back to article A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years

Though it may not have managed to bring Linux to the desktop in any meaningful sense, 4 July marks 25 years since the first stable release of not-a-Windows-emulator, Wine. Created in 1993 as a way of inflicting Windows 3.1 applications on the then positively pristine Linux world (mastermind Linus Torvalds had only just emitted …

  1. fnusnu

    Killer App

    I'm going to downvoted out of existence again, but here is your missing 'killer app': Unfortunately, the latest versions of Microsoft Office have yet to make the cut.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Killer App

      Does the absence of MS Office matter as much as the absence of Visual Studio?

      Older versions of Office, even older versions of ‘New’ office, with its ribbon and compressed .xxxX documents, work well.

      But no full, modernish, version of Visual Studio works.

      Then again, does it matter nowadays? We live in a *nix world now - the Lions share of the market belongs to Android, iOS, ChromeOS, macOS and Linux. Dare I say it but, other than for gaming and doing the accounts, poor old Windows is looking a bit…

      …anachronistic.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: Killer App

        Does the absence of MS Office matter as much as the absence of Visual Studio?

        I remember having fun getting an Ubuntu box to run Visual Studio on WINE (can't recall which version, but it was going back a while because it was on Breezy Badger version of Ubuntu).

        We'd been trying WINE for the first time to get something else running, but when we hit snags some bright spark had the idea of getting VS running so that we could debug the application. A bit of an eye-watering task, but IIRC we succeeded

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Killer App

        Word, Excel & PowerPoint work reasonably well, but not as well as LibreOffice. Access and Outlook don't work so well, and they are the two office applications that don't have such good alternatives on Linux.

        1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          Re: Killer App

          Access and Outlook don't work so well, and they are the two office applications that don't have such good alternatives on Linux

          In the case of the former, that may not be such a bad thing. I've seen a few examples of systems which have been put together by staff (not professional software developers) who can hack in Access. Perhaps it's well-intentioned, but in so many cases the result far exceeds what Access was intended for, and really should been written as a "proper" application.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Killer App

            "Perhaps it's well-intentioned, but in so many cases the result far exceeds what Access was intended for"

            Think yourself lucky they didn't do it in Excel.

            1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

              Re: Killer App

              Think yourself lucky they didn't do it in Excel

              Ah yes, Excel....one particular customer's word processing package of choice.

          2. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: Killer App

            If nothing else, Access was (what I've seen of the most recent versions is not so appealing) quite a good teaching tool for databases, and the query designer on top of a 'proper' database would be a handy tool.

            What I don't miss, now I longer need to deal with it regularly, is the tendency to refactor existing queries into ones that don't work. And to flatly deny the possibility of any mildly complicated outer join.

            And then there was the person who spent months building a database in it, which eventually transpired to be some nice forms backed by a collection of unrelated and very wide tables...

            1. HmmmYes Silver badge

              Re: Killer App

              No Access is fucking dreadful.

              Theres only one lesson to learn from it - dont store data in Access.

              I used to have to use shit based on Access. Every now and then the data corrupts.

              If you wznt yo teach sql and whatnot, use sqlite.

              Then move to postgresql.

              1. ibmalone Silver badge

                Re: Killer App

                Theres only one lesson to learn from it - dont store data in Access.

                I wouldn't dispute that. (Though really, of the Access dbs I inherited, only one had to be regularly repaired, and it was a few hundred MB.) But some kind of graphical query builder is quite handy to teach people concepts. Yes they probably need to learn syntax eventually if they're going to be making more sophisticated use, but when trying to show someone 'this is an inner join, this is a subquery, this is a critereon, this is what grouping does' spending time correcting typing errors is just a distraction.

          3. HandleAlreadyTaken

            Re: Killer App

            >[Access not being available on Linux] may not be such a bad thing. [...] in so many cases the result far exceeds what Access was intended for, and really should been written as a "proper" application.

            Agreed, but for each case where the business needs end up outgrowing Access, there must be tens or hundreds of cases where somebody who may not be a full-time developer was able to put together a small Access app that does what they need quickly and cheaply.

            I sometimes need to fix something small in the house - I'm not a professional plumber, and I don't have a set of professional tools; this doesn't stop me from replacing the occasional gasket, using some generic screwdriver or wrench I happen to have around. And I disagree with the idea that wrenches shouldn't be available to non-professional plumbers because they're sometimes not the right tool for the job.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "…anachronistic."

        So, why you care about VS support? Isn't Eclipse enough for you?

        Anyway, most of the grunt work on desktop systems is still done on Windows and macOS system - the only two system for which most real professional applications are available. Because it's applications that matters, not the OS. Wine was an attempt to close that gap, but it was a too big task without a big company and funds behind. That gap is still very large.

        And you can't really do much with your phone... beyond consuming contents made elsewhere, or messaging around.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "…anachronistic."

          @ "Anyway, most of the grunt work on desktop systems", I take it you are talking about work performed by grunts as opposed to HPC.

          As to applications, they are written to run on the the OS that the customer uses, for years workers ended up with windows not because it was the best or most fitting but rather because it was "what was most used" but that is no longer the case.

          That windows is still considered for business is purely down to the number of existing workers who have got used to earlier version of the OS and particular appllications. That MS have repeatedly and radically changed their products in the same period is forgotten in the same way that bad memories slip from the mind after enough time.

          Linux can and does offer applications to perform the same task but when an employee's wage is dependant upon using "that application" then ofc they will make certain that it is seen as an important job requirement.

          Add in the number of educational institutions and "professionals" that still force MS products as their default platform and you are left with a lot of captive audiences learning yesterdays tech.

          Not really suprising how insecure the IT industry is, given that so many "professionals" are pushing what they know to be poison

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            !Linux can and does offer applications to perform the same task"

            "Performing the same task" - more or less - is not enough. A lot depends on the time taken, the quality delivered, and how well it fits in the application ecosystem you're using.

            There are many professional applications that have no real Linux counterpart, but simpler ones good for a basic usage.

            Workers don't care about the application they use, as long as they know it will deliver the right outcome in the right time.

            This is something Linux worshiper stubbornly refuse to understand, they believe their OS is so great people should use it even if the applications are inferior compared to macOS and Windows ones.

            GPL (especially when it means lack of paying customers) and being often far less integrated than macOS and Windows are also reasons why developing desktop applications for Linux may not be a good investment.

            1. Updraft102 Silver badge

              Re: !Linux can and does offer applications to perform the same task"

              being often far less integrated than macOS and Windows...

              Far less integrated in some company's scheme to make money at the expense of their users, also. It's not that Linux people necessarily think Linux is so far superior to Windows or MacOS that everyone should be falling over themselves to use it, but that it is good enough and that it frees its users from the whims of someone else's corporate moneymaking scheme. "Windows as a Service" comes immediately to mind here.

              There are clearly areas that Linux lags behind Windows, but with Windows 10... that crap isn't worth using for free, let alone paying through the nose for it. If you want a black-box OS with a rapid update schedule so its maker can put in gaming mode and other inane features no one asked for, and to massively destabilize the OS with these biannual huge updates just as they've tripled the pace of the rollout schedule, using consumers (who never use/test enterprise features, since they're consumers) as beta testers because they downsized the actual beta testers for cost savings, and all the while imposing ongoing training costs as they keep changing things in their touch-UI oriented OS that 99% of people use with a traditional mouse/touchpad and keyboard, then by all means, Windows 10 is for you. Well, it's not really for you... it's clearly for Microsoft. Everyone else is on their own.

              One would wonder how badly people have to be beaten and abused by MS before they finally overcome their Stockholm syndrome and move on. Yes, surely it will be painful for a while, and especially for the first movers, but it has to be done. MS has clearly communicated its intent to everyone... it is going to keep forcing its sub-mediocre crap down our throats and monetizing us without mercy, and that shall be that. I think that the bewildered Windows users out there are still thinking this has to change, that the dark times will pass, but the purveyor of those dark times has already told us that they won't. MS wants to be a cloud services company, so the two possible outcomes of the Windows 10 pain train are (1) people sit there and allow themselves to be monetized without trying to escape, in an apt demonstration of learned helplessness, or (2) people will eventually move on to some other platform, which means MS can stop with Windows completely and be the cloud provider it wants to be-- and all those former Windows customers are welcome to still be Microsoft customers from someone else's OS, since cloud services are inherently platform-agnostic.

              Either one of those outcomes is just fine with Microsoft. Going back to the old way, where monetizing Windows was only about collecting licensing fees, where Microsoft's fortunes appeared to be headed downhill along with PC sales (while the fixed costs of Windows development failed to scale down with the customer demand), I would think it is safe to say, is out of the question. The cloud guy who is killing Windows is presiding over a Microsoft with soaring share prices while writing books about how awesome he is and how he got Microsoft's groove back by abusing the core customers who got MS to where they are today. We're not going back to the old model (with that nasty, mean Microsoft of the Gates and Ballmer eras, which I keep hearing was so much worse than it is now), and the Windows 10 pain has just begun. Best to start planning the exit now rather than later... it's going to have to happen, but how much is the company going to be fleeced by MS in the meantime?

              1. Dave Coventry
                Thumb Up

                Re: !Linux can and does offer applications to perform the same task"

                Nice rant.

                CAD software is one area where it would be nice to have some compatibility through wine. I use and have used Linux for the last 20 years or so and I would love to get rid of the Virtualbox running an XP guest that my CAD application runs on.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: !Linux can and does offer applications to perform the same task"

                  "CAD software" and linux

                  Unlike the windows world most linux "administrators" are required to be able to code and there are indeed CAD products availible for linux (paid for and free that all export to DXF) but if you do not like them for any reason you could always write your own for the time it takes you to knock up a vector drawing app.

                  If you take the XOR cursor patent company as an example then they will continue pushing windows whilst you keep buying it, once you stop then you can bet their products would move across.

            2. lesession

              Re: !Linux can and does offer applications to perform the same task"

              God I wish I could upvote that more than once. The only people who think that the simulacra are as good as the originals are people who don't actua;l;y have to do any meaningful work on the applications.

              Just remind me about the latest OS market share scores again?

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: "…anachronistic."

            "Anyway, most of the grunt work on desktop systems",

            Ironic that Microsoft has now had to create Linux on Windows in order to let people develop for the cloud on their Windows desktop

      4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

        Well, as long as you do your work on a phone or tablet, I guess you're right.

        But as far as working on company applications are concerned, we're still squarely a Windows PC world. I've been consulting for companies for a quarter of a century and I have never seen a Linux workstation anywhere. I have spotted a few Linux servers, here and there, but zero workstations. I have also seen a few Apple PCs, mainly in web development.

        But the bulk of them are Windows PCs.

        And that will stay that way until the *Nix generation becomes Head of IT and/or CEO. Only then will we see the possibility of a switch, because these guys and gals will look at licensing fees for Windows and Office, the backlog of Helpdesk issues and the nightmare of legacy crap still being dragged along and they will choke on their coffee before chucking the whole mess out.

        But before that ? Not a chance.

        1. J. Cook Bronze badge

          Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

          Part of the problem is also that in the industry that I work in, the apps are largely written for windows machines. (and badly written at that, but that's another, longer rant.) Part of it is simply lack of competition - there are something like three our four companies that offer the combination of hardware and software that our business runs on, and it's extremely expensive (9 digits, the first of which is greater than 1!) to switch between them as they do *not* interoperate whatsoever. One of these vendors uses a version of Java that has more security holes than a swiss cheese factory, and their installer for another one of their apps uses .NET 1.1 (I <b.wish</b> I was joking!)

          There's also the thing of the vendors being picky about what OS the workstations will support; we are working on migrating to windows 10 (reluctantly, due to a different set of requirements for another application!) and the question came up of if the vendor will support the client app if it's running on that OS.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

            So your industy is owned by MS? perhaps if your leaders had a clue they would form a guild and use the license money to get the job done properly.

            1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

              Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

              " So your industy is owned by MS? perhaps if your leaders had a clue they would form a guild and use the license money to get the job done properly. "

              LOL, you need to enter the real world.

              A business is there to make money for the owners of the business and shareholders. they put all their time into maximising those profits, yes, they can spend £100,000,000+ on computer systems that are essential to running their facility and the number of companies that can supply those systems can be very small and as in this case, the providers systems all have drawbacks. But so you think for a minute the people who have the authority in a business to open up the wallet to the tune of $100k plus have not looked into an in-house built system? even the possibility of collaborating with competitors to produce a perfect system.

              the primary concern will be

              1, will this system make our company more profitable

              2, how long will it take to install the system to get those new profits

              3, if something fails, who is going to pay to fix it, its not going to come out of our profits.

              4, will it be significantly different in operation to what we have already, the cost of training will come out of those profits.

              So, when the bloke in the expensive suit goes to see the people in more expensive suits to explain the plan that they could do it better in house, the answer to the 4 point above will be, Yes, don't know, us, and us, but the answer to the question if we get an outside contractor will be, yes, 6 months, but for every day over we get £10k off the bill... they will, we will have included in the price a service contract, its the same company we used last time, so its going to be minimal staff training...

              You can potentially come up with a better system, but thats not how big businesses work. they want and need stability, or someone to blame for any instabilities. developing in house can and has killed off companies. that's something the blokes in expensive suits will not risk..

        2. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

          Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

          "But before that ? Not a chance."

          even after that, you have the expense of training staff into using a brand new environment and applications. These days you are expected to be proficient in MS office to get a job where you have to work on a pc...

          when you add in the cost of training, not only for users, but support staff that will support nix is going to cost more that the 10 a penny windows help-desk staff... TCO is still going to be way above a windows environment...

          its going to ve a very very lng time before nix of any flavour makes it in the work environment

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

            its going to ve a very very lng time before nix of any flavour makes it in the work environment

            Really ?, I could have sworn it was a Linux system running native code that was checking and handling reports sent in by engineers in our company....

        3. Jim 59

          Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

          "I've been consulting for companies for a quarter of a century and I have never seen a Linux workstation anywhere"

          I think what you mean is:

          "I've been consulting in Windows technologies for companies for a quarter of a century and I have never seen a Linux workstation anywhere".

          ...which is fair enough and not too surprising. But hear this:

          I have been consulting in Unix technologies for companies for a quarter of a century. And I have seen Unix go from a high-end science/engineering/financial platform to an everyday commodity. I am writing this on a Linux "workstation" (laptop). Earlier I took a call on Unix (an Android phone). Later I will check my email on Unix (an Android tablet), probably while watching a Youtube video on Unix (a Raspberry Pi running Kodi). When I click "Submit", this comment will be transmitted by a Unix server (my Netgear router) to The Register's server (unix again),...

          ...well you get the point. Despite which, I like MS and I like Bill Gates. And I'm happy for Windows to dominate the Desktop.

          1. eldakka Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

            @Jim 59

            <pedant>

            Linux is not Unix

            </pedant>

            Yes, being extremely pedantic there. Linux is a Unix clone.

            1. Danny 2 Silver badge

              Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

              Ah, I get it now.

              WINE Is Not an Emulator

              LINUX Is Not UniX

              WINDOWS Is Not Dos, Or Windows Soon

              1. onefang Silver badge

                Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

                "LINUX Is Not UniX"

                Actually it's - GNU is Not Unix. Linux isn't GNU, it only has lots of GNU software installed on it, sometimes, but the Linux kernel itself isn't GNU. You can actually have a Linux OS without any GNU software on it.

                Have an upvote for "WINDOWS Is Not Dos, Or Windows Soon".

          2. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: "We live in a *nix world now"

            "I've been consulting for companies for a quarter of a century and I have never seen a Linux workstation anywhere"

            I think what you mean is:

            "I've been consulting in Windows technologies for companies for a quarter of a century and I have never seen a Linux workstation anywhere".

            The first Unix (properly Unix, probably Solaris) workstation I saw was in the chemistry department as an undergrad (or maybe even doing a tour on university open days). I'm now in an office surrounded by people working on Linux (with an L) workstations and about half of them also have Macs (used as a Unix platform). The type of software we use largely does not run on windows, or at least not well. I've got Windows in a VM if I find a need to use MS Office. Or to put it another way, Linux desktops definitely exist.

      5. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Killer App

        "We live in a *nix world now - the Lions share of the market belongs to Android, iOS, ChromeOS, macOS and Linux."

        When the Macintosh operating system became Unix based, I said that the OS wars are over, Unix won, but no one told Microsoft. Though now that they are adding bits of Ubuntu to Windows, I guess they are catching up to the rest of the world.

      6. DrBed

        Re: Killer App (We live in a *nix world now)

        > Lions share of the market belongs to Android, iOS, ChromeOS, macOS and Linux.

        You forgot PlayStation & Nintendo (Switch). Both are *nix based (FreeBSD). PlayStation alone holds over 60% of console market share (and rising).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Killer App (We live in a *nix world now)

          "You forgot PlayStation & Nintendo (Switch). "

          According to NetMarketShare that's currently at 0.01% if taken as a percentage of all computing devices, so yeah...

          1. DrBed

            Re: Killer App (We live in a *nix world now)

            > "You forgot PlayStation & Nintendo (Switch). "

            > According to NetMarketShare that's currently at 0.01% if taken as a percentage of all computing devices, so yeah...

            It was about "*nix world we living now", not about "desktop PC ("workstation") part of it".

            NetMarketShare is inappropriate for that measuring.

            Whole "IoT" market relies on *nix (smart TV, watches...). Mostly the same stands for automakers.

            (e.g. AML: https://www.automotivelinux.org/).

            "sales of current-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony > 103 million at the end of 2017"

            (73.6 PS <> 29.4 Xbox One)

            https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/05/report-ps4-has-now-sold-roughly-2-5-times-as-well-as-the-xbox-one/

            "Console gaming is the second-largest segment generating $34.6 billion in 2018 while PC games will bring in $32.9 billion."

            https://venturebeat.com/2018/04/30/newzoo-global-games-expected-to-hit-180-1-billion-in-revenues-2021/

  2. karlkarl

    At this point it is just a waiting game. Just let Windows and Mac OS X "appstore" themselves out of existence and the only alternative will pretty much be Linux at that point*.

    *BSD, Haiku, ReactOS will then take the current place of Linux as solid alternatives. Then when Linux screws up, one of the others will step up and the cycle will continue.

    The important thing is we have alternatives. Otherwise we will be at the absolute mercy of a phenomenon known as Operating System inbreeding which Windows (i.e Metro, UWP, DRM, Developer Licenses) seems to be experiencing now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      rOS

      *BSD, Haiku, ReactOS will then take the current place of Linux as solid alternatives. Then when Linux screws up, one of the others will step up and the cycle will continue.

      I expect by the time Linux screws up that bad, ReactOS *might* have reached v1.0.0... Or maybe not, if the Gnome and SystemD folks keep going the way they are.

      (don't get me wrong, I'd like ReactOS to progress much faster, and it could have been further along if companies hadn't been such *cowards* when XP's expiration was looming).

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Unfortunately, ... the most popular supported programs on Wine are games."

    This, I found, was the problem. They concentrated on performance for gaming at the expense of H/W portability. In particular they deliberately assumed display drivers reporting 24-bit pixels would handle 32-bit because they preferred word alignment. It led to a lot of bug reports where applications would crash on commodity H/W with Intel video.

    As they regarded it as a feature the reports went unaddressed which didn't stop them sending out automated emails when new versions were released asking if it had been fixed yet. I kept recompiling new versions with a simple patch until (a) I got fed up, (b) the application I was interested in stopped using a 32-bit splash screen which was the only bit that caused the crash.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        If I understood your problem correctly, the solution is simple:

        Use two Wineprefixes: one at ~/.wine64 (64-bit) and another at ~/.wine (32-bit)

        First, delete all prefixes.

        Then, create a clean 32-bit prefix:

        $ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine64 wine winecfg

        $ killall wine

        $ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine WINEARCH=win32 wine winecfg.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "i have to run either the 32bit or 64bit prefix, but cannot run both at the same time, to allow two programs, a 32bit and 64bit to run at the same time."

            Surely you could run each from its own script that sets the appropriate value of WINEPREFIX.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Can't run 32 & 64 bit (prefixes) at same time....

              Surely you could run each from its own script that sets the appropriate value of WINEPREFIX.

              Yup, that works.

              !#/usr/bin/sh

              WINEPREFIX=[path-to-prefix] wine [path-to-prefix+pathinsidewineprefixtoexe]/program.exe

              Wine also puts a .desktop file together (and links in DESKTOP folder in native .desktop file and windows .ink).

          2. John Sanders
            Linux

            @Shadmeister.

            You can run 32bit and 64bit applications in wine simultaneously.

            What you can't do is mix 32 and 64 bit applications in the same wine prefix.

            As long as each application is installed on their own separate profile they can be run simultaneously.

            there are two executables wine (32 bit) and wine64 (64 bits) Wine knows which one to use depending on the configuration of the profile, that is why only the command "wine" is generally used.

            Hope this helps.

            1. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: @Shadmeister.

              What you can't do is mix 32 and 64 bit applications in the same wine prefix.

              Not so sure that is accurate (or at least I have had few problems doing it).

              I've Hexagon (32bit) on the same prefix as DazStudio (64bit) - a necessarily if I want to use the bridge to send objects from Studio to Hexagon for modelling.

              I've not come up against any issues (at least yet).

              It's not recommended though, but then mostly Wine support recommended "a clean 32bit prefix" only for best results not long ago.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          If I understood your problem correctly, the solution is simple:

          Don't think the killall is necessary.

          I've been using Wine to run Daz Studio for a year (yes, Blender is fun too).

          Both the 32bit and 64bit versions run (and Nvidia Iray renders run rather well on Wine, for the 3Delight renders I use the linux native version).

          Start of 2017, you would have struggled to run the 64bit version, but the 32bit version worked, it's been mostly improving as Wine matures.

          I have the 32bit version and the 32bit installer for the Daz shop on a 32bit prefix, and the 64bit on a separate (64bit) prefix with the recent 64bit version of the installer + Hexagon modeller, which is 32bit, runs ok on the 64bit prefix (has to be on the same prefix for the bridge from Daz studio to Hexagon to work).

          Yes, I might have a better experience running the program on the native Windows, but (run Windows, are you mad?).

        3. Lee D Silver badge

          "If I understood your problem correctly, the solution is simple:"

          Yeah. Those obvious, intuitive commands, environment variables passing into other environment variables, etc. etc. etc.

          I mean, I understand everything its doing and why. But I wouldn't be able to guess at that in a million years.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Could always use PlayonLinux

            Has a nice simple GUI based setup* (or buy Codeweavers Crossover - who are based on the Wine source and contribute back and also have a nice user friendly interface).

            * or used to, I'm not a fan of their new version in java, but there'e a Qt version as an alternate coming.

            1. nematoad Silver badge
              Unhappy

              "Could always use PlayonLinux"

              One problem with Playonlinux, there is very litlte help available. I've tried without success to join their forums and have tried to contact them directly. Nothing heard. Also don't try asking for help with POL at WineHQ. I made that mistake and got a very dusty answer. It seems that the people at Wine don't particularly care for those at POL.

              The short answer is: POL is fine if it all works. If not you are mostly on your own.

          2. Teiwaz Silver badge

            I mean, I understand everything its doing and why. But I wouldn't be able to guess at that in a million years.

            That's what manuals are for,

            The Archwiki carries a good how-to on setting up Wine on Linux.

        4. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Exactly!

          I like to keep my games in separate prefixes.

          I noticed that sometimes, when you installed a another game in a prefix, it could cause a game to misbehave ...

          Windows games are north of 10Gb in size these days anyway, so who cares about a few more Mb ? Clean slate.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            I noticed that sometimes, when you installed a another game in a prefix, it could cause a game to misbehave ...

            Windows games are north of 10Gb in size these days anyway, so who cares about a few more Mb ? Clean slate.

            Very wise, Ha'a an upvote

          2. Alistair Silver badge
            Windows

            I actually install the *game binaries* in /opt/windows/Games and add this as a drive in winecfg. Cleaned out prefixes can sometimes need reruns at registry setup, but in general (WOW, Wolfensteins, SimCity and a few others) it's not been an issue for me. It also allows multiple users on the box to access the games (group account), although updates to WOW and Sims3 will choke on ownership on occasion, it takes only a moment to resolve.

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Um, Shad,

        I run wine in a mixed version (mind you to get WOW running well these days I build my own) - and AFAICT the default wine install on fedora is 64bit base, but *you can* pull in the 32 bit kit as well. It runs hybrid just fine nowadays.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        @Shadmeister

        If its just a spice simulator just run ngspice instead.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Does the 32 bit version not run on a 64-bit prefix? It might have to install a second set of libraries, but generally I haven't had any issues doing this...

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      As they regarded it as a feature the reports went unaddressed which didn't stop them sending out automated emails when new versions were released asking if it had been fixed yet. I kept recompiling new versions with a simple patch until (a) I got fed up, (b) the application I was interested in stopped using a 32-bit splash screen which was the only bit that caused the crash.

      Last I had seen, Wine still can't manage print settings on Family Tree Maker 7.0 (and a couple versions past that). It's some ancient Borland C dialogue box (you can tell by the "OK" and "Cancel" buttons), and I'd be surprised if it wasn't a flaw in other BorlandC-compiled applications.

      I remember when a test I used to try running was using the AOL client, until I realized it would never work because AOL was trying to install a system driver, which obviously was never going to work in Wine (nor should it).

  4. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    Some organisations have 'clouded' their office suites (for better or worse...) using GSuite/Office365247, you can use your Linux laptop, Macbook, smartphone, anything that can access the net.

    I could see Wine being useful for playing games from the late 90s that won't properly run on Win10.

    Other than that, I know of industrial applications that used to rely on flaky old Windows servers now being transitioned onto Raspberry Pis using Wine. Would've liked to have been on the test team for that...

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      How? I didn’t think that Wine included emulation - and hence wouldn’t work on Raspberry Pi. I’d very much like to hear more about this.

      1. spodula

        I seem to remember one of the options is to compile it with the wine libraries.

        Of course, this relies on you having the source code.

        This is from a long time ago.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        How wine was done on a Pi

        Debian/Rasbian can handle installing a full set binaries for architectures different from the actual hardware. Install x86 WINE and all its x86 dependencies. QEMU can the emulate x86 for all of them and your windows application (it could emulate x86 for a linux kernel too, but that is not required for this task).

        This demonstrates a whole pile of things: how awesome QEMU is, how efficiently software was coded twenty years ago to handle the hardware of the time and that a Pi is fast enough for a wide range of tasks even with an emulation layer getting in the way.

        Is it possible to buy a retail Intel CPU for less than the cost of a Pi?

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Some organisations have 'clouded' their office suites (for better or worse...) using GSuite/Office365247, you can use your Linux laptop, Macbook, smartphone, anything that can access the net.

      But it's that reliance on being connected to the net which is the Achilles heel - having a device which is fully functional but disconnected happens more often than these cloudy vendors seem to want to acknowledge. If you've ever tried to do anything online while travelling by train along the East Coast Mainline, then you'll know exactly what I mean.

      1. Joe Drunk
        Windows

        But it's that reliance on being connected to the net which is the Achilles heel - having a device which is fully functional but disconnected happens more often than these cloudy vendors seem to want to acknowledge.

        Have an upvote. I can't tell you how many hours of productivity I've saved by being able to perform my job functions offline when the network was down/unavailable. It also means I get to go home at a normal time rather than stay late because I couldn't update a project status/staff schedule/equipment order etc. They're gonna have to pry my offline apps from my cold dead hands.

        1. eldakka Silver badge
          Holmes

          Have an upvote. I can't tell you how many hours of productivity I've saved by being able to perform my job functions offline when the network was down/unavailable. It also means I get to go home at a normal time rather than stay late because I couldn't update a project status/staff schedule/equipment order etc. They're gonna have to pry my offline apps from my cold dead hands.

          If you are on a fixed daily rate, e.g. an employee, why would you stay late past the time you aren't being paid?

          If the problem is caused by the employers systems (they require the cloud service), then the employer can wear the cost of the lost productivity when you go home at your normal hometime with the work incomplete because of the employers own actions.

          Of course, if you are on an hourly rate, I'd hope you'd charge them for the sitting-at-desk-twiddling-thumbs time plus the stayed-back-to-complete time.

          But also, as you rightly pointed at, neither of the above would be necessary if they had offline-capable locally-installed software.

      2. Test Man

        Or you just set up G Suite/Office 365 for offline access.

        1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

          > Or you just set up G Suite/Office 365 for offline access.

          Had you suggested Collabora you might have understood the zeitgeist as well as the point of the article.

    3. Colin McKinnon

      Personally I haven't owned a MSWindows computer since OpenOffice added support for pivot tables (but still have to use them in work). But, to get to the point, have you actually used Office365? It really is appallingly buggy. Google's offering works OK, but is limited in features and I can't get my head around how to manage large, distributed sets of files.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe RedHat can integrate Wine into 'systemd' so viruses and malware can be better supported?

    Maybe add some 'cloud' to 'systemd' and they can make the 'Linux Experience'' as crappy as the Win10 "clouded-office edition"!?

    I work with a consultant equipped with this thing and he manages to set off every bug since windows vintage 2000 or so. The 'Desktop being special', 'cut and paste' craps on local 'normal.dot', 'curt & paste' can take minutes if the network drops out and the NSA is not in on the action, 'fun with paths' as some 'drag & drop'-filenames cannot be saved, yet re-typing the name cause them to be saved (probably unicode in the path or some language-pack bullshit).

    A blast from the past, that is!

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Virtualisation made it irrelevant

    Dual-booting solved a lot of problems but virtualisation made Wine irrelevant for anyone wanting to do serious work with Windows programs from within a non-Windows environment. Since then Wine has been relegated to the "interesting" section of software development. In reality, chasing APIs, especially private ones, is a mug's game.

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: Virtualisation made it irrelevant

      In reality, chasing APIs, especially private ones, is a mug's game.

      Especially feckin' ENORMOUS ones with thousands of functions.

    2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      Re: Virtualisation made it irrelevant

      Dual-booting solved a lot of problems but virtualisation made Wine irrelevant for anyone wanting to do serious work with Windows programs from within a non-Windows environment.

      The downside of that theory is that you still need a Windows license for the guest OS. If the goal is to NOT run Windows at all, then virtualisation fails as a method.

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Virtualisation made it irrelevant

      Not to mention the licence issue (as someone already has)

      Virtualisation isn't always the answer, maybe something a little more containerised, but run the entirety of Windows with [telemetry] and bloat just to run one of it's programs????

      Also, with the likes of VirtualBox or VMware, your sometimes don't get true throughput to the hardware, resulting in OpenGL version issues which stop graphic intensive programs running. Maybe with the right hardware or BIOS setup, and perhaps in the future (when running todays Windows bloat is no more stressful than running a C64 emulator to play Who Dares Wins II).

      1. fajensen Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Virtualisation made it irrelevant

        Also, with the likes of VirtualBox or VMware, your sometimes don't get true throughput to the hardware,

        Apart from Games, when do we actually, really, need that for any application where one is sat in front of the screen!?

        The only software I know of that can suck the life out of a modern PC is "Catia V6" (and probably anything written in Java). "Getting to the metal" will not fix Catia V6 (nor Java), they suck dromedar butt per design.

        "Altium Designer" and "Comsol", which are big packages, IMO, run just fine with the 3-5% overhead that the virtualisation gives.

        Sure it is sadin principle to run the entire abomination-suite that is windows just for the sake of a few applications, but in my opinion, it is so much sadder to be struggling and striving to make something barely work in Wine, when one could just install and run that sucker in exactly the manner Bill Gates intended on an isolated Virtual Machine, getting away and off to enjoy the pub so much faster.

        Time is precious, infinitely valuable, since we cannot buy more of it. Why waste it on dumb shit? It's only work, who cares how it happens? Nobody does, except purists and they are boring people to be with!

    4. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: Virtualisation made it irrelevant

      > virtualisation made Wine irrelevant for anyone wanting to do serious work with Windows

      The last time I needed to use Wine in anger was with CIX's Ameol offline reader. To fire up a VM just for that would have been overkill, as well as requiring a windows licence. Even at that stage, with StarOffice, becoming freely available under Sun's ownership, there were fewer and fewer things needing windows, and hence less need for wine. (Need for beer remained at acceptable levels.)

      However, I can confirm the article's comment of "since it will allow malware aimed at Microsoft's products to be run." After shutting down Ameol on one occasion I noticed a wine process still running, courtesy of something dirty going on in the Ameol conferences.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It is interesting that Corel was mentioned in the article as I tried to install the latest CorelDraw on Wine about 2 weeks ago and it bombed out so had to fire up a VM and install on there instead, So I guess Corel are no longer interested in getting their software to run under Wine.

  8. BenDwire
    Linux

    No mention of Crossover Office?

    I find it odd that an article about Wine makes no reference to Crossover Office, admittedly a paid-for bit of software, but one that works well enough for many things I need to do. They put code back into the Wine project, so it seems a good way for me to help out a little.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: No mention of Crossover Office?

      Or PoL

    2. kaseki

      Re: No mention of Crossover Office?

      Hear hear! I use Crossover mainly for supporting Marine Aquarium on Mint. Works up to (and including) 4K at 60 Hz with maximum fishes. Requires a lot less GPU power than I expected when I went to the "big" screen. For installation directions, look up Marine Aquarium (aka Sach's Marine Aquarium) in the Crossover compatibility data base. For code, visit SereneScrene.com. (I have no affiliation.)

  9. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Much, much better than it used to be - but still not great

    On the positive side it's much better than it used to be, some apps now run extremely well. However, the situation is not actually that rosy.

    Sure, there's plenty of 'platinum' apps over at winehq.org.

    How many of them are platinum under all hardware configurations? i.e. they work just as well on a low end Intel graphics chipset, as the closed source Nvidia drivers that usually provide the best performance and compatibility.

    Then compare the 'platinum' app to the same app on the same machine, running under real Windows, and suddenly it's not quite as smooth as the real thing.

    You'd expect Windows 3.1 compatibility to be truly outstanding, as that's an ancient and fixed API now - but no, there's issues there too.

    The reason there is wine staging is because people can't be arsed to sort the architecture properly. Got it working for their use case, not got it working for all obscure hardware configurations..

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Much, much better than it used to be - but still not great

      WineHQ is, unfortunately badly maintained (so is Crossovers list, now I come to look into it).

      If you are expecting thorough and professional testing, it's filled out when people can be bothered, and mostly by testing amateurs.

      Why would you expect Windows 3.1 to be polished til it shines (like a shaft of gold, when all around is dark) - it has been mostly irrelevant (except for a few fringe cases) for at least twenty years.

      Wine staging was dropped a while back, but it's too useful for those little (often unstable) patches that gamers need, so it continues (or some such, never did get the whole drama around it straight).

      1. Alistair Silver badge

        Re: Much, much better than it used to be - but still not great

        Uhhhhm:

        compholio's wine staging git is dead.

        https://github.com/wine-staging/wine-staging

        is *very* much alive.

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Much, much better than it used to be - but still not great

        Sure, but it's entirely reasonable for me to point out that 'Platinum' is nothing of the sort when it's being barely tested in limited configurations by amateurs.

        You're also right Windows 3.1 is generally irrelevant these days, but if Wine's aim is to faithfully run Windows apps, it should also be expected that older APIs are now the most stable. That's by no means the case.

        As mentioned in other comments, wine staging was dropped and quickly resurrected, because too many Wine users want to run Windows games..

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Much, much better than it used to be - but still not great

          Wine Staging drop

          As far as I can recall, something about having too much to do, at which point some others decided to manage it.

          Need or want, same thing - I'm on Arch, there seems little difference between Wine and Staging versions for my use case.

      3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Much, much better than it used to be - but still not great

        The drama around staging is that the patches included are poorly architected, and is building an ever less stable Jenga of conflicting patches.

        Wine proper should (but doesn't always) work like Windows, so that apps run whatever the hardware configuration, even on barely adequate hardware.

        Wine staging patches usually enable some games to run, on some hardware, whilst breaking other applications. That's why they're not accepted in upstream Wine, and the patch developers can't be bothered to implement the changes properly because it's difficult and thankless.

        Like I mentioned, some Wine compatibility is excellent, but it's very much skewed towards games and a selection of more popular productivity apps. As soon as unusual or enterprise apps are involved things tend to fall down.

  10. Waseem Alkurdi

    Virtualization isn't always the best solution because you have ...

    ... low-end hardware like on laptops (talking ultrabooks here).

    You don't always have a powerful PC around.

    And the performance-with-newer-hardware argument fails because Windows increases system requirements too with time.

  11. VinceH Silver badge

    FTA: "However, for the occasions when only that particular Windows application will do ... Wine does the job nicely"

    Except where that particular Windows application is one that doesn't work under Wine.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Wine exposes the underlying Linux operating system?

    Software running under Wine is restricted to the current users privileges as such any Windows malware is contained in the current “bottle" under ~/.wine, and doesn't persist between reboots.

    Of course none of this would matter if the software was cross-platform, which is how software was built a long time ago. If I recall correctly the one source code file would compile for different platforms depending on certain #pragma directives in the listing.

  13. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Backward compatibility

    I have some really old Windows games I like which work fine under Wine but not on any version of Windows since WinXP.

  14. TiddlyPom
    Linux

    Why do I need Windows?

    Interesting how WINE is viewed somehow as necessary on Linux? I have used Linux as my primary desktop OS for years now (maybe getting on for a decade), use LibreOffice 5.x at the moment and swap document with colleagues and friends and have very few problems. OK sometimes I have slight formatting issues but it is no worse them I had moving between versions of Microsoft Office in the past. I have programming tools, databases, music software, games (both open source and under Steam). I play with GIMP and Blender for 2D and 3D graphics. My system runs Linux Mint and is fast, stable and reasonably secure. No OS is completely secure and that applies to Linux as much as Windows but I keep everything locked down and am as careful as I can be. If you love Windows then great, enjoy it. Linux works for me. Even if it is only for 1-2% of the population, the year of Linux on the desktop happened a long time ago. I don't think I have ever used WINE.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Why do I need Windows?

      Interesting how WINE is viewed somehow as necessary on Linux?

      By some. To me it's a nice to have (otherwise I'd have to settle for dual-boot or a another machine).

      I didn't see any use for Wine for a long time either.

      If you do find a program that happens to be windows only, and you can get that program to run in Wine (even with a few flaws) - it's a positive boon - otherwise you might have to go back to dual boot or install Windows. think what a drag that would be.

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Why do I need Windows?

      I find Wine necessary for the pre-web-app version of YNAB and for LT-Spice. It nice to have the possibility to not have windows sitting around on a computer.

  15. Lomax

    2008 was "The Year of the Linux Desktop" for me. Ten years later my only regret is not having changed sides earlier. I pity those poor sods who are still battling with Redmond's crapware.

    P.S. I don't even use Wine.

  16. cream wobbly

    He has an Operating System now?

    Fuck, to think that all these years I've been running that Stallman's GNU shite on my Linux kernel.

    Do keep up. It's only been quarter of a century.

  17. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    You know it’s true

    What a shame that for 25 years peeps have wasted so many, many hours on a dead end project, just because of a blind hatred of MSFT.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: You know it’s true

      Tell that to the ReactOS folks, not Wine. Wine is successful, actually.

  18. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Recursion can be fun!

    What happens if you start with a Linux machine, run WINE, use WINE to fire up a Windows based VM, use the VM to run an instance of Win10, inside Win10 use the Windows Subsystem for Linux to run a copy of Ubuntu, wherein you start an instance of WINE in order to launch a Windows based VM in order to run another copy of Win10 so you can use the WSL to run Ubuntu...

    Hey look! My computer just gave me TheFinger!

    =-D

    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the coat in the pocket with the coat in the pocket with the coat...

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Recursion can be fun!

      "What happens if you ..."

      My guess is you rapidly run out of RAM and your entire computer bogs down to a crawl.

      Though I am surprised you didn't use one of those Windows VMs to fire up a BSD VM, to run a Linux copy of qemu with BSDs Linux compatibility sub system, that runs an Android VM with Lil' Debi installed*, and around you go again...

      * For those that don't know Lil' Debi is Debian Linux running under chroot on Android. It's main claim to fame is giving you access to the entire Android file system at a few mount points. Plus, you know, it's Debian, apt-get install whatever.

      /me pops out of one of your coat pockets to wave, and introduces you to this short Debi lady. Oh and there's some old doctor here that recently went through a sex change and wants to talk with you. Something about an odd crack in the universe she thinks you might have something to do with.

  19. ninjaturtle
    Linux

    I remember Corel actually having an own Linux distro for a short while (without Corel Draw but with Word Perfect IIRC)... And remember trying to burn the .iso file of it as a file to a disc (as a young noob), and figuring out why it wouldn't boot

  20. John Sanders
    Linux

    I use Wine daily

    I depend on running Visio 2003 to produce diagrams constantly. It runs great.

    As per running games all my gaming on Linux is native now thanks to Steam and latest mesa 18.x

    However a couple of weeks back I tried to run the first Borderlands on steam on Windows via wine, (there is no Linux version) out of curiosity to see what would happen. It worked 100% including both the xbox360 controller and online multi-player.

    When wine works is fantastic.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: I use Wine daily

      When wine works is fantastic.

      Well said, sir.

  21. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Every single comment at least one D/V

    It seems I have a nemesis hanging out on the Reg.

    .....Poor sad fool with more time on their hands than me...

    1. Sierpinski

      Re: Every single comment at least one D/V

      <p>@Teiwaz

      If everyone approved of what you've typed, what would even be the point? A downvote means that, barring a script doing the downvoting, someone had to read and comprehend something that disagrees with their views.

      <p>And back to on-topic..

      <p>WINE has been a source of entertainment for me for the last 15ish years. Projects such as Everquest and World of Warcraft with frequent, incremental changes, and multiple executables almost almost always had workarounds, both on WINE HQ and the official forums for the games, available on patch days. Occasional fixes under Linux actually resulted in performance boosts that "mysteriously" found their way back into the Windows client within the next month or so. Both the monthly subscription and freemium styles of supporting game development played nice (pirating the client wasn't a loss to sales... up until 3rd party emulated servers popped up, but that's another story). Telemetry in WINE is opt-in, and makes clear to the user how to disable it at any time, and is auditable by anyone that cares to prior to opting in.

      <p>Any application that really is a "must have" gets time and money thrown at it up to the point that the "must have" portions become usable. Anything that's known to be illegal due to software patents in certain jurisdictions is labeled as such, but still made available with warnings. It's a model that actually respects fair use and intellectual property rights, and doesn't begin with an assumption of guilt in the wording (the way more than a few digital rights management systems I've encountered have).

      <p>WINE is like a figurative bridge spanning multiple cliff faces (Linux, Windows, MacOS, FreeBSD, and others). Lanes close for construction on occasion, but it has acted as a shield against lock-in and monoculture (no apologies for the pun, I regret nothing).

      <p>I look forward to more of the cycle of frustration and elation any time something stops working and I read up enough to submit a bug report and live with the work around until some with more skill and patience than I takes an interest in fixing it.

  22. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Nice way to use Windows CD-ROM titles

    Remember those? Games, educational programs on CD-ROM. Most of them do not run any more on modern Windows version, but Wine can usually be made to run them, after tweaking application-specific settings suitably. Many years ago I used to do this to make some kids games run on my Linux box for my child (he has long since outgrown them). Sometimes it was not trivial. Wine did not support some palette color modes, unless run in a X11 server with palette color. Solution was to run the wine inside a Xephyr window (an X11 server running inside X11), which can be configured to have a different color depth from the host.

  23. pyite42

    Great for World of Warcraft!!

    I was devastated when Cedega went away, but luckily Wine has kept up for the last 9 years.

    Currently I am rocking a 1080 Ti and I can play WoW on ultra mode and get full frame rates much of the time. I'm currently using the Lutris launcher FYI.

    Infinite Thanks to the Wine project!

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Great for World of Warcraft!!

      Do you still need to copy a working install from a Windows instance, or is there another way around it?

      Do you ever get banhmmered? Had that once with WoW under WINE, something to do with the security software not working as expected. Did get the account back, but it's still a bit of a pain.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahh linux if only

    You had curbed your ego's

    Microsoft has trashed my productivity and capacity

    You have trashed my hardware...much hardware . from about 2010 you just went rabid

    and I was running a Redhat 5.2 Powertools with a Mozilla mirror tha t had just about anything they or anyone invented and that did not break anything but since 2010.

    Some folks are still trying hard but phew, sad .sad .sad

  25. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    MS Runtime

    I've long thought MS should just contribute all their "legacy" code into the Wine project, and just use that as the way to run legacy applications. That would free them up to purge the old APIs from their core OS without killing off the customer base (although I expect they would have preferred to do that under the X11-licensed ReWind fork back when that was still a viable project).

  26. Dave Bell

    It isn't so simple.

    I recall hearing of a US accounting software company, producing software to handle the annual US income tax returns, which actively supports Wine.

    I know of other companies that make a point of treating Wine as another Windows version in testing and development.

    And yet there is well-known software, with Linux versions available, which suffers from what seems to be woefully inadequate testing. Some of them depend on specialised *Nix software on their servers, yet struggle to maintain Linux-compatible software for their customers to use.

    I see far more variation that your reporter does.

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