Microsoft vs. Wine: Deja Vu on the FUD Front

Opinion: For years, Wine's programmers have been working on making Windows applications run on Linux and other Unix platforms. Now, Microsoft set to use its Genuine Advantage program to make it look like Wine is busted. Will Redmond get away with t

Who does Microsoft think its kidding?

Microsofts forthcoming Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program breaks Wine, an open-source implementation of the Windows API (applications program interface) that runs on x86 Linux and Unix OSes like Solaris and FreeBSD. In laymans terms, it means you can use Wine to run some Windows applications on Unix, rather than on a Windows machine.

Well, you can run and update them for now, anyway.

Microsoft has set WGA so that if it detects that a user is running a Microsoft application on Wine, theyll be blocked from updating their applications from Microsofts download site. And as recently announced, WGA, toward the end of the year, will become mandatory for anyone wanting to upgrade copies of Windows or Microsoft applications.

Let me spell that out for you: You can have a legal copy of Microsoft Office, and because you choose to run it on a Linux box using Wine, you wont be able to update it.

You can load critical security patches, but thats it. Improvements? Additions? Forget about it. If youre not running Windows XP or 2000, youre out of luck.

Now, WGA is meant to stop bandit retailers and resellers from ripping Microsoft off with the sale of illegal copies of Windows XP. Thats fine, thats good, but thats not the whole story.

However, here it appears that Microsoft can leverage WGA to try and stop Wine, as well as its commercial relative, CodeWeavers CrossOver Office. As it stands now, if you tried to update an application running with Wine via WGA youll either get an error message or a "validation code" that still wont let you update your application.

Now, what do most users think when something doesnt work? Thats right, they think its whoever builds the software. So in this case, the problem wont be the people behind Wine. But, its not them, its Microsoft.

Next Page: FUD Returns