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ubuntu, wine

Ubuntu and Wine on ARM and Windows Mobile

Last week the news was that Ubuntu is finally getting serious about our ARM port.  This is great news, of course - Ubuntu could become the platform for everything from phones to handhelds to the Pandora game console.  This puts us in direct competition with Windows Mobile.

As far as applications are concerned, Windows Mobile isn't all that different from Windows itself.  The Windows Mobile API was designed to be as close to Win32 as possible.  This means that getting Windows Mobile apps to work inside Wine isn't that much of a stretch - the code changes may even be trivial, at least for Windows Mobile apps on x86.

The harder task is porting Wine to the ARM architecture, where Windows mobile still commands a sizable marketshare.  This likely requires tweaking code in wineserver and a few of our core dlls.  This may actually be an easy task for someone familiar with ARM - currently no one's really tried it, since Wine developers don't know much about ARM.

Porting Wine to ARM and Ubuntu Mobile

The ultimate goal, of course, is to be able to easily bring a Windows Mobile application to Ubuntu-MID.  Wine is not a large piece of software (less than 15 megabytes), so it could easily fit on most mobile devices. The fundamental differences with Windows and Linux applications are also not as big of an issue, as mobile applications tend to take up the entire screen and generally not interact much with other applications.

It's important to remember that this includes free applications as well as proprietary.  We might even be able to attract a large vendor to Ubuntu Mobile if we make their custom application originally written for Windows Mobile a first-class citizen.  That's way better for Ubuntu's future than there being yet another Windows smartphone.




This post excited me a lot. Can't wait to see Wine on more platforms, running more useful apps!



The main reason I would find this useful is that windows audio codecs which allow me to listen to radio streams under linux via wine/dll don't work for ARM.

The three wma codecs for arm are at a link (you will need to register to access the link):


This is how mplayer can play wma streams. Perhaps it can be ported to the ARM?
Thanks for the information.
fly mobile


This is MUCH more difficult

You can run wine on ubuntu on non x86 CPU's, but you need to translate the x86 to ARM. On a PowerPC apple Mac there are multiple how to guides using QEMU.

Performance is a big issue when using CPU virtualisation. So if this is a realistic option on a 600MHz OMAP3 CPU on Pandora is really the question.

Windows Mobile is a very different beast. You would not need virtualisation, because it also uses ARM cores, but the Windows NT and Windows CE core (that is base for XP/vista and Mobile) are very different.
Currently there is no Wine Mobile project. Maybe you could use parts of the normal Wine project, because a lot of API's are similar, but that would still leave a LOT of work to be done.
Wine is NOT a small project. It has been developed for over 15 years. So I think that starting a Wine for Windows Mobile project will not be a easy.

You may be able to run Windows Mobile in virtualization on Pandora. (using VM ware for mobile for example). I've seem a demo, but I don't know if it is available:

The question is if enough people will want to bother with creating a mobile version of Wine. Windows Mobile has a very small market share, and the amount of applications for the platform is relatively small.

I wonder if anybody tried to do this double work: port wine to ARM and then build a binary for iPhone 3G. Haven't found any efforts to that effect through Google, yet...


Indeed. That would be awsome! All windows mobile apps on an iphone. The frontend is done allready, check Wind OS. If that could run wine stuff, the ipod had windows mobile.


If someone would only care to compile iWine :)

Wim Verreycken (previous message also mine)


I don't think Apple will allow this. As far as I remember even a C64 emulator has been shut down because it allows the phone to execute code that is not "approved" by Apple.

However it would be nice to be able to run some Windows Mobile apps on the Maemo platform :) There isn't much mobilephone-specific software out for the platform yet but Nokia allows you to do pretty much anything with their Linux-based devices. You can even have a full Debian system on it, which should simplify debugging & testing of wine.
ubuntu, wine

April 2009

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