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Win4Lin 5.0 Reviewed 419

Posted by michael
from the necessity-calls dept.
uninet writes "About a month ago, NeTraverse contacted OfB Labs with an early release copy of Win4Lin 5.0, the follow-up to the already impressive Win4Lin 4.0 released in May 2002. Win4Lin, for those not familiar with it, offers near-native (or better) speed "virtualization" of a Windows box so that one can run Windows 9x (95/98/Me) inside GNU/Linux."
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Win4Lin 5.0 Reviewed

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  • by pardasaniman (585320) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:18AM (#6241965) Journal
    Win4Lin 4.0 has been renamed to Win4Lin 5.0 Full-Speed!!!!
  • No 3D? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Erwos (553607) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:22AM (#6242005)
    I'm willing to pay for one of these windows-emulation packages when they finally get some 3D going, which is why I _really_ want Windows at this point. What's stopping them from doing this?

    -Erwos
    • by martinde (137088) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:30AM (#6242084) Homepage
      Check out Transgaming [transgaming.com]. They support a variety of DirectX games, including some 3d games iirc. They do this through extending wine to support DirectX. What I don't know is if they feed changes back into the mainline Wine. I do know that CodeWeavers [codeweavers.com] do, but they don't support DirectX...

      On the other hand, the age old question is that if Windows emulation works SO well on Linux, then will there ever be a commercial market for native Linux apps? I'd rather see native ports of these various apps/games, and I hope emulation is simply a stopgap...
      • by ukyoCE (106879) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @11:11AM (#6243067) Journal
        Some trolls have been astroturfing saying that emulation is a bad idea and will prevent anything from ever going native.

        This would be bad because emulation is almost universally slower and more buggy.

        I think that proves it right there - emulation will create a market willing to buy the faster and less buggy linux version. WineX will tide us over only until our numbers are large enough to demand native linux apps.

        Besides, emulation is important for legacy applications+games. I really don't think Blizzard is going to go back and make Warcraft2 for linux, but I got to play through it again on linux using Wine.
        • by 4of12 (97621) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @12:07PM (#6243745) Homepage Journal

          Besides, emulation is important for legacy applications.

          Bingo.

          A lot of folks are happy as clams running their small business on 5-15 year old versions of Windows.

          MS is using every means it can to force those users into buying new versions of the OS, new versions of applications, new subscriptions to ?

          If a Linux box can allow them to extend the life of their legacy Windows system, that's a benefit to them.

          Then, because the basic platform is Linux, they have the opportunity to write new apps on that platform, instead of being restricted to Windows only.

      • Ok, I am a transgaming member, and love the idea of the software, but I feel that anyone who thinks that this software will solve the issue of not being able to play most "new" games on Linux is not solved at all.

        First be warned that you should have a Nvidia video card. If you have anything else (like a faster ATI card) you could be in for some issues. It could turn in to a real science project. If you plan on running RedHat and still getting support from them then you will also have issues.

        In short th
    • Re:No 3D? (Score:5, Informative)

      by plcurechax (247883) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:33AM (#6242106) Homepage
      get some 3D going, which is why I _really_ want Windows at this point. What's stopping them from doing this?

      Direct access to the hardware via highly optimized video drivers and specific graphics libraries are very hard to virtualize with a level of performance that matches the "native" Windows running directly on the hardware.

      First we have the simple fact that by running via the Win4Lnx you have an additional layer that does messages parsing and translation (from various Windows API including DirectX graphics API) to a native Xfree86/Linux function call, which has to then go through a network aware display system, and gets painted on your display using a video card driver not written in-house by the card manufactor, but a 3rd-party free software developer, who likely had less than full, to possibly no vendor documentation about the card and how to make full and optimized use of its capabilities.

      So I doubt you will ever see a solution that provides full performance supporting the at the time current gaming graphics capabilities supported via a virtualizer (creates an additional virtual machine using special CPU instructions rather than emulator that emulates everything in software) because they are always playing catch up, and they add unavoidable additional layers of translation that negatively impact on execution speed compared to native running OS.
      • Poppycock (Score:5, Interesting)

        by delphi125 (544730) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @10:14AM (#6242448)
        First you say 'direct access' then you immediately follow it with 'drivers'. Which is it?

        Almost all (Windows) 3D nowadays is either DirectX or OpenGL. I'll ignore the former for a moment and stick to OpenGL. How hard can it be to 'emulate' a glVertex3f call? Ok, I'm not saying it is trivial, but it must be a lot easier than the average Win32 API call. I mean, the function already exists anywhere you have OpenGL.

        Back to DirectX or rather Direct3D... although this uses COM interfaces, the functions available are pretty similar to those in OpenGL. Now there will be a number of 'slow' functions (loading a large texture), but these will always be slow. A little more overhead won't make a huge difference. There are only a few functions (vertex, texture coordinates, normals etc) which get called really often. It is here that optimization efforts should be directed. Not easy, but should be easier than the entire Win API.

        I will admit to ignoring the problems of X being a network protocol rather than a graphics one. I suspect that to reach optimal frame rates you wouldn't want to run DirextX games in an X window on another terminal over the network. But unix has always done well at allowing multiple 'terminals', so do it that way.

      • which has to then go through a network aware display system

        If your network-aware display system is using the network for local display, you've screwed up your configuration (try making sure your $DISPLAY is ":0" with no hostname). X uses shared memory for local work, and has done so for years and years.
        • No you don't understand the original post. When he said "network aware display system" he meant "I hate X for no reason and will blame any performance issues on network-awareness because everyone else does"

          You clearly don't have your copy of the "Anti-X because it's a popular target, even though I won't do any contribution to change that to english" dictionary handy.
      • Re:No 3D? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cthefuture (665326)
        Wine already does this for some DirectX stuff, including 3D (Transgaming). I don't think it would be that hard to make VMware (or Win4Lin if you really feel that's what you want) do something similar.

        The only reason I can think of as to why it hasn't been done is because the market is too small. Lets face it, this is really only for gamers and are gamers gonna pay $300 for VMware just so they can run games in Linux? Or even $100 for Win4Lin? Not likely. At least with VMware it's going to take a fairl
  • Toughest? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rwiedower (572254) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:23AM (#6242010) Homepage

    one of the toughest challenges a piece of software ever faces, the upgrade installation mode

    I can think of several stress filled things a program may have to do. I'm not sure the upgrade installation mode ranks as the "toughest". Maybe it's difficult to get perfect...

  • The question is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimak (593319) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:24AM (#6242027)
    why would I want to run the any of the 9x-based Windows? 95 is pretty aweful (compared to what is available now); both 98 and Me have a pretty bloated feel. Unfortunately, the article does not seem to mention any of the new Windows, XP and 2K, which are arguably the best and therefore most desireable. Does anyone know if 2000/XP can be run?
    • Re:The answer is SCO (Score:2, Informative)

      by jkrise (535370)
      For some strange reason, Win4Lin gets mentioned several times at Slashdot. This uses SCO technology for the past 15 years. Here's a link:

      http://www.netraverse.com/products/wts/technolog y. php?PHPSESSID=5ed8e1d8cb2384cbb6523ec150ee5779

      Seeing MS is licensing SCOde, XP shouldn't be a problem - for now.
    • Legacy applications. There's still some crufty, yet well-worn and oft-used stuff out there that runs best on older OS's.
    • Re:The question is (Score:5, Informative)

      by mfarver (43681) * on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:46AM (#6242220) Journal
      No.. supporting the "ring 0" windows versions is a much larger emulation task. WinNT/2k, and XP do not tolerate not having full control of the processor. VMWare can do this, becuase it emulates the hardware. Win4lin "shares" the hardware between Linux and windows (windows never has full control of the proc).

      Rumor has it that netraverse is working hard on a Win2k version of Win4lin. Hopefully they will be able to produce a solution that is not as bloated as VMWare.
      • Re:The question is (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        As bloated as vmware? VMWare GSX Server only takes up 103MB on an install. Overhead per VM is about 27MB. 27 megs seems like a lot of ram, but with 256MB PC2100 DDR available for around $35 these days, it isn't, especially if you're only running one virtual machine. The memory use doesn't add up until you get into multiple VMs, which is not what we're talking about here anyway.
    • by okvol (549849)
      Posix - all games should be coded to this standard, and they could run on any Posix compliant OS. (This ad sponsored by the UN. Please submit all comments in Esperanto.)
  • Other way around (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:25AM (#6242038) Homepage
    How about running Linux on Windows? Then maybe people would be more inclined to test the waters of the Linux world. Think of it as a way to migrate users off of the M$ titty.
  • I don't get it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What's wrong with Wine [winehq.com]?
    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tzanger (1575)

      Oh I don't know... better app support? The ability to access the printer port from win32 apps (Microchip MPLAB comes immediately to mind, doesn't work at all under WINE if you want ot use the expensive ICE you bought), Acrobat 5 or 6, IE for VoloView (AutoCAD drawing viewer)... Lots of little things.

      WINE seems to be a very useful "meta project" -- take the bits of WINE you need to get the specific windows functionality you need, but you'll never get 100% of it. I'm not sure why.

      • The ability to access the printer port from win32 apps

        Well I'm pretty sure Wine has this ability. At least it can be used with scanners via the parallel port iirc.

        WINE seems to be a very useful "meta project" -- take the bits of WINE you need to get the specific windows functionality you need, but you'll never get 100% of it. I'm not sure why.

        -1 Myth. Of course Wine can implement 100% of the Windows APIs (or rather so much that nobody cares about the remainder). It's just a question of when. So, th

  • Speed? (Score:3, Funny)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:26AM (#6242050) Journal
    ...offers near-native (or better) speed "virtualization" of a Windows box...

    Surely you're not suggesting that some tree-loving hippies can generate faster code than the world's biggest software maker? Quick, subsidise Microsoft so that it can compete more fairly! Better still, pass a law to make open source illegal!
    • Re:Speed? (Score:5, Informative)

      by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:38AM (#6242147) Homepage Journal
      Actually I got significantly better performance running Linux -> w4l 4.0 -> Win 95 -> MS Project on the same hardware that I previously ran just Win 95 and MS project on.

      Seems like having actual memory management code and a file system was sufficient to speed up a P133 from 'unacceptably slow" to "pretty quick".

      --dave

    • ...offers near-native (or better) speed "virtualization" of a Windows box..

      Alas, even linux can't really speed up Micro$soft software - it must alter reality and virtualize it for us...

    • Re:Speed? (Score:2, Funny)

      by deego (587575)
      > some tree-loving hippies

      You forgot the "terrorists" label :). And don't forget that these terrorists stole the code from a respected SCOmpany. We should really start being tough on terrorists, subsidize Microsoft and SCO, impose tarrifs on "imported software" and pay tarrifs to Microsoft. It's about fairness. Otherwise, the terrorist win.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've only used Windows in VMware [vmware.com] in linux - which works well, but takes a while to boot up (and there's still no 3d support). How does Win4Lin compare to vmware for this... anyone?
    • by alienw (585907) <alienw.slashdot@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:34AM (#6242114)
      It kills VMWare speed-wise. Boots up in about 15s on my old P-3 800MHz box.
    • by !Squalus (258239) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:39AM (#6242154) Homepage
      Well, when I used Win4Lin (up to 3.0) it was fairly fast and efficient. The one concern was that it modified the kernel and that it was necessary to run this through a modified kernel in order to have access to your Win4Lin sessioms.

      It performs well. I used it to have access to GUI tools on my Linux box then so that I could administer a DB on the Linux box through Samba (same PC w/GUI interface then on Windows). Windows acted like a different host on the machine and it worked flawlessly for me but, as always, YMMV.

      It's a lot faster than VMWare, but only supports 98 and ME, whereas VMWare supports all of that and 2000, XP Professional.

      For those who want that sort of thing, it can also fool your users into thinking they are running Windows through their terminal server sort of applications. No games - No 3D - No DistractiveX though. If you want that, you should dual-boot or better yet - buy Linux games and stop buying Win based stuff. ;)

      Of course, games are what Windows was made for anyway - it doesn't really have the security needed to be taken as a serious business platform by anyone who really has to support their stuff. They would much rather have something stable and reliable that doesn't fall over quite so easily.

      Just an honest opinion and my two centavos.
  • by pen (7191) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:28AM (#6242064)
    Win4Lin 5.0 Release Notes [netraverse.com]

    It looks like one of the most important new features is Winsock 2 support.

    • I thought Winsock 2 was available in Win4Lin 3.0?

      They called it vnet then - I could be wrong though.
      • WinSock 2 support
        Previous versions of Win4Lin only supported WinSock 1.1 (when the WinSock network option was selected.) Win4Lin 5.0 supports WinSock 2, allowing more network-enabled applications (such as Windows MediaPlayer) to function without the need for VNET.

        VNET a kind of compatibility layer, but not actual WinSock 2 support. The neat thing about VNET was that it allowed you to assign a unique IP address to your Win4Lin session (differing from the IP address of the Linux box you were running it o

  • weird (Score:2, Interesting)

    It's crazy how much time people put into making Windows emulators for GNU/Linux. I mean, if you want to use Windows applications, just install the Windows that came free with your computer. For the cost of Win4Lin or Wine, you can get a whole nother hard drive to dedicate to Windows, and it will be fully compatible.

    On a related note, how come there are no Linux emulators for Windows? Is it because Windows has better alternatives to any Linux program, or is there some sort of GPL patent issue?
    • Re:weird (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rkz (667993)
      cygwin...! I use it everyday!
    • Re:weird (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      VMware at least boots up a virtual machine (like another PC within your PC) that runs the OS. VMware runs on windows and linux and can boot many varieties of DOS, windows, linux and *BSD on either OS.

      As far as running linux apps on windows without a VM... many linux apps are cross platform and can be run on windows with a recompilation, since tools like Cygnus have a version of gcc and the headers etc for windows. There's many examples - gaim, the gimp, etc etc. This doesn't work the other way as most w
    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:39AM (#6242150) Journal
      On a related note, how come there are no Linux emulators for Windows? Is it because Windows has better alternatives to any Linux program, or is there some sort of GPL patent issue?

      You can run linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux.

      And from what I understand, you can do this in windows too.

      • You can run linux in vmware in windows in vmware in linux in vmware in windows....

        But not so with Virtual PC. Try running Virtual PC for Windows inside, err..., Virtual PC for Windows and you get the message: "Cannot run a virtual machine inside a virtual machine. You had to try, didn't you?"

        Cheers,
        Ian

    • Unless you obtained an illegal copy of Windows, most of us actually have to pay for it. Last I knew, Windows wasn't free.

      Yes, this is sarcasm.

    • by davecb (6526) *
      No, not wierd. When moving from CP/M to DOS, you always needed to have an emulator around to run that "one last app" that was only available on CP/M.

      --dave

    • I mean, if you want to use Windows applications, just install the Windows that came free with your computer.

      Free? as in beer or as in speech?

      On a related note, how come there are no Linux emulators for Windows?

      Probably because the point in using Linux is in leaving the Windows world behind as much as possible. Using a Windows emulator in Linux is a small concession to the need to run specific software, it's only running when absolutely necessary, and you know it's not a real Windows. Running a Linux emul

    • The problem is that for anyone who does 99% of their work in Linux, the occasional Win32 app that requires a reboot can completely derail your environment. After the reboot, quite often you'll need other tools that are already configured under Linux (eg: development environment). Now what?

      TBPH, I think that emulators are the death knell for an OS. A good example is OS/2; IBM was so focused on providing seamless Win32 support that they failed to deliver on OS/2.

      It's to everyones benefit that rather than us
    • I mean, if you want to use Windows applications, just install the Windows that came free with your computer. For the cost of Win4Lin or Wine, you can get a whole nother hard drive to dedicate to Windows, and it will be fully compatible.

      Are you trolling on purpose or are you just ignorant? First, Windows is not free. The cost is built in to the machine, so you pay for it one way or another. Second, I am not willing to waste 3 to 8 minutes every single time I need to bring up IE (to verify a page I am

    • It didn't come "free" with the computer. You frickin' paid for it just like the PC supplier/builder paid for it (and passed the costs on to you). If you go for any tech support you pay for windoze there too as M$ is HORRIBLE in this regard. Pay for practically everything even when there is a problem that is THEIR fault.

      If you are doing real work (science) you are not using windoze. It is handy to be able to fire up a windoze app from time to time when you absolutely must without having to reboot - plu

    • I mean, if you want to use Windows applications, just install the Windows that came free with your computer.

      Woah! Windows came free with my home-built computers? All of them, even the Sparc ELC? Kick ass! I'm gonna run right over and install that on the sparc... I'm sure Warcraft III will be great on the 17" monochrome display, and the 75MHz Sparc CPU should be fine...

      Not everyone who want to run windoze apps (or games) bought a Dell dude. (although at today's prices, I begin to wonder if I shoul

    • Re:weird (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @10:10AM (#6242417) Homepage
      I mean, if you want to use Windows applications, just install the Windows that came free with your computer. For the cost of Win4Lin or Wine, you can get a whole nother hard drive to dedicate to Windows, and it will be fully compatible.

      Yes, but that means you have to dual boot... I stopped doing that a decade ago. It was a PITA, and you lose state -- if I'm working on something in one window, and need to work on something else, I shouldn't need to reboot. I often leave 3-4 windows up with development stuff (code, running programs, log files, etc) while going off to do other stuff. If I have to reboot in order to do "other stuff" then I have to quit out of any files I'm editing, close all my windows, and reboot... odds are I won't remember precisely where I was in the coding cycle when I come back to it unless those windows are still present.

      It would be even worse if the documentation for the project (largely in Word docs, some in a wiki) meant I had to reboot everytime I wanted to view the latest copy.

      Dual booting is a kludge IMO.

      On a related note, how come there are no Linux emulators for Windows? Is it because Windows has better alternatives to any Linux program, or is there some sort of GPL patent issue?

      Nice troll.

      It's because the Linux/Unix/POSIX APIs are clearly documented and well known (which is not true for the Windows libraries). In fact, Windows uses most of the very same system calls. Many Linux programs are portable and can be compiled not only on other Unix systems, but also on Windows. Cygwin [cygwin.com] is a port of the basic Unix libraries and a boatload of Unix utilities, along with an X/Windows Server, to Windows... there are also cross-compilable graphics toolkits like Qt [troll.no] that help in porting graphical apps.

      The better bit is particularly funny... the best Oracle client I've used is TOra [globecom.se], which was originally developed for Linux and cross-compiled to Windows. The best MP3 tagger I've found is EasyTag, only available on Unix systems. Most of the better programming tools are Unix oriented, with backports to Windows (if ported at all).
    • It's crazy how much time people put into making Windows emulators for GNU/Linux.

      Why? The demand is there. We get a constant flow of people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in #winehq asking about just this very thing.

      The most important thing is that it's critical for businesses with custom apps to be able to run them on a Linux desktop without Windows licensing fees.

    • Re:weird (Score:3, Insightful)

      The issue isn't entirely about simply getting around the Windows license (that's part of it, don't get me wrong). The issue also includes the fact that I want to run some Windows apps while still doing Linux stuff. This means that some sort of sandbox/emulator is necessary (wine, win4lin, vmware, etc) so that I can run IE on rare occasion to test stuff while not having to reboot into Windows mode. As an added benfit, if the emulator is written correctly, my machine won't need a reboot simply because Wind
  • Buy it out (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Win4lin needs to be free, as it is important for people switching over to Linux. Something similar to the "free blender" campaign may be in order... I know I'd donate quite a bit to the fund.
  • It makes one wonder (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SynapseLapse (644398)
    Why Microsoft hasn't sued them out of bussiness?

    Sony succesfully sued Bleem out of bussiness...
    Granted you need a win98 cd to get this sucker running (Which means they have to still buy windows from Microsoft.)
    but conversly, it means more people like my mother could potentially use it as they would then still be able to use their old win apps.


    Now all we need is to run WinLin with a Unix emulator running a Mac Emulator running...
    • Why Microsoft hasn't sued them out of business? Sony succesfully sued Bleem out of business...

      Microsoft don't make PC system hardware. Sony sued for emulation of their entire platform, to which they own the copyright. Microsoft 'just' make the OS, which as you point out would still need to be legally aquired. Consequently, there's no basis for a case.

      Well, in my opinion anyway. And yes, I'm ignoring all the MS-branded input devices...

      Cheers,
      Ian

  • why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by minus_273 (174041) <{moc.oohay.MAPS} {ta} {aaaaa}> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @09:43AM (#6242183) Journal
    an i say this in all seriousness.. why? why do you need this? seriously if you are going to use windows apps in emulation mode, either install windows or go for the better althernative OSX.
    I switched to osx from linux 2 weeks ago, and it is wonderfult o be abel to use my linux apps under X11 while running word, ie and a bunch of commercial games. OSX is the best thing to use if you want unix and commercial app and game support.
    Why emualate a third class OS when you have option of using it natively under *nix?
    • It is not pointless. I use linux at work (university research) all the time. I also have vmware installed so that on rare ocassions I can fire up windoze and use some doofy app there that wont run in wine. I don't have to stop everything else I am doing that is more important just to use windoze for a few minutes. I just fire up windoze in linux, it is more stable as a result of being controlled by linux, and all is right with the world.

      It is far worse to have to reboot to the other OS for a few minut

      • i know what you mean, but my point is , OSX already has most of the commercial apps running natively. why not just use that. I know there is plenty of FUD about apple being expensive, but take a look at their site or just goto Ebay. I got a decent G3 with everything but a monitor for $120.
  • Outdated (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beef3k (551086)
    This 5.0 release seem pretty pointless to me. Win95/98/Me has never been in use in any sane production environment. Either people are still using NT or they've moved on to 2000/XP a long time ago.

    If this should have been useful it would have had to emulate 2000/XP as well. IMHO this is near pointless software.
    • Production environments moved to Windows 2000+ years ago because of operating stability issues encountered when running Windows 9x based systems. Nevermind the inherent security issues that plagued the operating system when the user is assumed to be the administrator of the machine.

      Production environments that have selected Linux as their "host" operating system have already made a good choice in selecting a stable, secure operating system. Allowing their users to still be able to use "modern" Windows so
  • by Cnik70 (571147)
    to run win4lin you have to have a windows distro cd. at that point you might as well just run a dual boot system or even a separate box. plus, after using linux for years, i have yet to find a reason to have to go back to using windows (sure there are some win exclusive aps out there, but you can dual boot into those if you need to). all i see win4lin as is a nice hack, but a rahter bothersome and slow way to run windows if you honestly have to.
  • ./ snobbery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2003 @10:06AM (#6242383)
    I am astounded at the backlash the readers of ./ have vented at Netraverse. You people have never tried the product, but are willing to make unfounded claims about its speed and ability. I have used Win4Lin since the release of version 4, and I can tell you why you would use it, how it runs, and why it is cool:

    I use it to encode videos in DivX format. DivX.com is the partner with one of my clients, and they do not have a encoding app for my mac, and the linux version is not as flexible (CLI) as the windows codec. So I run Adobe Premiere, Virtual Dub, and DivX 5.0.2 from within Linux! Prior to Win4Lin I had to reboot my machine to get into win2k for encoding. This has saved me so much time and frustration it is amazing. Also, I can simply back up the windows related directories (which are installed in my home folder on linux) and then I never have to install windows again, I can just install Win4Lin and restore the directories complete with programs, file associations, and serial numbers!

    Win4Lin is fast! I noticed an incredible speed difference with windows 98 on a PIII 533 with 512 MB RAM! The OS booted in seconds even with Linux running with all of the bells and whistles of KDE (most of them anyways). Windows 98 is much, much snapier. And if it crashes (win98), I can easily kill the process and restart it in seconds! No rebooting, no headaches.

    Finally, if you, as a geek, can not see the inherent coolness of running a virtual OS at higher than native speeds from within Linux, then you are no geek of mine... I have messed with WINE for years, hours of frustration to get the most basic apps working... but for a nominal fee (sometimes closed source is okay) I can get more work done, spend less time in windows, save my uptime, and forget about rebooting headaches! Have you ever tried to emulate win98 with VirtualPC on a mac?!? If you need windows, and your apps require speed, Win4Lin is the way to go. Period.

    Ideally, Win4Lin would be open source, but these people have coded an incredible piece of software which was, to me, well worth the licensing fee! I don't need the true bloat of win2k or XP (nor do I need the EULA headaches!) all I need is a few win32 apps (for encoding video) and win4lin pulls this off for me with relative ease. No you can't play games, but shouldn't you be working anyways? Honestly, the waste of doing this with win2k or XP is obvious. If you just need the apps, you usually won't need all of the services and overhead that come with the latest versions of windows. Win98 runs most programs (albeit somewhat unstable) very quickly, it is solid in the sense that Linux isn't going to be brought down with it, it boots like a madman, and it does just about everything I need.

    Quit being cheap, buy a copy and try it out. The support is very responsive, they have an active mailing list, and it actually does what the company claims. A successful Linux only vendor who provides support, upgrades, and a useful product. This is a model for other vendors regardless of OS!
    • I have Win4Lin, but have found the company's web site and tech support to be kind of lacking. I had a problem with Win4Lin not seeing a second interface card. They tried to at least fix it. I found the problem myself after two days of looking for the proper config file. The location for the config file is a holdover from Win4lin's old "SCO Merge" days.

      The product is useful and fast, though, when it works right.
  • This is great... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Obiwan Kenobi (32807) * <evan@misterorang e . com> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @10:10AM (#6242415) Homepage
    ..but I still can't sell this to the Big Wigs upstairs.

    Why? Because Windows 98 is on its way out. All of our proprietary software runs in Windows 95/98, but the new version coming out next month uses Windows 98 and up ONLY. I expect next year (or maybe 2005) it will be phased out much like Windows 95.

    Let's face it, not one new machine built today comes with Windows 98 SE. And let's not get into the train wreck that was ME.

    What I'm saying is we can't deploy linux on a large scale, even if it will run on our propriety software, until I know it will last at least 3 years (the usual PC-replacement development cycle).

    So while I'd love to get this up and running for The Powers that Be, until something that's even more advanced and is guaranteed to support Windows 2000 or XP only apps comes along, no endorsement here can be made.

    Of course, the irony is that were we to support this and purchase it for our organization that it would fund the win2k/xp only program support, however, just giving it the once over, what about USB devices such as WinCE devices (yes, a lot of execs do use them...my Tungsten T is the one palm of the whole place), printers, et al. Plus all the weird hardware that my org. relies on, such as high load scanners.

    And if you've had any time in sys admining, vendors love to blame things like odd operating systems if their buggy software doesn't work the first time out.

    Sigh. I push Linux every time I can around here (I'm the resident Linux Guy of the IT dept.), but it's just not there yet.
    • by MickLinux (579158) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @12:26PM (#6243958) Journal
      I'm just wondering: Couldn't you push Linux for the things that Linux is good for? Get two or three machines for starters, just running the servers?

      Then get one to two for work, and on those put Win4Lin. Argue that as a supplement, it's better. Then when someone wants to be using MS Word, they'll think "Fast or slow? I'll pick fast."

      Next, start pushing hiring decisions in favor of those who know how to use and program Linux, where their spare time could be used to help script and such.

      Doing it this way, you could argue that the company depends less on any one system, and is more resilient for surprise customer requests.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @11:54AM (#6243580)
    Sorry for shouting, but this is getting crazy! People are slamming NeTraverse for using SCO technology and are even calling to boycott NeTraverse. That is simply untrue. Below is a quote from Jim Curtin, the CEO of NeTraverse: "Win4Lin is not built on technology licensed from SCO. SCO licenses technology from NeTraverse as an OEM and packages the technology on their UNIX platforms under our name "Merge". We do not license anything from SCO (nor do we need to)." People should check their facts before posting accusations and calls to boycott. They (the posters) have done NeTraverse and the Slashdot community a grave diservice. Instead of boycotting Win4Lin, maybe the posters should go out and by a copy to make amends for the mis-information they've spread and the harm they've done. Dcnjoe60 NOTE: I have no affiliation, whatsoever with NeTraverse, Win4Lin, Jim Curtin or SCO. I just think the record should be set straight on this one issue.
  • Kernel Modifications (Score:3, Informative)

    by 4pksings (255835) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @12:56PM (#6244250)
    I have Win4Lin and will no longer use it.
    The Kernel modifications necessary to run it are too much to keep up with. Everytime you upgrade you have to either wait on them to build a kernel or patch the kernel yourself. And they do not come out with new patches quickly. And they only seem to support the kernel that ships with your linux distribution.

    It's a shame that they seem either not able to or refuse to incorporate their patch in the kernel. If they did then this would be a very cool package. As is, it works fine, just locks you into the shipping kernel or a home patched kernel to use it everytime you upgrade.

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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