Lots of Linux users already know about Wine. So do I, and I’ve known about it for a long time.

For the ones of you who don’t know, Wine is a compatibility layer for Unix-like operating systems (Wine is Not an Emulator), designed to run applications built for Windows in said Unix-like operating system.

As I said, I’ve known about Wine for a long time, but Wine is improving every day, and is really becoming a great piece of software.

I’ll take an example: I’m a gamer (well, was before I switched to Linux), and I like to play the latest and the greatest of games, especially Half-Life 2 and related games. Valve, the developers of Half-Life 2, recently launched The Orange Box, a bulk of games including Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal. I’ve been looking forward to especially the latter two—I own the two former already.

At first I thought “aw hell”—these games were for Windows. While I have run HL2 successfully with Wine before, it had a few mildly annoying bugs. Not that annoying, but just enough to make me refuse to go out and pay $60 for a set of games I couldn’t run perfectly.

The last couple of days, however, I’ve heard so much about the games I felt I had to try, at least. I downloaded the latest version of Wine, 0.9.47, and gave it a whirl. It didn’t work. After grumbling a bit, I today decided to try installing Windows on my box—after all, I had paid $62.30 for these games, so I just had to try them.

They didn’t work. I kept getting errors about the main file, hl2.exe, so I rebooted into Ubuntu, installed Wine 0.9.46 and Steam—the application required to run all these games. And lo and behold:

It works. Steam works. And it actually looks kinda native. Also:

See, that’s cool. And games run flawlessly:

For more pics, see my flickr.

OK, so the above story isn’t the whole truth. I’ve had tons of problems with these games here—I tried for hours yesterday, looked through the Wine AppDB and a bunch of other things without getting it to work. Now it works flawlessly, and it took very, very little effort.

Anyway, the point I wanted forth here, is that the Wine team is doing an insanely good job, and getting far too little attention. If you ever run into a Wine dev, buy them a beer. They deserve it.


Posted by Lasse Havelund on October 21st 2007 at 11:42 pm

Valve to Port Steam Games to Linux?

Yesterday, I received a link from Pici in #ubuntu-offtopic on IRC. Initially, it just looked like a job offering stating Valve (you know, the creators of Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Portal, Team Fortress and all that jazz?) wanted a senior software engineer (whatever that is), but after skimming it, my eyes rested on a single sentence under “Responsibilities”:

  • Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.

WOW! I see great things coming to the Linux platform in gaming; I’ve had great success installing and running Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source and Day of Defeat: Source in Wine, despite having rather low FPS.

If I were able to run these games natively, it would be a dream come true. Do you think you have what it takes to port these games to Windows, plus the rest of the responsibilities in the linked job offering? Come on, punk. Make my day.


Posted by Lasse Havelund on September 15th 2007 at 2:24 pm