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I am wondering if it will be better (stability, convenience and speed) to run apps like Photoshop with Wine or a virtual machine like VirtualBox?

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2 Answers 2

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Compatible Wine applications can be found here.

Wine based applications are often said to have an equivalent speed as running on Native Windows. I have seen reports that claim Wine based applications run faster.

The database presents a colour coding describing the stability and issues found when running the Windows application under Wine.

Platinum rated applications will work without any issues for a particular version of Wine. The keypart of that statement is the version of Wine. It comes in two flavours:

  • Wine 1.2 from the repository is the recommended stable version of Wine.

  • Wine 1.3 (also from the repository) is the current development version of Wine. It will be updated every two weeks with fixes - and regressions.

Thus, if the winehq.org database says that it is Gold/Platinum rated under a version 1.3.x then the application will run close to the native Windows speed, but with the understanding that the stability could be affected with the next development update.

If you want rock-solid stability then stay with either a dual-boot Ubuntu/Windows installation, or you can use a good virtual solution such as VirtualBox or VMWare. This will give you the same stability but with the speed sacrifice of running a virtual solution - this can be anything between 5 to 30% (or more) depending upon the type of Windows application and the type of virtual hosting solution.

Graphics intensive based applications tend to suffer more under a virtual solution due to the reliance on virtual graphics driver - this driver tends to give basic graphics performance for 2D based applications. Hence, games rarely run well under a virtual solution. Recent VirtualBox versions claim to have good 3D capabilities with newer Graphics cards.

Since Photoshop is graphically intensive, you perhaps should consider running this virtually only if you have a very good graphics card - you should also consider installing any proprietary driver such as NVIDIA or ATI Catalyst.

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Just to answer your question about running programs like Photoshop on WINE. I run the latest Photoshop using WINE. Even the 3d acceleration works. However, to run a recent copy of illustrator, I have to use a Virtual machine. WINE cant run it.

One major problem with this is that copy/paste doesnt work between the graphic apps, Wether on WINE or VM.

Other than that, my simple rule is this:

Run on WINE first. If the functionality is really taking a beating, then use a VM. There's has been absolutely no cases for me where a program that runs fine in WINE runs faster on a VM. Its normally more snappier via WINE.

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