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back to article Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps

The man behind Wine, the not-an-emulator which runs Windows applications on Linux, has been showing off an early version for those desperate to run MS Office on their Android device. It was, according to Phoronix - who witnessed the demo - "horrendously slow", and running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator. …

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Re: @ Mark

"Is it possible to run GNU/Linux software on Android by installing libraries?"

I have.

On a rooted device, you can set up a chroot environment with, say, Debian installed. Use a terminal emulator and, hey presto, you've got a Debian shell.

Add to that the Android X-Server app, and you've got linux GUI apps, too. Looks very odd (and hard to read without tweaking) seeing LXDE running on your mobile.

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Facepalm

Re: Strangely relevant

Why on _earth_ would you want to do that, when you have a perfectly good Win machine to run your code on?

Utterly perplexed...

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Joke

running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

What would happen if you ran inside the Windows a virtualised Mac OS - does the world slowly and painfuly end or something?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

No, the three OSs begin to distort and recompile themselves, each stealing code from one another to create one super OS known as BloatOS.

It has the metro interface, the driver support of x64 linux and the pricetag of a Mac.

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Happy

Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

Here's a better one...

Bootcamp into win7, then VM into OS X using the original OS X install as the VM image.

I think this is the IT equivalent of disappearing up your own arse.

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Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

Ah, you can't fool me, it's VMs all the way down!

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Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

It has the metro interface, the driver support of x64 linux and the pricetag of a Mac.

And right there you have the makings of the perfect horror movie to scare the crap out of nerds.

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Coat

Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

It has the metro interface, the driver support of x64 linux and the pricetag of a Mac

... and the reliability of a Sinclair QL.

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Re: running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator

... and the reliability of a Sinclair QL.

No idea about that, I've been waiting since last week for it to boot.

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It's never going to be fast

Most android devices run ARM processors. A mobile ARM processor emulating x86 instructions is never going to win prizes for speed. The most that can be hoped for is that the code behind the Win32 APIs is native, i.e. instruction emulation up to the call, a thunk layer and then native.

It might prove fast enough to run apps designed for an older generations of PCs though. Intel are messing around in the mobile space, so who knows, perhaps they could get it working well on their x86 friendly mobile processors.

Of course WINE apps can also be recompiled via winelib, so developers who take the effort to recompile their apps through gcc for ARM could run for all intents and purposes as native apps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's never going to be fast

A mobile ARM processor emulating x86 instructions

WINE is not an emulator.

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Re: It's never going to be fast

WINE may or may not be an emulator, but if you want to run x86 binaries (targetting any API) on an ARM chip then *something* has to be an emulator.

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Re: It's never going to be fast

On non-x86 architectures something has to emulate the instructions. Either the binary is run through QEMU which somehow passes off to Wine, or Wine itself gains the capability to emulate. Either way, something has to emulate or there is no Wine at all.

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Re: It's never going to be fast

but if you want to run x86 binaries (targetting any API) on an ARM chip then *something* has to be an emulator.

Acorn produced one of these 25 years ago for the Achimedes - although back then x86 only meant 8086/87 for the emulator and speedwise it was lagging somewhat behind the 80286 ATs that were popular then.

Original Acorn PC emulator 1988 review

Revised Acorn PC emulator 1991 brochure

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Pint

Re: It's never going to be fast

"or there is no Wine at all"

NOOOOOOOO!

Ah, wait, you didn't mention beer. Is my beer safe? Do we need emulation for beer to exist?

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Joke

Re: It's never going to be fast

"WINE IS NOT an Emulator" is not an emulator.

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The really clever part of this *could* be the GDI work - much of WINE is the translation of GDI graphics operations into X-Windows calls. Obviously to do this on Android means replacing all those X-Windows operations with the Android display driver primitives. Abstracting this out (with all the attendant hacking to make things match up) gives some hope that as display systems like Wayland start to deliver, WINE will be using native calls (as opposed to WINE calling the X-Windows translation layer on top of Wayland).

Of course, it may just be all done on top of FrameBuffer, or using HTML canvas. In which case it will always be slow.

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Let's be honest: Wine is far from a perfect solution even in it's native environment of a POSIX based system. The challenges the Wine team faces are pretty significant. Frankly I'm impressed if it can get Windows apps to run on even x86 Android. If they get this to work on ARM Android then it's a amazing feat even if the apps do run dog slow.

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I wonder...

..if anyone has written a microcode program to make an ARM execute x86 machine code.

Would be interesting to see ho fast it ran..

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Re: I wonder...

Would be interesting to see ho fast it ran..

See the review link in my earlier post...

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Happy

Re: It's never going to be fast... Part II

Yes, there is an x86 emulator for ARM and I remember using it, running Wordperfect 5.1 for DOS on an Archimedes, after first using Kermit to transfer all the files from a PC.

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Could you "compile" an x86 binary to run on ARM?

That is, produce ARM code that is functionally ejuivalent to x86 code?

I suppose it'd be bigger...

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Re: Could you "compile" an x86 binary to run on ARM?

Yes you could.

But the world experts in this kind of technology: Transitive, who started at University of Manchester, are now part of IBM Power Systems division.

Maybe S2E's RevGen -> LLVM IR ->Thumb2 + Wine as shared object? + an indirection despatcher.

"bigger..."

Possibly not for code. ARM's Thumb2 instruction set was designed to improve code-density. That's never been a stated goal of x86 family which has become ever more baroque, constrained by its instruction encoding format (Prefix/overrides) Opcode Mod Reg R/M Sib Displacement Immediate.

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The question is - WHY?

If I am using MS Office this is likely a "work environment" with quite a few other Windows-only programs and little to no Unix software. So why would I want to run Android to run Wine to run my Windows-Programs? Add in that Windows is touch/stylus optimized and support for WACOM/NTrig is about as stable as Alphas "Storage Site 2" and the question get's even bigger (Assuming Android/x86 since Android/ARM makes even less sense)

I can understand WINE for the die-hard penguinista who wants to run a decend game but otherwise spends his time under Linux but those guys won't run MS-Office even if they could download it "free". And in the (rare) company that uses Linux desktops it is either OO/LO or they have a terminal server with MS-Office set up so the (typically developers) can use that in the rare occasion the need it

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Linux

Re: The question is - WHY?

Google is using Wine for Picasa on Linux, runs fine, and everything needed is in the download.

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I remember-

A colleague running a Spectrum game in a DOS emulator run in a DOS box under WINE on a SCO machine.

"It was impressive not because it was done well, but because it was done at all"

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MrT
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Announcement from the WINE team...

... "This development sponsored by Kingston and Crucial"

Full-blown Windows apps on Android? We're going to need a bigger microSD card... ;-)

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Qemu

It is true that Wine, on Linux systems, is normally used on x86 Linux systems, to handle the OS calls. So additional software would be needed on the typical ARM-based Android device. But there's a well-known choice for that job in Linux as well - Qemu. So it's not as if instruction set emulation will have to be written from scratch.

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WinCE anyone?

I for my part have still one or two WinCE apps I bought a long time ago and would be happy to use under Android.

No need for CPU emulation then. I wonder how closely related the WinCE API was to the Win32 API...

As for running ancient x86 software - you can already do that. Just install the dosbox emulator and a Windows 3.x. Even win95 or one of its later incarnations would probably run fairly well. In that case you would need a Windows license, of course.

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Re: WinCE anyone?

"I wonder how closely related the WinCE API was to the Win32 API..."

I think Microsoft's preferred terminology was "extended subset". In addition to API differences, however, there were differences in file system organisation and such like. You could write quite complex apps targetting both CE and desktop, but you'd need /slightly/ different code in various places. I'd be surprised if unmodified CE apps ran correctly on WINE.

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