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Ignalum Linux - A Bridge to Windows? 365

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the up-and-coming-flavors dept.
linux slacker writes "Ignalum Linux 'is an intuitive graphical environment that works right out of the box and offers unrivaled compatibility with Microsoft Windows' or so says their website. The company is owned by four university students in Ontario, and one of their goals is to allow companies to incorporate Linux into their Windows environment, so users could still run Word, Excel and other popular Microsoft fare."
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Ignalum Linux - A Bridge to Windows?

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  • Gamer's answer? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Raztus (745280) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:23AM (#9082001)
    Could this possibly be the answer to gaming on Linux? As an avid gamer, the main thing that has kept me from using Linux as my primary OS is the fact that its support for the games I grew up loving is very limited. While I love the newer open source games, I'm just too attached to my old games to fully migrate to Linux...
  • screenshots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fewnorms (630720) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:23AM (#9082002)
    I am a bit wary of a Linux company that posts screenshots of their 'product' while being root [ignalum.com] every time. What kind of message does this send out ... "Yeah, it's ok to log in as root all the time" ?
  • OS/2 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ent (88363) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:25AM (#9082017)

    So wasn't this same thing tried with OS/2? Better multitasking and the ability to run Win32 apps just as if you were on Windows? Only the apps never worked as well as they did on Windows and while some things were better - it was basically just a waste of time. I think there are enough Office Like apps that copy Office enough for usability, the focus should be on interop with file formats - I see that as what is really holding adoption back.
  • Bottom line. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Willeh (768540) <rwillem@xs4all.nl> on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:26AM (#9082019)
    Will these guys be able to offer a valid alternative to the Linspire/ Lindows trainwreck? And will they not get crushed by the 800 pound gorilla that is the MS legal department? (I'm sure they're going after these guys, and 4 college students don't exactly sound like they have a lot of assets). Let's hope they survive, choice is good for us all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:26AM (#9082023)
    Everything they claim is perfectly able to be done with existing sudo-emulators.

    For instance with Suse when you buy a retail version you get a liscence for Codeweaver's crossover stuff.

    You can then run Office 2000, IE 6.0, Quicktime, Quicken and other applications.

    So if you do want to run Linux but will not because it doesn't have support from your favorite windows apps, then there are options.

    Almost any distro can be made to work. But I suppose it would be convenient to have one that was designed specificly to work with Windows apps right out of the box.
  • Sounds okay to me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Satan's Hand Puppet (776210) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:28AM (#9082031)
    Seems like a good idea to me. In making Linux apps run on Windows, it takes the battle to Microsoft's camp and gains exposure.
  • Questions to pose: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee (742846) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:33AM (#9082050)
    1) Is Ignalum a source distribution, built from LFs, or an enhanced version of an existing distribution?

    2)Are exe files associated with WINE so Windows installers just work

    3)Kernel version?

    4)Obviously KDE 3.x from the s/shot linked above, but is it a full or stripped-down version?

    5)Are they using a Windows driver wrapper to allow win32 device drivers to function as well?
  • Screenshots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ensignyu (417022) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:49AM (#9082104)
    The screenshots look incredibly ordinary. No emulated Windows programs, or even anything that looks remarkably different from Fedora Core. It doesn't look that much easier to use either.

    We'll see how useful it really is when the reviews come out.
  • Re:Another one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:00AM (#9082143)
    Very true. But most of the JR Sixpacks I know don't just play games - they use their computer for all sorts of odd stuff.

    And in many cases the knee-jerk reaction to a new requirement is "find a program to do it" rather than "use the perfectly good existing software".

    So they call you to fix their computer, there's hundreds of crappy little programs on there, which may or may not have ever worked very well, and JR Sixpack's forgotten why he installed most of them in the first place. But most of them installed and ran the first time around. I simply don't see that happening with any "Windows Compatible" linux distro - much of this software is so badly written it only just runs on Windows.
  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:18AM (#9082195)
    If you want a Linux for the average user, it's going to have to be that way. Now we all know that su-ing to root is easy for when you need it, but it is something that will piss off and confound most users. You wouldn't think so, but it never ceases to amaze me the how the simplest things (froma geek perspective) can confound normal users.

    This goes double for an underdog OS trying to win converts. It has to offer a user experience at least as good, and probably better. Carrying on about OSS, configurability and monopolies means jack to most users. They want it to be as easy as what they have now.

    So to do that a Linux distro needs to either be root all the time, or break away from the traditonal UNIX security model and offer something like Windows NT's Administrator accounts that, while not all powerful, are capable of doing just about anything.

    This is just the reality of the average individual. I mean, why do you think the government mandidated passive safety restraints in cars? Because LOTS of people don't wear seatbelts. It's not like it's hard to do, takes you 2 seconds to put on. However, I know lots of people that don't unless reminded and even them often don't.

    Extra steps that are different from what they have now (like having to su) are the things that will turn them away. IT'll only take a few things before they whine and say "I hate this, give me Windows back".
  • Privileged logins? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:40AM (#9082262)
    > The thing with the other 'distros' is it takes a system administrator to set something up," Mr. Ho explained. "We're trying to simplify things so a regular user can pretty much do everything -- and we're trying to make it as user friendly as Windows."

    Does that mean it would have only privileged logins? Is it a good thing?
  • Re:uhm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Phekko (619272) on Friday May 07, 2004 @06:04AM (#9082324)
    I really don't get it. Why is it better to write an application that works on linux than to try and make a platform that can utilize both linux and windoze apps?

    As long as the aforementioned platform is free as in Willy, who cares anymore? The whole point of the excercize was to be freed from the constraints of the evil kingdom in Redmond, right? So if you can run windows apps without windows, you're free, right? This will give you freedom to use whatever software you like (ok, Mac apps next but I think those can wait a little longer) on your box, paying for it only to those who you deem deserving of it.

    Why is Samba good for providing linux-windoze compatibility and suchlike, but this Canadian linux bad for providing (allegedly, I haven't tried it so I don't know for sure) the capability to run windoze apps on linux bad? Sounds to me like a bad case of "blame Canada"
  • Re:Support? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kidlinux (2550) <duke@spacebo[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Friday May 07, 2004 @06:15AM (#9082357) Homepage
    Do you think these 4 guys have the resources for a webserver and net connection that can handle a slashdotting? Honestly, we've all seen much larger companies get slashdotted.

    So instead of being an asshole and not giving these guys a chance just because they couldn't handle a hogillion requests from all the critical pessimists on slashdot, give them some encouragement. What we're seeing here is the result of the freedoms provided by open source, and everyone should be supportive rather than critical.

    And, FYI, here is their sourceforge website: http://ignalum.sourceforge.net/ -- it seems the distro was created as a project for all the CS/CE/SE students at the University of Western Ontario to work on. An interesting idea, something I might try when I go back to school this fall.
  • by LazyBoyWrangler (760913) on Friday May 07, 2004 @06:30AM (#9082406)
    There was an article in the National Post yesterday about these guys. Nothing appeared to be even mildly remarkable. They mentioned Transgaming and CodeWeavers as things they were "intending" to include with their Fedora Core based distribution. Basically, they looked like they were very much in beginning stages of their execution of the concept. Surprisingly, their marketing materials looked reasonably professional, so I would guess their skills lay more in promotion and presentation than technical execution. I saw their site prior to the /.'tting, and it had many content holes. If I had to guess, they are good promoters that have managed to convince their professors they are on to a good thing, but obviously, their professors haven't been plugged in to the Linux community at all. Nothing really of note here, and I wouldn't want anyone to think there is anything new here.
  • Re:Unfortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday May 07, 2004 @06:48AM (#9082461)
    This goes double for an underdog OS trying to win converts. It has to offer a user experience at least as good, and probably better. Carrying on about OSS, configurability and monopolies means jack to most users. They want it to be as easy as what they have now.

    People will put up with a lot of problems if they are working with something they are comfortable with. Especially when they feel they can be more productive with it than the time taken to learn something else.

    Therefore if you want people to migrate you have to offer something that is easily 200% better than what they currently have. Otherwise you'll get the response "yes thats cool, but I'm better off sticking with this".

    Case in point: I write all my website code in Perl, I've looked a PHP and it is better in many ways - but I'm far more productive with Perl, know immediately how to use Perl and can do what I want to do with Perl just fine. Since PHP isn't 200% better, I'm not too bothered about not learning it. It's cool, but I'm better off sticking with Perl.

  • Re:Another one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Friday May 07, 2004 @07:12AM (#9082567) Homepage
    Sounds like a missunderstanding, lets quote a bit:
    The development of a Multi-Platform 3D Graphics Rendering Engine and the creation of a hardware accelerated Ignalum Linux OS based on OpenGL allows applications/games developed for the engine to run using OpenGL or DirectX, running on Linux or Windows, without having to change a single line of code.
    This sounds like they are just developing yet another 3D engine that runs under OpenGL or DirectX, like there are already dozens of them out there, nothing special. This doesn't sound to me like they would try something like WineX that allows to run DirectX games directly under Linux, far from it.

    Beside that WineX already does run a lot of games on Linux, yet, no breakthrough. While I agree that games are a very important factor in Linux, we are not at a point were they are really that important. As long as I still have to dive through weird config files to get my printer working and have to update or patch my Kernel for a more or less common piece of hardware (graphic tablet, 3d card), Linux won't go mainstream. Linux needs one standard and userfriendly way to handle and configure hardware, not one or two ways to do it for each distro. Linux has all the capabilities there, it just needs some more agreements on standards across distros.

  • Re:Another one (Score:2, Interesting)

    by atriusofbricia (686672) on Friday May 07, 2004 @07:18AM (#9082603) Journal
    On a side note, it seems to be true that any time one says something to the effect of "I'm going to get flamed/modded to hell/loose karma" Then the exact opposite will happen. Moral of the story, for good karma, insert this:


    Karma shield 3.0:
    "To hell with my karma, this just has to be said!!"
    "I know I'll be modded to hell for this..."
  • Re:Or... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anomylous Howard (666178) on Friday May 07, 2004 @07:43AM (#9082770) Homepage
    There are two cataigories of these tools. One is aimed at developers porting software, and the others is aimed at SysAdmins tranfering services.

    I've yet to see a tool to help USERS move to Windows.
  • Re:Another one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday May 07, 2004 @08:03AM (#9082895) Homepage
    I don't really like that many choices though. It's like those car commercials where they tell you that On-Star is available on 51 GM models. 51 !!! How am i really supposed to choose what kind of car i want.

    In order for each person to have a distro that fits each person's needs exactly, we would need about 6 billion distros. Instead we should focus on having a few distros to fit general needs of people. One Server distro, one desktop distro, one exactly like Windows distro, and maybe one or two others. Choice is nice, but when you are overwhelmed with choices, you just end up going with what everyone else uses, which means we all end up using windows.
  • Re:uhm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by InodoroPereyra (514794) on Friday May 07, 2004 @08:20AM (#9083079)
    Oh my God, where do I start ?
    I really don't get it. Why is it better to write an application that works on linux than to try and make a platform that can utilize both linux and windoze apps?
    Yes, you don't get it. Because the windows API is in purpose a moving target that you have to reverse engineer. Project WINE is doing a huge effort and they could never hit 100% the moving target.
    As long as the aforementioned platform is free as in Willy, who cares anymore? The whole point of the excercize was to be freed from the constraints of the evil kingdom in Redmond, right?
    Wrong, this has never been the whole point. It is one, rather lateral point. Most people in this story follow either the Open Source [opensource.org] philosopy, or the Free(dom) Software Philosophy [gnu.org]. You have some reading to do, but in short: access to the source code and freedom to use the code.
    So if you can run windows apps without windows, you're free, right?
    Wrong, you are still paying MS taxes for generic software that in many cases actually exists natively in the Free Software world. The reason ? MS even even keeps the filesystems specs and application data formats closed. This is why:
    Why is Samba good for providing linux-windoze compatibility and suchlike, but this Canadian linux bad for providing (allegedly, I haven't tried it so I don't know for sure) the capability to run windoze apps on linux bad?
    Because Samba let's you get network interoperability in case you need to deal with MS machines in your network, and this project (which is not bad but is meant to fail) promises 100% binary compatibility, which is impossible and not necesessarily the best thing. This also why OpenOffice is great. It interoperates with MS office even though the latter doesn't want to.
    Sounds to me like a bad case of "blame Canada"
    Wha ??? Candians are as involved in Free Software as anybody else ...
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday May 07, 2004 @08:53AM (#9083432) Journal
    While you got moderated funny, this is a serious point. I have a relatively large collection of Windows games that don't run in recent versions of Window (2K/XP).

    I'm starting to rediscover some of them in VirtualPC on my Mac. It's nice to be able to just save the state of a game as an entire machine state, and go back to it later.

  • Re:Gamer's answer? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Xian97 (714198) on Friday May 07, 2004 @08:55AM (#9083456)
    If you don't have to play the latest and greatest and want to play older games, DosBox [sourceforge.net] lets you play hundreds of older DOS games on Linux and other operating systems. It basically emulates a DOS PC complete with sound card. Many older games that cannot be played in Windows XP/2K run well under DosBox's Win32 port as well as under the Linux ports.
  • Re:Win4Lin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dioscaido (541037) on Friday May 07, 2004 @09:03AM (#9083542)
    Sounds like VMWare, but with less OS support... I run Gentoo as my base system, and then run multiple VMWare VMs for whatever OS I need (98/2k/XP/other linux flavors). It's quite useful, and with ver. 3 performance is quite snappy, even on my 866mhz system.
  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ctrl-Z (28806) <tim@timcoleman. c o m> on Friday May 07, 2004 @09:48AM (#9084229) Homepage Journal
    How do KDE and Gnome help users move to Windows?
  • Re:Unfortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@CHEETAHnexusuk.org minus cat> on Friday May 07, 2004 @09:53AM (#9084292) Homepage
    I'll get modded flamebait for this but...

    why do you think the government mandidated passive safety restraints in cars? Because LOTS of people don't wear seatbelts.

    Whilest it's true that a very large proportion of Americans don't wear seatbelts, the same is not true around the world - we have a very high proportion of both drivers and passengers wearing seatbelts here in the UK. Infact, AFAIK the airbag system on american cars is different to UK cars because the american system has to catch people who are travelling at an unrestrained 70mph _because_ of the lack of seatbelt use. What does this show? well I leave it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions. :)

    Now we all know that su-ing to root is easy for when you need it, but it is something that will piss off and confound most users.

    Most Windows converts won't be using the shell, they'll be using the pretty GUI tools to configure everything... And you know what, in the Gnome tools shipped with Fedora, there is no concept of having to "su to root", it simply prompts you for the root password if you try and do something that requires it. Yes, ok, some of the really challenged users might find it confusing to have to enter a password when they hit the "destroy my whole computer" button, but then again, if they're that challenged then it probably just saved them from breaking their system.

    Having to enter the root password is less convenient than just being allowed to do whatever you want, but it adds another level of confirmation when doing dangerous things, and do we *really* want to seriously compromise the security of the system just so some windows users can install their spyware easier?
  • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9086619) Homepage

    I have yet to find anything useful that WINE will run though...

    Oh yeah, WINE is far from perfect, but it's still very useful. Unfortunately, not for running M$ Office and stuff, mostly for lugging around those proprietary applications you need to cart around sometimes.

    I had a good one. I used to manage a complete flight information system at Pearson International Airport. There were hundreds of little PCs which drove displays all over the place. And they were all running Windows 95 - the programmer hadn't had time to update the software so that it would run on NT/2K. (The data came in on serial ports - two wire, unidirectional data, very secure - but coded to talk directly to the hardware.)

    Of course, I didn't want to buy one Windows license let alone 200. To say nothing of having to run around and reboot Windows every so often. So I tried the software with WINE. And it worked!

    All future display units were deployed running in WINE. They only ever crashed when the CPU fans got choked with dust. Unlike the Windows (95) version, where we had a LAN available, I could also SSH into the machines and have complete command-line control including updating images and stuff remotely (by script). It was very nice.

    If you've ever been to Toronto and seen a FIDS display booting up Linux late at night, that would have been me remotely restarting that unit after an update.

    (The developer is working on porting his software to run on Linux natively; I sold him on the idea of escaping Windows.)

  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jdray (645332) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:32PM (#9088034) Homepage Journal
    but I can't get to their site to find out for sure.

    Try getting there some other way than clicking a link on a Slashdot page. I think they're refusing referrals from Slashdot. They probably got swamped.

    I went to the article, read that (!!), then put ignalum.com in the address line of my browser. It put me right in.

    I note that their release number is 9. Seems artificially high for a product still in beta. I suppose they're trying to compete with Red Hat and SUSE. They're still running Linux 2.4 on KDE 3.1, though. :-\

  • Re:Another one (Score:2, Interesting)

    by luwain (66565) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:27PM (#9089758)
    I don't see why "compatibility with Windows" is such a great selling point. If I want to run Windows apps, I'll run Windows. If I want to run Linux apps I'll run Linux. If I want to run Linux and Windows apps, there are a number of solutions already available -- WINE, Win4Lin, etc..., not to mention dual-booting. If the goal is to convert Windows users to Linux, I would suggest introducing them to some good Linux applications, and letting them get the feel of Linux by running a Live CD (I find Knoppix to be very good ). I find that most average computer users don't care about the "platform", they care about the applications. My mother loves my Linux box because she loves XScrabble more than any of the scrabble programs that run under windows, likes FireFox (mostly because of the tabbed browsing) more than Internet Explorer, and finds OpenOffice fine for word processing. The fact that my Linux boxes never crash and never get viruses are good selling points too. To keep one's Windows' box clear of trojans, you pretty much have to run Ad-Aware every week. I've given up on Outlook -- It's like a virus proliferation engine. Linux applications are what I've used to win over people (Gimp is a winner, too) to Linux, not Windows Applications.

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