Wine is one of the best
known, but least understood open source projects. It is a
mystic application that everyone knows about, many use, but few truly
understand. Reading forum posts, blog entries and tutorials about Wine
show that Wine is surrounded by many myths and half truths.
In this article, we will attempt to clear up some of the misconceptions
about the project.
Myth: Wine doesn't run any program well:
There are currently 1863 applications with a Platinum rating
(applications which install and run flawlessly on an out-of-the-box Wine
installation) in Wine's
Application Database (AppDB).
Additional applications are receiving a Platinum rating at a rapid rate.
Popular Windows applications such as Adobe Photoshop CS3, World of
Warcraft and Microsoft Office 2007 all run under Wine.
Myth: Wine requires native Direct3D support:
Wine implements the
Direct3D 9 and earlier has been implemented for the most part.
There are of course implementation bugs, but those are being
The Direct3D runtime is a slow work in progress, and so may be
missing some features.
Direct3D 10 is unimplemented, but the core
infrastructure is in place and future implementation is in the
Native Direct3D should not be used in Wine,
except for the DirectX runtime library (d3dx9_*.dll),
to work around missing features in Wine.
Myth: Wine requires native Internet Explorer 6:
Wine comes with its own version of Internet Explorer based on
Gecko layout engine
for applications that use IE for rendering. See the
Wine Gecko project for details.
There is a
ton of work being put into this area of Wine since it covers such a
large area of code. As a result, many applications depending on
Internet Explorer rendering may not run well. For those applications,
using native Internet Explorer serves as a workaround.
This is neither required nor recommended because Internet
Explorer's license does not allow people without a Windows license
to use it.
Myth: Wine is only for Linux:
Wine should run on any POSIX system that has kernel threading.
However, since most Wine developers are using some version of Linux,
these other operating systems don't enjoy the same level of support or
compatibility. Wine currently builds and runs applications on
Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Solaris and OpenSolaris. Work is also being
done to get Wine to work on NetBSD and OpenBSD, the effort is progressing
Myth: Wine is only 32-bit capable:
This is partially true, but the situation is changing.
Wine has the capability of running 64 bit applications,
(see this December, 2008 thread),
but it is not yet enabled by default. A ton of work is being put into
making the internals of Wine 64 bit compatible.
Checking the Wine
one can see frequent additions of patches aimed at 64 bit Wine.
Running 64-bit Wine currently requires the use of a special GCC
compiler from SVN to compile, so it's mostly for developers at
this point. It is worth pointing out though that about two thirds of
the internal Wine conformance tests
This is, of course, different from running Wine as a 32-bit application
on 64-bit hardware. Doing so works fine as long as your operating system
has the 32-bit compatibility libraries installed.
Wine is commonly used for playing games on 64-bit Linux distributions.
In fact, most packagers already build 32-bit binaries
for 64-bit operating systems.
Myth: Wine stole code from Microsoft! It's illegal to use!
Wine is a clean room implementation of the Microsoft Windows
API. Wine developers have never used leaked Windows source code or
disassembled its output. The implementation is made and tested using a
ensuring that Wine has the same behavior as Windows. The conformance
tests are built daily and tested on various versions of Windows
and Wine. Results can be seen on the
Wine Test Runs page.
Wine is a very complex piece of software that has come a long way in
the past 15 years of development. Releasing its first stable version
(1.0) this past year is a testament to the complexity and size of this
program that took thousands of hours of development to implement what
Microsoft did with many times the resources. While Wine does not
yet have perfect compatibility with all Microsoft Windows
applications, the Wine team is working hard to change this. Wine is a
very mature, fast-moving and complex piece of software. There's no
better time than now to try Wine. Binaries and source code are available
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