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Gary Thornock's Weblog » IBM a reluctant user of Wine
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14th Jun, 2005

IBM a reluctant user of Wine


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Mike Farmer wrote about an article at IT World describing IBM's reluctance to admit that they use Wine internally as they port their desktop users to Linux, primarily to run Lotus Notes. Says Mike:

First of all, HAS ANY ONE EVER SEEN ANYTHING REALLY RUN UNDER WINE?! I personally have never seen it work. I've even seen people run Crossover Office and think that it was the greatest thing ever…. for a week. After they had used it for a while and put up with the lock ups and other anoying quirks they just switched to Open Office.

Yes, Mike, I have seen software really run under Wine. As a troop committee advancement specialist and later a Scoutmaster, I ran TroopMaster under Wine for a long time, before I switched to the Mac and started running it in Virtual PC. I've run a few games (Starcraft, in particular) in Wine, too. Now, I readily admit that I haven't bothered running an office suite that way: Open Office is good enough that I don't really need the headache of trying to get the Word Perfect suite to work in Wine. But that doesn't mean that Wine doesn't work.

The article did raise a couple of questions in my mind, though. For one thing, if IBM really wants to run Lotus Notes (which they probably do, if for no other reason than because it's their own product), then why haven't they got a native Linux Notes client? After all, they've had the Domino server on Linux for years now; wouldn't it have made sense to have ported the client at the same time, or at least soon thereafter?

The other question is, what's the problem at CodeWeavers? Is Jeremy White upset because IBM is using the free version of Wine instead of his own Crossover Office? Or is he just mad because IBM doesn't want to put its reputation and marketing behind a product that, in IBM's opinion, is mainly useful as an interim workaround and not a long term solution? (I agree with IBM on that point, by the way: Wine did work for the programs I needed it for, but I would have greatly preferred a native solution. The same is true today as I run TroopMaster in Virtual PC.)

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