Wine stands for "Wine is not an emulator" and it is an open source command-line software that's capable of translating Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly for integrating Windows applications into your Linux/UNIX desktop. For regular Linux users, the above means that the Wine software will allow them to run applications which are designed to be installed only on Microsoft Windows operating systems.
However, Wine should not be confused with a virtual machine or an emulator. It provides binary compatibility, support for graphics, sound interaction, as well as support for modems, networks, scanners, tablets, keyboards, and other devices. The software’s API allows developers to integrate Wine in their projects, and as a result, numerous graphical user interfaces, both free and commercial, appeared on the Internet over the years.
PlayOnLinux, Crossover, Q4Wine, Bordeaux, Pipelight, Swine, WineXS, and winetricks are some of the most popular Wine GUI (Graphical User Interface) front-ends on Linux. On Mac OS X you can use the Wineskin, WineBottler and osxwinebuilder apps. Also, the application is not only supported on the Linux platform, as it is also compatible with other POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as BSD (FreeBSD, PC-BSD), OpenSolaris, and Mac OS X.
We can’t list here all the applications that are compatible with Wine, but we can assure you that most of them are. In order to find out if a certain apps runs on Linux via Wine, we suggest to test it yourself. Numerous Windows games also work well on Wine, which can be configured to support Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista, Windows 2008 Server, Windows 2008 R2 Server, Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating system.
Considering the fact that the Linux and Open Source software ecosystem is thriving with many alternatives to popular Windows apps, we feel obligated to suggest Wine only to those of you who are really tight to a certain application that has no correspondent in the Linux world.