Wine: A Great Tool for Run­ning Win­dows Pro­grams on Linux

On switch­ing over to Linux, many Win­dows users feel lost be­cause they miss their favourite Win­dows pro­grams. Wine pro­vides a means of run­ning those ev­ery pro­grams on a Linux sys­tem. Here’s a tu­to­rial on in­stalling MS Of­fice on Linux us­ing Wine.

OpenSource For You - - Contents - By: Prof. Prakash Pa­tel and Prof. Du­lari Bhatt Both the au­thors are as­sis­tant pro­fes­sors in the IT depart­ment at Gand­hi­na­gar In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. They can be con­tacted at prakash.pa­tel@git.org.in and du­lari.bhatt@git.org.in.

One of the main con­cerns of peo­ple who are switch­ing to Linux is how to run the pro­grams in it that they are so used to run­ning in other op­er­at­ing sys­tems, es­pe­cially Win­dows. Thank­fully, Wine can help in solv­ing this prob­lem. The soft­ware that Win­dows users usu­ally miss the most on Linux is Mi­crosoft Of­fice.

All .exe files can be run on Linux us­ing Wine. Wine is soft­ware for UNIX-like sys­tems, in­clud­ing Linux,

OSX and the BSDs. It al­lows you to run na­tive Win­dows ap­pli­ca­tions. Wine stands for ‘Wine Is Not an Emu­la­tor’. That’s be­cause it isn’t. Wine isn’t a full Win­dows in­stall or some kind of VM. It is a com­pat­i­bil­ity layer that es­sen­tially trans­lates Win­dows bi­na­ries. This ex­tends to graph­ics li­braries like DirectX 9, which are con­verted to OpenGL. Wine al­lows Linux users to run many pop­u­lar Win­dows ap­pli­ca­tions and games as if they were run­ning on Win­dows it­self, with a sim­i­lar per­for­mance.

Wine can be tricky though. There are mul­ti­ple ver­sions of it with dif­fer­ent sets of patches and two dif­fer­ent cur­rent ver­sions. Even when you get past that, dif­fer­ent pro­grams re­quire spe­cialised set­tings, in many cases, and can’t just be run out-of-the-box. How­ever, once you know your way around and have con­fig­ured a pro­gram to run prop­erly through Wine, it will usu­ally run flaw­lessly, like a na­tive ap­pli­ca­tion.

In­stalling Wine on Linux

In­stalling Wine on Linux is easy. All you have to do is fol­low the steps to in­stall Wine on any Ubuntu sys­tem, as given below.

Step 1: Open the ter­mi­nal Ctrl – Alt – T and run the fol­low­ing com­mand, which will in­stall the ppa. You will be asked for your root pass­word also.

sudo add-apt-repos­i­tory ppa:Ubuntu-wine/ppa

Step 2: Now in­stall Wine by typ­ing the fol­low­ing com­mand. You will no­tice the screens shown in Fig­ures 1 and 2 dur­ing the in­stal­la­tion.

sudo apt-get up­date && sudo apt-get in­stall wine1.7

Step 3: To con­fig­ure Wine, use the fol­low­ing com­mand: Winecfg

Se­lect the Li­braries tab, then scroll down; se­lect the Riched20 li­brary from the list and add it. When done, click ‘OK’.

Now you have suc­cess­fully in­stalled Wine.

In­stalling Mi­crosoft Of­fice on Ubuntu

With the help of Wine, it is ex­tremely easy to run any of your favourite Win­dows soft­ware on Ubuntu. Here are some sim­ple steps to fol­low af­ter in­stalling Wine on Ubuntu, in or­der to in­stall Mi­crosoft Of­fice.

Step 1: Run the com­mand given below to con­fig­ure the Win­dows en­vi­ron­ment for 32-bit ver­sions of Of­fice.

ex­port WINEPREFIX=$HOME/wine32

If you are us­ing a 64-bit sys­tem, then just re­place ‘32’ with ‘64’ in the com­mand.

Step 2: Run the com­mand given below to en­able the set­tings for Wine:

ex­port WINEARCH=win32

If you are us­ing a 64-bit sys­tem, re­place ‘32’ with ‘64’. Step 3: Open the Mi­crosoft Of­fice setup, right-click on Setup.exe and open with Wine.

Step 4: When the in­staller opens, click ‘In­stall Now’ to be­gin the in­stal­la­tion. Fol­low the prompts.

Step 5: When you’re done with in­stal­la­tion of Of­fice, res­tart your com­puter and open Ubuntu Dash. Search for Mi­crosoft Of­fice to use the suite.

Wine has a num­ber of ad­van­tages, some of which are listed below.

1. Wine is bet­ter than a VM if you need limited ap­pli­ca­tions. VMs are fine but they may be slower than Wine. VMs need more RAM to run a whole OS, but you can do al­most ev­ery­thing in Wine faster than VMs do.

2. You can run al­most ev­ery .exe file in Ubuntu with some con­fig­u­ra­tion.

3. Wine is a free and open source com­pat­i­bil­ity layer. 4. It pro­vides a rich soft­ware li­brary to devel­op­ers for run­ning Win­dows ap­pli­ca­tions.

5. Wine en­sures good back­ward com­pat­i­bil­ity with legacy Win­dows ap­pli­ca­tions.

Fig­ure 3: Wine con­fig­u­ra­tion

Fig­ure 2: Wine mono in­stal­la­tion

Fig­ure 1: Wine down­load­ing

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