I clicked Configure Wine and the Wine Configuration console popped up (go figure). At the bottom of the Applications tab, it specific which version of Windows to emulate...I mean be compatible with. It defaults to Windows XP, but I changed it to Windows 7. You can specify the version of Windows use on a per-application basis, and choose pretty much any version of Windows going back to Windows 2.0--although I can't imagine why you would want to do that. I applied my change to the Windows version, but left everything else on the defaults for now after poking around to see what the options were.
OK. Now, I am ready to run some Windows software, right? Let's get cookin'. I opened up the folder from my Windows drive where I store downloaded software, right-clicked my Microsoft Office 2010 installation executable and clicked 'Open With Wine Windows Program Loader', and...got an error message. Something to the effect that this software is not marked as executable.
I checked with Google, and found a helpful walk-through from Psychocats.net called Using Wine on Ubuntu. Apparently, the fact that the software is an EXE is not obvious enough, so I have to first right-click the file, go into the Properties, and click a checkbox designating the file as executable.
Seems convoluted. The problem is, every time I click the checkbox my check disappears. It won't let me make my file executable. I tried looking for more help on Google to no avail. I tried a couple other executable installation files, but couldn't mark those as executable either. I assume it is a permissions thing--like I need to somehow access the file permissions with root privileges in order to be able to make those changes. That is just a theory, though.
So, no Windows software running for me just yet. I expect to get some helpful advice and guidance in the comments to this post to point me in the right direction. By this time tomorrow, I should be doing more Wine and less whine.
Keep in mind that by running binary code meant for Windows within the Linux OS, you are potentially exposing the system to malware exploits it would otherwise not be impacted by. The relative risk is still probably lower than on Windows for a variety of reasons, but it is higher than an equivalent Linux system that isn't running Windows software in Wine.