LINA brings Linux apps over to Windows, Mac users

LINA allows Windows, Mac OS X and Unix machines to run Linux software

Fans of cross-platform computing and the "write-once-run-anywhere" concept of applications and software will want to take a look at LINA. The open source software company plans to debut its eponymous (but note the capitalisation) LINA platform this month.

The product is an operating system shim for non-Linux machines, and software development environments, which allows Windows, Mac OS X and Unix machines to run software written specifically for Linux-based desktops and servers.

LINA says its software allows Linux apps to run with a "native look and feel" on non-Linux machines. All flavours of Linux are supported by the software. The concept is similar to WINE, or offerings by CodeWeavers (which allow Windows apps to run on Linux) but in reverse. The software does not use an emulation window or virtual machine environment; Linux apps launched on a Microsoft, Mac or Unix workstation run as if installed on a Linux desktop, the company says.

According to the company, it does this with its library of LINA APIs, and "Linux binaries packaged in a zip file that contains configuration files and a small executable with operating-system-specific instructions to start the application appropriately on each platform." The LINA environment also seals off Linux-based software from changing or affecting configuration files or other settings on the non-Linux hosts on which the software is running.

Linux-based command line applications and Web-based applications can run freely in the LINA environment; GUI-based Linux apps must use the LINA library. The company says that in its initial release, Linux CLI and Web applications will run twice as slowly on non-Linux platforms, as opposed to running natively. GUI-based apps will run even slower. However, the company says it is working to make LINA run faster in future releases.

LINA will be licensed under the GNU Public License version 2 (GPLv2), and the company plans to release source code for the software when the product launches this month.

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Phil Hochmuth

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