Longene: The Linux Kernel With Windows Support
This morning after providing benchmarks of FreeBSD with Linux binary compatibility for gaming, which allows unaltered 32-bit Linux binaries to be executed seamlessly with the FreeBSD kernel (and in a rather fast manner), I was reminded on Twitter about another interesting project: Longene. Longene is a "Linux Unified Kernel" that attempts to implement Microsoft Windows APIs within the Linux kernel. In other words, Windows binary compatibility for the Linux kernel, including for Windows device drivers.
For those not familiar with it, there is the project web-site. "The Longene is a free, open-source computer operating system kernel project intended to expand the Linux Kernel to be binary-compatible with application software and device drivers not only made for Microsoft Windows but also made for Linux OS. This will enable the Windows application running on the Linux operating system highly effectively. Through the Longene, we hoped the one who habituates to use Windows OS can continue their operation customs on Linux OS, so that third party software user purchased could be unconcerned with the platform of operating system. As before, for the user, once he purchased the Windows application software, from that time on only he could choose the Windows operating system, but now he may have another choice. Regarding Linux, this was certainly watershed and can improve the market competitiveness of desktop Linux."
The Longene kernel work is sponsored by Insigma Technology, a Chinese technology company, so they're unlikely to care about potential intellectual property violations from Microsoft. What makes Longene different from Wine is that it's implementing the Windows APIs within the Linux kernel -- via a kernel module and other changes to the kernel code. This should make it more efficient and also allow Windows support down to the device driver level, assuming the project is around long enough to fully match the Windows APIs and reach the level of maturity to Wine.
Right now the latest Longene Unified Kernel release is version 0.3.2, which is derived from the Linux 2.6.34 kernel. The project also offers up binary packages of its kernel for Ubuntu 10.04, Fedora 13, Red Flag, and other Linux distributions/releases.
Unfortunately, it's maturity is far from being comparable to Wine and there's much work left before this dream of running Windows programs on the Linux kernel could fully be realized. Longene right now requires some of Wine to be of any use. Regardless, it's an interesting project to watch at Longene.org.
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