If you’re familiar with WINE then you’re more than likely someone who uses Linux or perhaps Mac OS X. WINE is a recursive acronym that stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator, which might be confusing because essentially, it behaves like an emulator but, it isn’t. WINE has been a staple for Linux users for some time, and allows you to run Windows programs and games on Linux and Mac OS X through the use of APIs that are needed for the Windows applications or games to run. It’s pretty nifty and works well in some cases but, it’s not always great. The Picasa release for Linux is in fact the Windows app that runs in WINE, delivering the same experience on different platforms.
It’s no big secret that Android is built upon on the Linux kernel and it’d make sense that big parts of the Linux world will be coming to Android as more and more of the world goes mobile, and Android’s popularity skyrockets. Recently, news broke out that WINE would be coming to Android and Phoronix were present at a demonstration showing that progress was being made on the project. Alexandre Julliard, the man behind WINE, showed off WINE on Android at the Free and Open source Software Developers European Meeting (FOSDEM) and while Phoronix reported that “performance was horrendously slow,” but, there is progress being made.
It’s a lot harder for the developers behind WINE to port it over to Android than you might think because, while Android is built on Linux, most of the hardware running it are ARM-based machines, with WINE written for x86 – traditional Intel or AMD – processors. This sort of difference in architecture is going to make the port more difficult, as a result there’s no release date or time frame in mind and it could be a long time before we see anything from the project.
The folks at CodeWeavers, who sell Crossover – and also contribute to the WINE project – which is a piece of software to run very specific applications on Linux properly is looking forward to Android on x86 hardware which would make the port a lot easier.
For those looking forward to running Windows apps on their Android smartphones or tablets, there’s a long wait ahead but, is it worth the wait? What would you use WINE for and what do you use it for on the Desktop?