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Linux to Get Windows Apps?

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the extend-and-embrace-with-a-smile dept.

Linux 318

Alowishus writes "ZDNet reports that MainSoft, a Microsoft Partner and Windows source licensee is working on a Linux version of MainWin - a product that makes the Win32 API available on Linux, thus enabling cross-platform development. A demo version is supposed to be available in a few weeks."

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What about WINE? (1)

bbillian (19067) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603078)

So how does this project differ from WINE?

Wine and this BS (0)

isolation (15058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603082)

This is really sick. I suppose now that wine has been so sucsful MS decides that its time to "Exorcize the Freedom to Inovate" and all that BS. Oh well having IE5 for linux may be nice

Wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603084)

Gee this is so great! Now yet another excuse for companies to avoid creating decent linux-native applications. We should be demanding real linux apps, not some crappy win32 layer...see IE on Solaris for a reference as to how that goes...

Use the Source :-) (1)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603088)

MainWin uses the Windows source, as far as I know, wine doesn't.

Don't place any bets (5)

ajs (35943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603091)

Microsoft is likely willing to spend an awful lot of money on "market research". At this point, they are probably just trying to find out how viable a platform Linux is. The added bonus is, if they port Win32 now, they won't have to port it later if they find that they need to ship something under Linux. This is also a cheap way to test the FUD waters. After all a lot of people are thinking of porting apps to Linux. If MS announces that Win32 may support Linux "Real Soon Now", those plans may be de-railed by companies that don't want Linux porting to be a waste of their time...

My question is this, though: what underlying toolkit will they use. Will it be based on raw Xlib (good for speed), Motif (a lose just about all the way around, at this point), GTk+ or Qt (good, full-featured toolkits with powerful features "free") or GNOME or KDE (even more features than their underlying toolkits, but even more bloat to put the world's most bloated toolkit on top of). I think that at this point even GNOME is not in a position to be a simple back-end to a Win32 port (i.e. there is not a 1-1 mapping from all Win32 features to GNOME, yet), so there's going to be a lot of glue code no matter what. I'd hate to see Win32 apps released for Linux, and be 10 times slower out of the gate.

This will be fun to watch, but I doubt it will pan out as anything serious just yet.

Done before? (2)

QuMa (19440) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603093)

isn't this what twin is doing? Have a look at all the wine-ish projects at [] .

Probebly works. (3)

Forge (2456) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603096)

It's closed. It's endorsed by MS ( Indirectly ) and it will probably work properly since the easiest way to emulate a monster like Win32 is to look at the source.

SoftPC for the mack was also built by an NT source code licensee.

Re:What about WINE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603099)

Wine comes with sources, is free and can run windows binaries on x86, but still has a way to go... Bye Uwe Bonnes

ZD ignoring Wine? (3)

Adrian Harvey (6578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603183)

It is interesting that they don't mention WINE [] as competition. Normally ZDNet not mentioning the Open Source product wouldn't surprise me, but this *is* a Linux article.

Wine (by my guesstimation) is looking at a similar time period to be stable enough to port sellable applications with. Corel must think so too, or Corel Office on Linux would be too far off to be worth doing this way (IMHO, of course))

To head off wasted posts quickly, please remember that WINE is *BOTH* a Win32 API implementation, AND a Windows emulator (The latter being a binary loader and interface to the former, of course)

Re:Don't place any bets (1)

scottj (7200) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603184)

Hey man, read the MainSoft site. They've already got this product out for several different OSes: Solaris, Tru64, HP/UX, AIX, and Irix. The Linux version is just a port to another OS. I don't think it is anywhere near as unlikely as you make it out to be.

Also, several versions feature the Stingray Objective Toolkit. I'm not familiar with this toolkit, and I have my own doubts about it.

OTOH, I think that this app is VERY highly priced. I was unable to find any pricing on the site, but it seems to be portrayed as a very expensive, highly-targeted app.

Re:What about WINE? (0)

arcade (16638) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603187)

So how does this project differ from WINE?

Closed VS Open Source. I would NOT use MainWin, and I really hope the major distributors refuses to distribute it.

WINE on the other hand, is a finely crafted thingie. OK, it has it quircs, but it'll develop -- AND -- it's Open Sourced!


Re:Wine and this BS (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603189)

Oh well having IE5 for linux may be nice

Ugh? Opera for Linux will be great. IE5 is just another crappy browser.


Re:What about WINE? (1)

QDerf (103655) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603192)

I think that what it does is basically make C source code written for Windows be directly compilable under Linux and X (or almost)... Would be real cool, since the makers of some of the best shareware/freeware windows apps could easily port their programs to Linux... Considering the incredible ease of installation of recent distributions, availability of even more high quality software, the moment when not only installing, but running Linux will be easier than Windows may be coming Real Soon(tm)... Only thing still missing might be for the administration and configuration tools (linuxconf, YaST, COAS etc) to become even simpler and easier to use for laypeople. I can't believe how far and how fast the scene has advanced the last two years.

Win32 on UNIX... how many re-implementations? (2)

matthead (68449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603194)

I'm disappointed that ZDNet didn't mention WINE in their article. You'd think they'd make an effort to make a more complete report- they mentioned Bristol, which sounds like a slightly different project.

This almost reminds me of something I saw this summer... I worked a comapny which routinely uses SAMBA when deploying mixed UNIX/Windows networks for clients. We recieved plenty of advertising for a product that did exactly what SAMBA did- for a price, of course. One of the quotes in the brochure was supposedly from a CEO who said something along the lines of "Our projects are too valuable to trust to free software..."

We all shared a good laugh over that one. Who has experience with this? Is it a way better product than WINE? Or can we laugh at this, also?

Re:Wonderful (1)

scottj (7200) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603198)

Actually, this could be looked upon in an entirely different way: This product is a way for developers to get their products onto the Linux platform without much effort. When/if they realize a great demand for Linux software, I'm sure they will want to offer apps that don't depend on such emulation.

Requirement (1)

rf232 (104285) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603201)

With Microsoft now porting the Win32 API onto Linux does this means that there will be a flood of windows programs available for Linux. As good a linux is at the server end even Linus has said Linux isn't ready for the desktop because it can be still unfriendly to a newbie. As such prehaps the ability to have office etc running on Linux might help make the tranistion into the market place a bit easier Then agin we can always try to make people like startoffice or applixware. You have to admit that Windows is still dominent on the desktop and anything that allows linux to provide easier access to this might be helpful. I don't like M$ os much as the next person but if they make there product open source (I know likely as hell freezing over) that it just might help. There are alternative as we all know like Wine (and maybe VMWARE) but they either have don't have full application support or take a large performance hit. Just my 2 pence.

Good or Bad? (5)

Knightmare (12112) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603204)

I have wanted to be able to use Internet Explorer for Linux for a long time. I don't like many Microsoft products but IE is one thing microsoft did right.... It crashes less on me than any other browser I have used. So until Mozilla gets to a stable point, I may start using IE!
On the other hand I think we need to keep an eye on this type of stuff. If alot of windows programs start flowing into *nix it could cause interest in open source to taper off. Alot of people get into developing open source products because they want to do something in their OS of choice and find out that there arn't any programs out there that do what they want... If there are alot more closed source programs out there coming over from windows, not only will there be less "why doesn't my OS have one of those" projects and more people learning the windows api and going closed source because its common with that api.
I know some people are going to flame me for suggesting using Microsoft products but grow up. If a company has a good product I am going to use it. If you have a valid counter or something to add to my statements please add them but if all you are interested in letting people know is how much you hate Microsoft, please don't waste everybodys time

Bye Bye MainSoft (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603206)

$10 Brutus^H^H^H^H^H^HMainSoft is bought out
before the end of the month.

Insanity Takes Its Toll. Please Have Exact Change

Embrace, Extend, Vapor(ware)ize? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603213)

It's late and my head's throbbing, so I don't recall any facts to back this up, but...

It seems to me as if this is a common M$ tactic, right? Announce that they're coming out with a new product that does this or that, to stop vendors from jumping in that direction. Then maybe come out with a token product which does (maybe) half of what they said, and finally kill it off completely.

Now admittedly, it's a M$ partner, but can you trust a cohort any more than the real thing?

Hmm... First the FUD campaign, now an interest diversion? Someone may be running very scared.

Re:Don't place any bets (4)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603215)

Microsoft is likely willing to spend an awful lot of money on "market research". At this point, they are probably just trying to find out how viable a platform Linux is.

Microsoft may or may not be spending money on this; MainWin is a product of Mainsoft, not Microsoft, so all Microsoft may have done is said "we won't yank your license for the Windows source in MainWin if you do a Linux port", they haven't necesarily contributed money or other resources to this.

(It is interesting to note that they don't already have an x86 UNIX in the list of platforms on which MainWin is available [] , so, if they port it, Linux may be the first UNIX-that-runs-on-a-PC on which MainWin is available.)

My question is this, though: what underlying toolkit will they use. Will it be based on raw Xlib (good for speed)

Probably. I don't have IE-for-Solaris (the port of which was done with MainWin) handy, but I don't remember it being dynamically linked with any toolkit libraries (although I also don't remember whether it was dynamically linked with Xlib, so that doesn't by itself prove anything). The UI of IE-for-Solaris is somewhat Motifish, but looks different enough that it's unlikely to be Motif. I suspect it's neither GTK+ nor Qt, either - I seem to remember the bevels on the scrollbars being narrower than those of Motif, GTK+, or Qt.

They're extremely unlikely, I suspect, to use KDE or GNOME - not all Linux systems necessarily have those, and they don't require either of them for IE/Solaris, so MainWin doesn't require them.

More detail: Not Motif... maybe (2)

ajs (35943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603217)

From MainWin:

These Windows Services on UNIX incorporate several
million lines of Windows source code, assuring you that your code will run on UNIX exactly as it does on NT.

MainWin's implementation of Win32 on UNIX is a thin, efficient layer that sits directly on top of UNIX operating system low-level
services. MainWin's Win32 for UNIX supports the full range of Win32 API calls on the UNIX operating system.

Er... does anyone else see a contradiction here? I want to hear from someone who's got their hands on this beast. Does it use a toolkit? Does it even use X? Is it as much of a pig as it sounds?


The strategy is to make NT relevant (4)

Lucius Lucanius (61758) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603218)

The whole point is to make NT apps run under *nix. Since the old school unix platforms are being drowned by the linux wave, MS is latching on to linux as an interoperability platform to stamp out. It's a clever tactic - basically, their goal in buying mainsoft was to position and elbow in NT. This is part of the elbowing process.

Nobody can accuse MS of being stupid. Their whole game plan in this area is to make NT indispensable.

This reminds me of an Andy Grove statement about how MS has its structure set up to act like antibodies reacting - they use email and feedback mechanisms to react rapidly and carry out their defense. It's very effective. Sure, people accuse them of being clueless, but they're the ones laughing. It's clever, and it works far more effectively than any other large software company.

BTW - Mary Jo Foley has been on a pro-linux anti-MS spree for months now. A lot of her articles are quite insightful too, though I suspect she's lost some of her MS insiders at this point. And she does read /. a few times a day.


Re:Don't place any bets (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603221)

So, it's such an inevitablity that Microsoft will be porting to Linux that we're already worrying about what widget set they will use?

As far as I know, the only Microsoft product available on Unix is Internet Explorer, and they use Mainsoft as a kind-of-reverse WINE to translate Win32 to Unix calls. So, IE/Linux would seem to be a possibility, especially considering that Microsoft is positioning IE as a cross-platform product, and they make no money off of it.

Are you going to see a port of MS Office or anything else any time soon? Doubtful -- the Linux 'community' is hardly asking for it, and neither are the IT managers that sign Microsoft contracts. (And I'd think that SQL or Exchange would be the remotest of possibilities just for marketing reasons.)

Let microsoft do it. (1)

snack (71224) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603223)

If microsoft ports Win32 over to Linux, The people working on WINE won't have any more problems. Also, if this happens, MS might also port win32 to other os's MacOS, BeOS, etc. Also, if this happens, more work environments will allow linux to be installed. I am not aloud to install linux on my work computer because it does not have certan programs (linux). If ms ported Win32, then I would be able to install, and load those programs.


Re:Wonderful (1)

magicpaul (98982) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603225)

Yes, but how will the software companies ever know that they've had their product bought for Linux use. When people buy Windows software, the software companies figure it'll be used for Windows.

Microsoft has out-smarted us all again.

Competition:M$::Personal Freedom:Congress

What are the actual apps they sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603227)

Which apps are they trying to run under linux? What is the point of this API exercise?

blah (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603228)

i dont see how so many people (of the posts ive read so far) can be complaining about WINE or anything like this.

i mean, this is exactly what LINUX needs.
either that or some stable applications!
look at netscape, oh wait it crashed.
most people (except the over the top linux advocates) would prefer to use a stable web browser - so IE5 is obviously the way right now.
what other applications?? hmm lets see...
sure gimp is a nice tool, but wouldn't it be a lot cooler to use photoshop?
email clients, ummm... netscape's email client is about the friendliest thing i've seen for an x-client and has the expected features, but outlook express or eudora is a hell of a lot better.

having a working win32api emulator is what linux needs if it is to get anywhere with people like myself.
i've used linux for a few years on and off, sure it was fun to mess around with the console and play with x for a while - but now after all that time wasted crapping around i think i'd still prefer a nice, easy to use application which is a standard.
give me IE5 and outlook or eudora for x and linux would have me for good - rather than it being a "hobby" to me and the many others who constantly swap between Windows and Linux.

look forward to the flames.
and yes i probably am ignorant, but its people like me who will make or break linux in the desktop marketplace.


Hmm, it's privately held... (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603230)

Whoops! just noticed that MainSoft is privately
held. Looks like MS will have to make an offer
that MainSoft can't refuse :-)

Insanity Takes Its Toll. Please Have Exact Change

Re:What about WINE? (4)

Caspian (99221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603233)

We won't see shareware/freeware ported, since the cost of this package will almost definitely be quite prohibitive...shareware from big names like Id Software ... err.. well, Id's already doing native Unix stuff... okay, shareware like WinZip and the like might get ported... and I'm sure someone at WinAmp would take a swat at it... but by and large, such a thing will almost definitely be priced out of the range of shareware/freeware coders...

Also, bear in mind that the Linux scene has "advanced" only in the opinions of some. For those of us whose primary concerns are quality, tight code and the free software ethic, the Linux scene has horribly DEVOLVED, not evolved. For those who are focusing on increased availability of productivity/multimedia/game/etc. apps and device drivers, yes, these are definitely the best of times. It all depends on where your priorities lie...

Re:The strategy is to make NT relevant (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603236)

basically, their goal in buying mainsoft

Mainsoft, or Softway? Microsoft did buy Softway, whose Interix product is sort of an inverse MainWin (it's a subsystem+libraries for NT that lets you recompile source code written for applications for UNIX-compatible OSes and run them on NT), but I have seen no announcement that they bought Mainsoft.

Microsoft probably views Interix as a way to get a site to move to NT if they have a pile of (in-house) UNIX apps, as the press release on their purchase [] suggests:

"Our acquisition of Softway's assets is a demonstration of our commitment to provide interoperability for applications and other solutions between UNIX and Windows," said Keith White, Director of Marketing, Business and Enterprise Division at Microsoft. "While we recommend that customers migrate their software solutions to native 32-bit Windows, today's announcement allows certain customers to move rapidly to a Windows NT-based solution during that transition process."

and they probably view WISE [] (Windows Interface Source Environment) products such as MainWin as a way of encouraging people to write Win32 applications rather than UNIX (or MacOS) applications.

Re:Wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603238)

> Gee this is so great! Now yet another excuse for companies to avoid creating decent
> linux-native applications. We should be demanding real linux apps, not
> some crappy win32 layer...see IE on Solaris for a reference as to how that goes...

No, we should be demanding real portable, free (dom) apps, not real Linux apps. Programs that only work under Linux are almost as bad as programs that only work under Windows.

Demand "Linux apps" and you're most likely get some Redhat-specific RPM or something equally useless. What happens when Linux is obsolete? What makes you think it isn't?

'Bait and Switch' (5)

CocaCola (30016) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603240)

Typical bait and switch Microsoft tactics. A sane business simply should not rely on a cross-platform solution that is fundamentally dependent on one of the target platforms! (Microsoft NT source code in this case) Microsoft did this with Bristol as well: gave them NT source code access, Bristol developed a WIN32 API implementation for Unix and this indirectly baited Unix companies like AutoDesk to port their app to NT and still keep it running on Unix as well. A year or two later Microsoft suddenly increased the licensing cost of the NT source code five-fold. Five-fold *per client license* price increase. What did this mean? NT-only versions of the software remained cheap, the Unix port suddenly got very expensive. Bristol actually went ahead and sued Microsoft (and lost the case badly), and AutoDesk was stranded in the NT space. Btw., the market share of AutoDesk's AutoCAD has dropped significantly since then, so this should be a warning to other businesses.
Now how is MainSoft different? Sure it will work for a year or two, until President Bush orders his antitrust chief to settle with Microsoft (under ridiculous conditions). Microsoft will be the true 1100-pound gorilla again it used to be, and MainSoft will be yet another Bristol. Keep in mind that Microsoft can increase the price of the NT source code license unilaterally at any time, to almost any value. It's theirs after all, so if you depend on it thats your problem.
What should we Linuxers do? Just ignore them and write cool Linux-API (Unix) apps, Micro/MainSoft are losers ;) Maybe ask MainSoft wether Microsoft guarantees (contractually) that MainSoft will get easy, fair-price, volume-independent and early access to NT source code (and source code in development) in the future.

Re:Don't place any bets (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603242)

MainSoft has a source agreement with Microsoft and they port the WIN32 API to native calls on the UNIX platform. All the display routines use Xlib directly.

There are several advantages to this strategy which I think makes it hard for Wine to compete with this.

1) True bug for bug compatibility with Microsoft's version of Win32. Don't laugh! This is important to Windows developers because they can work around (and sometimes even exploit) the well known quirks in Win32. Also, far less testing effort will be required on the UNIX side which is important as MainWin is primarily used to deploy Win32 applications on secondary platforms.

2) Developers can use all the high level MS APIs like COM, DCOM, MFC, ATL, ActiveX (and probably a few others I've missed...) Let's face it, no one develops using the Win32 API these days so a Win32 emulation layer without all the accompanying APIs is irrelevant for porting contemporary Win32 programs.

I think this could be a good thing for Linux as it will open up a whole bunch of new applications which could help it become more mainstream.

Personally, I don't think Microsoft is that dogmatic when it comes to operating systems. Of course, they would like to dominate everything on the desktop but in the past they have sold applications on other platforms like the Mac when it made good business sense.

Perhaps, they are starting to see Linux as a similar business opportunity and don't want to sit by and see other companies provide Linux replacements for their market dominating Win32 applications.

Re:What are the actual apps they sell? (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603244)


"They", in the sense of "Mainsoft", sell Visual SourceSafe for UNIX, which is Microsoft's source code control system rehosted to UNIX using Mainsoft's MainWin product - MainWin isn't an app, it's libraries and the like to let you build Win32 apps to run on the UNIX-compatible OSes on which MainWin is offered.

Internet Explorer was ported to various UNIX-compatible OSes using it, as were a variety of apps - none of them looking like they'd be the Top Ten Shrink-Wrapped Windows Applications at your local computer store (they're more specialized) - as seen by checking out Mainsoft's press releases [] . Those applications don't all come from Mainsoft and don't all come from Microsoft; they come from a variety of vendors.

Re:blah (1)

Knightmare (12112) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603245)

This could easily be something that gives linux alot more attention than what it currently has. Linux is lacking in the "User friendly" aspects that windows has. I know many people can argue that windows is user friendly but to most people starting up a machine and seeing that colorful desktop instead of a login screen makes them more comfortable.

There are alot of reasons that people use windows over Linux and those are price and stability. The reason people use windows is there are actually applications that do what they want easily. It is understandable that there arn't alot of applications out for Linux (yet) that are user friendly. Alot of Linux applications are written in computer scientists spare time. And we don't have to make something user friendly, chances are it won't be ;) Some high quality windows applications could make Linux a possible choice in the corporate world as a desktop. With KDE and GNOME we arn't far off from being user friendly...

Re:ZD ignoring Wine? (3)

ninjaz (1202) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603247)

It is interesting that they don't mention WINE as competition. Normally ZDNet not mentioning the Open Source product wouldn't surprise me, but this *is* a Linux article.
It's slightly interesting, but perhaps not in the way you're thinking. This article appears to be a reworded version of the Press Release [] that Mainsoft released Monday.

I think it's more a case of ZDNet continuing to illustrate that they are not concerned with journalism. Even google turns up hits on their site for Wine, but the last one by Mary Jo is from December, 1998 ... And it's doubtful whether a zdnet type can remember that long. At least they toned the press release down a bit, and ran it through demoronizer, though.

For instance, the subheading of the press release is: "Mainsoft? Corporation First to Address Market Demand for Applications on the Linux Operating System" - Which actually reflects as doubly disingenuous of Mainsoft, as Corel has been doing much work on Winelib *and* using it to port all of their applications to Linux. (not to mention Netscape, Star Division, etc, who have supported Linux before any "HOT IT INDUSTRY" trade mag had ever mentioned Linux)

This brings to mind some comments Mary Jo Foley made in an article where the "HOT IT INDUSTRY" trade mags were holding a Slashdot bashing. She said that it was weird how Slashdot would "slant" things, eg., they would pick out the parts that made Microsoft look stupid, rather than hightlight the article a real -journalist- would.

I get the idea that her idea of a real journalist's job is to further polish and sensationalize press releases and product announcements so as to better fit the audience the magazine targets. Fun stuff, those editorial policies.

Re:More detail: Not Motif... maybe (3)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603249)

does anyone else see a contradiction here?

A contradiction between "thin and efficient" and "several million lines of Windows source code"? Perhaps the "thin and efficient" layer implements very low-level Win32 operations, and the "several million lines of Windows source code" make those Win32 calls (and undocumented Windows calls implemented by MainWin, if any), so that most of the environment consists of said Windows source.

Does it use a toolkit?


Does it even use X?

Yes. For details on those last two answers, see Mainsoft's "MainWin and the X architecture" [] white paper.

Think of it as containing its own toolkit, whose API looks suspiciously like the window-system part of Win32....

(No, I have no idea what rule they used to insert registered-trademark symbols into that white paper; of whom is "Window Manager" a trademark? :-))

Why are we fighting over the OS? (5)

flieghund (31725) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603252)

I am becoming resigned to the fact that the operating system, for all intents and purposes, is meaningless. I use a limited number of programs on a day to day basis; the three that I use the most are:

- AutoCAD 14
- form*Z 3.1
- Photoshop 5.5

(I am an architecture geek, if this wasn't obvious.) I have found that (at least in the case of Photoshop and form*Z) it matters next-to-none what OS I am on -- both run equally well and without any major differences on either platform. I'm stuck using a Windows machine for AutoCAD: Autodesk (its makers) decided after Release 12 (?) that it was no longer financially worthwhile to support two versions for platforms that made up less than 10% of the marketplace combined (namely, Mac and Unix). But I guess I'm okay with that, because it has allowed some nice CAD programs to flourish, at least on the Mac platform.

So, the point: I hate Windows; I specifically hate all the little crap that it does, its bugs, its "helpful features" that are anything but. However, due to my field of study and the choice of programs available, I'm rather stuck on a Windows machine. How I long to use Linux, Be, or *anything* other than Windows! Alas, I cannot. I was literally a few hours away from installing linux when I found that WINE cannot even run *older* versions of AutoCAD and form*Z and Photoshop, let alone execute the latest versions.

(I realize, and have heard arguments to the like before, that there are "similar" programs available on the linux platform. But is that really the solution you want to promote? "Don't like your OS? Switch and relearn all of the programs you use!" Harumph. For example: I've seen Gimp, I've dabbled with Gimp, I still vastly prefer the look, feel, and features of Photoshop. Sorry.)

I welcome anyone who wants to create the ability to escape the curse of Windows, even if it is MS itself at the heart of it. Remember what I said at the beginning: the OS is irrelevant. There are Holy Wars being faught over Mac vs. Win vs. Linux vs. Be vs. BSD vs. etc. Why? To me, operating systems are the roads of the world; programs are the cars. No one fusses about the roads they drive on (well, almost no one), but few people miss an opportunity to fuss about their car.

Okay, a fuzzy analogy, I apologize. (A wee bit tired right now...) Now, I'm an architecture geek, remember, not a computer geek; but try this: How much of what you do with your computer, productivity-wise, actually has anything directly to do with the operating system? I've examined my habits, and the answer is almost none. With few exceptions, almost everything I do on a computer involves programs that run on the OS, even telnet and plaintext editing. It seems to me that programs are where the money really is, not the OS.

Now, I am *NOT* advocating a "one world, one OS" system; rather, I'm envisioning a world in which there are multiple vendors for your OS, all of which are essentially the same. Think of it as the gas you put in your car -- with some minor performance variations, the gas from Shell will get you where you're going just as good as the gas from Mobil. What gas you put in your car doesn't matter nearly as much as where you are going.

Okay, to summarize: OS, irrelevant; programs, reason for having a computer; anything that blurs the distinction between one OS and the next (or makes the OS distinction a distant second to program usability), good news indeed.

We need real Linux apps! (0)

Maul (83993) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603254)

We don't need this. We need real Linux apps. Why would I want to use software that was designed for a crappy OS, by a crappy company?

Linux already has software for everything I need, including Quake. If you complain that Netscape is unstable (it isn't TOO bad under Linux, but it does die once in a while), use Lynx.

The only thing this is useful for is StarCraft anyway.

Re:Don't place any bets (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603257)

and they use Mainsoft as a kind-of-reverse WINE to translate Win32 to Unix calls

Reverse WINE? Isn't that what Wine does - translates Win32 (and Win16, and DOS) calls to Windows calls, so you can run Windows apps on UNIX-compatible x86 OSes, and compile source for those apps to make UNIX apps?

(And I'd think that SQL or Exchange would be the remotest of possibilities just for marketing reasons.)

Maybe Exchange, and maybe Outlook - it depends on whether they'd want to force folks with UNIX-compatible OSes on their desk to switch to Windows so they can read mail from an Exchange server, or whether they want to let UNIX systems read from an Exchange server on NT (rather than, say, some UNIX-based mail server).

Why Wine will be Better (IMHO) (4)

_Gnubie_ (14485) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603259)

Wine has come a long way in the past year. I can only hope this doesnt cause wine to lose its momentum.

Mainwin allows windows code to be compiled on linux into native executables. Wine does this too but also allows the loading of native Win binaries to be loaded and executed using the wine win32api implementation.

Will the Mainwin people implement directX and write a direct3d to glx translation layer like the Wine crew are doing? Personally I doubt it. Wine also allows the loading of _native_ linux libs from a win32 program. I can fire up halflife and wine will load the _linux_ glide lib and give me full 3d acceleration.

Last but certainly not least... Wine IS open source. You want to hack in something that makes the widgets look like GTK ones? fine! try doing that with Mainwin.

Re:What about WINE? (1)

Johnboy (15518) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603260)

1. Cost is irrelevant for many -- pirated software is ubiquitous where I live.

2. There's always *BSD.

yo, wake up! (2)

jon_c (100593) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603262)

I work for a company that works with MainSoft. First they have very little to do with Microsoft. It's a little company that has a deal take the Microsoft source and port it to various *nix.

MainSoft has done an amazing job porting the Win32 API for *nix for some time now. The've ported it to Solaris and HP/UX. Why do you thing IE is out for Solaris and not Linux? Because IE for solaris is using MainSoft's win32 port!

Not only is MainSoft's port for win32, but COM/ATL and most C++ library's one uses in windows. It seriously only takes 5 mints to port your COM object to a Unix. No kidding.

Anyone who ses's this tech coming to the linux world a bad thing is blinded by there own linux cult paranoia.

Personally I think this is the only thing that would keep linux a contender. Wake up and realize linux is a collective piece of betaware built on 30 year old tech that is not suitable for most desktops. It's hot right now, but unless they get more things like mainsoft catering to it, it's going to burn out and die.

Extend & Embrace (1)

Stonehead (87327) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603263)

Some years ago, I read a book by ex-Microserf Eller, about his experiences at MS since he started coding Windows 1.0 there. I found the part concerning GO Corporation very interesting. Around 1992, Go launched their pen-oriented (instead of mouse-oriented) operating system. Microsofts reaction was "Pen Windows", in fact just Windows 3.11 plus some DLLs for pen drivers and text recognition. In the marketing war thereafter, Microsoft said: "Hey, you don't need Go. Windows can do it too." The hype was gone and Go was dead, as Martin Eller describes it.
The same might apply to this situation. Linux does a heck of a lot more than running Win32 binaries, but Microsoft will tell us that we don't need too switch to Linux, because Windows runs Win32 binaries natively. People won't see the difference between Windows and Linux anymore, and therefore people won't move to Linux. Isn't that the strategy, classical extend & embrace?
Even if this idea doesn't kill Linux, it probably kills Wine. That is a real loss, because Wine is the bridge between Microsofts monopoly on the Win32 standard and the Open Source movement. Wine itself might be alpha forever, but look at the impact it has. Even for Windows-coders, it is a huge resource of information about Windows. Snippets of code have been reused in lots of (even closed-source) applications. Which exactly shows the importance of Linux: we do not want to depend of the Redmond Giant. That is the freedom you are talking about.

This is not really a good thing.. (3)

Ice_Hole (87701) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603266)

Think about it.. This will change Linux a lot.. Everything for Linux (nearly everything) is open source. This is a good thing. But as soon as programs like this make it possible for Linux to run Windows apps, most of which are closed source, then we lose. Us open sourcers are still sucking Microsoft's tit for all it's worth (If that makes sence?) What is the point of Linux? I am sure this answer is different for everyone. I don't want Microsoft to come in, create a way for all Microsoft products and programs designed to run in Windows to be ran in Linux. It may sound nice to be able to use Microsoft Office, or IE, or other programs like that in Linux. But what are we willing to give to be able to do it? Are you willing to let Microsoft have their take in the Open Source field? Are you going to let them come in, and add to Linux for their own profit? Personally I would rather use a program some guy spent his time on makeing work right and efficiently, then some Microsoft Bloatware, that a team wrote not because they wanted to, but because that was their job. Which method turns out quality? I agree that the individual will not alway's come up with the better program..

Also, on the flip side. (Now this will get you thinking).. Is this really a smart move on Microsoft? Are they really getting rid of the Open Source community, trying to nudge them out? I think not! Think of what this would transform Linux into. Now Linux would be able to efficiently and stably run windows apps. Hmm.. Can Windows run UNIX apps in the same fasion? Now Linux will be able not only to run it's programs, but also Windoes programs, thus replaceing 2 computers. But a Windows machine will still leave you looking for the features of a Linux Machine.. Thus, a Linux machine would be able to effectively perform all the tasks of not only a Linux machine, but also a Windows NT machine.. As for Windows, it is still lacking a lot in terms of being able to perform well as a Linux/ UNIX machine.. This is also a good thing for the Linux Community. The main reason for a Windows user not to change to Linux is that their programs (Which they have grown to love) don't work on Linux! They don't want to leave what they know behind to learn somthing new. That is how life goes. With this people would be able to run their favorite programs. This is a nice thing to be able to do. And I personally would like to be able to do it also.

((I think I have argued both sides. But that's OK. They are my thaughts. I feel that they offer a little insight as to what is happening. What Microsoft want to accomplish I can only guess..))

Just another Win32 emulation layer (2)

Raphael (18701) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603268)

After reading the MainWin overview [] on MainSoft's site, it is obvious that it is just another Win32 emulation layer, similar to Wine [] for Linux or Wabi [] for Solaris. Of course, they state on their page that MainWin is not an emulator. But all it does is to translate Win32 API calls to something that runs under Linux. The calls are executed in the MainWin layer (thanks to the Windows source code that they can use) or translated to Linux system calls. By the way, MainWin is already available for many UNIX systems [] , and they are just adding Linux to their list.

How is this different from Wine? On the negative side, it is closed source and probably quite expensive. On the positive side, the fact that they have access to the Windows source code means that they might be more compatible with all the undocumented Win32 features that are used by some MS applications.

I don't think that there is anything really exciting about this announcement. Win32 emulators have existed for quite a while on various UNIX systems, and all of them have their drawbacks. This one might be better in some areas and worse in some others, but it will never replace a native port of the applications to Linux.

If MicroSoft (not MainSoft) starts publishing press releases encouraging developers to work only on Win32 because it is portable to all environments including Linux, then we may have something to respond to. But I don't think that any serious company would stop porting their products to Linux because some small company provides a (closed and expensive) emulation layer for Win32 apps.

Re:blah (2)

arcade (16638) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603271)

i mean, this is exactly what LINUX needs.

Do you remember why OS/2 died?

either that or some stable applications! look at netscape, oh wait it crashed.

Opera is making Opera for Linux. I'm still holding my breath for it.

IE5 is NOT the right way to go. It doesn't keep to the standards.

sure gimp is a nice tool, but wouldn't it be a lot cooler to use photoshop?

Nah, it would be cooler if GIMP make so good that it could kill of photoshop. :)

email clients, ummmm



Why do people love IE5? (1)

owain_vaughan (102465) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603272)

Why? Why? Why?

It doesn't implement half the features you would expect: eg. CGI programs generating multipart MIME output is handled fine by Netscape, but IE fails miserably.

Similarly the JavaScript handling is abysmal, document.domain doesn't work at all and plenty of simple JS is screwed up completely.

Why trust MS to implement standards properly and not just the ones they want to - to try and warp the market yet again?

Remember OS/2 and windows emulation? (2)

MrOion (19950) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603273)

To be honest, I'm very skeptical to this "emulating windows"-thing. Remember OS/2? Why should people develop for OS/2 when it was able to run windows programs? Isn't it possible that the same thing can happen to Linux too, if it become capable of emulating windows?

I said skeptical, not afraid - this because I thrust the Linux/Open Source community to be able to avoid the trap... one way or another... :-)

Development kits (1)

Nathan Cassano (3234) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603274)

I would like to see an open Win32 to UNIX transplatform development kit. Wine is not (IMO at least for a time to come) a good solution for Win32 interoperability. For one it's slow, as it has to emulate the Windows environment which is a cludge to begin with and two, emulation in any form leads to object incompatibility. Windows apps were only designed on Windows. So apps that use special interfaces which wine cannot supply either because the issues are too complex to emulate (like driver dependent software) or require some system resource, are then non-operational in the wine environment. In a desktop environment you want conformity among your applications. Such as a common toolkit, application integration, and standard API. A development kit such as I mentioned could optimize the win32 API translation and standardize on a toolkit making it practical to port Win32 to UNIX. I'm sure there's plenty of issues but definitely worth looking into.


Microsoft Hedging on Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603275)

As the Linux movement becomes more successful in its goal of world domination but before Microsoft fizzles out *grin*, I predict the following scenario:

Microsoft becomes a Linux distributor themselves; it will either acquires Mainsoft or port their slowly dying Win32 API (Hmm... Win64 by then?) to Linux themselves; their Linux distribution would be the only one in the market that comes with their Office suite and other tools familiar to corporate users... ;-p

Maybe I am suffering from both dementia and paranoia but I think this Mainsoft announcement bodes both good and evil.

Re:yo, wake up! (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603276)

*biting on the flamebait*

Personally I think this is the only thing that would keep linux a contender.

Heh, Linux is not only a contender, it is the slayer of Micro$oft. When 14 year old newbies are starting to install linux because its "cool" -- well, that certainly is progress. People that've used computers for 1 or two years installing a unixclone? Woah I say.

Wake up and realize linux is a collective piece of betaware built on 30 year old tech that is not suitable for most desktops.

Who do you think you are fooling? Humans are .. some thousand year old "tech". Let's make som robots to take over and erase the 'old tech'. ;D

Also, you call linux betaware. Still, I've not had linux crash severly on me in the one year I've used it (Ok, I had a bad pagefault a couple of weeks ago.. my processor fan died.. I'm lucky I got home when I did .. an hour later and my processor would've been toast).

If X crash, I just jump to a shell. If my keyboard is 'locked' I just ssh in from another machine, kill X, and woah. :)

It?s hot right now, but unless they get more things like mainsoft catering to it, it?s going to burn out and die.

We don't need closed-source windows API's. WINE is a Good Thing (tm), while this crap should never be distributed by any of the major distros. I reallyreally hope that neither Debian, SuSE, RedHat, Slackware, Turbolinux or any of the others ever distrubte that crap.


Re:Why do people love IE5? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603277)

MSIE _resizes_ faster than Netscape. Windows has no window manager, so resizing/maximizing/un-maximizing is done often, and Netscape redraws take a lot of time. X has window managers, so the last thing X user will do is resizing Netscape window just to fit something on the screen.

Re:Remember OS/2 and windows emulation? (1)

GC (19160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603278)

This is not really an issue. I believe OS/2 emulated DOS and Windows then just ran on top of it. MainWin appears to actually use NT C++ source code in order to support the applications.

Also the programs here will be Linux runtime programs and not Windows runtimes. They will just have the Win32 look and feel (As long as the Window manager allows it :))

Does this mean that MS Internet Explorer will become available for Linux shortly?

Closed Source (1)

frederik (86671) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603279)

Does anyone really want to run M$ closed source apps on Linux?? Why should I want to use them? Use Open Source!

What's Wrong With This? (1)

JavaFox (98763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603280)

I don't get it.. when I read the article I was thinkin', "That would be cool." But most of you posters seem to think otherwise. I don't see why.... Maybe because I'm a recent Linux convert still trying to get along without Windows aps....

Does anyone know how restricted MainSoft's use of Windows source code is?

Re:Don't place any bets (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603281)

MainSoft is member of the WinSource NT-source-code licensing program - this means money from Microsoft and 'Platinum level' support from Microsoft (which money cannot buy). MainSoft also probably is in the First Wave program - but it is usually top-secret, only high executives know about it usually. You are required contractually to deny even the existence of First Wave. First Wave gives even more money, at the price of *serious* dependency on Microsoft. Under a First Wave contract, Microsoft also has access to all the code and IP produced by the company. It also means that the company has to use Microsoft's JVM, Microsoft's Explorer browser libraries. First Wave contracts are reviewed frequently, and if you are not cooperative enough (eg. to write seemingly independent opeds to major newspapers in support of Microsoft's key legal positions), First Wave can get revoked and the money source is turned off.
Microsoft wants to 'seed' the Linux->NT porting market, but the price is complete dependency on Microsoft's license. (which can be revoked/made uneconomical at any time by Microsoft)
Being in bed with Microsoft does mean money - initially at least. It also means becoming a whore and you'll have to be ready to give up your dreams. (but if this is fine to you then OK)

Re:Just another Win32 emulation layer (1)

GC (19160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603282)

My understanding of the article tells me that this is not the same as WINE and nor is it an emulator.

WINE (Wine Is Not An Emulator either...)

* WINE runs Windows runtimes.
* MainWin runs UNIX runtimes created from Windows NT source code.

It's all about maintaining control of the API (2)

leereyno (32197) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603283)

The number one asset that microsoft has is the windows API. Because microsoft defines the API they are able to include hidden calls that only they know about. Some of these calls are simply faster implementations of other calls which are already documented. Others are unique. Either way it gives their applications an out of the box advantage over anything a competitor might develop. Wine threatens this hidden control by exposing the existence and nature of each call. Some of these calls have even been implemented in wine. Wine also has a slight chance of someday competing with microsoft in defining the windows API itself. If wine implements new and better calls that developer's make use of, Microsoft's control of the API will be threatened. Microsoft of course does not like this but they cannot directly attact wine because of the boiling water they are already in for anti-trust violations. So rather than attack wine they simply "embrace and extend," all to prevent the windows API from becoming open. Gates is a tricky SOB and that is also the kind of person he hires. The model Microsoft follows is that business is a form of warfare. Those of us who want to see Linux/*BSD/whatever succeed need to remember that and pay attention to what our customer's want. If we don't give it to them, MS surely will, even if their version is bloated and buggy.

Re:We need real Linux apps! (1)

GC (19160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603284)

Lynx is hardly a useful alternative to Netscape.

They will be real Linux apps. The will just look like Windows NT apps. Does anyone remember fvwm95? Not too long ago we were trying to make X look like Windows, now we abhore it. What is going on?

Oh and Quake is a really useful app, isn't it? Corporate Entities are going to flock to buy Quake licenses for all their employees are they?

Linux Assimilate Java More (1)

Boomstick (40417) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603285)

How does it feel to be assimilated?

Java developers know. As we enter the adjusted millenium, we will not yet have a decent Java 1.2 Virtual Machine in the major web browsers or on any alternative platforms except Solaris. And the penguins all like perl. Hopefully all that will change.

If the Justice Department does nothing, will we have Windows 2005 with a Linux kernel that sits on 90% of the desktops? To be better, Linux needs applications, and that's where Java should come in.

As Java developers turn to Linux, I hope Linux developers and Open Source developers assimilate with open arms.

off topic: ie5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603286)


I heard that javascript was sort of invented by netscape (?). No wonder that implementation of JS in IE5 isn't perfect. You can't blame IE5 for not being "NS-compliant". If you ask me, webauthors should write HTML4 compliant source, that can be handled by any browser. In what way do you help the visitor of your homepage if his/her browser accidentally doesn't support your fancy gadgetteria?

Anyway this is way off topic so apologies for that mr. /. moderator ;^)

Re:Good or Bad? (1)

Tools (95822) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603287)

Think your right, in fact, that's prob the only thing I'm missing. And even more about the coding, I prob wouldn't be using LICQ if I could use the Ready 'n Stable windhoos version.
I also write windows code, but my code isn't included or sended with the package. (he windows doesn't come with a compiler :) Even though I give it to most who request source code.

Open source everything just doesn't work (0)

leereyno (32197) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603288)

The open source movement is driven by the work of people who use what they create. This is why we have great operating systems like linux and *BSD. Great development tools like gcc. But what we don't have are a lot of great open source end user applications. There is gimp and I'm sure there are a few more examples of great open source apps, but not many. The open source model works best for the underlying layers used to create and run applications, not the applications themselves. This is why we probably won't ever see a truly great open source word processor or spreadsheet or whatever that is not in some way a commercial venture. Programmers have to eat and most of us do like money. There is little incentive to create things that you yourself won't use "just because." There is a lot of incentive to create tools to make tools to make applications you are going to use or are being paid to develop. That is where open source has always been and that is where it will be in the future.

Re:Mainsoft features+experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603289)

I don't have direct experience of Mainwin but my company is porting its software to Solaris using this. We already ported an earlier product in about 2-3 weeks after some initial hiccups.

It lets you choose a Motif-like or Windows-like look and feel at run time, which is quite neat. It includes all the DCOM, windows internationalisation, MFC and other things that people use a lot above the Win32 APIs. Overall it looks pretty complete, as it should be since a big chunk of it is licensed Windows NT code.

It's not clear if the ported apps look as native-like as they could, but it seems like a good tool for porting apps quickly.

I think WINE is quite a way behind this, not surprisingly, but with Corel's fixes and updates could perhaps become more competitive.

In the long run, I think many companies will do native Linux ports - at least Mainwin lets the software get onto Linux. If/when Linux app demand explodes, companies will have the justification to do native ports to Linux for performance, better look and feel, etc.

Re:Don't place any bets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603290)

"MainWin offers both Motif and Windows look, giving the MainWin developers the freedom to choose the look and feel most appropriate for their UNIX end-users. Alternatively, the developer can let the end-user choose the look and feel of the application using one or two environment variables at a command prompt."

Run away! Run away!

Re: Stable Windows emulators (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603291)

Right now, I run VMware as a way of running WinNT apps on top of Linux.

I'm gradually moving apps such as AIM over to Linux - but gaim requires glibc2.1, and my manual install of that failed, so I need Linux 2.2... In the mean time, AIM on Windows on VMware works well - I even have sound working to alert me to switch to Windows when someone comes online.

MainWin and other commercial emulators are important to get users onto Linux. Once they are there, they'll discover that there's a bunch of free software (beer and liberty, almost a catchphrase!) and start using that as well. Often they'll start using the native GUI tools immediately if they are good enough, it's just that they still need Office and so on.

WINE is a great project and will be very significant, but I think it needs a few more years and/or some serious funding to make it really happen. Maybe Corel and other companies will use WINE instead of Mainwin to do this, we shall see.

The interesting thing is that NT on VMware+Linux is MUCH more stable than NT on my laptop - it hardly ever crashes, perhaps because the virtual hardware environment is quite basic and well-tested. And Office auto-save is much faster in this environment, even though VMware is writing to disk via separate async I/O processes. So there are good reasons to use Linux even if running Windows apps under an emulator...#

FreeBSD (1)

/dev/kev (9760) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603292)

Sigh... The more attention Linux gets, the more polluted it gets (both in code and community), and the more I think about switching to FreeBSD (or NetBSD, for the hell of it). There's something to be said about the elitist attitude that would stop poorly designed apps and programs (like these) from being run.

Re:Why do people love IE5? (1)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603293)

Hm, I think your comment gains a lot in understandability if one replaces "window manager" with "virtual desktop". Works for me, at least. :)

Grade A Bravo Sierra (1)

leereyno (32197) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603294)

Go reguritate that MS fud somewhere else. You really ought to have more respect for yourself. At least learn what you're talking about before you open your mouth. NT is indirectly based off of VMS which is itself 30 odd year old technology. C which windows itself is written in, originated with the second version of unix in 1970. C++ first appeared 15 years ago. TCP/IP which is what drives the internet, is 25 years old itself. The basic design for the CRT in your computer monitor dates back to when Eisenhower was president. Of course all of these things have been improved over time, just like Unix. NT is an attempt to copy unix in many ways. Many of the functions and features it implements are open standards that originate with unix. If unix is so old and decrypet(sp) how come Microsoft can't come up with something better?

Re:Good or Bad? (1)

MassacrE (763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603295)

ICQ for windows is just about the least-stable program I run. I have to kill it many times a day. I swear the developers misused pointers and drawing contexts and were like 'cool! it changes font when we don't reset the context, lets add that as a feature! Random font support.. oh, we can draw on the desktop now because we have corrupted windows NT's context table, lets put little square indicators on top of everything to show people are online'

It routinely hangs the browser when I try to send a link, or hangs itself when I try to see a link (doesn't matter if its IE or netscape). It also has a bug where if you do development work on the system, it will consider any breakpoint in MFC code to be a breakpoint in its own code (don't even ask me HOW it does that, with my program using a completely different MFC dll). Also about once a week I will notice that it will make some other random program in my computer set to 'always on top', while it seems to get a 'always on bottom' mode (Even though no such thing exists in the win32 api)

ICQ is a piece of work. And rather than fixing their broken client or their broken protocol, what do they do? Add a search engine, a web portal, a feature so you can look up peoples horoscope while browsing their personal information, add an embedded web server...

Re:Good or Bad? (1)

MassacrE (763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603296)

unfortunately, internet explorer would probably be the hardest possible program to emulate correctly. There are too many calls to undocumented system features. You would have to have a full COM, OLE Automation, and OLE/ActiveX implementation before you could even think of it working (that alone would be worth lots of money)

Re:Extend & Embrace (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603297)

Nah, they won't kill Linux that way, or even Wine. There are more than enough existing Linux users to keep both projects going, and there aren't many of them that would go back to Windows. Would you? They might possibly slow down the growth of Linux a fraction, but we can wait.

A much easier way for Microsoft to kill Linux would be to release MS-Linux. They wouldn't be able to produce an incompatible kernel without violating the Linux trademark, but they *can* produce a proprietary set of libraries. Watch out for that one when they get really worried.

Re:What about WINE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603298)

Winamp is owned by AOL and a parent company that hates microsoft. I'm surprised ther's no port of winamp in the works now.

This is a pig -- look at IE for Solaris. (2)

jaffray (6665) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603299)

Shortly after IE was released for Solaris, several people in my department tried it out. We were sick of Netscape crashes and bloat and speed problems, we liked a couple of features IE had, we wanted to be able to test sites in multiple browsers.

It was a complete joke. The process took about 30MB, largely non-shared, and was slow as hell. (Netscape at the time was well under 10MB, as was IE natively on Win32.) We abandoned it as unusable; as far as we could tell, its only purpose was to allow MS to say "IE runs on all platforms, even Unix!". (Unix == Solaris in marketroid-speak.)

Perhaps someone who has used IE under Unix more recently could comment on size and speed. If it's anything like it was back then, don't expect any useful applications to come out of this announcement.


Re:What about WINE? (1)

ianezz (31449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603300)

> shareware like WinZip and the like might get ported... and I'm sure someone at WinAmp
would take a swat at it...

Bad examples: both exists already as native free application on Linux (well, actually not clones, but they provide the same user interface and the same functionalities). Probabily, there would be little or no commercial interests at all in porting applications like these, because the free ones are most of the times already there. Let's call it "natural software selection": the better ones are used at large, the worst ones simply die, or are used only by a restricted number of people that have a good reason to use them. Surely, not an interesting target for shareware makers (which usually need a large user base to be motivated, or at least the perspective of having a large paying user base, otherwise they'd used a free license).

But then, was the win32 API designed with portability in mind? Is there actually the will to make/keep it portable? I don't think so. That's seems to me just a temporary patch, not a real solution.

Re:Why do people love IE5? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603301)

Window shades are useful for handling large browser windows, too, and immediate reaction to window operations doesn't work well without a window manager if browser is busy doing something.

Re:The strategy is to make NT relevant (1)

bram (490) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603302)

Actually, that's probably what's happening.
M$ is trying to get a grip on the *nix market, and what's the best way to do this?
Creating applications for it that everybody depends on being there.

I can see the future now, within 5 years, every *nix will be able to run M$ apps, and every admin will have to explain her/himself to IT's why they aren't using on the company's servers.

Better keep a grip and use wine [] !

Re:What about WINE? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603303)

I am very familiar with MainWin (I have to leave it at that due to NDAs) and I can give you a bit of a scoop.
MainWin is a porting environment that implements Win32 in user libraries directly from licensed Microsoft sources. It supports COM,DCOM, MFC and pretty much all of the other MS technologies Windows programmers use making it easy to port C,C++ applications at the source level to UNIX.
MainWin will never be distributed as part of a Linux distribution or used by shareware authors for a couple of reasons.
1) use of MS sources implies royalties on run-time
2) a development license is very expensive. I don't know what the Linux pricing will be like but in general the pricing is in the order of magnitude of $A*10^4.
Like a competing product, Wind/U, these porting environments are excellent for porting commercial windows applications to big iron or unix machines.
This is excellent since it will allow quick retargetting of Windows and MainWin ported apps to Linux, perhaps resulting in major productivity applications being ported to Linux quicker.

Re:blah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603304)

You like Windows? So use Windows -- and shut the fuck up! What is the big thing you people have about saying "no applications" when what you mean is "no Windows-like applications"? If you're dumb enough to use Outlook, go right ahead. Just don't demand that Linux be dumbed-down to your level.

Re:Wonderful (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603305)

I belive that there are realy few programs that work only on linux. Most of linux programs are open source, and run easily on almost every UNIX variant available. There are even a few that works on win32 like gimp (that has a decent win32 version)

And the fact that companies have to do a linux version would be a bless to those other osses out there since linux is very diferent from windows, so if a program has been port to linux it is probably well designed enougth to create another ports. A compatibility layer beetwen linux and other OSes (as I belive exists in BSD) is very easy to do, since linux is opensource and has a well defined API.
"take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabitt hole goes"

Re:yo, wake up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603311)

Very Sad - Linux = O/S. NT=DOS + a thumping great overbloated windows (X) library + incompatablity code + glue code. As a byline very sorry to hear about Bristol, but the points are relevant. MS can throttle this aftermarket through pricing at a whim... Then do studies that 'prove' is is cheaper to go MS all the way. Just as windows code kills a formerly ok operating system (NT), you can bet emulation under linux will be equally bad. Just as Linux needs re-writing, MS can hold up the application bait, and a whole lot of 'brains' take the money and run, porting applications, to slow down linux outbreaks. Nice idea. However some budddies sense, developing skills for MS applications (exclusive) is a poor 2nd to writing real OS code. Maybe DOJ will rule MS has to release source, at highly favorable terms, until 10% market share obtained - although see Apple offerings. Maybe, saying look here, they can run emulation - they hope to weasel out of something more unpleasant.

One reason... (0)

dwalsh (87765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603312)

... is because unlike Navigator, it doesn't go down more often than an over-worked hooker. Netscape: Putting the 'K' in 'Kwality'

Re:Remember OS/2 and Bristol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603313)

Hmm thats twice, two knives.. third time lucky? IE5 to linux - what a great idea, something as good as - but without all the security holes-- nahhh

Re:Hmm, it's privately held... (1)

artg (24127) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603314)

Mainsoft probably have no intention of refusing .. what better way to sell off a company that will lose it's primary product when Wine is good enough ?

Re:Don't place any bets (2)

Effugas (2378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603315)

MainSoft also probably is in the First Wave program - but it is usually top-secret, only high executives know about it usually. You are required contractually to deny even the existence of First Wave. First Wave gives even more money, at the price of *serious* dependency on Microsoft.

This is very, very intriguing.

What other companies are suspected to be First Wave shops? And where can I read more about this tactic(which I haven't yet decided is predatory/evil/whatever, so back off /.'ers ;-)

The part about writing op-eds--this seems really interesting. The story behind the story...

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research

Nearer the Hardware Abstraction Layer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603317)

Running Win32 apps on Linux is one thing, it would be cool if VxDs can run natively on Linux too.

Although Linux supports a lot of hardware these days, it is still nowhere near what darn M$ is supporting.

Re:Wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603318)

Hey, if it gets Linux on desktops, it's a good thing. I know you're thinking 'OS/2', but there's a diff...Linux is free.

Look at the big picture..if this thing sucks, then there will be a demand for apps on Linux. (at least from Linux-land). If it doesn't...then what's wrong with using it? I don't know about you, but I dont like Windows because its a big bloated unreliable hog...not just because its Windows.

Re:blah (1)

majere (82696) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603321)

oh you must be kidding, Outlook Express a good
email/news client? You must be joking, try supporting it and
see how great it is.

Re:It's all about maintaining control of the API (1)

artg (24127) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603323)

Picking up on an earlier comment .. one way in which Wine might provide a substantial improvement to the Win32 API is by implementing a Win64 API. Given Microsoft's record of portability, it's likely that Wine will be WAY ahead on this one (and will have Win32 on 64-bit platforms from day one). Win2000 will look pretty sick running in 32 bit mode against Wine running Win32 apps over a 64 bit kernel.

Re:Development kits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603330)

Ever heard of winelib? The Win32 API library for porting Win32 apps to unix. It's the other half of the wine project, and is what eg. Corel is really interested in.

IE's Java implementation is much faster (1)

dsfox (2694) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603331)

in case you wanted another reason. Don't use it myself, this is just what colleagues tell me.

Nearer the Hardware Abstraction Layer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603332)

Running Win32 apps on Linux is one thing, it would be cool if VxDs can run natively on Linux too.

Although Linux supports a lot of hardware these days, it is still nowhere near what darn M$ is supporting.

Re:What about WINE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603333)

OH damn, I guess I can't use what could be a better product because it's not open source. That's just plain stupid. Why not use what's best for the job? I'm not saying MainWin is better, it's just your attitude that your refuse to use it just because it's not OS. Yea, I hope major distributors refuse what could be a better product and enhance Linux sales. (sarcasm)

Re:Why are we fighting over the OS? (1)

JamesKPolk (13313) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603334)

Yes, the OS *should* be irrelevant, because the OS should be as bug-free as possible, and programs should be portable (due to the source being open, etc. etc.)

However, Windows + AutoCAD does just the opposite. It's a shame that one is ever forced into windows, but it happens... Perhaps one of Autodesk's competitors will follow in Netscape's footsteps...

Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1603335)

..and you wonder why Linux is having a hard time breaking into the mainstream?

Get back to your homework..

M$ Apps? (1)

jdube (101986) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603336)

ERROR: You must be root to run this.
*computer works really hard for five minutes*
Your hard drive has been formatted. Thank you for using Microsoft Products.
*Computer works for a minute*
Welcome to Microsoft Windows 2000 install...

In other words: As if I'm gonna let Microsoft products touch my sweet little machine!!!

If you think you know what the hell is really going on you're probably full of shit.

Re:Why do people love IE5? (2)

jilles (20976) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603338)

Most people are not webdevelopers so they use a browser that works for them. Non webdevelopers don't care about the mime output of cgi scripts. nor do they care about javascript.

"Why trust MS to implement standards properly .."

Netscape hasn't done any better (excluding mozilla which will take another few months to appear). The 4.x version of their browser can hardly be called standards compliant. But standards are only relevant to web developers not to users. Users expect their favorite webpages to just work they don't care how they work. This is something MS used to their advantage when developing IE. While netscape was fooling around with the 4.x generation of their browser, IE created IE which from a users point of view is faster, more stable and prettier.

And my pessimistic guess is that they will use the same thing again to outcompete mozilla. Nobody outside the webdevelopers community cares about standards. MS is compliant enough for most users.

Re:off topic: ie5 (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603340)

CSS were created by IE and we (at least I do) blame netscape of not compling with the W3 standard. By the way I do blame IE for not compling with it too.

Mozilla, if it ever gets done, will be the most standard web browser available. I am shure hope that it goes out soon enougth.

"take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabitt hole goes"

Re:Why do people love IE5? (2)

m3000 (46427) | more than 14 years ago | (#1603342)

Why do I love IE5? Let me list the ways. Because it has much better bookmark system. The one in Netscape is complete and utter crap. IE handles more HTML and more advanced HTML and its' dirivities (DHTML, CSS). IE also looks better just looking at it, Netscape looks like something out of the early 90's. Netscape font's (especially in Linux) look like crap, half the time the text is all scrunged up and tiny so it's a pain to read. Netscape is incredibly picky on your HTML, IE gives you more leeway. Netscape on Linux crashes at least once a day, if not more. IE crashes maybe once a week. And yes, that is pushing the browsers to the max (ie. having about 5 of them open at the same time) And don't get me started on the lack of plug-in's for Linux. I'd take IE over Netscape (especially for Linux) anyday. Luckily, the rest of Linux kicks ass, so I put up with Netscape when I boot into it : )
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