Before you install Wine, make sure that there is no previous Wine installation on your system, either from a package or from source. If you haven't yet installed Wine, you should be fine. See the Removing old Wine versions chapter in the User Guide for details. Many Linux distributions come with an included Wine package, but due to Wine's rapid development rate these are usually old and often broken versions. It is best to uninstall your distribution's included package versions and update to the latest Wine version available here.
Links to binary packages for Wine for some of the major distros can be found at the WineHQ downloads page. In addition, full source code is available for both the current Wine development tree and every Wine release here. For help with installing from a package or from source, please consult the Getting Wine chapter of the User guide.
How to help get applications working in Wine
If you want to help get an application working in Wine, the first thing you should do is register yourself in the AppDB and fill out a test report, so others know what works/doesn't work. Also, be sure to vote for your favorite application so developers know where to concentrate their efforts.
If the application that you want working is not listed in the AppDB there is an easy to use form available for you to add it. If the application is in the database, but lacks a maintainer, you should consider volunteering. If you are familiar with Wine, own a legal copy of the application, and have a desire to test it, help get or keep it working, and help other users, please apply by clicking the link in the application's page. Each application should have a supermaintainer, and, if different versions of the application are substantially different (such as in Adobe Creative Suite), each subversion should have a maintainer.
If you are the developer or publisher of the application, you obviously have a very big incentive to help get your application working under Wine. Fortunately, there are many options available to you other than reporting bugs and hoping someone will fix them. By far the easiest way is to file a bug at Bugzilla, along with a small testcase to add to the Wine test suite. Another options is to send copies of your software to Wine developers and hope they'll take an interest in getting it working. An alternative option, perhaps more effective, albeit expensive, is to pay Wine developers for their work on your application, either directly through a negotiated contract or indirectly by posting a bounty. CodeWeavers, a major Wine developer, offers a special section for pledges at their compatibility center website. The most direct method, however, is to help develop Wine itself and contribute code directly, which is exactly what Corel did for WordPerfect several years ago. In any case, making a post on the Wine developers email list can go a long way.
If your application doesn't work
If your application experiences problems in a particular area, or fails to even run at all, there are a number of steps you can take to help us. The most important thing is to find out where exactly the application is failing. To diagnose application problems, the first step is to run the program from the console using Wine, rather than from a gui shortcut. This will allow Wine to output error messages to the console, the understanding of which are key to solving the problem and getting the application to work.
An application may not work because Wine doesn't yet fully implement one of the DLL files the application is trying to use. If you encounter a DLL not found error, or see a lot of "FIXME:" messages while running the application in Wine, this is likely the case. When this occurs, you can try using native (non-Wine) DLL files in place of Wine's builtin ones. Check the AppDB page for the program. There may be special configuration options or instructions for installing native DLL files there that you can try to get the application working. For further configuration help, please see the Running Wine section of the User Guide.
If the application still doesn't work, it's probably due to a bug or deficiency in Wine and we'd like to hear about it. Please see the reporting bugs page for instructions on how to best report bugs with applications. Alternatively, if you're a programmer, we'd really like it if you tried to help us directly; please check out the primary Developers page and the Developers-Hints if you're interested.
If your application does work, but with some difficulty
Sometimes, applications run under Wine but don't function quite as smoothly as they do in windows. They may have display errors, a feature may be broken, or they may run unusually slow. These applications should receive a lower rating from their maintainers ("bronze" or "garbage") in the Application's Database, depending on the degree of difficulty encountered.
If you have found a way to make an application work that is more complicated than simply installing it, please share that information by posting on the application's page in the database. If you are the maintainer for the application, please post the instructions in a "howto" which will appear inside green bars at the top of the application's page.
If your application used to work, but has since broken in a new version of Wine
Wine is a large and complex project, composed of many files written by different authors. Sometimes, an attempt to change a file and expand support for one application will unexpectedly cause another application to stop functioning. These changes are known as regressions, and they are unfortunately sometimes found in the Wine source code because the author of a patch that causes a regression is quite simply unaware of it. Since the Wine developers can't possibly test every application with every patch, we have to rely on the community to inform us of when regressions occur so that the problem can be easily identified and ultimately fixed. Without community involvement, regressions can go unfixed for potentially very long periods of time.
If your application has experienced a regression, please try and provide us with as much information as you can about when and how it broke. This allows us to isolate the exact thing we screwed up in the code and provide a fix. Please provide as much as you know about which version of Wine worked, and which version didn't, including the version number and how you installed it (from source, binary packages, etc.) Finally, please post these things in a bug.
If you wish to be extremely helpful, you can try to isolate the exact patch which broke your application. This takes quite a bit of time, but minimal effort and computer skills, but it is quite simply the best way to get your application working again. When it comes to fixing regressions, the only thing more helpful to the Wine developers than knowing exactly which patch caused a regression is receiving a fix for the patch itself. For help with isolating problem patches, please see the documentation on RegressionTesting.