WINE 3.0 can now be installed on Android to run Windows programs
This is an extension of our article from a few days ago about the Wine 3.0 release.
Wine 3.0, a compatibility layer for running Windows software on Unix-based operating systems (e.g., Linux), can now be installed on Android. There is a catch, however. Wine was originally short for ‘WINdows Emulator,’ but since it wasn’t actually performing any emulation it has become an acronym of itself, ‘Wine Is Not an Emulator,’ and this distinction has implications for hardware compatibility.
Recently there has been significant media focus on the release of the first ARM devices to run full x86 Windows programs. This works by building an emulation layer which allows x86 instruction sets to be processed by the ARM architecture. Wine isn’t doing this; it instead focuses on making system calls compatible, recreating the windows directory structure, and re-writing windows libraries (quite the challenge). Because Wine isn’t a CPU emulator, the target Android device also needs to be running an x86 CPU to be compatible with Windows applications, an SoC option that is hard to come by after Intel stopped producing CPUs for the compact phone and tablet market.
Not all is lost for those with ARM devices. There is an ARM version of the APK, but it will only support running software that was originally made for the ARM-based Windows RT. Work is also being done to incorporate the work of another open-source project (QEMU) which virtualizes CPUs, similar to how a virtual machine works, to allow x86 software to run on ARM. This is a future goal, since Wine on Android is still very much experimental.
Note: Touch screen currently not supported, keyboard and mouse required.