A Windows App That Works Better in Wine Than Windows

September 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Technology | 11 Comments
As Microsoft slowly breaks old compatibility, and Wine continues to improve Windows compatibility. it seems only a matter of time before some Windows programs run better in Wine than in Windows.

Last week, I found my own example.  Timez Attack is a 3D educational Windows game where players move through an interactive world where they have to solve multiplication problems to advance.  My wife and kids tried to install in Windows unsuccessfully.  I tried myself and also failed.  In this case, it is mainly the case of an imperfect installer, but at least some fault lies with poor design by Microsoft.

The Windows hard drive on this PC is labeled by Windows as the “H:\ drive” and the Windows sees the “C:\ drive” as a memory card reader.  This is not an manual configuration, it is just how Windows chose to automatically label the hardware on this PC.  It is not a networked PC either.

So during installation, the game offers to let me change the installation directory.  And I have to manually change from “C:\” to “H:\” or it will crash.  Nevertheless, the installer still tries to install some component to the C drive without allowing for changes.  At this point, the installer crashes in Windows and installation cannot be completed.

So I boot into Ubuntu 10.04, download the installer from www.bigbrainz.com, right click on the .exe file and choose to run it with Wine on the right click menu.  The installer launches, I accept all the defaults, start the game, and the game plays perfectly.

While still not a representative example, it gives hope for what could be done. I also hope that Wine developers might focus on fixing compatibility with a few great Windows freeware games which have lost support in Vista or Windows 7.  Pendulumania is a great example of a simple and small freeware game I love to play on Windows XP that I would love to play on Linux with Wine.  I keep testing it, but still no luck yet.  Let’s hope more programs start to work as well as Timez Attack to make Linux with Wine the all-purpose desktop.

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