Wine project aims to bring Windows apps to Android

Wine is coming to Android, meaning that in the future you may be able to run native Windows programs on your Google-powered tablet, according to an online report.

Alexandre Julliard, the Wine project’s lead developer, on Sunday briefly showed off an early version of Wine for Android during the Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels, Belgium. The demonstration showing Wine running an unspecified Windows program on Android was “horrendously slow,” according to the Linux-focused site Phoronix.

We reached out to Julliard for comment, but had not heard back at the time of this writing.

It’s not clear how far along development is for Wine on Android, but Julliard attributed the slow performance to his demonstration environment, Phoronix reports. Instead of showing Wine running on an actual Android device, Julliard ran Wine inside an Android software emulator typically used to test apps under development for Google’s mobile platform.

Not an emulator

wine logo

Wine (short for WINE Is Not an Emulator) is a free, open source application that allows you to run Windows programs in a non-Windows environment, most notably on Linux PCs. Many Linux users fire up Wine for everything from gaming to productivity applications, but the popular compatibility layer doesn’t work with every Windows program out there. It does work with popular software, such as PC games like Diablo III and World of Warcraft, as well as Photoshop and AutoCAD.

Depending on how you set up Wine, the software may require a little tweaking to get apps to work properly, as shown in this blog post about Microsoft Office 2010 on Wine-Reviews. Some apps running under Wine can also be a little on the slow side. Nevertheless, for anyone willing to dig into Wine’s configuration, it is helpful software to have for those times when only a Windows app will do.

It’s not clear yet how Wine on Android would work, or if you would need to tweak the software as much as you do on Linux PCs. Perhaps WoA will be limited to certain recommended apps with a setting that allows advanced users to muck around with Wine if they want.

Alternatives

While Wine will likely be welcomed by advanced users wanting to run Notepad++ on Android, simpler alternatives are available to run Windows apps on a non-Windows device. Gaming service OnLive, for example, offers a mobile app for Android and iOS tablets that lets you access a remote Windows desktop supplied by OnLive.

Also available are services such as GoToMyPC and Splashtop that offer remote access to a Windows PC via a mobile device. The difference, however, is that Wine will probably be a free download, while these other services come at a price. GoToMyPC, for example, costs about $10 per month for access to one remote PC, and OnLive Desktop pricing starts at $5 per month. OnLive also offers a limited free version of its desktop service.

Julliard introduced Wine on Android during a presentation discussing the Wine project’s work on developing Wine for ARM processors.  As well as heading Wine development, Julliard is also chief technology officer for CodeWeavers, a company that produces a commercially supported version of Wine.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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