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WINE is the name of a project that allows computers running a Unix operating system to run programs designed for Microsoft Windows. The name was derived from a recursive acronym "Wine Is Not an Emulator". Technically speaking, the claim made by this acronym is true, but to many of its users, Wine behaves much like an emulator, leading to the alternative expansion of the acronym as "WINdows Emulator." Wine is a free project, and as of March 2002 it is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

The Wine project began in 1993 and is still in development. The project probably orginated out of discussions on comp.os.linux (news:comp.os.linux), and the first working code was created by Eric Youngdale[?] and Bob Amstadt[?]. The reason Wine is not an emulator is that emulators tend to duplicate the whole environment a program runs in, including the simulation of a particular CPU architecture. Wine, instead, implements what could be called a compatibility layer, which provides an alternative to the Windows-specific libraries that windows programs call.

As of early 2003, Wine runs many well known programs, such as Lotus Notes and some versions of Microsoft Office, with varying levels of accuracy and stability. The involvement of Corel helped the project, chiefly employing for a time one of Wine's main coders, Alexandre Julliard[?], as well as providing other programmers. This help was motivated by Corel's porting of its own suite of office programs to Linux. However, due to financial difficulties, the effort has now stopped, and Corel has withdrawn their support.

Other organizations have made efforts to commercially support Wine, including CodeWeavers and TransGaming Technologies[?]. CodeWeavers has developed Wine specifically for running Microsoft Office, and markets their version under the name CrossOver Office. TransGaming produces a version of Wine tailored towards running Windows games, and markets WineX[?] on a subscription basis. The official Wine development is more directed towards a correct implementation of the Windows API as a whole, and lags somewhat behind in these areas.

The project has been time-consuming and difficult for developers, at least partially because of Microsoft's lack of documentation of their API. The Wine team have had to reverse engineer many of the function calls that some of Microsoft's programs use, as their documentation is not publicly available.

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