I try to keep my Linux desktop updated pretty regularly via Adept (although I know many people use Synaptic or Aptitude for the same purpose). So a few days ago I saw that Adept wanted to upgrade Wine to version 1.1.7.
Wine — if you don’t already know — is a port of the Windows API that runs under Linux. The purpose of it is to run Windows programs inside Linux. I can hear some people saying “Ugh — I don’t want to run Windows programs.” But the truth is there are many programs that run only on Windows that you might want to run or might have to run.
For example, I use Endicia for printing postage. The flat rate they charge suits me better than Stamps.com and the software — while not as friendly — is better suited for people who ship a lot of parcels (for example, you can use XML to transfer shipping information from another application). The problem is, of course, no Linux version.
Wine has been able to run Endicia’s Dazzle (which is sometimes called Envelope Manager; I don’t know why). But for some reason the postage bar code would print as a big black box. In addition, WINE won’t store your passphrase for Dazzle, but that’s a minor problem — you just have to enter your passphrase when you launch the program.
Once Wine installed 1.1.7 Dazzle was able to display and print bar codes! So it looks like Linux users can finally run Dazzle without resorting to VirtualBox (which is what I have been doing). The passphrase storage doesn’t work, so you do have to put your pass phrase in each time you start the program.
There seem to be some major improvement to Wine. Evernote portable now runs without crashing (or, at least, it crashes less frequently — it has always run but with some crashes). Other software I like to run with Wine includes SwitcherCAD (the free Spice software for electronic simulation) and the MPLAB tools from Microchip.