WinE vs VirtualBox

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somik
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WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by somik » Mon May 17, 2010 5:42 am

I read through the forum looking for this, however i am always unlucky when it comes to finding stuff, so here i go posting hoping some kind soul will direct me in the proper path...

I am familiar with Wine and VirtualBox. These are the only method i can get Windows programs to run inside linux. However, that being said, i am worried what might happen when a windows virus "runs itself" through a autorun script while i am using Wine on linux mint. Can it cause any harm to my computer?

I know linux is different from windows. However, Wine "behaves" just like windows, so would it let the virus affect my computer in any way?

Some virus just writes garbage to disk till it fills up the whole harddrive. Some erase the boot sector. Some erase registry. Some track keypresses. Some do even worse. Is installing wine on linux mint means i am inviting these unwanted visitors? I am using avast to keep my WinXP safe. Will it work same for linux aswell? Or am i better off using VirtualBox? I usually keep a backup of the harddisk image of VBox, incase i need to reset everything in case of an attack. I am reluctant to use VirtualBox because it takes up too much of my limited resources.

I am running a laptop on Intel Celeron 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM, 128AGP, and 500GB HDD.

Do you, as a linux expert, recommend using Wine? If so, what are the things i should watch out for? Or do u recommend VirtualBox?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and reply to this newbie.

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Pilosopong Tasyo
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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by Pilosopong Tasyo » Mon May 17, 2010 7:12 am

...i am worried what might happen when a windows virus "runs itself" through a autorun script while i am using Wine on linux mint. Can it cause any harm to my computer?
In a nutshell, no. The most damage is isolated to your home directory.
Some virus just writes garbage to disk till it fills up the whole harddrive. Some erase the boot sector. Some erase registry. Some track keypresses. Some do even worse. Is installing wine on linux mint means i am inviting these unwanted visitors?
Only if you are careless. It's easy to find out if a USB drive is infected. Usually you'd see files like AUTORUN.INF or files that have a .VBS extension. From my experience, whenever I attach an infected USB flash drive, Mint won't even process the AUTORUN.INF file. All it does is display the contents of the drive.
I am using avast to keep my WinXP safe. Will it work same for linux aswell?
To quote from this thread: "Bottom line: Windows viruses will not affect a Linux system. There are very few viruses you have to worry about as a Linux user, and your firewall should protect you from them as long as you don't do anything careless. Although there is a much smaller risk of infection on a Linux system, that doesn't mean you should run around on the web downloading everything you see without hesitation. That being said, you can still carry viruses and spread them to other Windows machines, so it is often considered courteous for a Linux user to scan a file (using something like ClamAV) before sending it to a Windows user. This way, although the virus hasn't been affecting you, it also won't be allowed to affect the recipient of the file you're sending."
...am i better off using VirtualBox? I usually keep a backup of the harddisk image of VBox, incase i need to reset everything in case of an attack. I am reluctant to use VirtualBox because it takes up too much of my limited resources.
Each method has its pros and cons. But it's really up to you to weigh in which alternative is better.
Do you... recommend using Wine? If so, what are the things i should watch out for? Or do u recommend VirtualBox?
My opinion as far as running Windows programs in Linux is simple: Windows programs are designed to run in Windows, ergo, run them natively in Windows (dual-boot). If your computer have sufficient muscle power (processor speed, RAM, HDD space), consider virtualization (VirtualBox, VMWare Player, etc.). It's much better if you can find a Linux equivalent of the Windows program you want to use, otherwise, running it in Wine is the last resort.
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somik
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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by somik » Mon May 17, 2010 8:04 am

I only need a to run a few windows programs from time to time. One of them is Adobe Photoshop CS4. Other one is a Asus T500 wireless modem's software (which ONLY runs in VirtualBox's Windows since it requires hardware drivers installed in windows itself).

For these few programs, i do not want the clumsy windows os. I had been using Linux Mint 8 for a month or so, and found better alternative to ALL my programs. Even the sound equalizer issue is fixed with VLC player for linux. Out of all the Linux OS i have used, i found PuppyLinux and Linux Mint usable to a newbie like me. I use PuppyLinux for emergency when my computer crashes and such. Linux Mint will be my main OS.

I did not want to keep XP as dualboot because i rarely login to XP if i use Linux Mint. It provides me with everything i need. Also my internet seems much faster with Linux Mint then in Windows XP. So i am interested in making a complete switch to this OS. However, i am unable as i am a life long Windows user and being in a completely different OS feels weird (so many new things to learn, so much to discover)!

However, before i install Wine again, i just want to confirm one more thing. Please understand that i have absolutely no idea about how wine is doing what it does, so this is going to be a really stupid question. Does keeping wine installed makes the system use more resources? I mean is it running the windows processes in the background alongside linux? Does wine cause any undesired side-effects (like programs loading slower or unwanted crashes or even computer os crashing)?

Again, thanks for the quick reply. Please understand that a newbie such as me feels its best to ask the advanced user before doing anything that most people debate on. I dont know much, so it would be great if you could tell me exactly what to do (dualboot, wine, virtualbox or any other).



EDIT:
--------
I see my lacking knowladge of english is starting to show...

You suggest dualboot > virtualbox > wine?

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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by Pilosopong Tasyo » Mon May 17, 2010 10:59 am

One of them is Adobe Photoshop CS4.
Learn how to use the Gimp. It's good enough as a Photoshop replacement.
...i am interested in making a complete switch to this OS. However, i am unable as i am a life long Windows user and being in a completely different OS feels weird (so many new things to learn, so much to discover)!
Learning (the) Linux (way) is really not that different nor difficult as when you learned Windows. Let's be honest -- you didn't learn Windows in just one sitting, did you? No. You had to invest your time to learn Windows as well as applications written for Windows. So, it's the same for Linux. The right attitude here is forget everything you learned in Windows for the time being so the transition to Linux gets smoother.
Does keeping wine installed makes the system use more resources? I mean is it running the windows processes in the background alongside linux? Does wine cause any undesired side-effects (like programs loading slower or unwanted crashes or even computer os crashing)?
To be honest with you, I avoid Wine like a plague. Either I look for equivalent Linux programs or use a virtual machine to run them natively in Windows. So I cannot really tell you what performance issues to expect when running Wine. But, just like any program, it will consume resources. By how much? I honestly do not know.
Please understand that a newbie such as me feels its best to ask the advanced user before doing anything that most people debate on. I dont know much, so it would be great if you could tell me exactly what to do (dualboot, wine, virtualbox or any other).
My advice to you? Install Wine and VirtualBox. Try them both. Due to the plethora of circumstances, the best approach to your issue is to actually try them. That's the only way to see for yourself which between the two is the better alternative.

Good luck and HTH.
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somik
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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by somik » Mon May 17, 2010 8:05 pm

Learn how to use the Gimp. It's good enough as a Photoshop replacement.
That shouldn't be much trouble. I dont know Photoshop that well either. Used to know CS2 a bit better, but its totally different in CS4. Guess i'll have to take Gimp as CS ultimate :)
Learning (the) Linux (way) is really not that different nor difficult as when you learned Windows. Let's be honest -- you didn't learn Windows in just one sitting, did you? No. You had to invest your time to learn Windows as well as applications written for Windows. So, it's the same for Linux. The right attitude here is forget everything you learned in Windows for the time being so the transition to Linux gets smoother.
Thankyou for the advice. I guess its this difference in the OS that puts many people off at first. However, i bet when i first sat in front of a windows computer, i felt the same way. I just have to stick to one thing. Accept the difference and learn to work with it the best i can.
To be honest with you, I avoid Wine like a plague. Either I look for equivalent Linux programs or use a virtual machine to run them natively in Windows. So I cannot really tell you what performance issues to expect when running Wine. But, just like any program, it will consume resources. By how much? I honestly do not know.
In that case, i'll just use dual-boot for the time being. Also install VBox as it does not constantly consume any resource. That way i get both. Will avoid using wine permanently :)
My advice to you? Install Wine and VirtualBox. Try them both. Due to the plethora of circumstances, the best approach to your issue is to actually try them. That's the only way to see for yourself which between the two is the better alternative.
Hmm, thats an interesting choice. I surely want to see how they work side by side. Tell you what, i'll run Linux Mint persistently from my pendrive and install wine on it to see how it works. Then format the pendrive and repeat with VBox and check for improvement of performance.

That being said, umm, what was the command to bring up the "task manager" in linux? U know, the one where they show cpu and ram usage live? I know "ps aux" but that shows processes at that moment. A friend of mine showed me another one where it refreshes itself to show live resource usage. What is the command to bring that up?

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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by vincent » Mon May 17, 2010 8:29 pm

Task manager in Linux? A graphical version? Depends on what desktop environment you have...if you're using the main version of Mint (i.e. with Gnome installed), either type in "gnome-system-monitor" in a terminal or search for System Monitor in mintMenu. If it's missing (it shouldn't be though), a quick "sudo apt-get install gnome-system-monitor" should fix that.

As for viruses under Wine, read this from a person who was adventurous enough to deliberately run viruses using Wine: http://www.linux.com/archive/feed/42031 :lol:

Now, as long as you run Wine as a normal user, without root privileges (Wine should never require root privileges in the first place), viruses can only damage what the program Wine itself has access to the first place. Which in essence means your Home directory, and perhaps any external devices that are connected at the moment (USB drive perhaps?). All other directories in your system are owned and protected under root, and all other partitions that's not being used by Mint also requires root privileges for access (so a virus won't contaminate your separate Windows partition if you have one, with Wine).

That being said, there is a lot of stuff in your Home folder that I would prefer remaining clean. Now, the following is only a concern if that virus is able to recognize that it is running under Wine in Linux, but if it does, it has the capability to do whatever it wants with anything and everything found under /home/<user>. I mean, I want everything in "Documents" to be perfectly clean and virus-free (virus-infested schoolwork and assignments? Yuck, my friends would hate me...). I want all my config files to be perfectly clean as well...do you want your ~/.mozilla file to be messed with and find that an annoying virus is constantly changing your Homepage? I've had enough of that in Windows, and I don't need the same thing in Linux. Remember, if that virus is smart enough, it won't just affect everything under /home/<user>/.wine, it'll affect every directory that Wine has access to.

If you find that you installed a virus-ridden program in Wine, remember to delete the .wine folder in your Home directory (it's a hidden folder), and then run ClamAV or another virus scanner and scan everything in your Home directory. You'll have to reconfigure Wine again and re-install all your apps, but it's much easier than having to weed out nasties within Wine's subdirectory and manually picking at Wine's virtual Registry.

Anyways, Wine just uses a bunch of Win32 API's in an attempt to get Windows programs to work, so relative simple programs should work just fine and run at about native speeds like on Windows, but more complicated programs and applications can simply just refuse to work. That's where VirtualBox comes in. Greater compatibility with windows programs (after all, you can run a fully virtualized WIndows installation in there), but at the cost of system resources. It would be roughly similar to the amount of resources that running 2 OS'es simultaneously would take, theoretically speaking, but of course running 2 OS'es at the same time is impossible, which is why virtualization exists in the first place.
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somik
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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by somik » Mon May 17, 2010 8:52 pm

vincent wrote:Task manager in Linux? A graphical version? Depends on what desktop environment you have...if you're using the main version of Mint (i.e. with Gnome installed), either type in "gnome-system-monitor" in a terminal or search for System Monitor in mintMenu. If it's missing (it shouldn't be though), a quick "sudo apt-get install gnome-system-monitor" should fix that.

As for viruses under Wine, read this from a person who was adventurous enough to deliberately run viruses using Wine: http://www.linux.com/archive/feed/42031 :lol:

Now, as long as you run Wine as a normal user, without root privileges (Wine should never require root privileges in the first place), viruses can only damage what the program Wine itself has access to the first place. Which in essence means your Home directory, and perhaps any external devices that are connected at the moment (USB drive perhaps?). All other directories in your system are owned and protected under root, and all other partitions that's not being used by Mint also requires root privileges for access (so a virus won't contaminate your separate Windows partition if you have one, with Wine).

That being said, there is a lot of stuff in your Home folder that I would prefer remaining clean. Now, the following is only a concern if that virus is able to recognize that it is running under Wine in Linux, but if it does, it has the capability to do whatever it wants with anything and everything found under /home/<user>. I mean, I want everything in "Documents" to be perfectly clean and virus-free (virus-infested schoolwork and assignments? Yuck, my friends would hate me...). I want all my config files to be perfectly clean as well...do you want your ~/.mozilla file to be messed with and find that an annoying virus is constantly changing your Homepage? I've had enough of that in Windows, and I don't need the same thing in Linux. Remember, if that virus is smart enough, it won't just affect everything under /home/<user>/.wine, it'll affect every directory that Wine has access to.

If you find that you installed a virus-ridden program in Wine, remember to delete the .wine folder in your Home directory (it's a hidden folder), and then run ClamAV or another virus scanner and scan everything in your Home directory. You'll have to reconfigure Wine again and re-install all your apps, but it's much easier than having to weed out nasties within Wine's subdirectory and manually picking at Wine's virtual Registry.

Anyways, Wine just uses a bunch of Win32 API's in an attempt to get Windows programs to work, so relative simple programs should work just fine and run at about native speeds like on Windows, but more complicated programs and applications can simply just refuse to work. That's where VirtualBox comes in. Greater compatibility with windows programs (after all, you can run a fully virtualized WIndows installation in there), but at the cost of system resources. It would be roughly similar to the amount of resources that running 2 OS'es simultaneously would take, theoretically speaking, but of course running 2 OS'es at the same time is impossible, which is why virtualization exists in the first place.

First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the detailed post! I am gratefull to linux gurus such as yourself.

If there is a possibility of a virus attack, i'll avoid it at all cost. Had to live my whole life fearing virus under windows. If its a change, i want a change for the better. So thanks, but i dont drink wine :p

As for VirtualBox, i m still working on a customized "slim" version of Windows XP that contains everything however runs fast. First 3 versions all had some problems, so still working out the perfect combination of drivers and softwares for VirtualBox. Think i should abandon Windows XP and try with Windows Server 2003 since its more stable...

Oh, i am using the main version since it said to grab that one if i dont know what i want...

Btw, thanks for the good reading material concerning wine and viruses! That made me :lol:

Anyway, i guess i'll be staying away from wine. Lots of reason to do so! I rather have VirtualBox take up my resources when i run dual OS then wine eat them up when i start my computer!

Again, thanks for the detailed post. Posts like these are really helpful to newcommers to linux like myself :)

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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by vincent » Mon May 17, 2010 9:10 pm

Actually, Wine uses less resources than Virtualbox, since Wine is really nothing more than a slim collection of Windows API's, without any drivers or software pre-installed (besides Notepad, for some reason). It also doesn't use any resources until you start up a program in Wine. However, it is arguably easier to use VirtualBox than Wine, especially if you have enough resources, since you're likely not to need as much tinkering with VirtualBox as you would have to do with a variety of programs in Wine to get them working. You may still come across a few problems though...for example, with the version of Virtualbox that's in the default repositories, I've heard of problems getting USB thumbdrives to work properly in a VirtualBox-ed Windows. The only way to ensure 100% compatibility is to dual-boot Windows and Linux (which is actually quite easy to do...but of course, booting into Windows and rebooting back into Linux just to run a simple program or something can get really annoying, even though it's the only way to run some applications with decent performance, namely intense 3D games and the like).

Oh, and by the way, I'm not a Linux guru. I've been using Mint for around 2 months only...but I have been reading loads about Linux, playing around with my own Mint installation to break stuff and to learn how to fix it, and participating actively in the forums and picking up a trick or two here and there about Linux. :P
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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by somik » Mon May 17, 2010 9:46 pm

Been reading a few forums and seems line wine causes a lot of problems if used without caution...
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=72598
vincent wrote:Actually, Wine uses less resources than Virtualbox, since Wine is really nothing more than a slim collection of Windows API's, without any drivers or software pre-installed (besides Notepad, for some reason). It also doesn't use any resources until you start up a program in Wine. However, it is arguably easier to use VirtualBox than Wine, especially if you have enough resources, since you're likely not to need as much tinkering with VirtualBox as you would have to do with a variety of programs in Wine to get them working. You may still come across a few problems though...for example, with the version of Virtualbox that's in the default repositories, I've heard of problems getting USB thumbdrives to work properly in a VirtualBox-ed Windows. The only way to ensure 100% compatibility is to dual-boot Windows and Linux (which is actually quite easy to do...but of course, booting into Windows and rebooting back into Linux just to run a simple program or something can get really annoying, even though it's the only way to run some applications with decent performance, namely intense 3D games and the like).
Resources, yes, that is a limitation when it comes to my 3 year old laptop... Single core 1.73GHz processor is not enough to run 2 os simultaneously... Just running XP alone causes performance issues. Guess i'll have to dualboot till i get used to linux completely...
Oh, and by the way, I'm not a Linux guru. I've been using Mint for around 2 months only...but I have been reading loads about Linux, playing around with my own Mint installation to break stuff and to learn how to fix it, and participating actively in the forums and picking up a trick or two here and there about Linux. :P
Well, you know more then me, so to me, you are a advanced user!

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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by Pilosopong Tasyo » Tue May 18, 2010 2:24 am

...i'll run Linux Mint persistently from my pendrive and install wine on it to see how it works. Then format the pendrive and repeat with VBox and check for improvement of performance.
Just my personal opinion, but what you are planning to do is ill-advised. You do realize that UFDs are far slower than HDDs? Assuming you already have Mint installed on your computer (dual-booted with Windows or as a sole O/S), you're better off if you install Wine and VirtualBox in the HDD and run it natively from there in lieu of a UFD. Otherwise you might just end up frustrated waiting "forever" especially for VirtualBox with all the I/O ops, and not to mention wearing down your UFD quicker.
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Re: WinE vs VirtualBox

Post by somik » Thu May 20, 2010 7:46 pm

Pilosopong Tasyo wrote:Just my personal opinion, but what you are planning to do is ill-advised. You do realize that UFDs are far slower than HDDs?

Yes, however its does not take that long. What i do is use the MultiBoot software from PendriveLinux.com to make my pendrive bootable, change a few codes to modify it for Linux Mint 9 and place the ISO image on the pendrive and boot from the ISO itself when starting computer. Its like running the live CD, just with persistance block of 1GB to save changes on consequent boots.

Assuming you already have Mint installed on your computer (dual-booted with Windows or as a sole O/S), you're better off if you install Wine and VirtualBox in the HDD and run it natively from there in lieu of a UFD.

I would but i still havent figured out how to uninstall linux mint from my harddisk or reinstall it. Not sure how the grub for linux mint works yet. Need a bit of tweaking to figure out...

Otherwise you might just end up frustrated waiting "forever" especially for VirtualBox with all the I/O ops,

ISO is 750MB. Takes about 2~3 mins to read that from pendrive while booting. Not that long :)

and not to mention wearing down your UFD quicker.
Yea, i know, however this 4GB pendrive costs $10 and has a life time warrenty, so i can take it for replacement if it wears down too much ;)

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