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Jeremy White's Wine Answers

Roblimo posted more than 10 years ago | from the bridge-over-troubled-waters dept.

Windows 208

This almost turned into a "State of the Wine Project" discussion, but that's where your highest-moderated questions led, and Jeremy responded with his usual wit, wisdom, and candor. 1) Moving Target - by andrew_j_w

Do you ever get disheartened when Microsoft announces a new API, as that means you've suddenly got a whole load of new code to replicate? DirectX would seem to be a prime example of this. How do you see .Net/Mono in relation to Wine? Do you think they will ever become the prime method of running Windows applications under *nix?


Jeremy:

We really don't care what APIs Microsoft publishes - the only thing that matters to us is what APIs are used by the applications we want to support. In fact, Wine only implements about half of the Windows APIs. Now some (like my wife) might argue that's because we're just lazy, but the truth is that over half of the Windows APIs have never been used!

So we certainly do have a moving target, but it's a target that moves at a relatively slow pace. We'll begin to feel some serious pain when applications are released as 'Longhorn only', particularly if those applications are dependent on some form of DRM or on some technology that is locked up by patents.

But luckily for us ISVs move much more slowly than Microsoft, so we should have plenty of time to keep up.

In fact, we get more pain from Linux distributions, who work at break neck speed to break Wine.

2) Educational Software - by north.coaster

It seems like most of the effort so far has been to get office productivity software (ie. Microsoft Office) to work on Linux. However, there is a market for low cost home computers that Linix could help to fill if the educational software that kids use (such as the Reader Rabbit series) could run on Linux. Why is this potential market being ignored?

Jeremy:

Yes! I would dearly love to support schools and the use of Linux. Especially when you consider LTSP, Linux is just such a great fit for the educational environment.

Unfortunately, the reality of Wine and economics makes this hard. See, we do our best when we can focus in on a small number of applications (e.g. Microsoft Office) for which a lot of people are willing and able to pay money. Schools, unfortunately, have the reverse situation - they need support for tons and tons of applications, and they have no money .

Now the very first thing I'm going to do when I win the lottery is go buy a stack of kids games and pay some Wine hackers to get them to work (seriously; you can ask my co workers, they're sick of me talking about this pet project). Unfortunately, the last lottery ticket I bought was a bust.

But I am really encouraged in a variety of ways. First, we always hope that our paying customers will help us to do enough 'collateral damage' that more than just the applications we focus on will work; that seems to be really happening now. Second, there is a real growth in the games/DirectX support in the Wine project. There is a great group of games hackers on the Wine project - volunteers all - and their work is really helping Wine to run a lot of games (the fact that Half-Life now works in CrossOver has somehow made the proportion of QA time to development time go up around here *grin*).

Finally, we are starting to get some support for educational software; we have a very meaningful pledge for Acclerated Reader on our compatibility center (http://c4.codeweavers.com). We hope to get to that soon, and we're told that will help unblock a lot of educational organizations.

3) Isn't this effort endangered by software patents? - by rben

If the EU really does pass the software patent law under consideration and the U.S. adopts that treaty that Bush is pushing, won't MS just be able to sue any compatibility products out of business?


Jeremy:

Yes, I think that all xGPL software is seriously threatened by patents.

Wine, I think, is safer than a project like Mono, in large part because Microsoft has only really started an aggressive patent process recently. I am not aware of any patent that the Wine project infringes upon, and no such infringement has been brought to our attention in the 10 years of the projects history.

That doesn't mean that the patent laws cannot be used as a club against Free Software projects, particulary when you realize that volunteer projects and smaller companies like CodeWeavers generally cannot afford to even fight for a dismissal of a ridiculous claim.

With that said, I think that there is a large number of very determined people in our community, myself included, that will fight strenously to see that any such abuse of the patent system will be challenged.

Further, Microsoft making the choice to use patents as an offensive weapon will be a clear sign that they are becoming desperate. It is fairly rare for a large company to use patents offensively against a smaller entity; it is generally frowned upon by the courts, and would also play very poorly in PR circles.

So, yes, it's a worry, but there will be reasons to rejoice should Microsoft try to wield that hammer.

4) LGPL Licensing - by Stealth Dave

How has the switch to LGPL affected contributions to the project, both positively and negatively? When the switch happened, there was a lot of noise from groups like Transgaming who needed to license proprietary technology from third parties, and the formation of the ReWind project. Has there been a noticable effect on contributions to WINE from outside groups as result of the licensing change?


Jeremy:

Okay, I'm biased on this one. I am a strong advocate of the LGPL.

However, I think the effect has been extremely positive. For example, here is the historic count of lines of code added to Wine each year:

2003: +247,471
2002: +159,393
2001: +104,641
2000: +119,796
1999: +164,910
1998: +132,235
1997: +48,566
1996: +56,748
1995: +19,345
1994: +42,746
1993: +36,487

1998/1999 was when Corel's involvement in Wine was at its highest (and Wine owes Corel a debt of gratitude; they were great to Wine).

2003 was the first full year of the LGPL. You do the math.

Further, prior to the LGPL split, game development in the public Wine tree was pretty well dead. Everyone was waiting for Transgaming to return their changes, and nothing was happening.

After the split, it became clear that those changes weren't coming back to the public tree. This led to a number of volunteers taking up the challenge and improving Wine's DirectX and other game support. This has led to a resurgance in Wine's activity on games. Historically, Wine has always been focused on games, so I am personally gratified to see it return to those roots, since it's not an effort we've been able to help on much (because folks don't buy large corporate support contracts for games :-/).

Additionally, a number of people seem to prefer the LGPL; we seemed to get an influx of new blood to the project as a result of the change. Further, our cooperation with other xGPL projects like ReactOS improved, and so we got some further energy from there as well.

5) MS Security Updates Apply? - by PSaltyDS

I can see that security holes that come from Windows OS code shouldn't effect the CrossOver Office Win98-like implementation of the APIs. Security holes that come from the MS application's code may or may not be present in that environment, but how do I know? What types of MS security updates apply to my CrossOver environment, and which don't? Are any of the security houses (like e-Eye) testing for vulnerabilities in the Linux/CrossOver (or Linux/WINE) space?


Jeremy:

Actually, much to our great surprise, the Windows Update service runs fully and completely in CrossOver. Further, we go to great pains to make sure that Office service packs apply cleanly (and we mostly succeed :-/).

We also go to all kinds of interesting lengths to avoid problems with viruses and worms. For example, we have a hack in our flavor of Wine*, in the CreateProcess call (the code to start an executable) that basically checks to see if the parent process is outlook.exe, and if it is, we crash and burn, preventing many of the worms and such from running. We also have customers that have set up chroot environments, and since Wine runs in user space, that is a theoretically perfectly secure environment.

Finally, one advantage of Wine/CrossOver, is that any infection is cleaned quite quickly with rm -rf ~/.cxoffice (and easy backup/restore methods exist).

But, for all of that, I don't want to dismiss this issue. I think anyone using Outlook (anywhere, not just CrossOver) should use a strong server side scanning product. Further, I think that the use of IE in Wine should be constrained to only those cases where it absolutely has to be used. The real truth is that when you're running Linux, you're inevitably going to be less paranoid about updating and securing any Windows environment, and that sort of neglect can lead to trouble.

* Changes such as this hack to Wine are internally referred to as 'Proprietary advantages'. We are seeking patents on such methods of gaining a market advantage (grin).
6) Viral Licensing Question - by KlomDark

Aren't you worried that you'll corrupt Linux with the viral Windows licensing scheme?


Jeremy:

Now you've learned my dirty secret, and I'll have to kill you all. I've actually been hired by Microsoft to poison this little communist enclave you have going here. You'll note that since our introduction of CrossOver Office, OpenOffice has withered and died on the vine, clear proof that we do great harm to open source projects. The dissolution of Mozilla into Firefox was a clear gesture of despair on their part over our support for IE.

Further, our use of 'proprietary advantages' to create lock in has clearly emboldened companies such as Novell to preserve and extend their proprietary lock ins on products such as the Ximian Connector...

Bwahahahaha. You're all doomed!

[grin]

7) Source-level Compatibility? - by cgreuter

I hear a lot of talk about binary compatibility with Windows, but not so much about source-code-level compatibility. What sort of efforts, if any, are being made toward letting people trivially recompile existing Windows programs to run natively under Linux/X? Have any commercial software vendors considered taking this approach?


Jeremy:

My original passion for Wine had nothing to do with running existing code. I've always loved the source porting angle much better than binary compatibility (hence my ill fated affair with TWIN aka Twine).

The good news, is that after seeing the error of my ways, we put a lot of energy into making source compatibility work extremely well. Francois did a lot of work on this, and Dimi and a few others have picked it up and really made this process sing.

I understand that the Windows build of Abiword now compiles and runs cleanly in Wine. I know that simple applications, like all of the Petzold examples, build and run in Winelib.

What's interesting (to me, anyways, the rest of you can yawn and skip to the next question) is that I've come to realize that source compatibility really isn't that important. The difference to the end user between a gcc compiled Winelib app and a Visual C++ build Windows app running with Wine is...nothing, except maybe the Visi C compiler builds slightly better, faster code.

Corel realized this; they spent an enormous amount of energy working towards a source port, and eventually just shipped a binary solution. It wasn't popular, but it was wise, imho.

However, what Winelib does allow, that *is* wicked cool, is that you can port a Windows app to a non x86 platform quite easily. I don't really know of anyone that really values this (i.e. is willing to pay big bucks for it), but it's cool, nonetheless.

8) Microsoft Source? - by NinjaPablo

If Microsoft were to release more source code (legally, not the leaked source from a while back), or if Microsoft approached the Wine team and offered access to portions of the Windows source code, would you accept it? What if it involved an NDA or adding non-GPL portions to Wine?


Jeremy:

Well, I would refuse any kind of legal agreement that would jeapordize the ability of Wine to move forward openly and free of any MS license entanglements.

But that doesn't mean we couldn't use further help; there are certainly large areas of the Windows API that we struggle to understand, and we could certainly use some help. I, for one, would like to have seen the consent decree put in place an oversight board; while Microsoft has opened their documentation considerably since that decree, we have no one to turn to to ask for further clarifications and further information.

9) Tax Software? - by mengel

Every year I end up having to boot MSWindows in order to run Tax software. It's pretty much the only time I boot MSWindows anymore, and I end up doing a lot of work to keep that environment around and running just for that one, annual, task. And it's not just me, we have had several [slashdot.org] articles [slashdot.org] here at Slashdot discussing this topic at great length.

Are you guys working on a deal with any of the tax software publishers to ensure their software runs under Wine each year?

If not, would you consider it?


Jeremy:

Well, we're working very hard to encourage ISVs of all kinds to work with us to bring their products to the Linux market.

And we've had some very positive responses, but I can't really tell you much more than that just yet. However, I will tell you that we are not working with any of the Tax software providers.

Candidly, that's a pretty tricky one. Because each version of Tax Software is so ephmeral, and because we get such a short time window to test and work on it, they're really hard to nail. Further, it's not clear to me that we'd really make enough money to begin to cover the costs involved. If we could, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Feel free to assemble a possee of interested folks at http://c4.codeweavers.com; we will absolutely listen to customer demand.

10) Project David - by mfh

We've heard that Project David could be a CrossOver Office rip-off. To what extent is David a fraud and what are your options to combat those who would misrepresent themselves using your products for VC or even illegal/infringing sales revenue?


Jeremy:

Well, I don't know anything more about Project David than anyone else who reads Slashdot, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I always say. It's clear from Mike McCormack's research that it uses a version of Wine that we've released. Note that that's not necessarily fraud or a rip off of any kind - our Wine is LGPL, and it allows for just that sort of thing.

My opinion is much like others on Slashdot - they're clearly in the early stages, and don't really have a particularly impressive set of web pages. Further, they haven't really described their technology in any meaningful way.

However, this is one of the great things about the LGPL. It allows for us to have competitors spring up and try to build on our work. This is - heaven forbid - good for customers. We have to work harder and better to make sure that we continue to give our customers what they crave.

The only thing that bothers me when folks like the Project David guys come along is when they don't honor the work of those that have gone before.

I am only here today because I am able to use the hard work of many, many people who have generously given their work to us all to use. I think Alexandre has successfully eradicated the last line of my code in Wine (and he stubbornly rejects my patches, too), so nothing is Wine is anything I have built. And yet my entire livelihood and that of my family is built on Wine.

I am deeply grateful to the people that let me sell their work - even though I have paid them nothing - and the least I can do is respect and acknowledge their work.

So it bugs me when people like Project David (and others like it) come along touting their wonderful Windows compatibility without giving any props to the people that have worked so hard on Wine.

Ain't illegal, ain't fraud, but it just isn't cool in my book.

[/soapbox]

At any rate, I think that's it. Thanks for asking!

Cheers,

Jeremy

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208 comments

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Is it Friday yet? (3, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174023)

I read "Jeremy White's Wine answers" as "Jeremy's White Wine answers".

Re:Is it Friday yet? (1, Offtopic)

Theresa1 (748664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174063)

I did exactly the same thing. I was thinking "why has slashdot got an article on white wine?"

Re:Is it Friday yet? (1, Funny)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174136)

Aw, that's just the White Wine talking...

Re:Is it Friday yet? (3, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174368)

I was trying to get Wine to work a while ago, and asked one of my friends "What do you know about Wine", who proceeded to launch into a discussion about how he hates the taste.

Re:Is it Friday yet? (-1, Offtopic)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174128)

Same here, and then I got confused because the WINE logo is red.

Re:Is it Friday yet? (0, Offtopic)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174204)

I did too. I wonder if Phil's Flank Steak has anything to say about that.

Appalled and ashamed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174258)

As a tax-payer who helps to pay the salaries of the judges who now violate God's own law by pronouncing freaks and sinners married [myway.com] I am appalled.

Re:Is it Friday yet? (0, Offtopic)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174278)

Nope its monday and it is going to be a long week for you.

Jeez (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174025)

What a big winer!

Easy (4, Interesting)

SirChris (676927) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174034)

I wonder how long it will be before you won't question whether it will work with Wine. It will just be common place to say, "Hey if it works in windows, it will work with Wine.

Re:Easy (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174205)

If ever I can play my old copy of Dungeon Keeper, I'll be happy. ;)

Re:Easy (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174451)

Hell, I've been trying for 3 years to get Magic: The Gathering working! I'd be thrilled once that works under Linux!

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174912)

Well here is your chance to see this happen..... :-)
Just go to: http://www.codeweavers.com/site/compatibility/brow se/name?app_id=249
and vote or pledge for future DirectX support.
You can pledge that you will purchese a copy of CrossOver if
this app is made to work. So round up all your "Dungeon Keeper" playing friends and vote for better gaming support.

Re:Easy (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174941)

I paid for it once. I don't want to have to pay for it again. :P What, will we have to start referring to the "linux tax"?

I can't resist... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174036)

Want some cheese with that?

Redrum! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174040)

http://www.angryalien.com/0504/shiningbunnies.html

Project David (5, Funny)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174044)

So I guess Project David is then old WINE in new tarballs...

Wrong (5, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174048)

but that's where your highest-moderated questions led

No, that's where the highest-moderated questions you sent him led. There was a good variety of questions, some a little harsher than others, but I would have enjoyed reading his response to some of them. Granted, there is a lot of score:5's in the 'question' article, but I think you could have done a bit better on the variety of questions asked.

Agreed (1)

Apostata (390629) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174520)

I'm actually a little surprised by the questions chosen, and the fact that they're mostly middle-of-the-road in terms of challenge.

Americans == NAZI pigs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174060)

fucking torturers and "rapests"(sic)

"All that talk about WINE... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174062)

...and not a single mention of Chateauneuf du Pape '87. Niles will be scandalized!" /Frasier

Re:"All that talk about WINE... (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174440)

"Like a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape;

I'm fine like wine when I start to rap."
- The Beastie Boys

I work for one of those Tax software companies (-1, Offtopic)

Voip God (779474) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174078)

Last I checked Mac OS 10 is suppoerted by Turbo Tax. That Linux based right?

Re:I work for one of those Tax software companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174117)

Last I checked Mac OS X was not free.

Re:I work for one of those Tax software companies (1)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174133)

No. The core of OS X is UNIX (Mach, Darwin, etc) but not "linux".

Re:I work for one of those Tax software companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174146)

No dumbass. OSX is Mach and BSD based.

Re:I work for one of those Tax software companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174157)

No, it's not. Nice try though.

Uh NO (BSD is not Linux) (0, Offtopic)

mrnick (108356) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174259)

Max OS X is BSD (Darwin) based.

Nick Powers

Linux Tax Software (3, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174660)

At the moment, do my taxes at turbotax.com (online). I find that there are disadvantages compared to the boxed software, but it works well enough, and they have done a great job of improving it over the next few years.

What we REALLY need is for the government to use some of our tax dollars to release a BSD-licensed tax software engine and database. That way, we could build open source tax software relatively easily. The reason why this doesn't happen is that the cost of tax software really is the cost of the tax law review process by acountants and lawyers, and this is not something conducive to open source development yet.

wine rocks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174082)

wine is amazing, almost every app i have tried lately worked, no string attached :)

Only half of the API's are used? (5, Interesting)

Henrik S. Hansen (775975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174083)

In fact, Wine only implements about half of the Windows APIs. [...] the truth is that over half of the Windows APIs have never been used!

I find it a little hard to believe that many W32 API's are never used by apps. But if it is really true, talk about code bloat!

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (4, Funny)

Bobdoer (727516) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174193)

Perhaps it's those "unused" calls that are required for children's "educational" games to run.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174228)

Code bloat?

Several things:

1. It's not like having some extra functions sitting around in DLLs is taking up huge amounts of disk [or memory, when the DLL gets mapped].
2. There are a lot of legacy APIs sitting around, which allows for backwards compatability [I'm glad I can run apps written for '98 on an XP box].
3. I'm glad MS has additional functions for me to use - just because not everyone uses 'em doesn't mean they're worthless!

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174725)

You are "glad" XP "allows" you to run Win9X apps.
Not to be rude, but you really are a fucking bootlicker.
MS would not have been able to launch XP without Win9X compatibility. Isn't that obvious to you?

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174857)

In fact, we get more pain from Linux distributions, who work at break neck speed to break Wine. says the Jermey White.

Maybe you Linux guys should try a little bootlicking yourself -- because Linux becomes incompatible with itself every couple years. Go head and run RedHat 6.0 application on Fedora and see how far you get.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (4, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174242)

It's not so much that they are never used, the sheer number of apps out there pretty much guarantees somebody, somewhere will have used any given API.

It's more that in all the apps we've tried to run on Wine, nothing has ever tried to use that feature (new features tend to be easier to add than fixing bugs in existing features). And yes, there are a whole ton of calls that simply aren't implemented because even large, complex apps like DreamWeaver, MS Office etc don't use them.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174263)

There's still a lot of 16-bit cruft in the Win32 APIs.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (5, Insightful)

rabtech (223758) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174270)

One man's "code bloat" is another man's BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY.

There are many Windows APIs that only exist to be backwards-compatible; they are depreciated and are marked in the docs as such. This means some wierd app you use to control industrial machinery that was written for Windows 95 most likely still works on Windows XP.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (2, Interesting)

tiger99 (725715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174751)

Controlling industrial machinery in 95 or even XP? You have got to be kidding, unless of course it is a trivial bit of machinery that can't damage itself or anything/anyone else if it runs out of control. Controlling real machines with that load of excrement is legally, morally and economically highly questionable. Legally, because you will be sued when it BSODs and causes damage, morally because you are putting property and maybe lives at risk, and economically, because it will do your own business no good at all when it crashes.

Yet, sadly I have heard of it being so used, IIRC this has been debated on /. before.

In many countries you would be committing a criminal offence by using non-validated software to control anything that moves and could cause injury, and rightly so.

So, I doubt that the weird APIs are there for controlling machinery, more likely they are there because in the random way he operates, Sir Bill once thought they were a good idea, then found that they were actually useless and was too proud and stubborn to have them removed. The unused and unwanted bloat is likely to be the cause of many of the bugs and security holes, the code tends to be messily commingled with vital bits, in fact the whole of Windoze seems to be structured in the most messy way possible.

It seems that .Net is finally an admission that the Windoze API set was a complete load of rubbish, and it is time to start again, unfortunately sitting it on top of the mess that went before only makes the problem worse, and also sacrifices efficiency.

But you are basically right, the bloat is caused by backwards compatability of the unnecessary kind. Longhorn will be the same, in order to sell it will need to be compatible with the trash that went before, so it will no doubt have an enormous XP emulation layer sitting on top of the new code, to faithfully reproduce the bugs. It is time to call a halt, throw away backwards compatability (except for reading and writing file formats used by applications of course) and start again. But it will never happen until M$ ceases to be significant, the sooner that happens, the better.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (5, Interesting)

ex_ottoyuhr (607701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174271)

And it's the 5% that are used once in the history of Windows that have the most annoyance potential...

I suspect that American development traditions just might not include about half of the API, but it might be useful if anyone ever bothers with it. I say "American" because My Favorite Program (tm), _Cossacks_, uses just enough relatively obscure system calls that Wine fails miserably to install it.

This seems to me to be a trend in all software development these days: to give most users most of what they want, doing the easy 90% of the project (which consumes the first 90% of the time), and then leaving the difficult 10% of the project (which consumes the _next_ 90% of the time) unattempted.

Granted, in WINE's case, they have a pair of really good excuses: they're aiming at a (rapidly!) moving target, and they have no employees, only volunteers. So, I don't blame them too much, although it annoys me that I'm currently dual-booting Windows 98 (for DOS games)and 2000 (for Visual Studio) when there's a Windows emulator (err, "compatibility layer") already under production in Linux-land.

Of course, other groups don't have reasons for slipshod development. Microsoft is, or at least used to be, very bad about this (see: MSN Search, although I think they're learning). To some extent the commercial Linux developers are guilty of the same, and it was especially characteristic of Unix way back when it started...

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (2, Interesting)

tiger99 (725715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174935)

When Unix began, it was a bit like that as you say, but the things that tended to get left unfinished, i.e. doing the easy 90% of the work, were tools, which were really intended only to do simple things. Even the Bourne shell was IMHO left half done, in early versions, but it was better to have a reduced-function but useable tool than no tool at all. The overall package was still way ahead of any possible competition.

I saw no evidence, with one possible exception, that the kernel and file system were left half-done in any commercial version. As Unix was not really well funded in the beginning, it was far better to get good but simplistic things working than to go for complex, all-singing, all-dancing solutions that mostly would not be used.

It has changed nowadays, if you look up the Linux or BSD manuals (or probably Solaris, AIX, SCOundrel etc) the modern options to some of the long-established commands have become positively bewildering. I am not sure that it really represents progress, it may have been better to to the 10% of the work to get 90% of the result, and spend the remaining 90% of the work doing 10% of the work on a set of 9 new tools, if you see what I mean, you nay get better value for money by doing a lot of quick things than one big one.

Of course whether you favour quick and simple, or long and complex, and they are both valid point sof view, the thing that must never be forgotten is quality. A simple little tool that does half the job accurately and dependably can be used to accomplish things, a grossly complex thing that does everything including making a cup of tea, but crashes every Wednesday, unless the wind is from the east, is all but useless. And that, I think, must have been the view of some of the original Unix people, which is why you can do good but limited things with sed, awk, and so on. It is easier to string basic bits together with a pipe than to make the universal panacea.

To put it in perspective, I was doing things under Unix V7 around 1983 easily that still can't be done in any M$ software without a major (and I mean major) programming exercise, or of course by using Cygwin, which sadly is not terribly efficient because the undellying OS is so poor (no fork() for example, it has to be emulated). Credit is due to the developers for getting it to work at all, on top of a so-called Posix-compatible OS that isn't.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174948)

I'm currently dual-booting Windows 98 (for DOS games)



What about DOSBox [sourceforge.net] ?

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (4, Interesting)

jsebrech (525647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174988)

Microsoft is doing a pretty good job with backwards compatibility. I have windows 3.11 games written in 1994 that still run in windows xp, a decade later, without modification. There are few operating systems which can boost that level of backwards compatibility (IBM's stuff comes to mind though, but they use the virtualization trick to do it).

Still, I believe the future lies in the aforementioned inclusion of full virtualization to run previous OS versions into the base operating system. Apple included an OS9 environment that way into OS X, and microsoft could include a version of virtual pc (which they own). That way you can ease ancient API's out of the codebase and still allow people to run their old stuff. And given how much spare cpu cycles modern PC's have, this shouldn't even be much of a slowdown.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174485)

Especialy if Microsoft (or anybody else for that matter) wants to break some applications:

MS Enginer: "Hey, Bill, new Wine can run our Office XP now!"
MS Bill : "Make sure that some of ours
ObscureFunctionXX(){};
not present in wine, is included somewhere in new sevice pack..."

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174895)

So, then Wine just emulates ObscureFunctionXX(), big deal.

I imagine the real problem is obscure special-function parts of Windows like TAPI, MAPI, WinG, and so on. There's a lot of functionality in those libraries, but very little reward in emulating it.

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (1)

groot (198923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174487)

I guess I must have the software that uses the other half. With some of my apps, all I get is whines from Wine that it does not support this or that.

--laz

Re:Only half of the API's are used? (1)

theendlessnow (516149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174591)

... and apparently the unused half have to do with security!! That'll teach them not to use coin toss based decision making again.

Breaking WINE (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174091)

In fact, we get more pain from Linux distributions, who work at break neck speed to break Wine.

And all other software too. Am I the only one who's getting tired of trying to play matchup with GLIBC versions?

Re:Breaking WINE (2, Funny)

Tet (2721) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174135)

Am I the only one who's getting tired of trying to play matchup with GLIBC versions?

Yes...

Re:Breaking WINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174296)

Heh heh heh... Very clever subject line! (Er, you did do it on purpose, right?)

Re:Breaking WINE (5, Informative)

Joel Carr (693662) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174312)

Am I the only one who's getting tired of trying to play matchup with GLIBC versions?

No you're not, and since the artical is about Wine, you may be interested in knowing that Alexandre Julliard is also fed up with it.

On Wine Devel he posted this:
Also, frankly, I've spent the last year chasing glibc breakages, and I don't particularly feel like spending the next year chasing kernel breakages. I was kind of hoping someone else would pick that fight, so I could go back to writing some real Wine code for a change...

http://www.winehq.org/hypermail/wine-devel/2003/12 /0384.html [winehq.org]

---

Re:Breaking WINE (3, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174454)

you only have to play matchup if you use a binary package based distribution. Actually I think debian makes sure this problem doesn't happen, so its mostly with the rpm based distros. Source based distros like gentoo, slackware or lunar linux don't have problems like this. You download the source to an app and build it against whatever glibc you are currently using. With binary distros you have to hope you have the same glibc as the guy who made the package.

Yeah, offtopic, but I'm just helping this guy out. Wine rules.

Re:Breaking WINE (3, Interesting)

jlp2097 (223651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174472)

It's been over a year since the last offical release.

But you probably haven't heard the news [redhat.com] ? There will be no more official glibc release. Ulrich Drepper has decided, that it is just a waste of time because "nobody tests it anyway" and because he does not see any big changes ahead. That's why distributions like Linux From Scratch and Rock Linux (and just about every big distribution) doesn't include 2.3.2 but some CVS snapshot deemed stable enough.

Re:Breaking WINE (3, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174894)

But you probably haven't heard the news ? There will be no more official glibc release.

[Post censored by the committee for clean language in /. posts]

how about a foundation, instead of lottery tickets (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174096)

Now the very first thing I'm going to do when I win the lottery is go buy a stack of kids games and pay some Wine hackers to get them to work (seriously; you can ask my co workers, they're sick of me talking about this pet project). Unfortunately, the last lottery ticket I bought was a bust.

How about setting up something like the "WINE Foundation" (perhaps with a more creative name) and include a DONATE file in the distro, and a link off the WINE homepage? Ask for a)legal/tax/investing help and b)money. Seek more than one opinion about all matters under (a).

Or, just ask people to "donate" by maintaining a wishlist of packages schools are looking to run. People buy a copy, get it to work, donate the patches back to the community and the copy of the software (which they no longer need) to the school in question. Whole lot easier than my first suggestion.

Re:how about a foundation, instead of lottery tick (2, Interesting)

tweakr (90832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174436)

> Or, just ask people to "donate" by maintaining a wishlist of packages schools are looking to run.

Umm - that's the whole purpose of the "Compatibility" area of the CodeWeavers website is for....? Why not just get schools (or related people) who are willing to add such programs to the list, "advocate" the project (provide help and testing), and/or pledge (donate) towards them? If there are enough people (parents??) who are willing to vote or drop in a few dollars, I'm sure that would make a good difference...

Re:how about a foundation, instead of lottery tick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174441)

This to some extent is already in place.
Here is the link http://www.winehq.org/site/contributing#wpf

If you have some insightful recommendations please send them to the wine-devel list.

Tom

Re:how about a foundation, instead of lottery tick (5, Informative)

jeremy_white (598942) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174442)

Well, that is pretty much the idea behind our compatibility center [codeweavers.com] .

And, if you donate to WineHQ [winehq.org] , I'll see that that money flows through to buy apps for Wine hackers (mostly games, I want to send Lionel a tub full).

plug it, Luke! (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174479)

Well, that is pretty much the idea behind our compatibility center [codeweavers.com].

Ok, so why didn't you plug it in your answer? :-)

Re:plug it, Luke! (5, Interesting)

jeremy_white (598942) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174601)

Well, I was trying to be non commercial in my answers; it always bugs me when others do nothing but plug their products.

The sales and marketing guys are already on my case about this; I'm [codeweavers.com] trying [codeweavers.com] to [codeweavers.com] do [codeweavers.com] better. [codeweavers.com] (Actually, that last link is pretty darn cool, imho).

Re:how about a foundation, instead of lottery tick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174543)

Or a way to set up bounties.

Like donating money for the first guy that will report a specific application as working.

This way, people with the same center of interest could donate directly toward getting some specific app working.

Re:how about a foundation, instead of lottery tick (1)

jsebrech (525647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9175024)

Like donating money for the first guy that will report a specific application as working.

The problem is that often you can do hacks to enable some specific app, while regressing on overall api compatility. Like how the earlier implementations of the installshield support worked.

Re:how about a foundation, instead of lottery tick (1)

Can (21457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174582)

I'm pretty sure this is more or less what http://c4.codeweavers.com allows you to do.

Bad markup! (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174160)

The "<grin" at the end of question 5 seems to be breaking a closing blockquote tag...

Re:Bad markup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174290)

> The "grin" at the end of question 5 seems to be
> breaking a closing blockquote tag...

I guess that Jeremy and the rest of Slashdot are still grinning.

Stop that now and get back to work!
[/grin]

-- your boss

Re:Bad markup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174313)

> Stop that now and get back to work!
> -- your boss

How did my wife get on Slashdot?

[Run for cover]

Re:Bad markup! (1, Funny)

jlp2097 (223651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174505)

Slashdot is probably the only site where something like this gets modded +4 Informative :-)

the question about "tax software" (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174166)

I have always wondered WHY there is no "open taxes" projects going.

we could simply create a framework that run's say a python script thtat describs the rules and calculations of the tax form and simply print out the postscript from there...

That way the only changes needed to be done to the program from year to year only need to be done to the form descriptor script.

and if this was done right, the form printout plus the rules, etc were in the descriptor file, then the "open taxes" program could work for multiple countries...

alas, I cant write a lick of C++ or C so there is no chance of me writing it or starting it. also there is that sticky issue of what happens if the softwear makes a mistake causing the users to have to pay $$$billions in fines??

Just do them online (5, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174252)

Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that I did my taxes in Firefox with TurboTax online (under Windows, admittedly) and it worked fine, so I imagine that you could do that with Firefox under Linux. I've used the online service for 5 or so years now, it works well, I get a pdf of the whole form at the end and they remember my basic information from one year to the next. No need to get a boxed cd for something you'll use for a week or so, and certainly no need to maintain a windows box for that sole purpose.

Re:Just do them online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174478)

"Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that I did my taxes in Firefox with TurboTax online (under Windows, admittedly) and it worked fine, so I imagine that you could do that with Firefox under Linux."

I doubt it. It definately works with the rest of the GNU system installed but with just the kernel and Firefox? No, it doesn't work. You would need at least a login shell, libc, an implementation of X11 and perhaps a window manager. Not to mention the library dependencies required for Firefox but I suppose you could use a statically linked binary.

Re:Just do them online (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174710)

Dude, you're an idiot. Quick nit-picking.

Re:Just do them online (5, Informative)

Snodgrass (446409) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174597)

For the record I did mine in Firefox on FreeBSD.

Worked like a charm.

Re:the question about "tax software" (5, Informative)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174264)

I have always wondered WHY there is no "open taxes" projects going. we could simply create a framework that run's say a python script thtat describs the rules and calculations of the tax form and simply print out the postscript from there...
You mean like this [sourceforge.net] ?

Re:the question about "tax software" (4, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174317)

I always wondered why the IRS didn't issue tax software. Why should I have to pay for the privilege of filling out & filing forms electronically instead of picking up paper forms at the post office.

Electronic filing in particular saves the IRS tons of cash. But I prefer to pay $0.37 for a stamp than $20 to e-file.

Re:the question about "tax software" (1)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174559)

There are some great rebates on tax software every year that might make it worthwhile. It's like a late Christmas present or something. Buy TurboTax and a $60GB hard drive, get full rebates for both! We use TurboTax, and always just print out the forms and mail them(and a hardcopy to keep). Why the heck should I pay that horrible amount for e-filing?

Re:the question about "tax software" (4, Interesting)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174624)

Believe it or not, the IRS has been pushing to do this for some time. However, the congressman whose district includes Intuit (I think it's in San Diego) has repeatedly stalled the proposal. Apparently there is a law saying that the government can't compete with a private business, and he claims that the IRS making a free electronic tax-filing service available would unfairly compete with Intuit.

jf

Re:the question about "tax software" (4, Insightful)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174324)

Because it would be impossible.

This is not a project where folks are going to put up with "good enough" or even "very good". This is a project that would have to be perfect. We are talking larga amounts of money in paticular if something goes wrong. Also it is not just a matter of rules and calculations from one form. Any tax app basically needs to know the entire US tax code.

I for example have a house, 3 kids, a big chunk of charitable contribs and a bunch of other stuff. Any tax app needs to be able to do all that math for me and it needs to be up to date. It also needs to be able to efile. I don't know how hard or easy that is but it has to be able to do it. There is *much* more to it than the 1040 book. Oh and states, Oregon has had tax votes in January for the last 2 years. Who is going to update the code for state changes in anything resembling a timely matter and there are strict IRS rules on liablity for all of this.

The best way to do this is to convince one of the vendors to try and make it work with wine.

Re:the question about "tax software" (4, Interesting)

Tarantolato (760537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174413)

The code part of tax software is fairly trivial. The problem is the data part: your code has to be working with good information about tax laws federally and in all fifty states.

So even if you could code in C or C++, it wouldn't matter. You need tax lawyers and CPAs for this project rather than just coders. And they don't work for free.

Re:the question about "tax software" (3, Insightful)

mikehoskins (177074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174482)

If I'm not mistaken, it seems that the tax software companies primarily use the Government's PDF forms. They sure look like them.

If you can open the PDF and make an FDF out of it, couldn't you do EXACTLY what the poster of this message asked?

So, if you have an interactive FDF viewer that made calculations, etc., you should be able to do it easier than many think you might.

Of course Python is the wrong language to do it in. Kidding. (Self-confessed Perl/PHP bigot.)

Re:the question about "tax software" (2, Informative)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174785)

You could also use the online tax software (i.e. Intuit). You can do your taxes from their website, and if I recall I used mozilla under Linux just fine the last time I did them there. Luckily my credit is so horrible I am not too worried about my personal info on the web :-(

Re:the question about "tax software" (3, Informative)

theCat (36907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174851)

Been using TurboTax online from my Mac running OSX (*BSD) for years now. It's a great service and I do not even think about buying tax software.

Taxes are one of the few times where it makes sense to run an online application. They can keep tax data and rules up to date to the last minute without issuing and distributing patches, and retain my data even if I change PCs over the years.

Not here to pitch their product, just trying to address the question of when it makes sense to have software on your harddrive vs software on an app server. As far as it goes, one can run any software from a remote app server and this might make more sense in the future, but right now tax software is a no-brainer.

Software Patents (1, Insightful)

atheos (192468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174182)

correct me if I'm wrong, but one one hand he says

"Yes, I think that all xGPL software is seriously threatened by patents."

and the other hand says:

"* Changes such as this hack to Wine are internally referred to as 'Proprietary advantages'. We are seeking patents on such methods of gaining a market advantage"

So, which is it?
Software patents are EVIL EVIL EVIL
or
Software patents are great for market advantage.

Can you really have it both ways?

Re:Software Patents (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174218)

I have just secured the patent for "Telling a joke using a networked computer". Jeremy White now owes me $20 but it doesn't look like you are in any danger.

Re:Software Patents (4, Insightful)

shadow303 (446306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174229)

I am pretty sure the second bit was a joke.

Re:Software Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174274)

Hmm, since you seem to have a humour impediment, I probably shouldn't reply sarcastically. What's more interesting, though, is that apparently a couple of moderators also missed the boat. Anyhoo, it's a joke. If you don't get it, just laugh with the rest of us. That way, we won't look at you funny or throw you off the boat to go "swimming with the fishees, see?"

Re:Software Patents (1)

bodrell (665409) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174377)

So, which is it?
Software patents are EVIL EVIL EVIL
or
Software patents are great for market advantage.

Can you really have it both ways?

Sure!
It's the way the patents are used that can be EVIL EVIL EVIL, as you say. Patents are rights to exclude, so if WINE has a patent, they can easily exclude proprietary software from using it. But they can also allow open source projects to use the patent. I just read a second ago that Apple is trying to patent translucent windows. If they try to enforce their patent to prevent translucent windows in Linux, that would be bad. But if they just use the patent as leverage against Micro$oft, it doesn't bother me any. Microsoft can afford to license a patent or two.

Re:Software Patents (2, Informative)

David McBride (183571) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174380)

It's a joke!

Re:Software Patents (1)

MasterD (18638) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174392)

Press tounge into cheek.

Re:Software Patents (5, Informative)

jeremy_white (598942) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174411)

Sorry for the confusion. There was a [grin] in angle brackets after that, only that seems not to go through to HTML posts very well.
It was all meant as a jest. I think Software Patents are an evil blight on the land.

OMG!!!!! (0, Funny)

Giant Panda (779279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174202)

See, we do our best when we can focus in on a small number of applications (e.g. Microsoft Office) for which a lot of people are willing and able to pay money. Schools, unfortunately, have the reverse situation - they need support for tons and tons of applications, and they have no money...

[joke] OMG! This guy is a Capitalist Pig! And Slashdot publishes his swill??? [/joke]

Re:OMG!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174417)

And for schools there is OpenOffice.

Tax Software (5, Interesting)

A. Pizmo Clam (779689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174249)

Most of the larger/more reputable tax packages are already phasing in web-based clients alongside or in place of their shrinkwrap offerings. This will become a non-issue for the Wine team before very long.

This is a good thing. It's nice to have more Windows apps that work under emulation, it's better to have more native Linux apps, but it's best to have more apps that are entirely platform-neutral. (We need to make sure they aren't IE-only though.)

Re:Tax Software (4, Funny)

blunte (183182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174629)

I don't see what the fuss is. I hand a CPA a file full of junk, a $50 check, and come back a couple days later for my file + tax forms to sign.

My method works regardless of what OS I use.

To my favorite anti-blunte moderator, this post may start out at 2, but I'm sure it's worth you marking Overrated as usual. Thanks in advance.

ooh, i know, i know! (4, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174269)

However, what Winelib does allow, that *is* wicked cool, is that you can port a Windows app to a non x86 platform quite easily. I don't really know of anyone that really values this (i.e. is willing to pay big bucks for it), but it's cool, nonetheless.

Software Synthesizer Plugins!

I've see, I think it is now, three different VST-plugin efforts that are going on, to get Linux up as a primo VST host ... but I can really see this going weird when linuxPPC folks can take a VST .DLL and run it ...)

Didn't much care for the questions (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174292)

They were mostly about politics and procedure. Nothing with any meat. There was one question where he slightly got into updating Office software but that's it.
Since this seems to be the first high profile interview in a while why weren't there more technical questions? What's next for Wine? Is there some particular program that's about to work well?

Finally, is there any future potential conflict of interest between codeweavers and Wine. Say Codeweavers reaches the point where it can run most Windows software easily. What is the incentive to get those features back into Wine so that its as good as Codeweavers? IMHO once mainline Wine becomes moron proof and works as well as the cross-over products there just won't be much use for Codeweavers products. Are you not worried or will someone make sure this doesn't happen? That may sound negative but its a real concern that this delicate balancing act may indeed hold back mainline Wine.

What about a really important (4, Interesting)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174342)

app like itunes?

Re:What about a really important (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174616)

There are some tip's in C4 about running itunes just mozey on over to http://www.codeweavers.com/site/compatibility/brow se/name?app_id=134

Tom

Re:What about a really important (5, Informative)

nbahi15 (163501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174794)

You can offer a cash bounty for specific applications to be supported by Codeweavers. It is in the Compatibility section of their website. Once you have located the application you would like to have supported (e.g. iTunes, which I offer $50 for) then you make a pledge. Kinda like NPR/PBS for nerds.

Just curious (3, Interesting)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174595)

"there are certainly large areas of the Windows API that we struggle to understand, and we could certainly use some help"
Does anyone know which APIs he's talking about?

Cue the music. (0, Offtopic)

gregarican (694358) | more than 10 years ago | (#9174870)

"Spill the wine, dig that girl...Spill the wine, dig that girl..." I know it's OT, but the song is stuck in my head now.
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