Wine (software)

Wine (software)

Infobox Software
name = Wine

caption = Screenshot of "Wine Configuration", used to configure Wine settings
collapsible =
author = Alexandre Julliard
developer = [ Wine authors
(1,078 and counting)
released = release date and age|mf=yes|1993|07|04
latest release version = 1.0
latest release date = release date and age|mf=yes|2008|06|17
latest preview version = 1.1.6
latest preview date = release date and age|mf=yes|2008|10|10
programming language = C
operating_system = Unix-like systems and Microsoft Windows
platform = Cross-platform
size = 7-9.5 MB (archived)
language =
status = Active
genre = Compatibility layer
license = GNU Lesser General Public License
website = []

Wine is a free software application which aims to allow Unix-like computer operating systems on the x86 architecture to execute programs written for Microsoft Windows. Wine also provides a software library known as "Winelib" against which developers can compile Windows applications to help port them to Unix-like systems. [ cite web | url = | publisher = Wine HQ | title = Winelib | accessdate = 2008-06-29 ]

The name 'Wine' derives from the recursive acronym "Wine Is Not an Emulator". While the name sometimes appears in the forms "WINE" and "wine", the project developers have agreed to standardize on the form "Wine". [cite web | url= | title=Why do some people write WINE and not Wine? | publisher=Wine HQ | date=2008-07-07 | accessdate=2008-07-13 ]

The Wine developers released version 1.0 of Wine, after 15 years of development, on June 17, 2008. [cite web | url= | title=Announcement of version 1.0 | publisher=Wine HQ | date=2008-06-17 | accessdate=2008-09-01 ]


Bob Amstadt (the initial project leader) and Eric Youngdale started the Wine project in 1993 as a way to run Windows applications on Linux. Inspired by Sun Microsystems' Public Windows Initiative and Wabi [ cite newsgroup | url= | title=Wine project status | author=Bob Amstadt | | date=1993-09-29 | accessdate=2008-07-13 ] (an attempt to get Windows API (see also: API) fully reimplemented on the public domain, a project later shot down by Microsoft in 1996 [ cite web | url= | title=Sun Uses ECMA as Path to ISO Java Standardization | publisher=Computergram International | date=1999-05-07 | accessdate=2008-07-13 ] ) for the Solaris operating system, it originally targeted Windows 3.x (16-bit) application software, although it currently focuses primarily on the dominant 32-bit applications. The project originated in discussions on Usenet in [news:comp.os.linux comp.os.linux] in June 1993. [ cite web | url = | title = WABI available on linux or not | accessdate = 2007-09-21 ] Alexandre Julliard has led the project since 1994.

Rather than acting as a full emulator, Wine implements a compatibility layer, providing alternative implementations of the DLLs that Windows programs call, and processes to substitute for the Windows NT kernel.

The Wine developers wrote the software primarily for Linux, but the Mac OS X, FreeBSD and Solaris ports are currently well-maintained. [cite web | url = | title = Wine FAQ ] Wine is available for other BSD distributions like OpenBSD and NetBSD through the ports collection of OpenBSD and NetBSD pkgsrc respectively. Although outdated, Wine is also available for Microsoft Windows. [cite web | url = | title = Wine Win32 Packages ]

The project has proved time-consuming and difficult for the developers, mostly because of incomplete and incorrect documentation of the Windows API. While Microsoft has documented most Win32 functions, some areas such as file formats and protocols have no official Microsoft specification. There are also undocumented low-level functions and obscure bugs that Wine must duplicate precisely in order to allow some applications to work properly. Consequently, the Wine team has had to reverse engineer many function calls and file formats in such areas as thunking. [cite web | url = | title = Interview with WINE's Alexandre Julliard | accessdate = 2008-06-30 | last = Loli-Queru | first = Eugenia | date = 2001-10-29 | work = OSnews | quote = Usually we start from whatever documentation is available, implement a first version of the function, and then as we find problems with applications that call this function we fix the behavior until it is what the application expects, which is usually quite far from what the documentation states. ]

The Wine project originally released Wine under the same MIT License as the X Window System, but owing to concern about proprietary versions of Wine not contributing their changes back to the core project, work as of March 2002 has used the LGPL for its licensing.

The first release candidate for version 1.0 was released on May 9, 2008. After four additional release candidates, version 1.0 of Wine was released on June 17, 2008 after 15 years of development.


Wine implements the Windows API entirely in user-space, rather than as a kernel module at the time of writing. Services normally provided by the kernel in Windows are provided by a daemon known as wineserver. Wineserver implements basic Windows functionality, as well as providing extra functions such as X Window integration and translation of signals into native Windows exceptions.

Corporate sponsorship

The main corporate sponsor of Wine is CodeWeavers, who employ Julliard and many other Wine developers to work on Wine and on CrossOver, CodeWeavers' supported version of Wine utilizing some additional proprietary components.

The involvement of Corel for a time assisted the project, chiefly by employing Julliard and others to work on it. Corel had an interest due to the porting of WordPerfect Office, its office suite, to Linux. However, after Microsoft made major investments in the company, Corel cancelled all Linux-related projects and the company's Wine effort stopped. [cite web | url = | title = That's All Folks: Corel Leaves Open Source Behind | publisher = NewsForge ]

Other corporate sponsors include Google, who hired Codeweavers to fix Wine so Picasa ran well enough to be ported directly to Linux using the same binary as on Windows; they later paid for improvements to Wine's support for Photoshop CS2. Wine is also a regular beneficiary of Google's Summer of Code program. [ [ Google's support for Wine in 2007] (Dan Kegel, wine-devel mailing list, 2008-02-14)] [cite web
title=Open Source Patches: Wine


As of mid-2007, Wine runs some software with good stability and most software with minor issues. [ [ Wine AppDB - Wine Application Database ] ] Most native Microsoft Windows DLLs necessary for the execution of 32-bit Windows binaries have compatible Wine counterparts. The developers of the Direct3D portions of Wine have continued to implement new features such as pixel shaders to increase game support. [cite web | url = | title = DirectX-Shaders-The Official Wine Wiki ] Wine can also use native DLLs directly, thus increasing functionality, but then a license for Windows is needed unless the DLLs were distributed with the application itself.

"winecfg" is a GUI configuration utility included with Wine. Winecfg makes configuring Wine easier by making it unnecessary to edit the registry directly, although, if needed, this can be done with "regedit".

"AppDB" is a community-maintained database of which Windows applications work, and how well they work, with Wine.

64-bit applications

Wine cannot currently run 64-bit Windows applications; however, it can run on 64-bit operating systems. Since almost all Windows applications are currently available in 32-bit versions, support for 64-bit Windows applications is a low priority, planned for after version 1.0.

On a 64-bit Linux system, support for 32-bit Windows applications is handled by linking with 32-bit versions of Wine's shared library dependencies.


In a 2007 survey by of 38500 Linux desktop users, 31.5% of respondents reported using Wine to run Windows applications. [cite web
title = 2007 Desktop Linux Market survey | url = | date = 2007-08-21 | accessdate = 2007-10-08
] This plurality was larger than all X86 virtualization programs combined, as well as larger than the 27.9% who reported not running Windows applications.

Third-party applications

Some applications require more tweaking than simply installing the application in order to work properly, such as manually configuring Wine to use certain Windows DLLs. The Wine project does not integrate such workarounds into the Wine codebase, instead preferring to focus solely on improving Wine's implementation of the Windows API. While this approach focuses Wine development on long-term compatibility, it makes it difficult for users to run applications which require workarounds. Consequently, many third party applications have been created to ease the use of these applications which don't work "out of the box" within Wine itself. The Wine wiki maintains a page of current and obsolete third party applications. [ [ ThirdPartyApplications - The Official Wine Wiki ] ]

*"Winetricks" is a small script to install some basic components (typically Microsoft DLLs and fonts) required for some applications to run correctly under Wine. The Wine project will accept bug reports for users of Winetricks, unlike most third-party applications. [ [ WineTricks page in the official Wine Wiki] ]
*"Wine-Doors" is an application-management tool for the GNOME desktop which adds functionality to Wine. Wine-Doors is an alternative to WineTools which aims to improve upon WineTools' features and extend on the original idea with a more modern design approach. [ [ Wine doors ] ]
*"IEs4Linux" A utility to install all versions of Internet Explorer right from version 4 to 6 and soon will also support Internet Explorer 7, currently Internet Explorer 7 engine is installed if you select it (in beta stage) [ [ Main Page - IEs4Linux ] ]
*"PlayOnLinux" is an application to ease the installation of Windows games using Wine. It uses an online database of scripts to apply to different games that need special configurations and if the game is not in the database, a manual installation can be performed. Aside from games, any other programs can also be installed and each one is put in a different container (WINEPREFIX) to prevent interference of one program in another and provide isolation, the same way that CrossOver's bottles work. [ [ Play on Linux] ]

Other versions of Wine

The core Wine development aims at a correct implementation of the Windows API as a whole and has sometimes lagged in some areas of compatibility with certain applications. Direct3D, for example, remained unimplemented until 1998, [cite web | url = | title = Wine Traffic #208 (2004),] although newer releases have had an increasingly complete implementation. [cite web | url = | title = Wine Status - DirectX DLLs ]

CodeWeavers markets CrossOver specifically for running Microsoft Office and other major Windows applications including some games. CodeWeavers employs Alexandre Julliard to work on Wine and contributes most of its code to the Wine project under the LGPL. CodeWeavers also released a new version called Crossover Mac for Intel-based Apple Macintosh computers on January 10, 2007. [] .

CodeWeavers has also recently released CrossOver Games, which is optimised for running Windows computer games. Unlike CrossOver, it doesn't focus on providing the most stable version of Wine. Instead, experimental features are provided to support newer games. [cite web | url = | title = Crossover Games site ]

TransGaming Technologies produces the proprietary Cedega software. Formerly known as WineX, Cedega represents a fork from the last MIT-licensed version of Wine. Much like Crossover Games, TransGaming optimises Cedega for running Windows computer games and runs on a subscription business model.

Transgaming has also produced Cider, a Wine library for Apple-Intel architecture Macintoshes. Instead of being an end-user product, Cider (like Winelib) is a wrapper allowing developers to adapt their games to run natively on Intel Mac OS X without any changes in source code.

Other projects using Wine source code include:

* ReactOS, a project to write an operating system compatible with Windows NT down to the device driver level.
* Darwine, (no longer defunct) a port of the Wine libraries to Darwin and Mac OS X. Darwine originally aimed at compiling Windows source code to Mach-O binaries. With the advent of Apple-Intel architecture, Darwine began running Win32 binaries in x86 Darwin and has approached version parity with the Wine trunk. The Darwine project also continues progress on PowerPC by combining Wine with the QEMU x86 emulator.
* Odin, a project to run Win32 binaries on OS/2 or convert them to OS/2 native format. The project also provides the Odin32 API to compile Win32 programs for OS/2.
* E/OS, a project attempting to allow any program designed for any operating system to be run without the need to actually install any other operating system.
* Rewind, a defunct MIT-licensed fork of the last MIT-licensed version of Wine.
* Parallels, a proprietary product that uses some Wine code for its DirectX handling.

Microsoft and Wine

Microsoft has generally not made public statements about Wine. However, the Microsoft Update software will block updates to Microsoft application software running in Wine-based environments. On February 16, 2005, Ivan Leo Puoti discovered that Microsoft had started checking the Windows registry for the Wine configuration key and would block the Windows Update for any component. Puoti wrote, ". . . even if this is only an initial attempt, they appear to want to discriminate against Wine users. While this may be acceptable for operating system components/updates, this is probably a violation of anti-trust law for all other downloads. It's also the first time Microsoft has acknowledged the existence of Wine." [cite web | first = Ivan Leo | last = Puoti | year = 2005 | url = | title = Microsoft genuine downloads looking for Wine | format = mailing list | accessdate = 2006-01-23 ]

The Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) system also checks for existence of Wine registry keys. The WGA FAQ states that WGA, by design, will not run in Wine, as Wine does not constitute "genuine Windows". [ cite web | url = | title = Genuine Windows FAQ | publisher = Microsoft Corporation | accessdate= 2006-01-30 ] When WGA validation detects Wine running on the system, it will notify users that they are running non-genuine Windows and disallow genuine Windows downloads for that system. Despite this, some reports have circulated of the WGA system working in Wine, [cite web | url = | title = Slashdot | Ubuntu Linux Validates as Genuine Windows ; cite web | url = | title = WGA running in Wine ] although this loophole has now been closed with the next WGA component update. In the case of Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Media Player, Microsoft has since removed the WGA requirements.

See also

* ReactOS
* Linux Unified Kernel
* Compatibility layer
* System call


External links

* [ Wine Development HQ] - The official homepage of Wine.
* [news:// Wine newsgroup] ( [ Google web interface] )
* [ Jeremy White's Wine Answers] - Slashdot interview with Jeremy White of CodeWeavers
* [ Jeremy White interview] on the "Mad Penguin" web-site
* [ Appointment] of the Software Freedom Law Center as legal counsel to represent the Wine project
* [ Wine] on Freshmeat
* [ Wine: Where it came from, how to use it, where it's going] a work by Dan Kegel

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