Wine 0.9

I “upgraded” to Wine 0.9, the new beta version,. Programs that worked before, tend to work now. The upgrade process is to uninstall the old version of Wine first, since prior versions were pre-beta versions.

Two Windows genealogy programs, PAF 5.2 and Legacy 6.0 Standard Edition (free), were easier to get working than with prior versions of Wine. Rather than all the hoop jumping, I had to use the Sidenet wine configuration Utility, which sets up Wine with a default emulation of Windows 98. I then had to install the VisualC++ runtime, vcredist.com, then both PAF and Legacy worked.

They still have some quirks, but the biggest issue with both is printing. Preview does not work, since it is dependent on finding the default Windows printer.

Legacy 6.0 now has a built-in web browser to display news and tips, that does not work.

All of the Fookes software, will install on a default installation of Wine without using Sidenet Tools. The look of the interface is clean, and there is very little that does not work. The biggest things are printing and the pasteboard feature in NoteTab. NoteTab can copy and paste to and from Linux applications, but the pasteboard will not capture text from Linux applications. It does capture from other open tabs. Now that Wine 0.9 makes it so easy to define Windows-style drive letters, one can more easily use NoteTab on a dual-boot system, and use the same drive letter designation for both. You can either share the same ini file or use one for each environment. NOTE: This requires that you use a FAT or FAT32 partition, since Linux can only read NTFS partitions and not write to them.

On the prior version of Wine 20050524, I had MS-Money 2004 working. However, things have changed enough, that I cannot get it to work, and am back to using Windows part-time. There is currently no information in the Wine database about what to do to make it work with the new version of Wine.

As with the past version of Wine, I cannot get my tax program, TaxAct, to work. It installs beautifully, in fact, almost any Windows program install will run without a hitch. However, it complains about a missing file, and will not start. Again, the Wine product database does not help. Using Windows on such a limited basis, as tax time, is not too bad. I have suggested to the TaxAct company that they improve their product to work on Linux. Yes, I know they have an online version that is free, but I have security concerns, plus I want to have control of my data, and I tend to have a more complex tax situation than most.

Wine 0.9 has some cool utilities that make it much easier to use, and there is no more manual fiddling to get a fake Windows partition to work.

The Sidenet Wine Configuration tool, while useful, can create issues. By default it will put the fake C: drive under the user’s home directory, and not under the /home/username/.wine directory. This is easily rectified, but if you are used to the default Wine installation, can totally confuse you.

This version of Wine goes a long way towards making Linux a viable desktop alternative to Windows. Using Open Office 2.0 is great for this too. If you do not have complex graphics, publishing, tax, or financial needs, then you can switch to Linux today. For home users, except for games, Linux is easily a viable option. However, more and more Windows games are starting to work on Linux. The better Wine becomes, the sooner the reality of the Linux desktop as major competition to Windows will occur. In addition, there are Linux products with the equivalent of Windows-based programs that are also getting better all the time, even leap-frogging Microsoft as with Open Office 2.0. Usability and clear documentation are the biggest handicaps to Linux, but that is changing everyday.