When Google decided to port the excellent image management software Picasa over to Linux, they opted to use WINE to do so. What isn't clear is why exactly, when there are far better options like GTK out there.
Picasa is a great image management application, supporting most digital formats and offering a huge range of features, both for image archiving and manipulation. If you manage digital photos on a PC, or even a large video library for that matter, you would be hard pressed to find a comparable package without shelling out some moolah. It's powerful, and, above all, easy to use powerfully.
Linux needs an application like this. Google saw this, but rather than porting Picasa as a native Linux application, they have chosen to use WINE, a Linux port of the Win32 architecture.
This begs the question: Why?
A far more intelligent and forward-thinking decision would have been to port the interface to GTK (Gimp Tool Kit) because doing so would unify the interface portion of the program on all platforms. GTK is available for OS X, and there's no Mac version of Picasa yet, so why not kill the proverbial two birds with one bullish application - wrapped in a mixed metaphor? Instead, users have to install Picasa with some bundled WINE components in order to run the program.
WINE is a great piece of software, don't get me wrong. Considering that it runs World of Warcraft (v1.10.x) without a hitch, and is a total rewrite of the Win32 API, it's safe to say that it's an impressive product. However, it is still Windows creeping on to the Linux desktop, even if it's just in the form of "Locate file..." dialogue boxes at the moment.
So what of the newbie user? Perhaps they might find a use for it, especially as the install process has been simplified to the extent that the portion of WINE that is required by the program is compiled into the binary, making it about the closest thing to "1 click install" you can get with Linux. Given these facts, it's fair to assume that the package is partially aimed at potential switchers, as there are no consumer digital cameras (I know of at least) that ship Linux image management software on their install disks, leaving WINE as the only option anyway.
So, there's definitely a market for the software, albeit a small one. However, it still feels disappointing to not be getting the real thing in a Linux port, especially coming from Google. Not that it would be better from another company, but we do expect more from the little San Jose outfit because they have done so much in the way of endorsing and publicly supporting open source.
Come on Google, give us a native version of Picasa. Use GTK for all versions of the program, and, in doing so, show the world that you really support open source software for real, and not just when it makes Redmond look bad.