Should Android be able to run Windows applications?

In today's open source roundup: Would Android be better if it could run Windows applications? Plus: Three alternative browsers for Linux, and Wil Wheaton does not like Ubuntu

The VAR Guy has a column up about cross-platform computing, and the problems inherent in running Wine in Android and Chrome OS. One has to wonder though if it makes any sense to want to run Wine on these platforms in the first place. Do we really need Windows applications in Android or Chrome OS?

Wine developers are making progress toward implementing Wine for Android, which is one of those Linux variants, although it appears that it will be at least a little while before Wine can run Windows apps on Android just as well as it can on traditional Linux systems.

Meanwhile, for users of ChromeOS, which is also based on Linux but is substantially different from the Linux kernel code, the outlook is much more dismal. As Phoronix has reported, it will probably never be possible to make Wine run on ChromeOS in anything approaching a user-friendly way, since Google restricts the access of third-party applications to the parts of the system that Wine needs to work its magic.

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Run Windows Applications in Android
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Am I the only one that thinks running Windows applications in Android is silly and unnecessary? I haven't run Windows or Windows applications for many years and I don't miss them at all. It seems to me that at some point a user who opts for a different operating system than Windows needs to make a break with Windows applications as well.

And yet I continue to see articles now and then that lament the fact that Windows applications won't run well or at all via Wine in Chrome OS or Android. Why is this a bad thing? Windows has had its day in the sun as a dominant computer operating system, but many of us have moved on and no longer want to bother with it.

I can understand that some folks might still need some Windows applications. If that's the case then your best bet is to probably stick with Windows until you can find an open source alternative for those applications. It makes little sense to me to move to a different operating system but then cling to Windows applications that may not run well or at all on your new operating system.

I actually feel sorry for the folks that can't or won't make a clean break from Windows. To me it would be like having a huge, heavy ball and chain on your leg that weighs you down and prevents you from moving around freely. My advice is to cut that chain if at all possible, then move forward and don't look back.

Three alternative web browsers for Linux

Make Tech Easier takes a look at three alternative browsers for Linux: Opera, ELinks and Midori.

Most Linux users will be familiar with Google’s Chrome web browser and Mozilla’s Firefox. As good as they are, these aren’t the only two browsers available. Among the alternative web browsers are Opera, which has a native Linux version as well as versions for OS X, Windows, Android and iOS; ELinks, a text mode web browser; and Midori, a lightweight and fast web browser that is the default browser on the Raspberry Pi. Each of these browsers offers something different than Chrome and Firefox, and you can install them on Ubuntu (and other Linux distributions) relatively easily.

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Three Alternative Browsers for Linux
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I found ELinks to be the most interesting of the three browsers. I tend to be a minimalist anyway, so a text-only browser has a lot of appeal for me. I like the idea of stripping away a lot of the junk on web pages and getting the most important information only.

I confess that I have never warmed up to Opera, and I don't really know why. I generally have it installed but somehow never get around to using it. It's not a bad browser at all, but it just doesn't seem to be different enough for me to use regularly.

I haven't spent any significant amount of time with Midori, but I love the fact that it uses Duck Duck Go as its search engine. I wish all browsers in Linux did that since Duck Duck Go protects the privacy of its users, unlike certain other search engines.

Wil Wheaton doesn't like Ubuntu

OMG! Ubuntu reports that Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley on Star Trek: The Next Generation, doesn't care for Ubuntu much these days.

In a recent post on his Google+ profile, Wheaton speaks about his experience of running Ubuntu through Crouton on his Chromebook (Crouton is a a pseudo dual-boot that lets a regular Linux distro run on top the Chrome OS kernel). Did he like what he saw? Not quite:

“I’m not crazy about Ubuntu; I feel like the entire project has gone in a direction that isn’t for me.”

Shocking opinion? Hardly. Among those who began using Linux in a certain era, like Wil did, it appears to be an incredibly common one.

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Wil Wheaton Does Not Like Ubuntu
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It's no shocker that Unity has caused a fair number of people to move away from Ubuntu, and it seems that Wil is now one of them. However, let's not forget that many people also like Ubuntu and use it is as their main operating system with no problems whatsoever.

Wil is entitled to his opinion, of course. But desktop environment preferences are often so subjective that opinions will vary considerably even among people who like a particular distro. At least Wil seems to enjoy distrohopping on his iMac.

You can read more of Wil's comments about Linux in his Google+ post.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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