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Is Wine An Emulator?
Author: R G Reference Number: AA-02952 Views: 9072 Created: 2013-10-30 12:47 Last Updated: 2017-03-08 16:19 0 Rating/ Voters

The BibleWorks Mac Installer uses Wine.  For this application, Wine has rewritten the Windows libraries natively for Macs, and BibleWorks, using the BibleWorks Mac Installer, runs on top of these libraries.  This architecture allows BibleWorks to maintain its traditionally very fast execution speed and also to exploit all software updates made to the common BibleWorks engine (vastly reducing bugs).

A diagram comparing Wine's use in this application to a BibleWorks Windows installation follows:

On PCs:

BibleWorks EXE
Windows libraries and Windows
PC drivers and hardware

On Macs:

BibleWorks EXE
Wine Windows libraries and OS X
Mac drivers and hardware

Two articles follow explaining the difference between emulation and the function performed by Wine:

Article 1:

"1.3. Is Wine an emulator? There seems to be disagreement.

"There is a lot of confusion about this, particularly caused by people getting Wine's name wrong and calling it WINdows Emulator.

"When users think of an emulator, they tend to think of things like game console emulators or virtualization software. However, Wine is a compatibility layer - it runs Windows applications in much the same way Windows does. There is no inherent loss of speed due to 'emulation when using Wine, nor is there a need to open Wine before running your application.

"That said, Wine can be thought of as a Windows emulator in much the same way that Windows Vista can be thought of as a Windows XP emulator: both allow you to run the same applications by translating system calls in much the same way. Setting Wine to mimic Windows XP is not much different from setting Vista to launch an application in XP compatibility mode.

"A few things make Wine more than just an emulator:

  • Sections of Wine can be used on Windows. Some virtual machines use Wine's OpenGL-based implementation of Direct3D on Windows rather than truly emulate 3D hardware.
  • Winelib can be used for porting Windows application source code to other operating systems that Wine supports to run on any processor, even processors that Windows itself does not support.

"'Wine is not just an emulator' is more accurate. Thinking of Wine as just an emulator is really forgetting about the other things it is. Wine's 'emulator' is really just a binary loader that allows Windows applications to interface with the Wine API replacement."

Article 2:

Why is wine not an emulator?

"When users think of emulators, they think of programs like Dosbox or zsnes. These applications run as virtual machines and are slow, having to emulate each processor instruction. Wine does not do any CPU emulation - hence the name 'Wine', standing for 'Wine Is Not an Emulator.'

"Some people argue that since Wine introduces an extra layer above the system a Windows application will run slowly. While [there is an extra layer], Wine is no different from any other software library in this regard; even newer versions of Windows must load extra resources to support older applications.

"Importantly, the combination of Wine and Unix can sometimes be faster than Windows itself. This is especially true when the system has good drivers and the application isn't exposing any Performance Related Bugs.

'Wine is not emulating Windows, but rather is the (or wrapper for) win32 API for non-windows OS.'

Last updated: MT/October 29, 2013