Ever felt the urge to play a game on Linux but ran into a few difficulties trying to get it setup through wine? Well you can now set your frustrations aside as PlayOnLinux now lets you easily install numerous amounts of Windows based games and applications on Linux.
Developed by Quentin PÂRIS, PlayOnLinux is a combination of bash scripts and Python that acts as a compatibility layer to wine. “It uses an online database of scripts to apply to different applications that need special configuration; if the game is not in the database, a manual installation can be performed.”1 Installation is fairly simple and straightforward as it usually is on Windows. When installing an application you get the option to either install it by inserting a CD or by selecting a folder that contains the installation folder.
Because PlayOnLinux runs on WINE it also gives it’s users the advantage on selecting which version of a wine bottle they’d like to use. You may have noticed on the WINE HQ Compatibility page that a certain application may be rated as platinum on an older version of wine, but garbage on a newer version. Well now with PlayOnLinux you can assign a version of wine to each software installation.
PlayOnLinux doesn’t only let you install Windows games it also lets you install Windows applications. If you’ve ever felt that Linux is lacking a good music player such as iTunes, or for some odd reason you may think that Safari is a better browser than Firefox you can install them easily using PlayOnLinux. The list of Windows applications that you can install on Linux is endless, such as “Microsoft Office, Microsoft Internet Explorer v. 6/7, AutoCAD, Mono, .NET Framework 2.0, Fireworks MX, Flash MX, and many others.”2
PlayOnLinux also uses plug-ins. “A plugin is a miniature-program which adds new functionality to PlayOnLinux. The plugin-system allows you to configure PlayOnLinux for your own needs!”3 So if you ever that PlayOnLinux is lacking a feature, you can either search for a plug-in or write one yourself. Currently the most useful plug-in that I’ve noticed is “Transgamingcedega&rdquo
What I found that sets PlayOnLinux apart from all the other software solutions on Linux that let you play Windows based games and run Windows applications is that PlayOnLinux is completely free. Now that Linux Bahrain is being re-imaged and we’re moving towards being open-source I’d also like to mention that there is PlayOnMac which is the Mac version for users who want to play Windows games and run Windows applications on their Macs.
Installation is also straightforward, all you simply have to do if you’re using Ubuntu is go to the Ubuntu Software Center and search PlayOnLinux. Or if you’re using any other Linux distribution, go to http://www.playonlinux.com/en/download.html and select your distribution.