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Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps

It's not an emulator, but it will run on fandroid's kit

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The man behind Wine, the not-an-emulator which runs Windows applications on Linux, has been showing off an early version for those desperate to run MS Office on their Android device.

It was, according to Phoronix - who witnessed the demo - "horrendously slow", and running on a Mac which was itself running an Android emulator. Nevertheless, he added, the demonstration at the FOSDEM open source meeting in Brussels did show Windows applications running on an Android platform, which is technically impressive even if difficult to justify.

Wine claims not to be an emulator because it maps function calls from Windows apps into its own execution code, rather than virtualising the hardware in which the OS runs. As such you won't need a Windows licence to run Wine, so the whole thing is free to use - though we'd expect Microsoft to make short work of that in a court of law if it felt inclined.

Wine is funded largely by CodeWeavers, which makes money selling a supported version branded CrossOver, though Google has been known to send money Wine's way and other companies have been involved when getting their Windows applications ported to Linux.

The idea of Wine isn't to provide a Windows desktop, but to support the single killer application which is keeping someone from switching... of course, the problem is that everyone has a different reason not to switch. If Android proves popular on tablets then Windows apps could be similarly sticky, and CodeWeavers could make money selling CrossOver for Android.

But that's for the future. What we have now is a very flaky demo which proves it can be done. While CodeWeavers sponsors some staff, the majority of Wine is the usual open-source mix of hobbyists and fanatics (sign up here), so future development will depend on that community, as well as the commercial potential of running Windows apps on Android devices. ®

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