loading image... Gichuki P. Mwangi

Wine in a Computer

loading image... Gichuki P. Mwangi
How can these two seemingly distant things be related?

This is one of the computer programmers’ way of expressing how they feel about the programs they have written, as funny as it may seem. Some time, the name is so far off from the actual functionalities of the computer programs that they actually leave the consumers is aw… actual astonishment. Worry not, this wine is about to be demystified and matured into information.

Why wine and, what is it really for?

For Linux (Especially Ubuntu) users, achieving Microsoft Windows applications functionalities becomes all too important in windows-dominated computer space. Some applications are useful but, the are not available for Ubuntu and one must understand these applications for the purposes of their clientele. To achieve this understanding, developers have come up with very innovative solutions from dual booting of OS’s to virtualization of environments. All these have their pros and cons and sometime, not all the time though, Wine comes to the rescue.

So, what is Wine? Fermented grape juice integrated into a computer? No!

Wine is something we call a compatibility layer which is basically a computer application that allows you to run applications not native to a specific operating system, in that very operating system. I know some of you might want to bring in the term emulator for clarification, but walk with me here. That was a layman’s understanding of a compatibility layer and that is why, I shall give you the full meaning of what it actually is. A compatibility layer in computing is; an interface that allows binaries for a legacy or foreign system to run on a host system. Some new terms there but, I shall break down each one of them.

Let’s start with binaries, shall we? Binary is a numbering system that has only two possible values for each digit; 1 and 0. This is the fundamental of computers… not quantum computers though. For any program to run, data must be broken down to binary format. When computer programs are compiled to run, they basically turn to binary files. Binary files are files that are not text files. Binary files can be thought of as a sequence of bytes.

How then does compatibility layer work? It translates system (OS) calls for the foreign system into native system calls for the host system. I’d like to note though, there is some magic in store that comes with compatibility layers called libraries. Libraries are a collection of resources used by computer programs. It is time to demystify Wine now.

We already know that Wine is a compatibility layer not an emulator. In fact, the name Wine comes from; Wine Is Not and Emulator (after revision that is). It has the major goal of allowing computer programs developed for Microsoft Windows to run on Linux based system like Ubuntu and macOs. It is the most popular of its kind out there and it is totally free. Yet another one of its advantages.

Now you know.

Gichuki P. Mwangi

A computer scientist with a passion to solve real world, day to day problems using new computer technologies and those already in existence.

3 thoughts to “Wine in a Computer”

  1. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick
    heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

    1. Hi James,
      I have noted your query. Internet explorer is known to have some compatibility issues. There are some few things you can do if you are using the latest version of Internet explorer: https://support.microsoft.com/en-in/help/17472/windows-internet-explorer-11-fix-site-display-problems-compatibility-v

      Alternatively, you can use Microsoft Edge which is very responsive.
      I shall schedule an article to cover issues with internet explorer in the near future.

      Thanks for the heads up!

  2. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy I found this during my hunt.

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