Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is an implementation of the Windows API in Linux. It provides a compatibility layer that allows you to run Windows applications in a Linux environment. In other words, download a Windows application from the web, say, fractalizer and you can start it under Linux using the command
Wine has the following advantages over emulating a virtual Windows machine:
- Applications operate at full speed, making them useful on a day to day basis
- Applications integrate with the Linux desktop nicely. For instance they can use your Window Manager, system tray, clipboard and appear in your Linux applications menu.
- Wine does not require a Windows license.
- It's not capable of running all applications. Some programs crash, won't install, or have strange glitches that prevent them being useful.
- It can be tricky to setup and use
- Because it does not emulate the CPU it is i386 only.
- Get the wine source code from www.winehq.com like this:
- unzip the source code like this:
bunzip2 wine-1.3.9.tar.bz2 tar xvf wine-1.3.9.tar
In order to alleviate some of wine's problems, CodeWeavers stepped in and started producing a commercialized version of Wine, which is much easier to use and hacked to work better with popular productivity programs such as Office, DreamWeaver, Lotus Notes and so on. TransGaming have done the same for games with their Cedega product (formerly WineX), but while CodeWeavers still contribute back heavily to the original Wine project, TransGaming have mostly left the community and work on their own proprietary fork.
ReactOS is a project that attempts to do an open-source reimplementation of a Windows-like operating system. It reuses about 75% of WINE's DLLs.
cygwin is a Linux/Unix compatability layer for Windows.