Installing and Using Wine

And then there's Wine (, a complete rebuild of Microsoft Windows 9x functionality that runs under Linux. Wine is in many ways the mother of everything in the previous section. However, because it's a free and very complicated project, it's not quite as friendly as the commercial versions. It's kind of like the others but with all the makeup and hairspray removed.

Some Linux distributions offer Wine RPMs directly on their installation CDs or through their packaging schemes. For the distributions covered in this book, do the following to install WINE for the distributions that don't have it already installed, or to start it for the distributions that do have it. (See Chapter 12 for more details on installing software.)

i Fedora Core: Available through yum, depending on what repositories you've added (see Chapter 12). Type yum search wine to find the available packages. Then, install both of them. For example, on my AMD Athlon machine, I type yum -y install winesetuptk wine.athlon in order to install the setup tool and the main program.

i Knoppix: From the main menu, choose WINE.

i Linspire: From the main menu, choose ProgramsOSoftware DevelopmentOCNR MoreOWINE for Linspire.

i Mandrake: Available through the package installation program (Chapter 12). Search for wine. (xwine is not the same as WineX.)

i SuSE: Available through YaST's software installation routine (see Chapter 12). You can find it in SystemOEmulatorsOPC OWINE.

i Xandros: Not available. The adventurous are welcome to go to, click the Download link, and try to build this program from source code (see Chapter 12).

You can find the Wine documentation at wine-user/index. Start in the "Configuring Wine" section.

Now comes the fun part — trying to run your old Windows software. You don't really run Wine, per se. Instead, you invoke Wine whenever you need to use something from the Windows world. To install a Windows program through Wine, insert the CD-ROM or floppy into the appropriate drive. Your distribution might open the File Manager for you, or you may need to open the File Manager manually. Regardless, your goal is to run the installation routine, which is typically SETUP.EXE. You can double-click this icon in the File Manager and, when asked what program you want to use to open this file, answer wine.

As I write this, I'm trying some old home design program I bought back when I was silly enough to think I'd be able to afford to build a house before I was ninety. Because it's difficult to describe a standard Wine session, I thought I'd walk you through how this goes for me.

The installer loads and runs just fine. I stick with the defaults (because Wine is still a work-in-progress and it's best not to taunt it with getting too fancy) and then wait while the installer adds all of the files to my SuSE system. Now, to run my new old software. To run a Wine program, I first need to know what the path is to that program. I can find it by looking in the ~/.wine directory. In this case, the program was installed into / home/dee/.wine/fake_ windows/Program Files/HOUSE. The file house.exe looks like the one for launching the program.

If you're trying to find the .wine directory in the GUI and can't see it, you probably have to go to the View menu and choose Show Hidden Files. So, to run the program, I double-click it and, when asked what program to run it with, enter wine. That's it (see Figure 19-5). Now pull out those old Windows 95 and 98 CDs and give them a try! Not all of them will work, but some probably will. The cool thing is that you can keep trying them on and off over time as newer versions of Wine come out.

Figure 19-5:

WINE running an old home design Windows 98 program.

Figure 19-5:

WINE running an old home design Windows 98 program.

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