Improved Windows interoperability in Ubuntu

A proposal has been created by Scott Richie, an Ubuntu MOTU, that Wine be included in the Main repository of Ubuntu. This does not mean the Wine would be installed by default but instead that, on clicking an executable file, the user would be prompted if they want to install Wine. An automatic install would follow, similar to what is already done for codecs in Ubuntu.

The proposal comes after realising that only 37% of Ubuntu users had installed Wine with only a third of these using it according to PopCon. Having previously been too unstable in its beta versions, Scott Richie believes Wine is now mature enough for inclusion in the distribution.

Ubuntu is a mainstream distribution, touted for its user-friendliness and given to people trained by Windows and afraid of change. For this reason, it is perhaps necessary for it to provide an experience that comforts users in a move away from Windows. Hence, improved interoperability with Windows is the main focus of this proposal. One such example would be for Gnome to extract icons from Windows executables and use these icons as the file preview. New menus catering for Windows formats may also be provided.

Implementation of the proposal will follow similarly to how desktop effects entered Ubuntu. It will begin as an optional, prompted install when needed, acting as a demonstration for the technology. If the users accept the software, it may be shipped as default in future versions.

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