So, you just started using Linux, but found out that your favorite Windows games and applications do not have a Linux edition. What should you do then? Set up a separate computer just for Windows, or abandon Linux and go back to Windows. If you have the means, you can opt for the former, but the second option is not necessary.
Why? Well, you see, you can run many Windows games and applications directly in your favorite Linux distribution, without installing Windows. That magic is made possible by an application called Wine. (The name is recursive for Wine Is Not an Emulator.)
Running Wine is very simple. Because it is already in your distribution’s repository, all you need to do is install it using your distribution’s package manager. But installing it is just the beginning. You have to configure it.
But even that is easy because most people running Wine configure and manage it using a graphical frontend, of which there is just a few in active development. In this article, I will list the graphical interfaces that are still in active development.
Note that not all Windows programs will run on Wine, and even some that run will not do so without one or more minor or major issues that will need fixing.
There are four graphical interface still in active development. They are: Winetricks, PlayonLinux, WineGame, and Q4wine.
- Winetricks – This is the best of the frontends. It was a lot more fun to use than the others. Its most important feature is that it makes it easy to install trial or demo applications without you actually having the applications or games. It does that by downloading and installing selected applications from the program’s website. This is its startup interface.
And this is a partial list of available applications. Those that show “download” in the “Media” column are automatically downloaded and installed.
That was how I installed World of Warcraft (WoW). This is a screenshot from a test installation.
- PlayonLinux – Offers a simple to use interface, but does not have the automatic download-and-install feature of Winetricks. What it does have, however, is a very active community.
- WineGame – This will probably not be in your distribution’s repository, but you may install it by following the instructions here. I did not have much success working with WineGame, but that should not stop you from trying it. The image below shows the main interface.
- Q4wine – This a Qt4 interface for Wine, and runs on Linux and FreeBSD, which likely means that it will also run on PC-BSD. Like PlayonLinux and WineGame, Q4wine did not work as well as Winetricks. A few of its features are:
- Can work with different versions of wine simultaneously
- Makes it easy to extract icons from PE files (.exe .dll)
- Autostart icons support
This image shows the startup view of Q4wine.
And this, shows the Programs tab. You may view more screenshots here.