Google Follows Through
May 26, 2006 1 Comment
Following up on a topic I've talked about before, Google has released Picasa for Linux. As speculated though, it's not a native port, but a Wine rollup. It's great to see Google follow up on the promise they made to support Linux apps, but it is a bit unfortunate they went the Wine route IMHO. There are a lot of downsides. First, it *looks* a bit out of place after you run it, ie it looks like a Windows app stuck in Linux and has absolutely no Window Manager integration. The package includes a bundled version of Wine, so is a hefty 25M. If other companies follow, will we now need to have 30 different wine installs (since this does not use a standard win install, even if you have one). I'm hoping this isn't a dangerous precedent where Linux support equals Wine. Now, unlike some, I'm not a Wine basher and think it is a useful piece of software, but if Linux support starts to equal “runs in Wine” we will forever be intrinsically tied to Windows and that's a very bad thing. I'm hoping it's only used as a sort of temporary migration platform while they gauge demand and get more comfortable with Linux as an end user platform, but that remains to be seen. All in all though, kudos to Google for staying true to what they said and also for potentially furthering the exposure Linux gets. One truly great thing here is that Google contributed over 200 patches back to Wine, so even if you never touch Picasa it's very possible you may benefit from this. More info is available here and here.
FWIW I did download and install this and it does run very nicely for a Wine app. Google makes 3 downloads available – RPM, DEB and a Loki-based installer. They even contributed some patches back to Loki. It should be interesting to see if they continue this three release paradigm as they support more of their applications on the Linux desktop. This is certainly a sticking point area for Linux and how Google handles it could set a precedent for many.
Google, Linux, GOOG, Open Source, Picasa