posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th May 2009 22:04 UTC
IconMany Linux users have experience with Wine, the application compatibility layer which allows some Windows programs to run on UNIX-like machines. During Ubuntu's Open Week event, Mark Shuttleworth was asked about Wine, and how important he believes it is for the success of Ubuntu.

More specifically, the question was: what is more important to Ubuntu's success, Wine, native ports of Windows applications, or both? Shuttleworth replied:

They both play an important role, but fundamentally, the Free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules. It is *different* to the proprietary software universe. We need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms. If Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win - os/2 tried that.

While Wine might play a role in some user's lives, I must admit that I personally never felt compelled to use it. Linux has its own set of applications that work just fine, with lots of choices and different approaches to the same task.

However, there are cases where users might rely on specific Windows applications, and there Wine could be the answer. However, if I actually relied on a specific application - like Photoshop for instance - I simply don't think Wine is the optimal solution. I'd say that if you rely on Photoshop, it makes more business sense to use it on its native platform. This ensures greater stability when it comes to your important data. At the very least, you could virtualise Windows if your machine can handle the performance aspect of it.

Games are another area where Wine is big, but there as well I ask myself: why? If you are into PC gaming, you are probably interested in performance and stability, and again, games will deliver these two things better on the platform they were written for.

I've never seen Wine as anything else than a toy, but that's just my silly opinion. I want to ask you: what do you use Wine for? What are your experiences with it? Is Wine reliable enough to, well, rely on?

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