More Linux for Windows

Cross-blog discussion at it's finest. Here is Rafe Colburn's rebuttal on my original post regarding the merits or lack thereof of the WINE project for Linux. My response (via e-mail to him) follows...

Hi-- read your rebuttal. Just had a few things to say about it.

> Brad is also flat out wrong about Windows running Unix software.

I think that was in response to:

Because if Linux can run Windows apps, they might as well make Windows apps, since Windows certainly can't run Linux software.

I never said you couldn't port Linux/Unix software to Windows. I run Mozilla, XEmacs, Apache, mySQL and a host of other apps on Windows. But they're ports, not Linux binaries. This is different from WINE where native Windows binaries can run on Linux. Writing cross platform software has gotten easier, but if you can just write for Windows and have it run on Linux/WINE too without any changes, then I'd say writing for Windows is more appealing. But you can't do that with Linux apps-- if you want to target Linux and Windows, you can't just deploy the Linux binaries. You have to code for cross-platform support. Cygwin doesn't count: I consider that to be it's own platform, not native Windows-- you still have to recompile for it specifically.

Today, WINE is still in it's infancy. It's 'getting there' pretty quick. I'd say within another year or two (unless MS pulls the rug out from under them), it will be second nature to run Windows software on Linux. And to what end? To run Windows solutions as opposed to Linux solutions. If it runs under WINE, why port it? If it runs under WINE, why target Linux at all? And certainly, the Linux faithful will always develop for Linux no matter what. But I'm talking less about existing Linux developers and more about companies that are looking at Linux today and considering it as a viable target for software development. To me, WINE is shooting the Linux community in the foot.

Today we have a few game companies trying to make a go with a Linux version of their games. God bless 'em for that. But TransGaming/WineX is bound to kill any incentive to do that. So instead of games that are fine-tuned to run on Linux and Linux drivers, you wind up with mediocre performance compared to running natively on Windows.

Finally, I should point out (with regard to your closing statement) that WINE is not an emulator.

To which Rafe replies...

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