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Ask Jeremy White and Alexandre Julliard About the Future of WINE 346

Last week, after 15 years of development, tempered by the need for arduous reverse engineering, the WINE project released version 1.0. What "1.0" means for WINE is neither that the project is finished, nor that it is perfect, but rather that the software runs a small subset of specific freely downloadable Windows applications. That's not to say it doesn't run scads of others, too -- the apps database is proof that thousands of programs run to at least some degree. Here's your chance to ask WINE developer Jeremy White and WINE project lead Alexandre Julliard (both of Codeweavers) about the future of WINE, or any other questions about the project that cross your mind. The usual Slashdot interview rules apply; please ask as many questions as you'd like, but limit yourself to one question per post. We'll pass on the best questions to Jeremy and Alexandre for their answers.
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Ask Jeremy White and Alexandre Julliard About the Future of WINE

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  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:15PM (#23954325) Homepage Journal

    I hear people often say that its important for Wine to be able to run major applications like Office and Photoshop. However, from a migrate to Linux point, I think the thing that holds people up the most is the small propreitary applications that are written for a specific function. Is there going to be any focus on those programs in the future? Disclaimer, I realize that there are tens of thousands of such apps, but maybe many have something in common.

  • by pwnies ( 1034518 ) * <> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:16PM (#23954355) Homepage Journal
    I think the question that is most pressing on our minds (and the one that will determine the magnitude of the pigs flying) is, "Will we be able to run Duke Nukem Forever on Wine 1.0 in the Year of the Linux Desktop?"
  • 10 years from now? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:18PM (#23954401) Journal

    If in 10 years the dominant platform is Linux, or OS X, where does that leave WINE?

  • No, wrong. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:18PM (#23954425)

    1.0 is used to mark the API as being stable: it is now safe to build your Windows' program's source code against the wine headers without having to worry about them changing in the future.

    That a few of the important Windows applications work was a side goal: the wine developers merely thought that it would be fitting, given the apparent significance of the 1.0 release name, to perfect support for what they can.

    Perhaps you're thinking of wine the wrong way. It is, first and foremost, a windows-compatible API for porting applications to posix.

    • Re:No, wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:04PM (#23955595)

      Perhaps you're thinking of wine the wrong way. It is, first and foremost, a windows-compatible API for porting applications to posix.
      Actually that brings up a question I'd like to ask the Wine developers:

      As I understand it, Wine was originally intended to be both (1) a set of libraries that Windows developers could recompile their code against to run on other operating systems; and (2) a compatibility layer to run unmodified Windows binaries on other operating systems. Which one was the "primary" intent of Wine originally?

      Also, nowadays, it seems that the vast majority of people use Wine in mode (2). Few developers have used the Wine libraries to recompile their code. Is this a fair assessment? If so, how does this affect the way you develop the Wine codebase? Do you see this changing in the future?
  • Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gewalt ( 1200451 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:22PM (#23954549)
    Has anyone from WINE engaged apple to see about getting wine better ported and available to OSX users? I am currently using parallels to support my win32 needs under OSX, but that is all. I do not like the idea of having to pay FRP for a full windows OS when all I want to do is run win32 apps. I think it would be awesome to see WINE shipping directly in 10.7, with support from apple.
    • I think it would be awesome to see WINE shipping directly in 10.7, with support from apple.
      Did you write to Apple and tell them that? Wine is open source, you know?

      For that matter, did you write to the developers of the applications that you need and let them know that you'd like an OS-X port of their software?

    • you mean for something like Cider... running a AAA game from EA like Spore...

      nope, nobody has tried anything like that. Sorry.

  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:25PM (#23954629)
    Wine was a great idea in its day but now with multi-core CPUs and excellent VMs (VMWare, VirtualBox, etc.) do you still see the need for Wine?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zelocka ( 1152505 )

      Err I am going to go with gaming here.

      VM's work great if its something that does not need graphics or direct X processing, but if you want that you are out of luck.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Warlock ( 701535 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:55PM (#23955383)

      VMs are notoriously shitty at hardware-accelerated graphics.

      But hey, if that ever changes...

    • Of course. There used to be just IBM BIOS.

      Now there's Phoenix BIOS, Award BIOS, AMI BIOS, coreboot (aka Linux BIOS) etc.

      There now is Windows XP.

      Perhaps there will be more non-Microsoft operating systems that are Windows XP and DirectX10 compatible.

      Why do you think Microsoft _must_ keep releasing slightly incompatible versions of Windows every few years? So that nobody will come up with a legal compatible.

      Does the WINE team think they will ever catch up with Microsoft's goal post moving? Microsoft seem to ha
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's Free Software: can't be discontinued by Microsoft, costs nothing, and runs anywhere you can get X Windows. Doesn't matter how excellent your emulation is, WINE still has a purpose. It's not an emulator, after all...

    • VirtualDub is an open source application written to Win32. Rather than port it, the developer simply declared Wine a supported platform.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:41PM (#23957797) Journal

      Running Windows in a VM means you need a Windows license. Using WINE, you don't.

      Running Windows in a VM means your Windows apps are second-class citizens. Using WINE, everything is integrated into your regular desktop.

  • by tgatliff ( 311583 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:28PM (#23954679)


    With Vista stumbling terribly and now XP being removed from the marketplace, in the medium term do you see Wine / Linux as a true potential commercial viable alternative rather than just a niche as it is now? If so, what financial steps have you taken to prepare for legal threats?

    Thanks!! :)

  • by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:30PM (#23954743) Homepage Journal

    How does your usual reverse engineering work flow look like? (How do you start, short note on tools, do you use (unit) tests)

  • by yuna49 ( 905461 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:30PM (#23954761)

    With virtual machines becoming ever easier to install and use, maintaining a Windows VM on my Linux desktop substantially reduces my need for Wine. Will Wine become an afterthought in another ten years as we move to desktops running multiple operating systems simultaneously?

  • Any plans to improve compatability with Adobe apps like Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign, etc.?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by David Gerard ( 12369 )

      This is something they're specifically working their arses off to achieve, particularly the Wine contributors at Google.

  • XP or Vista (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StarbuckZero ( 237897 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:32PM (#23954805)

    Will the WINE project try to implement the Windows Vista APIs or will the project aim only for the Windows XP APIs? Seeing that Windows Vista didn't catch on and a lot of applications are still written for Windows XP. Maybe it is a good time to iron out the DirectX 9 and Windows XP DLLs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wine already implements some Vista API's. The calls that get targeted to be added are usually those that popular applications require. If more applications require Vista features, they will be added. Right now most programs will also work on XP, so the need isn't so pressing.

  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:35PM (#23954863) Homepage

    When I first started using GNU/Linux in 1999, I knew that if I wanted to run Windows apps, the best way to go about it was to dual-boot. Now, it appears that the most convenient way to run Windows apps is to run Windows in a virtual machine. Since both dual-booting and virtualization appear to be more convenient ways to run Windows apps than WINE, where does WINE fit in?

    • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:49PM (#23955237)

      I would argue that Wine is much more convenient than virtualization... when it works, that is.

      When you run an app in Wine, it integrates (more or less) with your current desktop environment. It immediately has access to the same folder hierarchy. It also performs better (loading the wine libraries seems to have a lower overhead than loading a VM and an OS).*

      The only downside to Wine is that not every app runs, and some apps run but are a bit buggy.

      So I would say that Wine wins for convenience, whereas virtualization wins on "robustness": any app that runs on Windows will run on Windows in a VM. This is why I use both Wine and virtualization on my system: for most apps, I can just use Wine and it's treated like just another application. For those that don't work well in Wine, I can always open up the VM.

      ([*] Another aspect of performance to consider is things like hardware acceleration. Most VMs don't take advantage of 3D acceleration, whereas Wine in principle can.)

    • When I first started using GNU/Linux in 1999, I knew that if I wanted to run Windows apps, the best way to go about it was to dual-boot. Now, it appears that the most convenient way to run Windows apps is to run Windows in a virtual machine. Since both dual-booting and virtualization appear to be more convenient ways to run Windows apps than WINE, where does WINE fit in?

      WINE fits in for people who don't have a copy of Windows, people who don't want to bother to boot up a full VM just to run one small app, a

      • I see your point concerning users who don't have a legit copy of Windows and don't want to use a bootleg, but if you want good 3D, wouldn't you be better off dual-booting?
        • I see your point concerning users who don't have a legit copy of Windows and don't want to use a bootleg, but if you want good 3D, wouldn't you be better off dual-booting?

          Absolutely. But, many of us don't feel like bothering to reboot just to play a video game or whatever, so WINE vs. VM is the main comparison if either will be a serviceable solution.

          If you have a torrent downloading under Linux, which you want to kill time playing a game until it completes, or something, then rebooting into windows would

  • Status of Wine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jlp2097 ( 223651 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:35PM (#23954887) Homepage Journal


    Suppose that the APIs delivered with Windows XP are the 100% baseline for app compatibility that you want to achieve. Could you give an estimate of how much percent is already implemented and how much work it would be to implement the rest?


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:36PM (#23954891)

    I would like to ask what your plans are to improve the process of/increase the number of people contributing to Wine? Do you plan to provide more feedback on patches (they are often ignored without comment), for example? Do you see Alexandre ever trusting other devs enough to take over subsystems/individual dlls?

  • Wine on Mac OS X (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roger6106 ( 847020 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:36PM (#23954899)

    Wine seems to making large improvements on ease of use in Linux desktops, especially with the simple installation afforded by package managers. However, installation [] of Wine on Mac OS X remains complicated.

    Are there any efforts underway to simplify the use and installation of Wine on Mac OS X?

  • by Scootin159 ( 557129 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:39PM (#23954963) Homepage
    What is the biggest obstacle in getting 100% Win32 API compatibility? Is it undocumented "features"? Inaccurate documentation from Microsoft? Fundamental differences between "Windows" and "Linux"? Other technical limitations?
  • by protomala ( 551662 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:42PM (#23955059) Homepage
    Wine today runs fine, but as desktop linux visuals become better with nice themes, wine becomes more and more an alien in your computer. Is this any plan to make it more native in the look & feel?
    • I believe you can install different Windows XP themes on wine. So I guess a better question would be, is it possible to create a Windows XP theme specifically for Wine that would use the current GTK and/or QT theme settings?

  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:46PM (#23955151) Homepage

    Whenever someone runs a program in Wine, it is because there is demand for that specific Windows application on Linux. Should end users be encouraged to write to software developers and request Linux or Wine-compatible software?

  • alternate uses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:47PM (#23955173) Journal
    I've never used wine to run windows programs. However, I have used the source code as a form of documentation/verification while doing win32 programming. How do you feel about that?
  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:48PM (#23955199) Journal

    I've been using Wine for a long time and its ability to run applications such as Framemaker, Photoshop, uTorrent and some other useful abandonware (Delrina Perform, anyone?) has improved my productivity significantly. Thanks for your hard work... and yes, I sent money!

    I see Wine as the only serious option for rapid cross-platform development (Linux/OS X/Windows).
    Now that the API is stable(r), is this how you'd like to see Wine evolve?

    I'm excited to see Wine working in OS X on the Intel Macs. I have however run into problems in this configuration that I don't see with the same applications using Wine on Linux.

    What are the challenges for Wine on OS X/Intel?

  • Office 97/2000 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:49PM (#23955241)

    With you working for codeweavers (which produces the excellent Crossover Linux package), do you see a conflict of interest in wine not directly supporting MSOffice 2K at the gold level?

    As a related question:
    How do you decide which portions of the code you write goes to wine and which are crossover-specific?

    • Re:Office 97/2000 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:17PM (#23957335)

      > do you see a conflict of interest in wine not directly supporting
      > MSOffice 2K at the gold level?

      I want to use your excellect question as a springboard to expand to a broader question about the relationship between Codeweavers, Crossover Office and Wine.

      I realize Crossover is what keeps you guys fed, clothed, etc. and more importantly for us users, adding code to the Wine repo. But there appear to be some downsides as well.

      For example, take the original poster's question. CX has supported various versions of Office since the first release (since you actually managed to sell copies it is safe to assume the first release would run a version of Office well enough to have happy customers) but Wine isn't known to reliably run ANY version of Office with anything that would be called reliability. Is this something that will always be true, to drive sales of CX? Would outside contributions that removed these limitations from Wine even be merged?

      More importantly than these specific questions, these issues and boundaries between Wine and CX aren't clearly spelled out. This becomes even more important now that Codeweavers is expanding the commercial product line into a game oriented product. We all realize Cedega is a bunch of leeches and probably won't ever be contributing anything of value back to Wine but if Codeweavers (meaning 'yall) also stop putting major functionality back into Wine or worse declining to merge competing versions...... Lots of questions, few answers.

      But the biggest question I can come up with is this one. What would be the point of me (me taken as generic) considering looking at Wine with an eye to contributing unless I am first a Crossover Office customer? Because the odds are good that any particular missing feature in Wine is already implemented in CX, so one would first want to test there to avoid reinventing a wheel that probably wouldn't get merged anyway. So logically it is hard to see a motivation to contribute to Wine directly, and contributing to CX as an unpaid volunteer doesn't exactly give most free software devels a warm fuzzy feeling.

      Mixed Free/Closed models are always a tricky balancing act. Clearly laying out what apps will be permitted to run under Wine and which will be reserved for CX would help people see where that line is going to be drawn.

  • Wine 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @03:57PM (#23955427)
    So, what are your plans for Wine 2.0?
  • API good+bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by j00r0m4nc3r ( 959816 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:04PM (#23955605)
    Throughout all your adventures with the Win32 API, what would you say is the most brilliant part of the system, and which is the most horrible? Like, for which systems would you say, "Wow! I wish I had come up with that!" or "Dear GOD NO!"
  • Compiling with Wine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by martinw89 ( 1229324 )
    A while ago when I was reading into Wine I found information on Winelib. Are you still actively promoting the use of Winelib for developers interested on an easy cross platform solution? If not, what are your thoughts on people developing cross platform applications with Windows as the primary interest?
  • What is the status of Wine's implementation of ntoskrnl.dll? Is there a possibility of Wine being able to run Windows drivers, like ndiswrapper does for wireless NICs?

  • by Random BedHead Ed ( 602081 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:16PM (#23955863) Homepage Journal

    I know making certain key applications work in time for the 1.0 milestone was one of the WINE team's goals, but I just wanted to thank the team, on behalf of everyone in the /. crowd, for making sure Notepad.exe was one of them. It was the first Windows program I tried to use under WINE and it performed flawlessly, making me feel a little more at home on Linux.

    We Linux users have been putting up with the likes of vim and Kate and gedit for years, but all of these editors come with major caveats, such as multiple levels of undo and the ability to read both UNIX and DOS text files. With WINE I've been able to use Notepad to delete entire lines when I really mean to delete only one word, and get little square characters where carriage returns should be. I'm so pleased by this app that I'll probably move on to trying Paint.exe next (the silly GIMP airbrush tool isn't as satisfyingly pixellated as the one MS Paint perfected way back in 1995).

    Keep up the good work in bringing the Redmond's best software to the Linux desktop!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most desktop machines today are capable of 64-bit support. When will we see WINE running 64-bit Windows apps? Wikipedia says that this was to be considered after the 1.0 release. Well, 1.0 has been released, so can we expect to see 64-bit support in the future?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      WineHQ further lists "Wine will never run on Win64" in their "Wine Myths" section, seeming to imply that there will eventually be Win64 support.

      It's hard to say how much of a priority it should be. I want my 64-bit stuff working, and ideally, I'd love for Wine to be as good or better than Windows for certain tasks. (Benchmarks showed Quake3 was faster on Linux, even under Wine.)

      But it seems more like Wine is a killer app for random, old, small-user-base apps, often that one last thing that you can't do on W

  • While Wine clearly has a place on today's Linux desktop, how do you think Wine will compare to using something like ReactOS combined with virtualization in the future?

    ReactOS has the potential to eventually support both applications and drivers relatively effortlessly. And as virtualization becomes cheaper, will Wine still have the advantage in the long run?

  • So is there?
  • WINE Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:23PM (#23956077) Journal

    I've loaded WINE numerous times over the past years - primarily to play 'legacy' video games/simulations. I've had limited success with the specific stable of games I am interested in and own. I've also paid for Cedega which was equally dissatisfying. With the demise of Loki Software, and the limited titles that have been ported directly to linux by and LGP to date - there is still a very large sector of games that many would say hold back adoption of linux as a gaming platform.

    What are your views on WINE gaming, and what are you doing (if anything) to address this issue?

  • ReactOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R_Dorothy ( 1096635 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:32PM (#23956295)

    How much do the Wine and ReactOS teams contribute to each other's projects? What are your personal takes on ReactOS? Do you think it can become a serious Windows replacement?

  • DirectX 10 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:35PM (#23956365)

    Any plans to implement DX10?

    Or at least make DX9 games (like HL2EP2) work decently.

  • MS-Office... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BUL2294 ( 1081735 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:36PM (#23956375)
    Will WINE or Codeweavers make a commitment to fully support a recent vintage of MS-Office (2007, 2003, XP) as a platinum app? By "fully", I mean everything in the suite--including Access, Outlook, Publisher, the little helper apps, VBA, clipart, etc. When I look at WINE's appdb, I see no consistency to the ratings people give to recent versions of MS-Office, which means users are having varying degrees of problems. Unfortunately, for many people (myself included), MS-Office doesn't work with WINE... Why not assign a group of coders & testers the task of getting 100% of the functionality of this one extremely popular app working???
  • by ChaseTec ( 447725 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:36PM (#23956387) Homepage
    Wine was started before the rise in popularity of FOSS and Virtualization. If Wine did not already exist and someone pitched the idea of Wine to you would you: A) Tell them that it'd be better to promote FOSS software that can be ported to other OSes. B) Tell them to just use a virtualization product. C) Start Wine. Would you do it even if you thought FOSS would become more common than closed source applications in the future?
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:07PM (#23957117) Journal

    Given that XP is at the end of life, I think Wine has an important role in keeping legacy software alive. One such app is Macromedia Freehand. This vector drawing program still has a dedicated following, even though it hasn't seen an update since Adobe bought Macromedia in 2005.

    As far as I can tell there is no way to open Freehand documents in Linux. XP will not be available for much longer, and Freehand MX is not Vista compatible []. There are a lot of graphic artists with a lot of data still in Freehand format, and they're going to need to access their art on modern operating systems.

    Freehand almost works on Wine 1.0. It requires a dll download to run, then it works pretty well, except that the 'more fonts' menu doesn't work. It's 99% there. So my question is, is there going to be a push to get important legacy apps like Freehand 100% perfect? Or is the focus going to continue to be modern windows apps?

  • USB support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ( 206867 ) <100jayto@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:42PM (#23957819)

    I know about usb-storage support, it works perfectly, but what about full USB support?

    Many USB devices require Windows apps to use them correctly. For me, Line6 USB products for audio come to mind, but i'm sure there are plenty of others.

    From what I've seen in the wine-devel discussions, it looks like a tough challenge. Are there any takers yet? What are the main showstoppers? Or, am I totally wrong on my figures and these other USB devices are not used that much?

    If these are a lot of questions, please stick to the first one :)

  • by Icy_Infinity ( 1313035 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @06:02PM (#23958157)

    WINE shouldn't really release like a label or logo for games of some type that would allow buyers of some games to know that said game would play on an alternative platform than windows like Linux with WINE of course. that way it could help get the word out to regular people that yes many of the applications that you pay hundreds of dollars for can run on an open platform. you could do it through the website and the developers of other applications and games could include links to their apps being supported and links to bug fixes and stuff.

  • by vinn ( 4370 ) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:52PM (#23962301) Homepage Journal

    Hm... I'll bite!

    Over the past few years we've seen major architectural concerns calm down. The DLL separation took a while, we had the major filesystem rewrite, and then in the past year we had the big windowing changes. Oh, and then throw in the big changes to support copy protection, real services, and oodles of D3D updates.

    So where does that leave us? Are there any major architectural changes in the pipe? There are rumors Codeweavers will integrate a DIB engine - what does that do and why is that necessary? What about in the RPC world? Jeremy - you've battled with audio, how do you feel Wine is doing with regards to audio support?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times ( 778537 )

      One thing I wonder about future development (besides the obvious "what's planned for WINE 2.0?"):

      There are lots of tweaks and dependencies that have to be taken into account when installing Windows applications in WINE. There have been some attempts to address this issue in WINE-Doors, Winetricks, and Crossover, but I can't detect any systematic approach to handling this issue in WINE itself.

      Are there any plans to simplify this process? Have you considered looking to package managers (e.g. apt) to take

  • by Marco Polo ( 168143 ) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:25AM (#23962573)

    Number of people ask what percent along are you.

    Looking at where you are now, and what it's taken to get there... can you give an estimate of MAN hrs to get to a number of MILE stones you might pick..

    win 3.1, win 95,win 98, win 98se, 2k, XP.
    server versions
    direct x versions .net versions
    (no i didn't miss ME is there anything that "requires it?")
    I would think it's understood that one can't give 100% accurate numbers but i think it might be of value to everyone involved to have an estimated times for some target goals.

    And thank you for your time and all the hard work you have put in to this.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"