Monthly Archives: April 2007

Why Being a Winer is a Good Thing

Wine HQ

I’m running Mac OS X and Linux (Fedora Core) exclusively at home now. I finally pushed Windows out of my home last year. (read more) I’d been considering it for a while, but I couldn’t get over that fear that I wouldn’t be able to run important applications.

That’s a fear that many users have, and luckily there are plenty of options. You can dual boot, use virtualization (Parallels for Mac users), or use a virtual machine (VMWare). These ideas still didn’t sit right with me. I was getting hung up on price. There was one thing common to all three approaches: you need to pay the Microsoft Tax unless you plan on stealing Windows. And that tax could get excessive if you’re using virtualization. I really haven’t had a need to run any Windows apps, so I never seriously looked into any of these approaches.

Fast forward to today; I don’t have a single regret. However, I do have a stinking layout bug with my blog for users of IE. I have a strong dislike of Windows, and to a lesser degree most of Microsoft’s software, but I certainly wish no ill will on IE users. I tried several times to figure out the CSS problem with my theme from win Windows XP laptop in the office, but it’s hard to justify working on your blog on company time. So I started thinking about how to run Windows at home again.

Enter Wine. Wine’s an open source implementation of many of Windows’ APIs…and technically that’s all you need to run many windows applications. This makes perfect sense, because windows applications are simple binaries compiled for an x86 architecture and linked against windows libraries. The problem on Linux is that you don’t have those libraries. Well with Wine, now you do.

WineHQ has plenty of precompiled binaries for various Linux distros. I wanted to try this out on my Intel Mac instead, so I found a link to CodeWeavers’ site and downloaded a trial version of CrossOver for Mac. CrossOver is a commercial version of Wine that has been heavily polished and ported to OS X. I was incredibly easy to install and start up (like any Mac app), but more importantly, they make it really easy to install Win32 apps. Many are directly supported by Wine, do I was able to pick IE 6 from a list and it downloaded and installed it for me.

I’m not sure if my needs to run Windows apps are strong enough to pay $59 for CrossOver, so I may let my trial run out. But if I do find a future need for it, I’d rather give them $59 than pay for a Windows XP license and a virtualization or virtual machine environment.

BTW, my problem with the blog was that I had an image that was wider than 450px. That pushed past the width of my center column, and IE forced it to be rendered below the sidebar column. I just reduced the image size…fixed. Thanks to WordPress Support Forum.