Running Windows Applications on FreeBSD09/21/2001
In the last article, we looked at using VNC for accessing other desktops in a network. This week, I'd like to continue in this vein by looking at running Windows applications from within your FreeBSD system.
One of the neatest things about FreeBSD is that if it is running on a dual-boot computer, you don't have to exit FreeBSD to access data contained on the other operating system's partition. It is a simple matter to mount the other partition and to then read, write, or even delete the files contained on that partition. Ah, but what about running executable files, you may ask? If that other operating system is made by Microsoft and you're running the Windows emulator (Wine) on your FreeBSD system, it is possible to run many Windows applications from your FreeBSD system.
In today's article, I want to demonstrate building and using Wine. If things go well, I'll push my luck by also attempting to run some Windows applications on a computer totally dedicated to FreeBSD -- it does not contain a Microsoft partition anywhere on its hard drive.
I'll start by building the Wine port on two of the machines in my network. The first machine dual-boots Windows 98 and FreeBSD 4.3-Release. The second machine has been totally and dangerously dedicated to FreeBSD 4.3-Release. I'll become the superuser and start the port's build on each machine:
su Password: cd /usr/ports/emulators/wine make install clean
Once the builds are finished, I need to check each machine's kernel configuration file to ensure it contains all of the options needed to run Wine. While still the superuser, I'll type:
cd /usr/src/sys/i386/conf cp GENERIC WINE
I'll then use my favorite text editor to open up
WINE and ensure that the following options are listed:
options USER_LDT options SYSVSHM options SYSVSEM options SYSVMSG
On my 4.3-Release, the three
SYS* options were already there, I only had to add the
USER_LDT option. If you have to add any options, save your changes and recompile the kernel like so:
/usr/sbin/config WINE cd ../../compile/WINE make depend && make && make install && reboot
With that last command, I'm actually invoking four separate commands; the
&& ensures that the next command will only be run if the previous command was successful. If you decide to include the
reboot command, make sure that no other users are doing anything on your FreeBSD box as it will reboot once the kernel has been installed.
When the Wine port is built, documentation is installed into
man 1 wine and
/usr/local/share/doc/wine. I also found the how-to article to be very helpful in setting up Wine for the first time.
Let's start by trying to run Wine on the system that dual-boots FreeBSD 4.3-Release and Windows 98. To run Wine on this machine, I'll have to:
Find and mount the Windows partition.
Double-check Wine's configuration file.
Test the configuration by seeing if I can run a Windows application.
It's been a while since I set up this computer, so I'll use
sysinstall to double check my partitioning scheme. As the superuser:
/stand/sysinstall Configure Fdisk spacebar ad0
and I see something that looks like this:
Offset Size(ST) End Name PType Desc 0 63 62 - 6 unused 63 4176837 4176899 ad0s1 2 fat 4176900 4016250 8193149 ad0s2 3 freebsd
When I'm finished, I use
q to quit this screen, and cancel my way out of
sysinstall. It looks like Windows is on the fat partition known to FreeBSD as
ad0s1. In order to mount this partition, I first have to create a mount point which I'll call
I should also check the permissions of the mount point:
ls -l / | grep dos drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel 512 Aug 31 13:07 dos
This looks good as all users have "read" and "execute" permissions, but only the root user has "write" permission.