Introduction Overview / About Purpose of this document and intended audience This document, called the Wine User Guide, is both an easy installation guide and an extensive reference guide. This guide is for both the new Wine user and the experienced Wine user, offering full step-by-step installation and configuration instructions, as well as featuring extensive reference material by documenting all configuration features and support areas. Further questions and comments If, after examining this guide, the FAQ, and other relevant documentation there is still something you cannot figure out, we would love to hear from you. The mailing lists section contains several mailing lists and an IRC channel, all of which are great places to seek help and offer suggestions. If you are particularly savvy, and believe that something can be explained better, you can file a bug report or post a patch on Wine documentation itself. Content overview / Steps to take In order to be able to use Wine, you must first have a working installation. This guide will help you to move your system from an empty, Wineless void to one boasting a fresh, up to date Wine install. The first step, Getting Wine, illustrates the various methods of getting Wine's files onto your computer. The second step, Configuring Wine, shows how to customize a Wine installation depending on your individual needs. The final step, Running Wine, covers the specific steps you can take to get a particular application to run better under Wine, and provides useful links in case you need further help. Quick start The process of installing and running Wine can be summarised as follows: Get a distribution as indicated in Getting Wine and see the Wine Downloads page. For the casual or new user the simplest is to get a packaged version for your distribution. Optionally configure Wine using the winecfg command. Wine should work without any additional configuration options. To test your installation run Wine notepad clone using the wine notepad command. Check the Wine AppDB for specific instructions or steps required to install or run your application. Run Wine using the wine path/to/appname.exe command. The first command you will run will be to install an application. Typically something like wine /media/cdrom/setup.exe or the equivalent path might be used to install an application from CD. What is Wine? Windows and Linux Different software programs are designed for different operating systems, and most won't work on systems that they weren't designed for. Windows programs, for example, won't run in Linux because they contain instructions that the system can't understand until they're translated by the Windows environment. Linux programs, likewise, won't run under the Windows operating system because Windows is unable to interpret all of their instructions. This situation presents a fundamental problem for anyone who wants to run software for both Windows and Linux. A common solution to this problem is to install both operating systems on the same computer, known as dual booting. When a Windows program is needed, the user boots the machine into Windows to run it; when a Linux program is then needed, the user then reboots the machine into Linux. This option presents great difficulty: not only must the user endure the frustration of frequent rebooting, but programs for both platforms can't be run simultaneously. Having Windows on a system also creates an added burden: the software is expensive, requires a separate disk partition, and is unable to read most filesystem formats, making the sharing of data between operating systems difficult. What is Wine, and how can it help me? Wine makes it possible to run Windows programs alongside any Unix-like operating system, particularly Linux. At its heart, Wine is an implementation of the Windows Application Programing Interface (API) library, acting as a bridge between the Windows program and Linux. Think of Wine as a compatibility layer, when a Windows program tries to perform a function that Linux doesn't normally understand, Wine will translate that program's instruction into one supported by the system. For example, if a program asks the system to create a Windows pushbutton or text-edit field, Wine will convert that instruction into its Linux equivalent in the form of a command to the window manager using the standard X11 protocol. If you have access to the Windows program source code, Wine can also be used to recompile a program into a format that Linux can understand more easily. Wine is still needed to launch the program in its recompiled form, however there are many advantages to compiling a Windows program natively within Linux. For more information, see the Winelib User Guide. Wine features Throughout the course of its development, Wine has continually grown in the features it carries and the programs it can run. A partial list of these features follows: Support for running Win64, Win32 (Win 95/98, NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/2012/10), Win16 (Win 3.1) and DOS programs Optional use of external vendor DLL files (such as those included with Windows) X11-based graphics display, allowing remote display to any X terminal, as well as a text mode console Desktop-in-a-box or mixable windows DirectX support for games Good support for various sound drivers including OSS and ALSA Support for alternative input devices such as graphics tablets. Printing: PostScript interface driver (psdrv) to standard Unix PostScript print services Modem, serial device support Winsock TCP/IP networking support ASPI interface (SCSI) support for scanners, CD writers, and other devices Advanced Unicode and foreign language support Full-featured Wine debugger and configurable trace logging messages for easier troubleshooting Versions of Wine Wine from WineHQ Wine is an open source project, and there are accordingly many different versions of Wine for you to choose from. The standard version of Wine comes in intermittent releases (roughly twice a month), and can be downloaded over the Internet in both prepackaged binary form and ready to compile source code form. Alternatively, you can install a development version of Wine by using the latest available source code from the Git repository. See the next chapter, Getting Wine, for further details. Other Versions of Wine There are a number of programs that are derived from the standard Wine codebase in some way or another. Some of these are commercial products from companies that actively contribute to the Wine project. These products try to stand out or distinguish themselves from the standard version of Wine by offering greater compatibility, easier configuration, and commercial support. If you require such things, it is a good idea to consider purchasing these products. Various Wine offerings Product Description Distribution Form CodeWeavers CrossOver Office CrossOver Office allows you to install your favorite Windows productivity applications in Linux, without needing a Microsoft Operating System license. CrossOver includes an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing a Windows application simple and fast. Commercial; 30-day fully-functional demo available.
Alternatives to Wine you might want to consider There are many ways to run software other than through Wine. If you are considering using Wine to run an application you might want to think about the viability of these approaches if you encounter difficulty. Native Applications Instead of running a particular Windows application with Wine, one frequently viable alternative is to simply run a different application. Many Windows applications, particularly more commonly used ones such as media players, instant messengers, and filesharing programs have very good open source equivalents. Furthermore, a sizable number of Windows programs have been ported to Linux directly, eliminating the need for Wine (or Windows) entirely. These alternatives should be found through your system package management facilities. Another Operating System Probably the most obvious method of getting a Windows application to run is to simply run it on Windows. However, security, license cost, backward-compatibility, and machine efficiency issues can make this a difficult proposition, which is why Wine is so useful in the first place. Another alternative is to use ReactOS, which is a fully open source alternative to Windows. ReactOS shares code heavily with the Wine project, but rather than running Windows applications on top of Linux they are instead run on top of the ReactOS kernel. ReactOS also offers compatibility with Windows driver files, allowing the use of hardware without functional Linux drivers. Virtual Machines Rather than installing an entirely new operating system on your machine, you can instead run a virtual machine at the software level and install a different operating system on it. Thus, you could run a Linux system and at the same time run Windows along with your application in a virtual machine simultaneously on the same hardware. Virtual machines allow you to install and run not only different versions of Windows on the same hardware, but also other operating systems, including ReactOS. There are several different virtual machine offerings out there, and some are also able to emulate x86 hardware on different platforms. The open source Bochs, VirtualBox and QEMU can run both Windows and ReactOS virtually. Other, commercial virtual machine offerings include VMware and Microsoft's VirtualPC. There are significant drawbacks to using virtual machines, however. Unlike Wine, such programs are emulators, so there is an inevitable speed decrease which can be quite substantial. Furthermore, running an application inside a virtual machine prevents fully integrating the application within the current environment. You won't, for example, be able to have windows system tray icons or program shortcuts sitting alongside your desktop Linux ones, since instead the Windows applications must reside completely within the virtual machine.