Linked by Adam S on Mon 13th Dec 2004 05:37 UTC
Linux There's always a lot of excitement when a major Linux distribution has a new release - there's the clamour for the release notes and changelog, as well as the insatiable urge for screenshots and the search for the torrent for the ISOs. The release of Xandros Desktop 3.0 last week was no exception, with OS fanatics everywhere curious just what was in store. Read on for details.
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To WINE or not to WINE
by Chris Dunphy on Mon 13th Dec 2004 06:13 UTC

I have to admit that the Xandros model of doing things puzzles me (specifically their heavy promotion of WINE to run Windows applications). I'll explain.

There are two ways you could approach a gradual migration from Windows to a Linux or UNIX based desktop. The first approach would be the use of open source applications (OpenOffice, Mozilla, GAIM) on Windows first, and using that to gradually move over into a more fully open source system.

The second method would be the usage of an emulator (such as WINE) to use Windows applications on Linux. This second approach seems to be the one that Xandros is using. Because applications are really the key, in my view, to the success of any platform, I think the first approach has several advantages.

-WINE is not the world's greatest performer... to say the least.

-Using WINE does not encourage the development of cross-platform open source applications!

-Using WINE can cause real problems when new versions of Windows based applications running on it come out, and become broken.

-Cross-platform open source applications bring benefits to everyone, not just Linux or UNIX users (ie. Firefox, OpenOffice).

I remember years ago when Corel released their Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux. It turned out to be a "frankenwine" application, and not a very good one at that. It was an example, in my opinion, of why Corel's Linux strategy failed, despite the fact that their desktop OS did have some real strengths (simplicity, based on Debian, etc.)

Lindows was origninally going to go this way as well, yet they wisely abandoned this course and instead promoted the use of open source applications. They even sponsored a few of their own (nVu comes to mind).

While I am also not a big fan of the fact that Xandros takes great pains to very closely mimic the Windows UI with their product, that is a matter of taste, and I can see how some companies may like that idea to reduce training costs.