Do users really need Windows applications in Chrome OS?

In today's open source roundup: Forget about running Windows applications via Wine in Chrome OS. Plus: Live the life of an insect in Journey of a Roach on Steam, and take a free Introduction to Linux class

Phoronix is reporting that running Windows applications in Chrome OS via Wine seems very unlikely to happen. And it got me wondering about how many people really want to run Windows applications in Chrome OS. Are there many Chrome OS users who want Windows apps on their Chromebooks?

If you were hoping to eventually be able to run Windows applications within Google's Chrome OS environment via Wine, the possibilities of that working out well are very slim.

While Wine on Android is making progress, Wine on Chrome OS is a much tougher challenge. Long story short, you can't have a fully-working Wine in Chrome OS or Chrome compiled via NaCL. While Chrome OS is Linux-based, the big issue in having the Wine support seems to deal around with Google's sandboxing and not allowing Wine full system access.

More at Phoronix
Wine in Chrome OS
Image credit: WineHQ

Am I the only one that views running Windows applications in Chrome OS with a dubious eye? I thought one of the big selling points of Chrome OS was that it was a lightweight operating system that freed people from the headaches associated with running Windows? So it seems self-defeating to me to even want to install Wine in Chrome OS.

I'm sure that there are some Windows applications that could be useful to Chrome OS users. But there are other ways to get Windows itself and it's applications on a Chromebook. How To Geek had a useful article that covers how to remotely access a Windows desktop in Chrome OS and how to install a Linux distribution on Intel-based Chromebooks so you can install VirtualBox and then run Windows in it.

Chromebooks don’t normally run Windows software — that’s the best and worst thing about them. You don’t need antivirus or other Windows desktop junk, but you can’t install Skype, full Microsoft Office, or other Windows desktop applications.

Luckily, there are ways to use Windows desktop programs on a Chromebook — either running them remotely on an existing Windows system or getting your hands dirty in developer mode and running them on your Chromebook itself.

More at How To Geek
Run Windows Applications in Chrome OS
Image credit: How To Geek

All of this seems a bit crazy to me, and I can't imagine bothering with any of it if I was using a Chromebook. If I installed a Linux distribution on Chrome OS, I'd just use Linux applications instead of bothering to install Windows in VirtualBox. There's nothing on Windows - including Microsoft Office - that I couldn't easily replace with Linux applications.

It seems to me that at some point a user who stops using Windows as their main operating system also has to eventually cut the cord tethering them to Windows applications. Yes, I know it can be difficult in certain situations but you have to let go of Windows if it is at all possible so you can move on with your computing life and get past it.

Tell me in the comments if you're interested in running Windows applications in Chrome OS. I'm very curious to know if there is a significant number of people who would want to do this.

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