[Wine] Re: Difference Between WINE and an Emulator

James Courtier-Dutton James at superbug.co.uk
Thu Dec 7 05:29:22 CST 2006

Scott Ritchie wrote:
> On Thu, 2006-12-07 at 11:59 +1000, Edward Savage wrote:
>>> An emulator is a specific type of program that mimics hardware.
>> Windows
>>> is not a piece of hardware, ergo Wine Is Not an Emulator. It's
>> merely a
>>> clone of the Windows API.
>> This is probably the best answer you will get that is clear and
>> simple.  Out of interest the term I use to explain to others the
>> concept is that WINE is a compatibility layer between Linux and
>> Windows.  Does that seem an accurate use of the word? It tends to set
>> the right impression in the minds of the people I've explained it
>> too.  
> Yes.  What Wine is doing is actually very similar to the way Windows XP
> runs programs originally made for Windows 95, and the way Vista will run
> programs written for Windows XP.  Most people agree that Windows isn't
> "emulating" itself.
> Thanks,
> Scott Ritchie

My alternative explanation, but might be wrong, is:
"Windows has the concept of userland domain and kernel domain and the 
existence of an API between them. WINE simply provides this same API so 
that windows userland applications can run with the Linux kernel instead 
of the Windows kernel. WINE then goes further and provides native 
versions of some userland windows system .DLLs so as to minimise the 
amount of windows binarys required to run applications and improve 


More information about the wine-devel mailing list