Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wine, Lunascape, and IE in Ubuntu Jaunty

My most recent explorations in Ubuntu have involved Wine (a translation layer that allows you run Windows applications on Linux and other *nix platforms) and a couple of Windows browsers.

I had thought Wine was installed by default in Ubuntu but found I was incorrect. Downloading and installing it was quick and painless, thanks to Applications->Add/Remove.

Now for some Windows applications to try it out on.

I recently read about Lunascape, "the world's first and only triple engine browser," which uses the rendering engines underlying Internet Explorer (Trident), Firefox (Gecko), and Safari and Chrome (WebKit); Opera's Presto was not included, nor were a handful of other lesser-known engines. Intriguing, eh?

I downloaded and ran the set-up .exe file with no problem by right-clicking and selecting "Open with 'Wine Windows Program Loader'," but unfortunately several attempts to run it resulted in at best a browser window that darkened after about 10 seconds, after which a warning box opened notifying me that the application was not responding; and at worst, nothing. Further attempts to uninstall and reinstall didn't help and it's unclear how I can remove Lunascape from my Wine programs menu (except possibly by un- and reinstalling Wine itself?) but a bit of research turned up instructions here to remove it entirely after uninstalling it from the Wine menu. I had to use ls to get the official name of the Lunascape folder and rm -r to get rid of it, but I'm getting better at that than I was.

Internet Explorer was more of a mixed bag. By following these instructions I was able to get IE 6 installed and running, but neither the XP nor Vista versions of IE 8, downloaded directly from Microsoft, would open with Wine. The interesting thing about the IE 6 installation is that it requires using the command line to start it: /home/john/bin/ie6, although reinstalling ies4linux created a desktop shortcut to it. I think I'll get rid of the shortcut and just try to remember ~/bin/ie6. That shouldn't be too hard, should it?

At some point when I feel very brave I might try VirtualBox with some of these Windows apps.

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