Sunday, September 16, 2007

Advantages of being a WINE developer

I've often thought that it would be neat to contribute to a high-profile open source project. You know, something like Joomla that plans to solve all the world's problems. I recently learned that contributing to the WINE project is just what I needed.

For the uninformed, WINE is a project that allows Microsoft Windows programs to be run in Linux. It sounds like a lofty goal - and it is - but sometimes its actually quite useful. For example, I once had to contribute changes to a Word document that had all kinds of complex formatting - and OpenOffice couldn't handle it. To be fair, OpenOffice could open it fine, but the formatting was inconsistent with what is normally displayed in Word and basically corrupted the layout for anyone that viewed the document later. Long story short, I had no choice but to edit the document with Word, running Windows XP. In true Microsoft fashion, Word running on Windows XP did crash several times before I was able to finish my edits to the document. While I wasn't sure whether to blame Microsoft or my professor for creating that extra-complex document layout, I do know I was yearning to experience those kind of program crashes while running my operating system of choice!

WINE let me do just that. Word 2000 actually runs quite well using WINE on Linux. I don't think the newer versions have the same success though.

More to the point, WINE can run any Windows executable. It may not be perfect, but you have to thank the WINE developers for trying:

Yes, No, Cancel?

This is a picture of the free product Personal Ancestral File available from It helps you keep track of your ancestors. What it wants me to do now is anyone's guess, but it should be clear to you why I want to be a WINE developer. I want the privilege of saying "You won't believe the fun I had today...."

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