Those of you who run Linux or Unix will be familiar with Wine, perhaps the best-known solution for running some Windows programs on open-source desktop operating systems. The long-running project is a staple of the Linux community. In a presentation at the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) 2013 in Brussels, Wine creator Alexandre Julliard confirmed spoke on an ARM-based version of the software and showed a brief demo of Wine running on Android.

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The project is in the early stages. At this point, the ARM version of Wine on Android is functional, but far from practical - even though the Android build on display was emulated, the software is far too slow to be ready for prime time. (For those keeping track, with the emulation setup Julliard was using Mac OS to run Android to run Windows a Windows compatibility layer. That said, it did manage to run at least one Windows program.


Currently there is no timeframe for the release, though the developer did mention that if Intel x86 chips can gain traction in the Android tablet market, Wine's corporate sponsor CodeWeavers would have more incentive to commit resources to the project. In the meantime, there's at least one other project trying to get Windows programs to run on Android: the gaming-focused Winulator.

Source: Phoronix - Wine On Android Is Coming For Running Windows Apps

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • MoeizW

    I'm having trouble understanding what this is for; Windows Phone applications running on Android? Or Windows OS apps? And why would we want (or need) either?

    • Chris Webster

      No, full windows applications (word, hopefully games and such). And its useful because you could play full games like SC2 and Skyrim on your tablets with keyboard and mouse/controller from anywhere w/o a need for a laptop

      • Evan

        If I can get full Civilization IV, Sim City 4, Sim City 2000, and Age of Empires III on my Nexus 7/4, I will ditch Windows forever.

      • MoeizW

        Hmm, still doesn't seem useful to me. I wouldn't expect games made for Windows to be fun on Android through Wine, and there are native Android apps that can handle office files (Polaris, OpenOffice, etc). Seems like one of those "let's do it because WE CAN" things to me.

        • http://www.talltechtales.com/ Mattias

          I tend to agree with that...being a Linux user, I use Wine for things I absolutely can't find an alternative for but it's mostly just for a game here and there. Sure, playing games would be great, like Evan mentioned, but would the performance be there on a tablet? I have a hard time seeing that happening anytime soon.

      • HellG

        There's no way in hell that any Mobile CPU/GPU on the market today will be nearly powerful enough to play the likes of Skyrim

      • Веселин Караганев

        That's not the point either, remember wine is not an emulator. Read the wine website for full info. You can't run windows x86 apps on arm (without emulation). You will be able to run Windows RT apps (like surface rt's) natively (no emulation).

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

    >Those of you who run Linux or Unix will be familiar with Wine, perhaps the best-known solution for running some Windows programs on open-source desktop operating systems.

    Mac OSX is certainly not open source.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      I didn't specify OSX, did I? There are other and more complete options for OSX users, namely VM Ware and Parallels.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

        Nope, but you specified Open Source operating systems. Wine is built for Linux and OSX. I'm just nitpicking.

        • Zach Latta

          Are you sure? I'm pretty sure it was built for Linux and then ported over to Mac OS X.

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

            Wine (originally an acronym for "Wine Is Not an Emulator") is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, Mac OSX, & BSD. Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            When Apple moved from OS 9 to OS X, they dumped everything from the old OS (and I mean everything), downloaded the source for FreeBSD, and built their own UI, runtime, and services on top of it. It was the smartest thing the company ever did; ripping off the Unix/Linux world. They basically did the same thing Amazon did by copying the Android source and gluing their own UI and services on it.

            Technically, WINE was only created for *nix-based operating systems. WINE was released (1993) before Apple ever released OS X (2001). OS X just inherited WINE by virtue of it's familial ties.

          • chris2kari

            That's a gross oversimplification of what the engineers at Apple did. It's quite inaccurate.
            MacOS is streets of Feebsd or Linux. Yes they use some open source & contribute back. Big deal, get over it.

            I run both Mac's & Linux

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            I'll give you that it's a gross oversimplification - this is a comments section, after all. If somebody is looking for more detail, wikipedia is just a page load away. I didn't think anybody would want more detail (frankly, I thought I gave too much).

            However, nothing about that is inaccurate. The underpinnings of OS X are based on FreeBSD, even so much that known bugs in FreeBSD lived on for several years in OS X. The first versions of OS X (10.0 through 10.2) were famous for having massive gaps in the UI and feature set where users had to drop down to the terminal to accomplish basic tasks. Since then, the UI and other OS components have become deeply merged with the core Unix base. My comparison to Amazon is actually spot on if you consider that Amazon is just getting started while most people never saw what OS X was like when Apple was first getting started (and Apple cares more that their product is usable).

            Apple has claimed countless times that they've given back to the open source community, and a few people in the OSS world will begrudgingly concur, but the contributions back from Mac OS have been pretty minimal in any areas that weren't legally required... Certainly nothing earth shattering, rarely more than bug fixes or adding support for protocols that they want to see perpetuated. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those spiteful zealots that wants to see Apple give back as much as they've gotten out of it, but I'm also not going to pretend that they haven't demonstrated an extremely opportunistic and fairly manipulative approach to open source.

            Btw, if you really need credentials, I run OS X on my primary laptop with Windows and Linux rolling through various positions on a secondary laptop and in virtual machines as necessary.

          • chris2kari

            I'm sorry, you're wrong.

            Steve Jobs included elements of FreeBSD when he designed NeXT(STEP) OS.

            NeXT subsequenly became OpenSTEP OS.

            Apple re-employed Steve Jobs when they failed to build a replacement for Mac OS 9 & his OpenSTEP OS formed the basis of MacOS X as we know it.

            NeXTSTEP/OpenSTEP has fundamental design advances that make the older Unices & Windows look like antiques.

            They did'nt just download FreeBSD and slap a gui on it.

            That's bollocks mate.

            Micro$oft also include portions of BSD code in their OS but that does'nt mean they just downloaded BSD and slapped a GUI on it either.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        VMWare and Parallels are for running virtual machines, basically, they run Windows. VMWare (and several other options) are also available on Linux, not just OSX... The whole point of Wine is that it doesn't run Windows at all, it is re-implementing the API and part of the runtime so that apps that are built for another OS can run as if they are native (sort of).

  • Bariman43

    So already in 2013 we have a way to run Android on Windows, and now a way to emulate Windows on Android.

    • Zomby2D

      Can you imagine, running your Windows game through Bluestacks.

    • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

      This will only allow you to run windows apps and games on your phone pal.

      • Bariman43

        Yes, I know. I worded it that way to be silly.

    • Coolcwev df

      It is not emulating windows and will not be able to run all windows apps. It can only run Windows RT apps. However if the tablet is x86 it will be able to run all windows software.

  • Alasdair Collinson

    > For those keeping track, with the emulation setup Julliard was using Mac OS to run Android to run Windows.

    No. As the title says, "WINE is no emulator". He was using Mac OS to run Android with additional APIs for running Windows software on unixoid systems. That's quite different from running Windows on Android which you would get by something like installing a virtual machine under Android.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Not even going to allow me a few inches of descriptive license, huh? Fixed.

      • Mother of all Replies :)

        Best reply ever :D

      • Alasdair Collinson

        Nope. ;-)

    • Greg Sanders

      But he was emulating Android on Mac....

      • GazaIan

        That wasn't the point.

  • http://frijal.com/ Kibot Rusak

    What the purpose of the emulator?

    • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

      To run Windows apps on your phone/tablet.

  • chris2kari

    Please file under complete waste of neurological activity.

    • fixxmyhead

      Yea I like android but this is super mega geek stuff I prefer getting laid and real hobbies like playing guitar and other real world things

      • kane

        Running another operating system WITHIN an operating system blows my mind. Damn these super-geeks.

  • spunker88

    So what would be the point of WINE on ARM devices since it doesn't emulate the processor. I could see the potential for WINE ports on Atom x86 phones, that would be pretty awesome.

  • Nkansah Rexford

    I'm worried. Why starting with Windows apps, and not Linux first? Android has roots in Linux. Wine strongly works best on Linux. So why the start with Windows?

    What's going on?

  • Al

    Android running on Windows running on Android, welcome to the future :P

  • http://kawangeek.com/ EddyGeek

    suppose we call this 'wine'ception | 'droid'ception | 'win'ception.
    Emulate Android on windows - > then emulate windows app in Android.
    ya now I see the future.

  • Leonardo Leal

    I'm an Android User and all... no Apple Fanboy here, that beign said: Other than academical, what is the purpose of porting Legacy Windows Experience(read mouse/keyboard/windows experience) into Android? It will work terribly for Android, even on tablets. Terrible, Terrible idea! Use your expertise to something better.

  • zeng haiyan

    Nope, but you specified Open Source operating systems. Wine is built for Linux and OSX. I'm just nitpicking.

  • Samuel Serafim

    The last thing i want in my Android tablet is to running Office and a better flash browser experience. Amazing news sure.

    • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

      For me it is the best thing.

  • Dipish

    Awesome news!

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

    Cannot wait to get this! I will buy it if it costs lots of money too! Just bring it on guys!