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Wine Software

Windows Browser Plugins for Linux 88

An Anonymous Coward sent in: "NewsForge has a story about a company called Codeweavers releasing a program that allows nearly all Windows plug-ins such as Quicktime or Shockwave to run on Linux browsers including Netscape, Mozilla and Konqueror. The company's aiming the product at the embedded device market, but promises to release a version for the desktop, too."
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Windows Browser Plugins for Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Um. Unless things have very, very recently changed, games that run in Wine (Half-Life comes to mind) perform very similar to, if not BETTER, than they do in Windows native.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Many plugins assume they have direct access to hardware. This is true under windows but not under Linux.

    Surely letting such programs will destabilize Linux as much as my company's "conversion to linux" involves massive use of threads and shared memory "because it's easier thas using separate processes and pipes". The new software crashes for undetectable/unexplainable reasons. Well, DUH, they recreated all the worst of windows behaviour (all threads(DLLs) being able to scribble over the memory of all other threads.) under linux.

  • As an Mac/Windows developer, I can probably tell you why the port will not happen soon.

    When Quicktime is running on Windows, it is rumoured that it is actually emulating a Macintosh toolbox underneath. This would be a lot of work, since you have to move from the quick RISC math of a PowerPC to the slower math x86 units. You also have to let go of the many built in ROM functions available on the Macintosh. This can be seen when you load Quicktime on a Windows and MacOS machine at the same time. A slow PowerPC will load Quicktime faster and run it smoother than some of the fastest x86 machines. This is mostly because of the supposed emulation on the lesser processors.

    Now imagine porting it to Linux. A whole new port of the toolbox will have to be undertaken. This would be a lot of work for a group of people Apple could probably care less about. It probably requires a lot of work to port and trim the toolbox, and a whole new API to have to port to would not be well received.

    Unless Linux becomes very mainstream, Apple will most likely not port to it. Apple has never released an embedded Quicktime as far as I know, and probably never will.


  • Your argument fails on one point, either out of misunderstanding or downright maliciousness. But the rest is okay.

    The FSF does not care who looks at code. To say they do is only a political lie. They only care who cuts and pastes their code somewhere else which is what is meant by CopyRight the right to copy. Not the right to look at it. You are welcome to look, learn and write your own BSD liscenced equivelant as long as you don't copy the code.

    But even then they don't care who uses their gzip compression algorithm or other advancements and innovations.

    Mind you, I think BSD is a more free liscence the GPL is an enforced openness and that gives those who use it freedom. But as someone said before it isn't freedom, its guild socialism. And that is a good thing.




    ~^~~^~^^~~^
  • WinNT? Even with its lack of games and drivers? Why Adobe products don't cut and paste to the clipboard even on NT.

    2000 is a little better.

    Win98 with its crash early crash often policy? NO thank you. I like a real pre-emptive, memory protected OS that when one program crashes it won't bring down the whole box. Besides, i like running the same OS on a LART as well as a ALPHA 36 processor supermachine.

    Also, as is not brought up enough, WINE brings terminal service to windows programs. Yep, run multiple copies on the server and pipe the X display to your particular computer.

    These things help the establishment of Linux as the desktop OS, along with customizability, speed, security and a very considerate and community minded group of developers. (Outside of the posers on slashdot that is.)

    The lack of running existing software that people like (really just games and browser stuff now) is the only thing keeping people back. Its unlikely that OS can keep up on that bleeding edge of games and browser coolness anyway. So far it hasn't.


    ~^~~^~^^~~^
  • In fact you suggest to behave like a monopolist.

    Wow. i wish I could mod that up as most insightful.

    True, Slashdot acts like a forum of managers and marketers more than a forum of hackers and coders. And bad ones at that. Collectively in my opinion their ideas would in general alienate more than anialate, oppress more than impress, and stifle more than rifle (another way of saying disable rather than enable.)

    In general, it shows them as being the very beasts they proport to fight (in an Animal Farm kind of way.) Its a good thing those that really direct the course of Open Source aren't this dumb.

    Oh that Slashdot could learn this one lesson, told by one of the smarter people on slashdot...

    "[Customers] are used to being catered to, not lectured."


    ~^~~^~^^~~^

  • <i>they should work on opensourcing all those plugins</i>

    Doing this requires strategy a little smarter than the kicking, screaming and sulking that most Open Source advocates mandate. For example:

    "We don't want that software its not open source..."

    compared that my five year old nephew...

    "I don't want a burger, I want McDonalds!"



    ~^~~^~^^~~^
  • I'm sure you can provide some lawsuit, or other legal maneuver to show precidence to your claim. Otherwise your basing it on conjecture and it doesn't add up.

    But like I said here or somewhere else, the most informative piece of information I ever learned on slashdot was from a small post about a year and a half ago. GPL != freedom, its guild socialism. BSD does mean more freedom to do what I want with code but I don't think it makes better software.

    As Mr Katz, others on slashdot and many of my libertarian counterparts) fail to understand is that freedom does not mean you can do anything you want. Freedom means more and usualy comes as a direct byproduct of adherance to laws rather than the attempt to ignore them or make them go away.

    Example is that you do have the freedom to drive on the wrong side of the road, but you don't have the freedom to say your chevy sprint won't be turned into a pancake by the oncoming semi. Only staying on the right side of the road (while everyone else does also) gives you the freedom to arrive safely at your destination. Restraint here means freedom.

    Its not trading one freedom for another either. Freedom only has an accumulative effect. To continue the analogy, some would argue that my example is trading the freedom to drive on the wrong side of the road for the freedom to arrive safely. I say this is obviously false since even after you arrive you have the freedom to be stupid and die. However the person who already was stupid and die doesn't have the freedom to do it again.


    ~^~~^~^^~~^
  • So massive contributions to wine don't count?


    hawk

  • why would i want to do away with IE when it works so fucking well?



    I suppose it depends on what your definition of "works fo fucking well" is. Usually when I see that sort of statement, I automatically assume it's sarcasm, because I've had such horrible luck with IE in the past and in recent history. If you weren't intending to be sarcastic, my apologies.

  • by Enahs ( 1606 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @07:43AM (#228463) Journal
    The bad thing about those quick glances is that you missed that they do massive contributions to WINE.



    Then again, you got the score of 5 for the "look, it's bad for Linux 'coz it lets you use non-Open-Source software on Linux." I suppose you refuse to play Quake 3 Arena on Linux, too. And you never used Netscape 4.x. And never used StarOffice to deal with Office documents. Never used aviplay to play DivX ;-) files. And so on.



    One of the big complaints about Linux (and other free OSs) is the lack of commercial software. "Uh, we don't have the Sorenson codec for QuickTime, but Ogg Tarkin is gonna be l33t." Sure. So how is it I convert those Sorenson QuickTime files to Ogg Tarkin again? And how do I do it using 100% Open Source software? Oh, I don't because I'd have to use non-Free software and that's bad for Linux, eh? Sure. Whatever.



    I see it as a good sign. People have an interest in seeing software "ported" to Linux. Means that there's an interest in marginalizing Windows. It's a first step. And frankly, I never understood why people had such a fit over WINE. Sure, there's a risk that developers won't port code over, and sure using binary drivers means you're stuck with x86 only. But WINE isn't just a binary abstraction layer; it's also winelib, a nice porting tool. Heck, if IE were ever to come over to Linux, what, you think Microsoft would pay people to remove all the Win32 API references and port it to, say, GTK+? LOL. How do you think IE was ported to Solaris?

  • Not for MS Windows, but for all x86 unixes: http://www.project-udi.org/ [project-udi.org].
    (See also commentary from LWN [lwn.net]).
  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @12:57AM (#228465) Homepage
    Quicktime has and will not be released for Linux. It goes without saying that the Windows Media Player will not, either. Along with Realplayer, then, those are the 3 predominate streaming video formats on the web. Now we've got all three.

    The bigger question is whether or not this implementation will use XVideo. SHM is just too slow and CPU intensive. This questions means the difference between whether these plugins seem like bulky and awkward processes run on top of an emulator, or whether they perform as well as in Windows itself.

    --

  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @01:45AM (#228466) Homepage
    I'm sorry, it's 3AM two days before finals :) Apple has not released Quicktime for Linux and I maintain that they have no plans to. First, if they did, they would have already done so. Linux was mainstream two years ago. Two, they have been adamantly opposed to distributing the Sorenson video codec, to the point of not even allowing Sorenson to license it to other people. Fron the xanim webpage [polter.net]:

    "I have contacted Sorenson about licensing their codec. They responded that Apple won't allow them to license it to others."

    This topic has been discussed at length [slashdot.org] on Slashdot in the past. One notable thread [slashdot.org] reads,

    "As a developer for Sorenson ... Sorenson would be more than happy to go along with a Linux port of QuickTime. Apple is the entity which has been holding off and because of licensing between Apple and Sorenson, there is nothing we can do about it ... "

    I wouldn't hold my breath, embedded Linux or not. From the massive PR that Apple lavishes on QT to watching Steve Jobs soil himself yearly at Macworld and Comdex whilst marvelling the latest and greatest QT innovations, etc., you get the sense that Apple really thinks they're sitting on the greatest thing since sliced bread here (they're not).

    --
  • You're using IE5.5 under WINE with a bunch of WIndows 95 OSR2 DLLs in your case. I wouldn't be surprised if IE could limp along these days under clean-room WINE and no Microsoft OS DLLs too, but the way you're using it, that's not the case.

    If you're going to use Windows system files to supplant the weaker parts of WINE, you're legally required to have a full license to Windows. Once you're paying for the full Windows license, isn't VMWare a better way to go? It provides a much better Windows-under-Linux environment than Windows-less WINE does even under ideal conditions. Point is, as a technology to roll out in environments where software piracy isn't an option, a tweaked WINE combined with MS's Windows DLLs isn't really a viable product.
  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @06:01AM (#228468)
    Codeweavers is trying to build a business on selling WINE-derived products for targeted martkets. WINE is still free and will stay that way since there's no money in WINE itself. Things like VMWare do a better job of allowing people to run Windows and Linux simultaneously, and it's likely WINE will never catch up completely with whatever versions of Windows are current and thus become near-100% compatible.

    WINE's commercial value is instead in the targeted use of it as a porting library or compatibility layer for specific applications, when Linux-compatibility is needed but a port to native *nix APIs is either too expensive or too far off to meet a desired street date.

    They don't intend to make money selling this plugin compatibility adaptor to end-users running Linux on their desktop. While they might try to sell it--at a per-copy rolyalty--to commericial Linux distributors that target consumer desktops, that doesn't seem to be their goal here

    Because this isn't going to help anyone install plugins on Linux, it's really something for companies that want to, say, sell web terminals that can play Quicktime and Shockwave, because those companies would also have to secure the rights to redistribute a repackaged version of their software (i.e. Quicktime and Showckwave players).

    While an individual at home might manage to use this to run Windows Media Player, that home user doesn't have the right to run it on a system without a Windows license. Appliance vendors are unlikely to pay for Windows ME licenses solely for the right to put WMP on each Linux appliance they make, so in practice, this is really only a product for hardware vendors that want to license and distribute specific Windows browser plugins as part of their appliance.

    This adaptor isn't the makings of a billion-dollar company, but there could be a nice business in this for the next few years.
  • Almost every piece of hardware comes with MacOS drivers.

    No. Oh, no. Definitely not. MOST definitely not. Try owning a Mac, and you'll quickly find out that this is NOT the case. Usually, youre stuck buying SCSI cards and Ethernet adapters at a bloated price from a select few 'vendors' who actually bothered to support the Mac.

  • I saw this story and I thought, "Hey, now we won't have all these people whining (no pun intended) about having to boot Windows to watch the latest Final Fantasy/Lord of the Rings trailer!"
  • There are billyuns of windows apps out there (not all of them good..) and it is a vain hope to see all vendors port all of their apps. Anything that removes any last objections people have to running linux -- "But none of my apps will work" -- is a good thing.

    Think of all those thin clients out there that run windows because it has the latest greatest web plugins. Now they will be able to run linux -- smaller footprint (good), more robust (good), and now able to access all the cool technologies of the web.

  • At least michael you could have posted the link for Comet Cursors since you've mentioned it in the header.

    IMNERHO, any post that contains a link to Comet Cursors should be nuked by the same lameness filter that catches goatsecx and comp-u-geek links.

    -
  • Do they release the enhanced portions of their code?

    Are you going to do any research at all on this thread [codeweavers.com], or just continue to make an ass of yourself?

    -
  • I glanced around their homepage, and codeweavers don't even seem to be open source, as far as I can tell.

    Perhaps you should have done more than glance, as should the moderators who modded you up to +5 for this uninformed opinion.

    Their primary product is enhanced Wine, completely Open Source. Even this article makes it clear that they're discussing possible release of this new product under the Artistic License, which is what Perl uses. Folks may argue whether Perl's license is Free Software, but I haven't seen it argued that it ain't Open Source.

    They say in their "About" page that they actively support open source.

    They link to the FSF on their "links" page.

    All their upcoming projects (all of them) are based on Wine, which is under the X11 license.

    They're not GPL, but they're Free Software and Open Source as anybody. At this point, more so than Red Hat, for instance.

    Oh, yeah; they pay people to work on Wine. They even have a web page devoted to it [codeweavers.com].

    What the hell else do you want from them? Source code for the stuff they haven't written yet?


    -
  • You're just trading one form of freedom for another. Net gain: Zero.


    ---
  • Sure the most popular plugins exist in Linux, but they're extremely difficult to get working with Mozilla. And even when they do load, they're much buggier than the alphaest open source software.
  • If you can run WMP under Linux with wine then you should be able to use it as a browser plugin with this. At least till the next version of WMP when Microsoft will find some way to break the Wine compatability of WMP.

    Doesn't sound like much of a solution. Linux users (like their M$ bretheren) should have audio and video deployed automatically by the browser without first doing serious black magic at the terminal.

    come off crisp and play up to the cynic
    clean and schooled right down to the minute

  • This so-called universal browser plugin must be able to deftly handle Windows Media Player files (x-mplayer2 or whatever format name it uses) which seems to be swallowing the internet whole. Video players Aktion [geocities.com] and xMovie [heroinewarrior.com] (while good in their own modest way) aren't the solution. I want to be able to watch all the cool freaks on U8TV [u8tv.com] unhindered by the os I'm using, and so far I haven't been able to do that.

    I hope your listening CodeWeavers.

    come off crisp and play up to the cynic
    clean and schooled right down to the minute

  • Yeah, I just saw that as well. Tragic really.

    (And I haven't quite decided if the original fake troll was very clever or very distasteful.)
  • This will encourage people to use proprietary browser plugins for windows, rather than developing native ones for Linux.

    Isn't this already the case? Macromedia's Flash plugin (there's a free alternative, but last time I played with it it didn't seem to support anywhere near as much) and Real's Realmedia plugin are both widely used and closed. The moment Netscape supported closed-source plugins, we'd pretty much lost in that respect already.

    What's more of a problem is that if companies can get away with just recommending their Windows plugin for Linux use, non-x86 users are left out in the cold.
  • Yes, that's right. With the latest CVS updates the painting is better too! It now doesn't white out the toolbars when you load a new page. The toolbars still start out white sometimes, but nothing a quick rollup and rolldown can't fix (which used to not be true either).

    My IE 5.5 is installed on a copy of Win95 OSR2 with updates (including Y2K) under Win4Lin. Unfortunately, since Win4Lin doesn't work with kernel 2.4 yet I am unable to use it, but it makes a nice installed Windows tree with native DLLs for Wine to use. Currently I am running with native commctrl,shell, and ole.

    There are still some issues with the user code in Wine. It's old. Recently Alexandre Juliard has submitted some changes to better seperate the Wine graphics driver out of the user code. I believe Alexandre is looking to do some major improvement to user. Well, at least I hope so, the current user code is very old and crufty and is the cause of lots of painting issues. Even solitaire doesn't exactly paint right at the moment (move a window around over top of it and you'll see what I mean).

    Wine has come a long way and if you haven't had the opportunity to use it lately, I suggest that you try it again. IE seems to be working just fine for posting this.

  • First of all, IE is not my main browser. For this comment I am using Mozilla. However it just so happened that I was testing out IE on a newly compiled CVS build so I figured I'd write the comment.

    I would have to say that I am not very thrilled with VMware from my personal experiences. IE running under Wine runs faster than Mozilla. IE running under VMware runs slow as shit. IE under Win4Lin is a bit slower too (but not very noticably so). Using Wine as a Win4Lin/VMware type thing is not such a bad idea. Sure it is not quite as compatible at the system level, but at the application level most things are working. Like I said, one of the major drawbacks to Wine is the USER/GDI code. With working core libraries in place WINE would provide a better solution than Win4Lin or VMware. Especially if a company (CodeWeavers would be the first Wine related company to come to mind) did some more work and packaged Wine as a Windows applications runner. However, I don't think you'll see them doing that, it doesn't seem to fit in to their business model from what I gather. However, Jeremy White and friends did do a very good job of packaging the Codeweavers releases of Wine.

    About the license thing. Most (possibly all) of the DLLs I used native versions of actually came with IE because it updates the system. So theoretically if you can get the installer to work then you shouldn't need Windows at all.

  • It's EIA-485, by the way. 'RS' stands for "Recommended Standard." EIA-485, and EIA-232 for that matter, have been official standards for quite some time now...

    What did IBM have to do with it? I wasn't aware that they designed it. One of the big applications was for fault-tolerant communication in automotive systems (I used to be in that industry). I have never, ever heard of a desktop, or other non-specialised computer with EIA485, including those from IBM.

    Why not take a look at all of those embedded boards out there? EIA-485 is a must on those things. I can get transceiver chips from National Semiconductor, Maxim, TI, etc.

    IBM did make something called GA-22-6974-0 for the 360/370, but it's not quite multidrop like 485 is. Multiple drivers can share a single line, though.

    Interesting 485 tidbit, the electric part of the SCSI standard was based on 485.
  • Between this and how much better mozilla has gotten I think we can say "buh-bye" to IE. And if we can get the plugins working cross platform... well that's just too cool.
  • If I look at the code, then incorporate that code (via my memory, not cut+paste) into my closed source project, I have violated the GPL.

    Only if you do so to such an extent that your code constitutes a derivative work. I don't know how many lines of code you can hold literally in your head, but unless your memory is much better than mine, in any program of significant length the small bit I could recall would almost certainly be fair use.

    The GPL does not prevent fair use. All it does is prevent you from creating a derivative work from a GPLed work without GPLing your derivative.

    What constitutes a derivative work that falls outside of fair use? That is something of an open question, not just in software but all fields.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • From the massive PR that Apple lavishes on QT to watching Steve Jobs soil himself yearly at Macworld and Comdex whilst marvelling the latest and greatest QT innovations, etc., you get the sense that Apple really thinks they're sitting on the greatest thing since sliced bread here (they're not).

    By holding tightly onto that Sorenson codec, Jobs is going to turn it into the Token Ring of the Video codec world. IBM has held just as tightly to many, many things; MCA, RS485, Token Ring, etc. By holding technology with a closed fist people eventually leave for a more open technology.
  • short answer: no, because you pretty much have to implement the whole NT kernel.
  • by chrysalis ( 50680 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @12:37AM (#228488) Homepage
    Linux doesn't cries for browser plug-ins. Major plug-ins (real, acrobat, flash, vrml...) are already native Linux implementations.
    A major step would be to allow Linux to run Windows hardware drivers. Many people are still keeping a Windows partition because there's no Linux driver for their printer (or not photo-quality), no driver for their (win)modem, and sometimes there's no hope and no way to help because hardware specifications are (and will remain) closed.
    The same thing could apply to other architectures as well. Almost every piece of hardware comes with MacOS drivers. Maybe it would be possible to code a glue in order to use them on Linux/PPC.
    Yes, natives drivers will always be better. But this trick would be better than no hardware support at all.
    If it is possible to code something able to run every Windows browser plug-ins, I guess the same technology can also server device drivers. So why not focus on this instead ?
  • Thats a terrible idea!

    What you're suggesting would basically force us to run wine at the kernel level, which is not going to happen.

    Browser drivers seems like a nice idea, but I believe it when I see it and it doesn't crash all the time, act strangely, or require massive tweaking (e.g. as wine currently does for most windows apps)


  • At least michael you could have posted the link for Comet Cursors [cometsystems.com] since you've mentioned it in the header. For those who don't know what it is, its what they've dubbed a "smart cursor" which allows you to select something in an article, highlight it, and get information on what you'd selected and with or without a hyperlink get information on it, or purchase something (if its a product)

    Now for the Wine part of it, I think it's a great idea, and I also think the company would probably want to work around some of the bugs we often (or at least I do) get when visiting pages with Shockwave Flash, and other embedded technologies on a page. As for the above post claiming a degradation of Linux, I'd highly doubt it would degrade the views of Linux for simple reasons. By having more companies developing for the *Nix based market, it goes to show that contrary to anyone's beliefs (or secret wishes) Linux/BSD's aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

    However I also hope this isn't just another one of those here-today-gone-tomorrow based ideas coming out of a company trying to ride the coattails of the open source market, gaining fame, then moving on (Caldera).

  • Thanx for the link to ESR's little doc, it's been a long time since I've read that. :)



    Dive Gear [divingdeals.com]
  • by Nailer ( 69468 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @01:25AM (#228492)
    Quicktime has and will not be released for Linux.

    I''m trying to work out whether that sentence is badly constucted, or you actually mean what it says - that Apple at some point in the past has released Quicktime for Linux. Methinks the former.

    The second part of that questions is much more of a concern. Linux is currently either the number one or two embedded OS, and it seem to me that Apple will release Quicktime for embedded Linux the same way there's 100% functional (ie, with chapter navigation and other features we're still waiting on from the other three)DVD players for embedded Linux. Just as there is a Windows Media Server used on an embedded Linux device (somebody please post the URL). Embedded Linux is simply too great a market to ignore.

    But if you have some sort of authority for that statement (i.e, a message from Apple), please respond.
  • ...any ideology that attempts to lock me into a single "Open" vendor, namely the FSF.

    Uhm, Free Software is not a Brain Washing Cult. It's founded on carefully argued reasoning and first principles. You can agree or disagree, but nobody is locking you in. Unless of course you are so weak-minded that you can't think for yourself, and your only idea of freedom is having 70 channels on the tv to choose from instead of 5. Well my friend, you are either pitiful or a troll.
  • Kinda like Samba? :-)

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • If a plugin can be used by anything, how can it be proprietary?
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\ =\=\=\=\=\=\=\
  • You're right, but I reckon that most of that has been done. I'm sitting here with a Windows box and a Debian box in front of me, similar spec, running through my monitor with Dsub/BNC switching. Every time I use my Linux box (I use Gnome+Enlightenment) I wish that I could ditch Windows for good. There are really only two things keeping me using Windows as my Primary desktop:
    1. Microsoft Outlook: I need to sync calendars with colleagues, Outlook is the only sane way of doing this without it being a total cludge. If someone made KPim or GnoPim or whatever that could talk to Exchange Server then I could ditch Outlook
    2. Macromedia development tools: I need Dreamweaver and Flash! I'm sorry, but no matter what anyone says, there is no equivalent for Linux, no really good WYSIWYG html editor with roundtripping and all the features of DW, nothing that can make .swf movies half as good as flash.

    OK, I would like Photoshop too, but I'm sure I could learn Gimp. I reckon KWord gives MS Word a good run for its money, and if OpenOffice (aka. Star Office 6) gets rid of that stupid, stupid desktop-within-an-application thing and lets me run the apps individually (why should I load the whole stupid suite to edit a text document??????) then there's no contest. So.... let's bug Macromedia everybody. I would love to design pages on the same platform that I'm going to serve them on. (And I would love it if a browser crashing didn't take out the whole 'desktop'...)
  • How many years has it been with no sign of native plugins to match the Windows plugins? How many more years will it be?

    Having to boot Windows to get decent web access does a heck of a lot more to keep Linux in a niche than running Windows plugins on Linux will do.

    Furthermore, native plugins, if hell froze over and someone actually wrote them, only address the past. What about the future? By running Windows plugins, Linux gets compatibility with any new format quickly.

  • A lot of people have pointed out you are nuts. Unfortunately, they are all wrong.

    What they have all overlooked is that (1) while the details differ, the high level design of the low level I/O system is actually pretty much the same on Windows, Linux, and most other operating systems more advanced than DOS, and (2) the interface to the driver for a given class of device is usually designed around what the device does, and since the device does the same thing on all OSes, the interfaces end up very similar.

    The difficulty is in the details. You have to thouroghly understand all of the following:

    1. Exactly what Linux wants from a driver for the given class of hardware,

    2. Exactly what Windows wants from a driver for the given class of hardware,

    3. The Windows file formats for drivers.

    4. The in-memory format of a Windows driver. E.g., how data is accessed, how relocation is done when the driver loads, etc.

    So, it is a lot of work, but the actual code you'd end up with between the Linux and Windows code once the Windows driver is loaded would be a bunch of thunking code, that would not be too big and would not hurt performance noticably. The big task would be writing the loader, beacuse you'd have to figure out a lot of Windows stuff that is either not documented or poorly documented.

  • OK, so there hasn't been a great deal of progress in the development of common plugins for GNU/Linux - Quicktime for example (I personally don't care about Shockwave or Flash, but it would be nice to take away another reason for people not to use Linux), but is this system not going to suggest to developers to not bother with plugins for Linux, and just knock out Windoze versions, expecting every Linux user on the planet to get this Codeweavers code?

    Progress is good, but I'd still rather see a Linux version of $PLUGIN, instead of a compatiblity layer to run the Windows version.

    Plugins aren't exactly the be-all-and-end-all of OS use, but it's just a thought.
  • Is this really necessary? There are already versions of Shockwave, Java and Realplayer plug-ins available for Linux browsers (which I have working fine in Konqueror)
  • Even if this did work (and a few people have pointed out that it won't) I'm not sure it would be a good thing. For one, the stability of the drivers for Windows are less than perfect, and can many times lead to a crash. I think good uptimes are a great benefit of Linux on the desktop. Secondly this would make device manufactuers even less willing to make Linux drivers if "those hackers can use the windows drivers." A better idea in my mind is to support companies that include drivers for Linux.
  • I agree. I don't like the Idea of brining more and more windows emulation to linux. And this wont help to establish Linux as a Desktop OS. Because why hassle with Linux, just to use wine/... to use my win98/nt software? I rather use winNT directly.
  • We're talking about running Windows binaries here. Of course it'll be x86-only because that's what they were compiled for.

    As for performance, a program under windows makes calls to the win32 library (.dll) files and the instructions are executed natively by an x86 processor. Under Linux, a program makes calls to the win32 library (Wine) and the instructions are executed natively on an x86 processor. Where does the wrapper come into play?
  • It is impossible to do this for drivers. There are countless reasons for that, but I'll just try to reiterate a few of them:

    • Interface: a "sound driver" for Linux does not do what a sound driver for Windows does. The APIs are completely different.
    • Architectural issues: some Windows drivers play tricks with real mode or create interrupts for DOS TSRs, which is much more difficult to do in Linux.
    • System architecture: drivers are built in order to fit to their operating system. Even if the API problem is solved, Linux uses other strategies for handling data.

    I am not a kernel hacker, so perhaps my reasoning is not complete (or exact). However, it seems to me that it is virtually impossible to use efficiently (i.e. the way consumers want) the drivers which were written for other operating systems. Considering the above topics, the overhead should be enormous, and who'd like to have his, say GeForce 3 perform like a Cirrus 5424?

  • I dont know how the embedded device market breaks down, but many of the embedded linux products I've heard about are not running on X86 CPU's. Since WINE is X86 only, will the plugins be available only on X86 based devices? Does anyone have a Pentium IV in their combination cell phone/portable ballroom space heater?
  • Umm.. That was an april fools day joke on dot.kde.org, their is some work being done on using moz-embed with KDE but not by the kde prokject.
  • It seems to me their are to many Linux users who want to see windows apps ported to Linux, and get
    upset when they get Wine ports, or apps that run under emulation.

    The key to beating windows is NEW ORIGINAL apps for Linux that are better than anything you can
    get for windows.

    That is the key to winning, apps that make your windows using friends want to switch because they
    can't get those apps for windows!

    I'm talking about kapital, Koffice, nautilus, everybuddy(an app my mom loves), Quanta+,
    Evolution etc..

    These are the apps that make your Windows using friends and relatives take sit up and take notice,
    not ports of Windows apps, native or emulated, because they can already get that stuff for
    Windows.

    Wine is a usefull tool, and if it is used to port usefull windows apps to Linux so what, it makes no difference to the end user if a windows app has been ported to Linux native libraries, or winelib, the real stuff is are the apps you can get for Linux, that you can't get for Windows!
  • The founder of Transgaming once pointed out that there is a "chicken and egg" problem atm for mass Linux usage... sure orginal apps are great, but many ppl have invested money into Windows apps... WINE is oh-so-important... it's a matter of having their cake, and eating it too, that will change it all.

    OTOH, WINE is sorta slow... most ppl won't be bugged by that so long as it costs less... the efforts here are great by Codeweavers! (Besides, wouldn't WINE make Linux unique that you can use two OS'es binaries on one OS; assuming they work to begin with?)

  • This could never work. Windows 9x VxD's, NT SYS modules and MacOS extensions are all kernel modules. They load similarily to the Linux modules at boot time, but they are designed for their specific kernel and its driver model.

    NT drivers need the HAL, MacOS drivers need the CFM (code fragment manager) as well as other kernel specific things. To get them to work under Linux you would probably have to change the entire driver model that Linux is using.

    It is unfortunate, but it just could never happen. Device drivers are too low in the system structure, whereas browser plugins reside on top.

  • by crazney ( 194622 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @11:56PM (#228510) Homepage Journal
    Codeweavers virtually is wine.. they have many full time and part time wine coders working for them, including the father and owner (and maintainer of the main wine tree) of wine, Alexandre Julliard working for them..

    so there pretty cool..

    on another note, i wonder if the google toolbar works :-)
  • I glanced around their homepage, and codeweavers don't even seem to be open source, as far as I can tell. Their mission statement is a perfect piece of corporate doublethink, which might be more plainly interpreted as: "To free Macromedia and Real Networks from the hassle of ever having to support anything except windows ever again."

    It's too early to tell if this is a good thing or not. It may even be better if itis closed source...

    Remember how the KDE/Gnome wars started over the fact that one was using components not compatible with the GPL? We got desktop competition, better desktop support, and now both are on a solid open-source footing (some may disagree, but I believe this is a goal of both parties). What started to look like a loss for Linux turned into a big win.

    What does this new plug-in tool mean for Linux? It's another step to kicking the Win partition off my drive, or at least uninstalling MSIE. If many people use a tool like this, plug-in makers may find a significant portion of the audience using Linux, at least through an emulator.

    If the plugin is good, then others may decide using propriatary components is a bad thing, and start making GPL'd clones. It would take a while, but if it's a large enough itch, it will get scratched.

    Soon, the plug-in makers are seeing that a Linux native plug-in is beating their own plug-in, see their downloads and purchases decrease, and may decide it would be a good thing to make a native plug-in...

    I could be wrong, but this is just one possible path to the big vendors making Linux-specific drivers and plug-ins.

  • And CP/M compatibility in DOS similarly restricted its development. And Windows' ability to use Novell network protocols. And the z80's & x86 series' abilities to run code for earlier (even competetive) processors.

    The trick is to allow developers to use the same tricks, and a few extra. If there was a way to have half wined/half native linux code (is there?), developers seeking to port things to linux will be happier.
  • Embrace and extend!
  • While it's it may seem like a win for Linux, this is definitely a loss for free software. This will encourage people to use proprietary browser plugins for windows, rather than developing native ones for Linux. This sort of thing will end up restricting Linux to a secondary, niche market, which is just where MS wants it.

    Maybe in the short term. The basic problem is that as it stands right now, many manufacturers don't think that developing for Linux would be profitable anyway which is exactly why Linux is a nich market OS (Servers and Geeks, and my parents too but that is another story). Until Linux gains much greater market share, this dynamic will hold true in the desktop arena.

    Note that OSS developers will be able by the very nature of the sheer number of programmers to overcome proprietary software in most areas. Somewhere between 90 and 95 percent of developers in the US work only on inhouse applications and OSS gives great benefits there.

    In the end, I think it is proprietary software which will end up in a niche role.

  • we don't have to worry about it messing up Konqueror's hold on the market. What component archetecture does it use to interface with konqueror? Konqueror Rocks.

    Now, if only I could get it to display .txt files...
  • YEAH! If the google toolbar works in it, that would make it all worthwhile. Damn the google toolbar rocks. It is the only reason I have Windows... sure, there is the little javascript hack... but it is no toolbar. google! [google.com] something else interesting: the first result in a google search for "hacker" yields this [google.com]beloved document:
  • "Software requirements are Linux kernel 2.2.x or later, and/or Netscape Navigator 1.1 or later."
    yeah... this makes sense. What is netscrape-dependant with this, anyway?
  • he makes many good points... instead of working to make windows in linux, they should work on opensourcing all those plugins
  • >Of course it'll be x86-only because that's what they were compiled for.

    And that's why this doesn't solve anything. We still need native *nix plugins. I don't want to stick to x86 crap forever.

    > Where does the wrapper come into play?

    Windows: app -> windows api -> whatever draws things in windows.
    Linux: app -> wine emulation -> Xlib -> Xserver

    See, wine's an extra layer of sluggishness. And wine is not to be considered light.
  • Shouldn't it be more like 'Windows browser plugins for Linux/x86'? I'm sure I will not be able to use those plugins on a Sun or an Alpha.

    And what about performance with all the wrapper-crap? "Geez this Linux is slow. This c00lplugin(tm) runs much faster on my slower windows box." (Heh, java and flash in IE in vmware on a ppro200 are faster than Sun's JDK and flash natively under Linux. That doesn't say they would be fast, which they are not, just faster.)
  • Is the sorensen codec actually a part of the quicktime plugin or will the quicktime plugin only work like regular linux quicktime.
  • > There are already versions of Shockwave, FYI: There is not a version of Shockwave for Linux at this time. You are thinking of Flash.
  • The FSF may be founded on those carefully argued principles, but it doesn't act in accordance with those principles. The "Freedom" that the FSF promotes does not connote the same Freedom that anyone else outside the FSF reasonably thinks of. If it really thought that user freedom as well as software freedom were so important, it would ditch the GPL altogether and release *ALL* FSF-built software into the public domain. The GPL is a crutch that helps the FSF appear to support freedom, but in practice restricts the number of eyes allowed to see the source code.

    The FSF would have you believe that the GPL supports development by requiring that any modifications must be accompanied by source code. This completely violates any "freedom to keep changes proprietary" that a developer may have had. In fact, when this type of violation of the GPL occurs, the FSF and its advocates are quick upon the scene to denounce such actions. As a developer, am I not free to keep my changes to myself?

    The GPL does not support Freedom because it is an attempt to keep a watchful eye on users.

    Lame

    Dancin Santa
  • If I look at the code, then incorporate that code (via my memory, not cut+paste) into my closed source project, I have violated the GPL. If I do the same with public domain source, I have not violated any copyright. It is in this way that the GPL does not encourage real freedom.

    Your point about the BSD license being more free than the GPL is well-taken. I believe that the BSD license is as close as you can come to public domain without losing the original author's rights.

    Dancin Santa
  • I think you've mistaken Windows CE for desktop Windows. CE is fairly customizable from a minimum 500K OS (please correct if you have the right number) to a full-blown Windows shell. The slimness of Linux comes at a price, just as the slimness of CE comes at a price. The price is in functionality. You'd be fooling yourself if you thought that a tiny Linux OS supported the same featureset as the version on your desk.

    The Windows CE API is no more "fat" than any other embedded OS, though it has the possibility to become so as necessary.

    If you want to talk NT embedded, that's a whole 'nother story, though.

    Dancin Santa
  • It's all a matter of steps. Progress doesn't happen overnight, and something as large as a quiet takeover of the desktop by Linux will take quite a while. It requires small steps like this that make the platform attractive to people who may be interested in the latest idiotic flash animation (though that kung-fu one was pretty cool).

    Free software does not live in a bubble, at least not in the eyes of the public. In fact, what you think of as free today may not be what will eventually be considered free 5 years from now. Perhaps it the definition is faltering now? When you say that Real and Macromedia no longer have to worry about developing for anything other than Windows, aren't you also, in essence, saying that Linux (or any OS that Codeweavers supports) is a viable choice for an OS? It seems that freedom from a single vendor is much more important than any ideology that attempts to lock me into a single "Open" vendor, namely the FSF.

    Maybe it isn't Open Source, but the Codeweaver product allows greater leeway in choice of OSs. If that isn't progress towards freedom, maybe your definition needs tweaking.

    Dancin Santa
  • With hardware, there is a very simple solution. Buy hardware that is supported under linux and if possible, buy it from a vendor that supports linux. Many/most do these days, by opening specs, writing binary drivers, open source drivers, supporting projects etc.*

    Plugins are quite different. Usually a company comes up with a format and a plugin to read that application. Unless Open/Free source comes up with better formats and better plugins, this is going to be the domain of closed source companies. Even if they do, its an uphill battle. Look at Ogg Vorbis vs. MP3/Real/WMA.

    *) Of course this doesn't apply to relative newcomers to linux since the probably have windows-only hardware. But even those that are just interested in Linux or other alternative OS's would do well to check out what kind of support they are likely to get.

  • by BeneathTheVeil ( 305107 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @02:37AM (#228529) Homepage Journal
    ...and now, to wait patiently for VB script support. Can't let Windoze hog all the good viruses.

  • You're partly correct. Apple does have an exclusive license to SorensonVision.

    However, QuickTime is just a way of storing digital audio and video, the same as AVI. There is Quicktime 4 Linux [heroinewarrior.com], and it supports several codecs, including DV and MotionJPEG. So, if you can find a QT clip not encoded with SorensonVision, you can watch it just fine on Linux. Also, I would imagine that it's only a matter of time before someone manages to hack the Windows SV codec into a Linux player, just like you can use Windows codecs with avifile.

  • Did you read the article? It actually allows you to use the windows version of the plugin with a Linux browser. If you can run WMP under Linux with wine then you should be able to use it as a browser plugin with this. At least till the next version of WMP when Microsoft will find some way to break the Wine compatability of WMP.
  • How about the 1W x86 compatibles from National and the 2W Crusoes? The world doesn't revolved around Intel. Sheesh!
  • "don't even seem to be open source"

    Don't even? How do you suggest these people should pay their bills?
  • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @04:17AM (#228534)
    While it's it may seem like a win for Linux, this is definitely a loss for free software. This will encourage people to use proprietary browser plugins for windows, rather than developing native ones for Linux. This sort of thing will end up restricting Linux to a secondary, niche market, which is just where MS wants it.

    Please stop talking this nonsense. This is a PREREQUESITE for Linux domination, just look at the market leaders today:

    MS Office is the leader because it provided input AND export filters to various other Office suites in the early times.

    IE is the leader because it implemented Netscape's HTML-extensions.

    In fact you suggest to behave like a monopolist. But without a monopoly this is a stupid thing to do, barriers only hurt the smaller competitors and help the leader, and Linux is not yet the leader on the desktop.

    In 2 years Linux will be the only OS that will be able to run DOS, Win16 and Win9x, WinNT and WinXP applications - and this will be a Windows-killer.

    The Wine project is the second most important open-source project out there (after KDE).

    Roland

  • Perhaps, but do you honestly believe Macromedia or Apple to open source their plugins anytime in the near future, or even provide binaries?

    Ofcourse they wont, the only thing that will make them port the plugins to linux is when it becomes popular amongst the common user.. which is like, 2-4 years off?

    This will have no affect at all on Macromedia and Apple.
  • Kind of ironic that a pro OSS company is using one of Microsoft's most effective strategies (embrace and adopt... I think) against them.

    It's about time they got a taste of their own medicine :)
  • Geez, when does this ridicule end. I've once hopefully installed WABI (What A Bloody Interface) on a pretty fast Sparc and it made the machine come to a crawl. I have installed WINE a few times and quickly removed it because it's just a PITA and besides that I don't LIKE most windows programs much.

    Why anybody would want to waste time on trying to mimic something that Microsoft is doing is just BEYOND me. Embrace and Adopt my ass, RM AND FORMAT. Only a bigger idiot tries to mimic an idiot.

    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • Do they release the enhanced portions of their code? They claim that they will, but they haven't yet. So my uninformed opinions are still the correct ones.
  • by The Ultimate Badass ( 450974 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @12:01AM (#228539) Homepage

    While it's it may seem like a win for Linux, this is definitely a loss for free software. This will encourage people to use proprietary browser plugins for windows, rather than developing native ones for Linux. This sort of thing will end up restricting Linux to a secondary, niche market, which is just where MS wants it.

    I glanced around their homepage, and codeweavers [codeweavers.com] don't even seem to be open source, as far as I can tell. Their mission statement [codeweavers.com] is a perfect piece of corporate doublethink, which might be more plainly interpreted as: "To free Macromedia and Real Networks from the hassle of ever having to support anything except windows ever again."

  • by kuttan kaplingat ( 451188 ) on Saturday May 12, 2001 @12:15AM (#228540) Homepage
    What the Codeweavers had done is definitely a brave step. Trying to bring Winfows API to linux users isn't a small task. And they have succeeded to a fair degree.
    But still a proper business model is yet to emerge for the open software. Linux is gaining ground in embedded system market, but is the company aware of the difficulties in finding market for windows applications in linux platform? Definitely the linux platform might have been chosen by a client for its own advantages over windows like thin OS, customizable code etc. By bringing a fat windows API into embedded linux market, is the company towing a right strategy?

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