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Wine makes your Linux computer run Windows programs. Note that those programs that rely on heavy Windows integration do not always work very well. Stand-alone programs are usually good.
Wine does not access your XP partition. Rather it puts a layer on Linux that allows Windows to run. So you can run your setup.exe file in Linux, which would then be recognised as a Windows program. Linxu then it hands the job over to Wine, which then installs it. Depending on your distro, the new program will be loaded into the menu. I use Linux Mint and Wine/Windows programs have their own menu category.(Mint is very user friendly and had lots of extra tools).
So depending on what you want to run, you have these options:
1) Load Wine and then install your programs.
2) You can install vmware-server and then install XP as a virtual OS to run inside Linux.
3) Install the program in you Windows partition.
As an example of how I use Wine, there is this music score editing program that I use (most of the Linux ones are very buggy). So I download the setup file and click on it (like windows), and Wine takes over - it even puts the icon on my screen.
To try this, after installing Wine, download the Windows Firefox version and install and run it. Very simple and handy for those sites that don't like Linux.
I mentioned the Firefox as an example of something easy to load and run under wine, just to get out newbie friend started. I have IE6 running in Linux but it is strictly for IE sites that are fussy.I find that it is a bit buggy still.
I have a live music program that will only run on a DOS browser. That program I run on Windows Firefox under Wine. Works well, but not under Linux Firefox.
It might be said, however, that "running Windows programs is what Windows does best." If you have a program that you truly need to run, having a machine to run it on (or a virtual-machine as the case may be) might be a most-satisfactory solution. Unless you simply want to experiment.
Hardware is so inexpensive and portable now that I typically just select "the tool for the job."
As John pointed out, Wine is a Windows compatibility layer for Linux. It allows your Linux machine to run Windows software without Windows. Personally, I use Picture It, which is a component of Microsoft Office, simply because I do CD picture formatting, and a lot of people use the default Picture It file format (.mix) for which I've found no way to even read with a Linux program. Keep in mind that Wine is still a work in progress, and not all Windows programs will work with it. For those, there are other alternatives, including VMs. Check out the link in my sig, "Running Windows Apps on Linux" for a tutorial on Wine.
Last edited by DragonSlayer48DX; 03-08-2008 at 08:20 PM.