One of the big stories out today… Google has released an “early beta” version of Picasa for linux. I first saw the news from the ZDNet Googling Google blog. There are deb, rpm and bin downloads available. The Official Google blog gives a few more details, for instance… this “magic” is made possible by a “carefully tested version of wine”. Also, they solicit feedback in the Google Labs Picasa for Linux group. I think this is very good news for linux users.
To have a vendor supplied install of a traditionally Windows only program is very good. I know, linux has a number of applications that people might use to substitute the functionality of some software in switching from Windows to Linux, but if a day were to come where you could tell a potential “convert”, well…. you need x,y, z application running – well choosing linux would be fine as you could still do all of the above.
Now, many people have seen the Wine project as something that doesn’t help the adoption of linux. I strongly disagree. For many people abandoning an operating system that they’re familiar with (even modestly) can be difficult, encouraging them to do that AND give up the software they’re familiar with too in search of replacements…. is a neverending saga for many. This isn’t to say there aren’t good free software replacements for many types of applications. (Some that are linux only, I would truly feel like I was using sticks and stones to try and fashion a skyscraper if I had to give them up and move to Windows…)
Getting back to the Picasa announcement…. According to the Announcement on slashdot they also have made some code contributions to the Wine project, they also give acknowledgement to Codeweavers, who are doing the hard work of the primary commercial employer of Wine developers.
Hopefully, this will pave the way for a few more of google’s software projects to be available for Linux. I’ve tinkered in the past with Google Talk on Wine and Google Earth, both do “something”, Google earth is a more functional though. The other thing that I will like seeing about this, is how many other companies will start to take notice of how easily they may be able to add linux support for some of their programs.
Now, I do recall running Picasa under Wine a few months back and it did fairly well, but I’ve downloaded and installed the RPM and must say it’s working much more fluidly than the previous try. I recall the last time I tried it under “stock wine” it would freeze for a few moments at a time and not refresh the display. This seems to be working better for me. It is currently slurping up every image in the system which should be interesting…. (even program icons, etc…)
Oh, and how long will it be before there will be Picasa for Linux referals like this one for Windows users?
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