Today is day 4 of my “10 Days of Ubuntu 10.10 Feature Requests” series. See the series introduction here.
Day 4 – Real Wine Integration
(See official documentation for this project here.) I discovered today that ways to address this issue are already being discussed, but it deserves a special call-out.
The transition from Windows to Ubuntu can be very pleasant. (Yes, that says pleasant.) Analogs exist for most standard software (browser, audio player, etc.), but many people will find that at least one or two of their favorite pieces of Windows software have no direct correlation in Windows. This is especially true for gamers.
In many cases, the software in question can be run under Wine. Some Windows software is so reliable as to receive a Platinum Rating, which the Wine AppDB describes as “Applications which install and run flawlessly on an out-of-the-box Wine installation.” Today’s Top 10 Platinum List includes games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and more.
Unfortunately, Wine is not integrated into an out-of-the-box Ubuntu install. I am not sure of the reasoning behind this (though I suspect that free install CD space is a factor), but Ubuntu is missing a golden opportunity by not using Wine to its fullest extent.
In the perfect world, I envision a user putting in his World of Warcraft CD and being greeted by the following dialog box:
Yes, I realize that an implementation like this is likely more difficult than it seems (particularly in languages other than English). However, I also don’t think it should be dismissed out-of-hand. Wine’s AppDB is quite extensive, and if .exe titles on inserted CDs could be matched up with their corresponding AppDB entry, a dialog box like this wouldn’t be unreasonably difficult to generate.
Just imagine the look on your friend’s faces when they install Ubuntu and their favorite Windows games work just fine. Impossible?