Wine 1.0: The Answer for Marrying Linux with Windows Apps?

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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