Bristol helps bring Windows apps to Linux

Looking to cash in on the rising popularity of Linux, Bristol Technology has shipped a version of its Wind/U cross-platform development tool, designed to help users port Windows applications to the open-source operating system.

The company also announced the opening of a Linux porting centre that will help third-party developers and users to accurately assess the technical effort needed to port Windows applications over to Linux. The porting centre, based in Connecticut, will feature a range of porting services and will provide hands-on training in developing Linux applications, a company spokesman said.

Wind/U for Linux allows developers to compile Win32 API (application programming interface) and Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) source code directly on Linux, resulting in natively developed Linux applications for both desktop and server systems.

The new product also includes support Microsoft's MFC 6 and COM technologies. Bristol will also provide ports of the RogueWave Stingray Visual C++ components to Linux that can be used with Wind/U.

"We think the porting centre and Wind/U will substantially ease the transition from Windows to Linux, thereby increasing the number of Linux applications," said Chane Cullens, Bristol's president. "I hope this will help answer the question many have of 'how quickly can I port an application to Linux'," he said.

Some Linux distributors said they were heartened by the new product and porting centre, opining that it gives Linux a much needed boost on the desktop where it is fighting an uphill battle against Windows 95/98 and, increasingly, Windows NT.

"Corel's Linux efforts are targeted at the Linux desktop user and at broadening the acceptance of Linux by delivering marquee applications for it. Bristol's Wind/U can help us move the Linux desktop forward," said Renee Schmidt, vice president of Linux development at Corel.

Long experienced in bridging the Unix and Windows worlds, Bristol officials claim they have ported "millions of lines of code" to Linux, including Windows COM source code from Microsoft. Wind/U for Linux represents the company's third offering on the Linux platform.

With the new product's arrival, the company's complete cross-platform suite, including HyperHelp, an online help system, and Xprinter, a printing library of applications, is now available on Linux.

Available immediately, Wind/U for Linux supports Red Hat's 6.1 version on Linux as well as Corel's upcoming Linux OS.

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