In addition to posting on this blog, I edit another GigaOm blog dedicated to open source technology: OStatic. Web workers who are interested in running Linux but are also tied to Windows applicatons may be interested in a couple of recent Ostatic posts. In particular, Joe […]

In addition to posting on this blog, I edit another GigaOm blog dedicated to open source technology: OStatic. Web workers who are interested in running Linux but are also tied to Windows applicatons may be interested in a couple of recent Ostatic posts. In particular, Joe Brockmeier did a really interesting post today on the upcoming, free June 6th release of Wine 1.0.

In case you’re not familiar with Wine, it is an application that allows Windows applications to run unmodified on Linux and similar operating systems. It’s been in development for a staggering 15 years, and although it already works reasonably well with quite a few popular Windows applicatons, the official 1.0 release may convince a lot of workers and businesses that they can run Linux desktops and still have access to the Windows applications that they need. There are potentially large cost savings involved there, and many other benefits.


As Joe points out in his post:

“The idea behind Wine is simple — one of the blockers that keeps people from switching to Linux is the fact that many of the popular applications are Windows only. Convincing commercial vendors to port popular apps like Photoshop to Linux requires a significant userbase on Linux. Of course, generating a significant market share for Linux is dependent on having popular apps… you see the problem here.”

Part of the race to deliver an official 1.0 version of Wine has involved getting popular Windows applications “certified” to install painlessly and run smoothly on Wine. At this point, there are 1,234 certifed Windows applications (although some Windows applications don’t run smoothly at this point).

If you’re at all interested in the cost savings and other benefits of running Linux, but you are a user of Windows applications, this is definitely something to have on your radar. There are other solutions for running Linux and proprietary applications simultaneously. OStatic has carried posts recently on Freespire which is a 98 percent open source Linux operating system that also incorporates enough proprietary technology to let users run lots of proprietary titles. In it, for example, you can instantly choose to grab an application such as Adobe Acrobat.

Striking a slightly different chord, a new version of the open source environment GNOME has an application in it called Vinagre that lets you use remote Windows systems with GNOME. Even if you’re very tied to Windows, open source environments may warrant a look.

Do you use Linux or other open source tools and Windows?

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  1. I fail to understand many businesses who cite that they need Microsoft for all of their users. When you consider that most manager level employees never do anything technical and the limit of their computing is editing documents & spreadsheets, sending email, using a web browser, and perhaps creating sound or video files, this can all be done on any native linux install.

    You get the excuse, someone has to support this, but if you’re using open source, there is no application cost. Take some of the money you save by obsoleting Microsoft certified staff and hire a Linux guru. You save money in the long run.

  2. @1 Tom:
    I’ve been a linux abuser since slackware 1.5.0 and a admin since redhat 4.2, contributed to LFS in it’s early days, hacked on gentoo, and recently settled on ubuntu hardy.

    Google recently ponyed up the cash to codeweavers to get photoshop CS3 working. As someone who knows GIMP in and out, there’s things photochop will do that the gimp just can’t match.

    Plus, you shouldn’t forget about all the businesses out there that had a custom application package developed for them in something like visual basic or visual C that they’re partially tied to, WINE provides them a way to migrate to linux now, and redevelop the application later.

    I’ve also not found a decent video editor package for linux that works reliably yet, a few are on their way, but they’re not quite there yet until gstreamer improves a bit.

    It’s not really the need for Microsoft, it’s the need for running applications which users are already proficient in using.

    Plus it doesn’t hurt that current versions of WINE have pretty good DirectX 9 support and many recent games work fine on modern hardware.

    AMD+ATI have recently dropped the 780G bomb, $89 motherboard with a built in Radeon 3200 HD (open source 3D soon! Read more @ phoronix.com ), drop a $100 BE-2400 Athlon X2, and a $80 4GB 2x2GB Mushkin PC2-5300 for a screaming fast PC under $300. Ubuntu runs amazingly quickly on it. And so do winnt applications. And even OSX with pearpc or mac-on-linux.sf.net, or just virtualize it: http://dailyapps.net/2007/10/hack-attack-install-leopard-on-your-pc-in-3-easy-steps/

    Any way you go, linux is the most flexible. EVERYTHING runs on linux. And linux runs on everything. And so the world was saved.

  3. As Kamilion said, I don’t feel attached to Windows, only the applications that run on it. I dual booted for over six months but when I found that I was booting into Ubuntu maybe once a week to test sites I realised that all of my work just got done in XP.

    OpenOffice was just too slow and lacked the advanced Excel features that I actually make use of and Fireworks just has no equivalent on Linux. Ultimately I have two choices for a usable OS, Mac or Windows. Linux just doesn’t have the public support from companies to be worthwhile. I still like it though. Shame really.

  4. Luke:

    I use excel on a daily basis via the version a version of wine maintained by codeweavers.

  5. About games support, CodeWeavers plan to support games in a product called “CrossOver Games” and much of this work will filter back into Wine.

    see: http://wine-review.blogspot.com/2008/03/codeweavers-to-release-crossover-games.html

  6. I’ve been using linux since redhat 4 (dual booting with windows) and exclusively since redhat 6 or 7 and now I’m using fedora at home on my desktop and laptop, and my employer lets me run Ubuntu on my desktop at work instead of Windows.

    I don’t have a lot of windows only apps I use, I’ve found great open source alternatives for almost everything and in my line of work more and more apps are coming out in multiple flavors.

    For those “must have” windows apps I use an XP VM via VMware player.

    To me this is an ideal setup – I can still run Windows if I have to (Ie for those apps that just won’t play nice with Wine) plus I have the stability and security of Linux.

    I also use Smoothwall (Linux based) as a firewall for my home connections – If you have an old computer lying around I’d suggest checking it out. It’s a bulletproof free firewall that does a whole lot of things you wouldn’t expect for free software.

  7. What’s really needed is for the code in cedega, the codeweavers version of wine, to find its way into vanilla wine. It will happen eventually, but for wine to be generally useful in running windows apps on Linux, it needs to support more officey things, more games etc out-of-the-box.

    Then codeweavers would just have to make money out of support etc, like MySQL, I suppose.

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