Install Wine applications easily with Winetricks


Updated: June 23, 2010

Wine is an important software applications that aims to allows UNIX-like operating systems to execute programs designed for Windows. Wine is the most prevalent method of bridging the cross-platform gaps of finance, licensing, usage models, and expectations that people running Windows and UNIX-like systems might encounter. Along with full-blown virtualization, it offers the benefit of flexibility that you might not natively have.

Working with Wine takes patience and some basic knowledge, though. For one, you're most likely to use Wine by executing commands in a terminal, which does not come easily to less knowledgeable users. Then, you may sometimes need to hack a file or two, download missing libraries and additional components, figuring out the error messages and trace logs, all in all not a friendly tasks for anyone just peacefully wishing to enjoy their Windows software - and games - in Linux.

Wine teaser

Well, things aren't perfect, but they might be a little easier. Enter Winetricks.

Winetricks, explained

Winetricks is a small shell script created by one of the Wine developers as a helper utility for downloading Windows software. Rather than forcing users to go alone round the Web, hunting DLLs, runtime engines, fonts, and whatnot, the script unifies these somewhat arduous, tedious and confusing tasks under one hat, allowing you to work with higher-level commands, similar to package managers, to obtain missing content. Moreover, the Wine projects accepts bugs submitted against Winetricks, so you enjoy support, too.

For more about Winetricks, do take a look at the official wiki.

Get Winetricks

Well, let's download the script. Before making it executable and running it, let's take a look at the content. This is always wise, whenever you handle a script written by someone else. You may not understand everything, but you might spot a thing or two.

You can download the script by being geeky and using wget:

wget http://www.kegel.com/wine/winetricks

Or you can just go to the above web address and save the winetricks file to your home folder. Then, take a look at it in any text editor:

Internals

As you can see, lots of interesting and useful output, including explanations for package aliases. Well, you can get this same information if you run winetricks with -h flag.

Help

You have -q for quiet mode, -v for verbose and -V for version.

And that's it. Enjoy the new tool. To install software with it, just run winetricks against any of the programs, utilities, libraries, fonts, or tools listed in its manifest. For example, to install Adobe AIR runtime, just run:

./winetricks adobeair

Or you can run:

sh winetricks adobeair

We will see the importance of this short tutorial next week or so. I have a nice surprise for you and it revolves around Wine and using winetricks, so stay tuned for updates.

And that's about it. Simple, eh?

Conclusion

Not a dreadfully long tutorial, but it does not have to be. A part of winetricks greatness is its inherent simplicity. Winetricks replaces the need for hard, manual labor and lets users focus on getting things done. Much like manual installations versus package management. In this regard, Winetricks is simple enough to use even by Linux newbies. While the command line still poses a small obstacles, things are much easier now.

The use of Winetricks is also important for Linux gaming, since many games requires additional components and libraries to run properly. To this end, I will be filing this tutorial into the Linux gaming section, as well.

Well, I guess that would be all.

Cheers.

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