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Linux On Windows - The Thin End Of The Wedge? 268

AYeomans writes: "LINE version 0.3 has just been released.'LINE is a utility which executes unmodified Linux applications on Windows by intercepting Linux system calls. The Linux applications themselves are not emulated. They run directly on the CPU just like all other Windows applications.' Could this be the thin end, to which the Linux wedge is attached, allowing people currently tied to Windows the opportunity of easily using native Linux applications?" I wonder how many Windows users are actively waiting for Linux programs to use. (TuxRacer one day maybe?) The version number is low but this is an interesting, oddball project.
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Linux On Windows - The Thin End Of The Wedge?

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  • Isn't that more of a printer driver thing? At least that was what I have been told by people.

    We're not talking color laser printers, inkjets or anything else you might be thinking of... When people talk about the need for CMYK and Pantone support they're talking about outputting their creations to film, delivering said film to an offset or web printer and having said printer image printing plates, which then transfers ink to the paper...
  • To be fair, you should include a category for Price, and you should compare WinME, too. I don't think I've gone a day without a crash yet. Win2k not in the budget. I am a Linux newbie who is ready to start exploring Linux, but cannot afford the time right now to do a Linux install. The LINE app sounds like it will be a good way to experiment with open source without having to commit the hours it would take to do a full OS install.
  • My favorite is the one about how free as in (firewood|willy) as opposed to free (coffe|range) is suggestive of not so many licenses as YOU SAY ONE TIME. my bIG BEEF is in the big mess YOU HAVE MADE to the computing world, yet again.
  • The gimp unfortunately is a pale imitation of photoshop, which suits most home users fine since some of photoshop's tools are unnecessary.

    ...Not to mention that Photoshop carries a pretty hefty price tag, while the GIMP is free, free, free.

    The GIMP is plenty fun for pure wanking around, or doing projects that aren't intended for printing. But Photoship is indeed the tool of choice for our still-not-paperless society.

    "You owe me a case of beer. Sucka'."

  • I wonder how many Windows users are actively waiting for Linux programs to use. (TuxRacer one day maybe?) The version number is low but this is an interesting, oddball project.

    Wooah! Somebody woke up hungover and hasn't had there coffee yet!

    It's okay, I'm there with ya bud... ;-)
  • Not to mention, where I work they guy there uses netscape in 'windows'. It throws commercials at his email client. :) Its actually funny to watch him 'click out of them' so that he can fetch his email off the server.

  • Lots of people have already made comments along the lines of "widnose == stability && loonix == apps", so I wont, but, one thing:


    One of the great things about linux is that you compile apps *for* *your* *own* *system*, which makes them faster. I'd have thought that a complete set of linux .h files, so that you can take linux source-code and recompile it would be more use. The point of running WINE, or similar, is because most 'doze apps dont let you have the code, so you need an emulator type thing. /me gets flamed by people saying "WINE IS NOT AN EMULATOR"!

  • by Tim Doran ( 910 ) <timmydoran&rogers,com> on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:17AM (#384110)
    ...for some good technical work.

    Regardless of what you think of the idea, looks like some real smart people have pulled off something cool.

    'Course Wine might have moved this fast with the Windows source code, but still...
  • What? Humm. I'd love to know which icq clone your using for linux. Kicq, is pretty, trim and doesn't crash, but it lacks a few features like searching by icq#, and sending/receiving files. Nahh. I'd rather run the real Windows ICQ client in linux, than a linux icq clone in windows.
    Thats just me though.

  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:17AM (#384112) Journal
    Well, the author of LINE just says that LINE requires Cygwin so the ones who have not heard about it have not visited LINE home page [page.http].
  • No more than running VMware on a box and running a few copies of Extreme Linux on it...Get the worlds slowest cluster...

    Not that we've done anything that silly, no, not us...

  • by Zooko ( 2210 )

    cygwin [] rocks. If your boss forces you to develop on Windows NT, just install cygwin and suddenly it is a Unix development environment! Beautiful.

    Likewise, if you are developing a GPL-compatible application and you want it to run on Windows as well as on Unix, just compile it with cygwin and ship it! (If it is not GPL-compatible, then you have to buy a license from Cygnus. An interesting business model.)

    Cygwin is very mature. I was using it 18 months ago for full-time development environment on Windows NT 4.



  • It is true that the programs will be less stable under windows, but people have to realize that. Maybe Line should have a disclaimer stating that on the website. But the real benefit to this is to show how much more functionality and power Linux appz posses compared to many Windows appz. For example, many people run the, dare I say it, Aol Instant Messenger, well if they have access to progs like Gaim, that will show them how much more htey can benefit from the better progs of Linux. Just my two cents.
  • So now we can run win98 as a folder on Linux and then we can run Linux from within that Win98 folder. I'm drunk with confusion.
  • Does this mean I can run WINE on Line and be 133t?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I'm still waiting for a Windows app that doesn't suck compared to its UNIX equivilent"

    Please name the superior Linux equivilant to the following software:

    IE 5.5
    Windows Media Player
    Diablo 2

    Didn't think so.

  • Never. That'd be daft.
  • Actually, Windows does catch a lot of crashes that happen in the background & hides them from the user.

    For example, ever wonder why all the icons on the desktop & taskbar redraw from time to time? Or why your icons display the wrong pictures for an app? These are both the result of a crash in Windows where it recovers & restarts again.

    Most Windows users don't really recognize how much havoc is going on behind the scenes.

    Unfortunately, the fact that Windows does catch a lot of things is a mixed blessing. It is good that a small error can easily be caught before you lose that important work. It is bad because it doesn't put enough pressure on Microsoft to fix these problems in new versions of Windows.

    The thing I worry about is that since Linux operates much differently than Windows it will give a perception to potential Linux converts that Linux is less stable.
  • Now, no one can claim that they only run Linux because Windows can't run their Linux apps. Perhaps now windows will really gain market share, because we all know that what was missing in windows was apps. :)
  • Don't you just love it when someone compares the best of something to the worst of something else, when those somethings are either not the norm or not relevant most of the time?

    I have a PC with a Diamond Sonic Impact S70 and Matrox G400.

    When I install Windows 98, the sound card is NOT recognised and the G400 is merely a fast VGA card at this stage. I have to then install the sound card driver and the Matrox driver to get them working fully.

    In comes Linux, Boot of a Linux CD (choose what you like: Debian, Mandrake, Red Hat, SuSE, Caldera, Corel, Turbo, etc, etc), the G400 is found and X is configured for it, as is the sound, without so much as a "huh?" from Linux.

    Whats more, Linux has'nt crashed on me in 4 years! Which is why Debian will be going on my new Dell Inspiron 8000 G850U, once I get it. Windows on the other hand will merely be one of the multitudes of apps that I will be launching from a glorious X set up.

  • <p>Actually yes, this can be bad publicity, since, unlike the Linux kernel, many Linux applications are as unstable as their Windows counterparts, simply because they're in development.

    <p>I even recently had to answer a newbie who said <i>"Why does Netscape and Mozilla keep crashing all the time? Wasn't Linux supposed to be more stable, advanced etc? IE never crashed on me as much."</i>. Obviously, he didn't draw the line between kernel and third-party applications.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:22AM (#384124) Journal
    I'm not sure this software will be very useful, but I'm not sure it's as dumb as people here seem to think.

    My windows 2000 desktop is rock solid. Machines that I've built myself aren't that great with windows, but my Dell never crashes. I think windows is pickier about hardware than linux.

    I run linux (and BSD now) for the applications. Things like sendmail and apache, mutt, vim, and fetchmail.

    Exchange might be a wonderful package (never used it), but it's expensive, and I'm running email for my own personal domain, not an enterprise -- so the thousands of dollars 2000 Server and Exchange would cost are out of the question. Outlook does a lot of nice stuff, but it won't let me read the headers (at least I haven't figured out how), things like that. Too much hand holding.

    The problem with unix apps like sendmail is the learning curve. Once you know it, it really is good stuff, especially when it's free.

    The whole idea that w2k isn't solid for a desktop is just silly, and the argument will only be taken seriously when you're preaching to the choir at places like /.. Whenever a linux guy says that his w2k box crashes all the time, I always assume he built it himself, or that he's overclocking or something like that. If you buy a Dell, it will work fine. To put it another way, it's certainly possible to make w2k solid, and if yours isn't, well you're not doing it right.

    But at the same time, the idea that stability is the only drawing card of linux is silly too. Unix is simple, it's clean, and it's easy to use, once you've climbed up a bit on the learning curve. It's more than clean, it's elegant. And a lot of the apps are key -- if you want to run NAT, if you want to handle your email, if you want to filter net traffic, Linux or BSD is the way to go.

    I'm not sure this particular software will be that useful -- it really makes more sense to me to just have two machines.
  • Quite seriously, I can see where LINE will have its uses and I have been looking for something like this starting just a few days ago. I am the Network administrator and programmer for the company at which I work. We use a Redhat Linux server and almost everyone else uses Windows workstations (I use Linux/Windows dual boot). My boss asked me to find a program just like this (Hummingbird also produces a similar program commercially) since there is one UNIX/Linux only based program (the X interface of the package is what they want to use) that our company relies on for nearly all work we do. However, the couple of people who use it most are using Windows and one of them cannot switch to Linux due to the amount of software and data he also uses that relies on Windows. This type of program is just what we need to be the answer to our needs.
  • There are Win32 versions of the Gimp and Tuxracer. I have tried them both. They work.
  • When LINE is ready for prime time, it will mean
    having a single executable enviorment that runs
    unmodfied on BSD, Linux and Windows.

    This is an alternative API which is truly cross
    platform - binary compatiable for x86 and compile
    compatiable with almost everything else.(S/390 anyone?)

    This could mean that the Linux API may become
    the France Lingua of virtual machines.

    A true "write once, run anywhere" the way JAVA
    and .NET wants to be.

    Of course, there are many problems to overcome (GUI - X is not a normal part of Win* installs)
    but if they are solved we may do unto Windows
    what it once did to OS/2 - since OS/2 ran Windows
    apps, none wrote for OS/2.

    LINE is one cool hack for the hackers that wrote it, but one huge leap for Wolrd Domination ;-)
  • by jmu1 ( 183541 )
    Why on earth would I want one application to crash my whole machine? I thought that was why I used linux?
  • by rabidcow ( 209019 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @08:04AM (#384131) Homepage

    Windows does not have any concept of a fork.

    Well, maybe not exactly...

    "The CreateProcess [] function creates a new process, which runs independently of the creating process. The function provides two methods for identifying the program to be executed. ..."

  • Oh, I agree that Notes is a POS. However, a lot of the Qunicy stuff is *not* generated by Notes. Look at the RIP files to see -- lots of explorer.exe and winword.exe faults from when Notes wasn't even running. For these minor faults, Dr Watson does NOT pop up, and the user is blissfully unaware of what is going on.

    So either Quincy is broken (or over sensative), or there's something going on under the hood of Windows that isn't pretty. Note that I haven't seen this on NT, only older mucked-up 9x installs.
  • No, the way to get up-to-date applications is to run Slackware and compile the source yourself.
  • Sorry, I know that I've gotten slammed for this. What I MEANT was that I can run the *nix version, in fact a Linux binary version. That is actually a big deal. That means I can keep my development environment consistent.

    While there shouldn't be a difference between Windows and *nix versions of Apache, if I'm developing/testing commercial software, I want to keep my environment consistent.

    Sorry for my unclear post.
  • OK, here I am typing in an IE5.5 dialog box. I've tried linux a couple times, and given up after a couple of days both times. The reason has always been the lack of aplications. I *like* the linux environment. There aren't any linux apps I need. A good shell would add a lot to windows. (yes, I've tried cygwin. last time I tried it was too slow and never felt wuite native. felt like an add-on program in ways didn't.) But, I really need wine to be more fully operationsal before I can switch. Last I tried switching to linux (actually, my friend tried it, but we tried out all my apps too), it was still in need of the ability to:

    Play DVDs
    Rip DVDs / encode to DivX
    Play DivX
    (As best I can tell, Wine support for directshow filters and a DVD ASPI layer would solve those)
    Games would be nice, but I don't use them that much and I'm not too picky. Get a few of the popular ones working (including something by blizzard), I don't really care which, I'll be happy.

    Oh, and linux NEEDS A BETTER WEB BROWSER!!! Netscape and mozilla are both slow, they do a poor job with dialog boxes, drop down menus, text boxes, etc. Haven't tried Konqueror, but I doubt it's all *that* much better. I do like the better cookie/ad managment under the various linux browsers though.

    MP3 playing linux does a fine job with.
    Word processing I can deal with star office. I really do prefer MS office for anything of a size I will ever do in the near future though.

    So basically, I need Wine better before I switch, not the other way round. I don't plan to even try this out.

  • licq ( all the way - I can't stand the real Win32 client (or mac, but macos has it's own unofficial ones too).

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:30AM (#384152) Journal

    WINE: Good for users because you can use Windows applications on Linux.
    LINE: Good for users because you can use Linux applications on Windows.

    The problem some people having with the Windows part of this is that they want to see Linux do better. Users don't care which does better. They just want more and better choices, and LINE gives them another choice. Open source doesn't empower users (not directly anyway) because they can't modify source (most of them are not programmers). Additional choices empower the users, because they are all capable of making choices.

  • Double click the message, so you have it open in it's own window, pull down View, select Options.

    Headers will be located at the bottom.

    Leave it to Microsoft to put it in the most unthought of place.

  • by Mtgman ( 195502 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:32AM (#384157)
    I'm sorry, I can't believe for a minute that you seriously see Linux apps making headway into the desktop "productivity" software that is Microsoft's bread and butter. Microsoft will never allow it, they'll change some random part of the OS and break LINE as soon as Star Office or any non-MS application gets even a sliver of market penetration. Then they'll jump up and down and shout "Stable! Hah! It won't even run!" and the Linux community will be shafted just like we are with the buddy-buddy Microsoft and Hardware Vendor relationship that excludes us and makes us reverse engineer hardware just to write drivers. Microsoft people get to work on their drivers before the hardware release, we have to start from scratch when, and if, we can get our hands on one.
    Now WINE on the other hand, I could see getting some slack from Microsoft. WINE still encourages the use of Microsoft products on the Application side. When Microsoft gets broken up, the Application side is where the real market dominance will show. The OS doesn't matter, it's transparent to the end user, use whatever you want, but the work? The data formats? All the things a _user_ will deal with? They will be Microsoft. As computer usage grows, Microsoft cares more about mindshare than it's OS. Let the technophiles use whatever OS they wish. The PHB and the average Joe don't care what OS they use as long as they know how to use the Apps. And Microsoft has by FAR the largest user base of all the application vendors.

    Most people don't understand, Microsoft's future isn't in the OS, it's in the applications. It's in .NET and the service industry. OS and Hardware got them where they are, but they would be dumb to sit on their laurels. They're moving on into the application market, and since applications are much more static than operating systems and _FAR_ more static than hardware, they'll be even harder to dislodge there.

  • From a 'good for bill gates POV'

    If an application is 'only' a "linux" application, such an ability will allow the user to remain on the superior Windows platform. They get to run thier 'linux' app, and do not have to worry about the user having to make a choice about switching.

    From the 'good for Linux POV'
    This will allow people who are afraid of the concept of linux to see that it does not byte ;-)

    From the 'about time POV'
    Given 180+ linux distros, BSD/SCO/Solaris/QNX/etc la, the declaration of the X86Open group that "the standard for interoperability is Linux ELF" perhaps vendors will get their collective crainums extracted from their rectums and decide that:
    1) The don't need the infighting LSB whiners to agree on a 'common' platform.
    2) Vendors make sure the code runs on systems like FreeBSD (which runs Linux binaries FASTER than Linux distos do), SCO, Solaris and projects like LINE. If they run there, and don't run on the your chosen version of the 180+ linux disro, the distro you have is broken. (if the people doing "linux compatibility" can get faster execution speeds and run big hunks of complex code like Oracle and VMware, they've done their homework)
    3) Vendors then offer FORMAL support for the SCO/Solaris/BSD users, just like they would offer for RedHat.
  • "If you had been using Microsoft Access/Money/Excel for your accounting needs, you would have experienced no downtime. I'm afraid it isn't Microsoft's responsibility to be sure each other vendor's applications work on the latest version of our operating system. Could I interest you in a Microsoft Money solution for your payroll needs? We can import data from virtually all of our competitors products and with our easy-to-use Setup Wizards, you would be able to re-build your application in next to no time. And best of all, this product is from Microsoft so it's guaranteed to stay current and keep in sync with the very latest in desktop operating system changes and have the highest level of operability with other industry-standard products like Quicken and TurboTax. Could I have a credit card number?"

  • This is great; finally we could run XFree86 via LINE. No more commercial X Servers. Not to mention the stability! I am so for this. For people running windows who need to develop (grpahical apps) remotely, this is such great news.

    I can't wait till this is do able!

  • According to the Cygwin project [], XFree86 4.0 already compiles and runs under cygwin without patching, and has for some time. I was very surprised to learn this a few weeks ago; I would think many people would have the same excited reaction, but it's not a well-publicized part of the Cygwin project.

    (PostgreSQL 7.1 also compiles under cygwin without patches. Cygwin rocks.)
  • Dear nerd,

    Sorry, but there is a plethora of Linux apps that I am itching for when I have to work on a Windows box, or when I have to work with other Windows users.

    Every once in a while some clueless bloke like you comes up to me asking "how can I do this-and-that?" Now I am very willing to explain such stuff.

    "How can I set up a local server to test my PHP and CGI scripts [which use Sendmail and MySQL along the road]?"
    "Oh, that's easy. Just install the Apache package, the PHP module and MySQL."
    "...on my Windows box?"
    "Oh. wait. Uhh... I know of some small free Web server for Windows that does CGI, but PHP and MySQL... hrm."

    From a Mac user with a stupid FTP program: "So how can I resolve these carriage return upload problems?"
    "Try ASCII upload."
    "My program knows Text, MacText, BinHex [etc.], but no ASCII. Which one should I choose?"
    "?? Try all of them for what I care."
    "Not one worked OK. Now what?"
    "Sigh. [dreaming of installing DebianPPC on that thing]"

    I happen to have a couple of 100 more of these anecdotes. Whenever I am forced to work with a Windows box, I have my Linux box running as well, if possible, and through OpenSSH, smbclient, VNC, WINE and other stuff I can finally do what I have to do on that Windows box.

    I am mostly using Word and Netscape on the Windows box to a) make my homework and b) do something while making my homework. But the Linux box is always there for the kewl stuff and for the programming.

    It just happens to be so that Windows doesn't interoperate as well with Linux as is the other way around. In other words, when working with Windows, I _miss_ all kinds of Linux' functionalities. So YES, I am _very_ glad that Windows now finally gets some better Linux interoptability - one that doesn't require a reboot into Linux!

    BTW, if you're seriously thinking that Linux folks aren't working hard on improving their "pieces of shit" evey day, *I DARE YOU* to keep up with Debian Unstable. Hehe :-)

    It's... It's...
  • I'd hate to run Unix apps on Windows (like, yuck,) but anything that will let users see the power of open source is good.

    That means of course that whatever software escapes down the LINE has to be visibly supported otherwise, there's no point.

    A nice little app that get out to the Windows community, say a little calendar thingy, that would grow as people use it and provide feed back or code mods would be absolutely great and very visible feed back to hang Redmond with.
  • That works for products Microsoft have equivalents to. It does not work for company X that uses Windows for their computerized cash registers and rely on an app from a bankrupt company that they haven't been able to replace, and that Microsoft don't have any alternative to.

    That's the problem for Microsoft: Closed source apps where they original company has gone out of business that force them to choose between having backwards compatability longer than they want, or preventing the users from upgrading, thus reducing their revenue source.

    The large number of Windows 3.1 installations out there is a good demonstration of that principle.

  • it's not just the technical work that's good... it also shows once again that Linux has come of age. a new OS can get a jumpstart by emulating others, but it's when others start emulating it that you can say it's really made it.
  • The performance of an implementation of the system calls is far superior than of an emulation.
    And you really need twice as much RAM to run Linux in VmWare on Windows because you have both kernels in memory.
  • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:20AM (#384187) Homepage
    ...just think, now all the Micro$oft users can see how unstable Linux applications are when running under Windows -- talk about a great way to present bad publicity to the uninitiated masses.

  • You are right in a way, but bear in mind that tux-racer uses the cygwin api (the windows version even includes cygwin.dll!)

    So, what's your point? Think of Cygwin as a "Unix [class] library". It's no different than using MFC or any portable library. Using Cygwin doesn't make TuxRacer any less of a Windows program. It's like saying that a game compiled with DJGPP & Allegro isn't a DOS program.

    If it bothers you that it uses Cygwin, why not try compiling it with Mingw instead? Then it wouldn't need cygwin.dll, just the C DLLs that Microsoft distributes with Windows.
  • Actually, seeing as WINE can be faster than Windows NT in some cases, is it theoretically possible that certain Win32 programs will actually run faster when using WINE and LINE? :-)
    Of course, you could run LINE using WINE on a Linux box?
  • I've finally jettisoned the last vestiges of Windows from my home network. Yet at work, I have no choice but to run Windows. It is our development environment, and our Linux porting effort isn't finished yet (it isn't my job to do the port, or it would be finished!). At home I've made a lot of choices about which apps I use, and when I come into work, I want compatibility with those apps. I use Galeon at home, but I can't run it at work, so I'm forced to use two different browsers (Mozilla on Win32, Galeon on gnome-libs). At home, I use LyX to write documentation and gvim to code. At home I have to use Word or gvim. Fortunately Wine allows me to run Lotus Notes in both places, or I'd have no email at home.

    What this project gives me is the ability to standardize all my environments on a set of good, free apps - Linux apps.

  • One important advantage this gives developers is the ability to develop on the platform of their choice, and deploy the application on the platform of the consumers choice, which may very well not be the same.

    This could be an important foot in the door, allowing people to develop on Linux and deploy on windows (taking much of the programming frustration associated with developing under windows -- oh the humanity of it all! Memories best left repressed -- out of the picture). Potentially quicker development cycles not held hostage by Microsoft release schedules and instant deployment to two popular platforms could make for a very potent combination that can well favor platforms such as Linux.
  • by joto ( 134244 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:21AM (#384201) or plex86 inside this one...?
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:21AM (#384204)
    TuxRacer is already available for Windows -- I know I've played it on my system. (It's an openGL application with standard C calls, not much more to needed to make it highly portable)...

  • You have a much simpler solution: If it's an X app, run it on one of your Linux machines, and install Exceed, or some other Windows X servers (there's plenty of them available) to display the user interface on the Windows boxes.

    Alternatively, you can run VNC on the Linux box together with the app, and let them use a VNC client or even a webbrowser (with Java) to get access to the application that way.

  • by atrowe ( 209484 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:23AM (#384209)
    Yeah. The only thing holding me back from running Windows is the lack of decent apps. Not that I can run all of my wonderful Linux software, I've got no reason NOT to switch!
  • I wonder how many Windows users are actively waiting for Linux programs to use. (TuxRacer one day maybe?)

    You're WRONG! TuxRacer 0.61 runs perfectly on Windows! See?!?! []

  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:23AM (#384221)

    Wow, that's terrific, I sit here on my Win2K desktop, and I'm just thinking, "I love the OS for it's stability, if only I could natively run ALL those *nix applications!, then I'd have the perfect desktop".


    In fairness, this is moderately useful, I could run Apache/PHP locally for development work on my standard desktop, but that's roughly where the usefullness ends. I mean, obviously the use for this isn't X-Windows applications, although with an X-Server running it would be.

    While WINE is a useful project, this isn't. I give the people working on it props, it's a neat idea, and probably a fun hack, but doesn't seem terribly useful. I mean, while this is definitely different than the Cygwin project, I'm of the opinion that Cygwin provides 75%-85% of the benefits of a project like this, so the extra effort of this project isn't worth it to "the community". However, as it is worth it to the developers, good luck.

  • Windows i[s] slow and unpredictable.

    Compared to Linux it's lightning fast. At least as far as X-apps go.

  • Think about it. You're installing hw onto an OS that doesn't recognize it since the OS came out before the hw did.

    Try instaling Linux 2.0.11 and see if your cards are automatically recognized. You'd see that the micro-kernel does have its benefits in the MS world. It might not optimize it but it lets you go online to get the newest drivers faster than using a dumb terminal to recompile.

    Try not to worship Linux so much. It's not the Messiah.

  • As a confirmation to what the guy says - if you've ever had the unpleasure to run Lotus Notes, you might notice that it's debugger "Dr. Quincy" will spontanously generate "R.I.P" log files on some Win boxes until the harddrive fills up.

    These are the result of GPFs that Win 9x has hidden from the user. The ususal solution is to disable the debugger (quincy -u or something).

    The consipricy theory is that this is somewhat by design in Win9x -- it's supposed to deal with a lot of flakey drivers and 16-bit stuff and not totally croak. Of course, it contributes to the overall end-user experience that Windows in slow and unpredictable.
  • My consistently-held assertion is that the UNIX environment provides me with the applications I need, and the Windows environment does not. I have even mentioned, by name, the applications I hold to be most interesting for my use. In return, I am given a list of completely different applications that I do not find useful as some sort of indication of the superiority of Windows for my particular needs.

    And then, at some point, I "lost", which apparently translates to: "I feel my argument is superior to yours and my software is superior to yours so stop arguing about it and let me live in peaceful bliss". And, if one had only said so originally, I would be happy to oblige.

    The notion that "UNIX has no software", put forth (apparently) in joke fashion is what started this thread in the first place. My experience is the opposite, and I have yet to be convinced otherwise - at least for my needs. If you feel Windows has all the software for your needs and UNIX does not, kindly say so - but don't assume that holds for everybody.

    And no, none of this is serious enough to have "winners" or "losers" declared. It's all just discussion, opinion and a pile of bits that all involved will soon forget. None of it is worth getting worked-up over whatsoever.

  • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:25AM (#384235) Homepage

    At long last, the stability of windows with the broad application base of Linux -- we could make a less useful computer if we really put our minds to it!...

  • I've only recently started using Outlook. It took me about 10 minutes to find the %#@$$@# headers. It's in the most illogical of places. "Options". WTF? @$#%@# crack smoking MS software designers. "View/Headers", yes. "Options", no. And its one of THE most basic features of an e-mail program! The entire Outlook is generally poorly structured - there seems to have been extremely little thought put into what should go where. As far as I can tell you can't even set it up to reply to e-mails in text always, even if they were sent to you as html. After quite a lot of digging around I found you could do this *per contact*, this is about as useful as a hole in the head. And the problem with changing the format every time *after* you've clicked reply is that that line in front of the original e-mail doesn't become a row of ">" (even if you've set Outlook up to reply like this), it just vanishes. Even Outlook Express made more sense, so I don't know where the Outlook team fell off.

  • I use W2K on my work box (Pentium III 677, 512 MB RAM, GeForce2). I use it pretty heavily for development, and it's VERY stable. I was doing exactly the same stuff on Win98 a few months back, and it froze up, crashed etc, required rebooting, on average 2 to 5 times a day. But with W2K it's truly "rock solid".

    I must say though W2K on my home machine (Celeron 333, 128MB, TNT) did *not* go down well. The setup was flaky from the start. There was in particular a lot of problems with sockets - every time I went online, the thing would mess up after an hour or two and refuse to create any new connections until I rebooted. I would have the occasional complete lockup (while doing OpenGL development.) Generally there were problems. I'm currently only using Linux on that machine.

    The motherboards for the two machines are the same brand but different models (earlier version on the celeron system), so my suspicion is that perhaps there was some problem with W2K not liking the earlier motherboard. Both had latest M/B drivers.

  • Even windows 95/98 never gave me problems with crashes

    You don't use your system for C++ (and/or DirectX) development, do you?

    Geez, when I was doing DirectX programming on Win98 I had to reboot on average 2 to 5 times a day, and it was *extremely* rare (e.g. maybe once a month) that I managed a whole day without a reboot. I'm now doing the same work on W2K (on exactly the same hardware, so don't give me the "hardware problem" BS story) and it's been 100% stable. Win9X is a f%#^$@# pile of stinking, rotten sh&*@#. Not proper use of protected mode, combined with a Win16Mutex == crap.

  • OK. Name a Linux application that a Windows user might have a reason to run. I'm serious...
  • by vallee ( 2192 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:28AM (#384262)

    Okay, this seems to me like a pretty damn pointless application, the sort of thing that programmers churn out just to practice their programming skills rather than produce anything truly useful.

    Think about it - you can already get most of the essential Linux tools over at Cygwin [] if you're after better command line tools. Otherwise, what does Linux have to offer? Most Linux software is perpetual alphaware or just a rehash of other projects (witness the truly scary number of CD front-ends out there). These programs already have free native Windows equivalents out there, and the Windows ones have often been in development longer (the big Linux bandwagon wasn't all that long ago) and can take advantage of Windows features.

    And out of the few open sourced packages that are approaching professional quality, many of them are already available on Windows, like Apache. Sure there's the GIMP, but Windows users using Photoshop aren't going to want to change, and PaintShop Pro is pretty much the package of choice for low-end use.

    I just don't see that there's any real use for this.

  • The great circle is now complete; before, we could run edlin on Linux; now, we can run vi on Windows.

    (shut up, I know [], it was a joke).

    Now if only someone will write a HOWTO on compiling your kernel under Windows...

  • For those who miss blue screens.

    Now you can get them while running linux applications.

  • Unless I'm very mistaken, this may put a serious hurt on Cygwin and it's port of the Unix tools. I run Cygwin to get the bash shell and all the CLI utilities (find, grep, whatever). I'll need to pull this down When I Have Some Time (WIHST)(tm), so all of my speculation could be just so much crap. But yes, I see real use for this.
  • by Warphal ( 322517 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:30AM (#384280)
    I mean who cares if its useful or not?
    The only thing that matters is that its just so COOL. I say it again: Its just cool!

    Warphal ;)
  • As many others have commented, the strong part of a Linux distribution is the operating system, not the applications. So, a project like LINE will most likely not encourage users to migrate to Linux; Linux applications are too weak and unfriendly for most Windows users, so, if anything it will discourage users from seeing Linux as a viable desktop solution.
  • by b0z ( 191086 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:31AM (#384288) Homepage Journal
    The biggest reason the average person doesn't use linux is the lack of a lot of good applications. I can see using something like this if you can run xterms and such out of it without paying a lot of money for exceed, but that's about it.

    Also, it's obvious that the author doesn't really know what he's talking about because:

    1) - There is a version of GIMP that has been ported to Windows. [] 2) - There is a TuxRacer version for Windows. []

    Also, I tend to think that the apps on linux mostly suck when you are using linux as a desktop. Server applications are where linux shines, and if you were going to run something like apache webserver, why not just use the linux version on linux, or the windows version on windows?

    Anyways, I think this could be an interesting project, but it's no holy grail to get people to start using linux apps since the applications for Windows are usually superior. It's the OS that everyone hates, not the applications (well, some of the applications too.)

  • not only can you now run multiple versions of windows under windows (via line->wine) but it shouldn't be long before line gets ported to win ce, and you can *nix on the dreamcast, xbox, etc....

    or run either win or *nix on various platforms strictly by emulation...


  • If you could install this, get it happy, run some script to syncronize things, and then have it such that you could just reboot and switch from Windows+LINE to Linux+WINE and have the system run exactly the same with respect to apps, it would make a very nice switchover.

    In particular, you could make sure that your important apps never stop working as you transition, because you could install and test WINE while still running Windows; once everything works, you can just switch which kernel you're actually running and which you're emulating, and keep working.
  • With the plethora of open source projects out there that have native ports to Windows already, I have to wonder how useful Line would actually be.

    Due to the generally more open nature of programming for Linux and Unix in general over Windows, Windows already gets to benefit from the good apps being ported over to it. The makers of Perl, Apache, Gcc, and whatnot aren't trying to create artificial scarcity to force users onto UNIX with them. (As is usual, Microsoft benefits from the goodwill of others without having the common polite decency to reciprocate on occasion. I believe the technical term for this is "mooching".)

    Anyway, I have to wonder how much demand for Line there will be when many of the good apps on UNIX are already portable to Windows as it is.

  • by Wolfier ( 94144 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:21AM (#384297)
    Since the source of Linux is available and that of Windows isn't, LINE will surpass WINE. It is just a matter of when it will happen.

    Then, I bet you'll be hearing people say "Hey, you can run all Linux apps on Windows but just sone Windows apps on Linux!! Why use Linux??"
  • $filename=`echo $pathname | sed 's/.*\///' | tr 'A-Z' 'a-z'`

    That's an interesting example. Four new processes just to do an assignment, an append, and a case conversion? That's pretty inefficient. No language except a Unix-influence shell would make you do that.

    It's more obvious on Win32, but spawning a lot of unnecessary processes would also be a bad idea on many Linux applications. The extra overhead isn't a big deal if the script is just a command line utility. But what about web applications? Database servers? For serious modern apps, forking is evil.

    I'm not a Win32 expert, but if I were I would probably say, "Heavy forking apps are obsolete. It doesn't make sense for Win32 to even try to support them. Better to concentrate on multithreading."


  • Have you ever actually played the Windows version of TuxRacer? It crashes on 4/5 runs down the slope. Completely unplayable.

    I read this story and immediate thought: "AHA! Now I can actually _play_ tux-racer!!".

  • by haystor ( 102186 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:33AM (#384306)
    Have Apple do the pricing.
  • Every time I complain about my W2K crashing some windows fan on slashdot says "you shouldn't have bought a dell you fuck" And then they get moderated up to 5 because any pro microsoft post gets moderated up (like yours).
  • by MatriXOracle ( 33400 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:34AM (#384310) Homepage
    The use I can foresee for this is running one of the Linux ICQ clones on Windows. The official Windows ICQ client is a bloated piece of cr@p, I've always found the "unofficial" Linux clones to be far superior.
  • Ah, the mirror image of WINE. It would be useful for places where an in-house end-user app or commandline utility runs on Linux and they don't want to go through the trouble and expense of porting to Win32 with the MKS or Cygwin tools, especially when it's a command-line utility that needs to do I/O redirection with a Win32 app. Obviously, for more heavy-duty needs, at least when something doesn't have to integrate tightly with WIn32 apps themselves, something like VMWare makes more sense.

    I do wonder how practical and successful this will be for running many applications, though. How will it deal with Win32's lack of a POSIX base? How will programs that rely on filename case-sensitivity and Unix-style file permissions and setuid issues, for starters, cope? Not many easy answers, especially if they're targeting Win98/ME and not just NT/Win2K.
  • GIMP.

    Yes, I know there's a windoze port of it, but with ALL respect to the guy(s) who slave at porting it (and theres alot of respect), its just too big for a few guys. This could mean runnin the latest version(s) of gimp when they're released rather than waiting for the guys to port it.

    If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed...
  • my experience in working with pc's, Dell is the one manufacturer that customizes it's install of Windows the most

    Dell is nothing compared to the stuff that Compaq does to windows. I've seen compaq systems that won't even BOOT without using Compaq's version of windows because they screw around with so much of the hardware support...

  • I can't believe how many people are whining about what a stupid idea this is.

    How is this any different than wine? HMM? The tables are just reversed.

    Who cares if YOU have no use for it, someone else might.

  • What I meant was, I have yet to write anything longer than about 15-20 pages, and don't plan to in the near future. Similar applies to spreadsheets, presentations, etc. For now, I like office. It's easy, it's sufficiently stable, important stuff I save backups and know that some other computer's install of office can read them in emergency. If I need to write something large, it will be a large enough project that I can afford to learn something better.
  • This is actually a great idea. There are a lot of great Linux apps (Like Evolution, Konqueror, etc) that are reaching a usable level of feature completeness. This make it easy to show these apps to Windows users and maybe get them hooked on them.

    A good example, lots of Slashdotters are always talking about using Evolution as an Outlook replacement. The problem is that there is no Windows version of Evolution. That means either running Evolution on *nix desktops and still running Outlook on Windows desktops, or replacing all of your Windows desktops with *nix desktops. While I love the idea of replacing Windows desktops with *nix systems, replacing your OS just to get rid of Outlook is pretty silly. With this program, an IT guy like me could load Evolution on *all* of the desktops (*nix or Windows) in the company and get rid of Outlook completely!!!!!!
  • Most of the posts in this thread seem to be of the "all the stability of Windows with the broad application base of Linux!" sort, and I have to admit that that was my first reaction, too.

    But, now that I think about it for a moment, most of that broad Linux application base is released under the GPL or some other free (beer|speech) license, whereas a lot of the useful Windows apps aren't. I could easily see a lot of college students who don't feel like shelling out for Adobe but also don't want to switch to Linux using this to run the Gimp, for instance.

    (The Gimp may actually run on Windows already; I wouldn't know. That was just an example.)

    John Hyland
    Backend Coder and Kung Foo Master

  • I use bash on my windows box daily (along with sed, awk, gmake, uname, find, file, RCS-5.7, telnet, in.telnetd, and a host of other common tools).

    Ever heard of Cygwin []? It's a pretty damned fine piece of kit. It understands the way UNIX people work, and all that Windows stupidity at the same time. Brilliant, I say.


  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:43AM (#384342)
    Not so great for creating stability.

    As I write this, the link to the information has been slashdotted out of existence, so I'll have to make some assumptions.

    First of all is the fact that this is going to have to intercept pretty much all file-system calls and do some pretty damn nifty conversion to get the different shells to work properly. Heaven help you if you try to chmod kernel32.dll or something like that... ^_^

    Second is the fact that this is going to be a popular program amoung 'amature' hackers, and people who consider themselves hackers because they know a little more about their workstation than the guy in the next cube. For every guy who manages to get 'xeyes' to run, you're going to end up with two or three calls to any given IT department like this:

    'My computer won't boot into Windows any more!'

    'What did you do to it?'

    'I tried to run linuxcfg, but it crashed and deleted my Windows directory when it couldn't find /etc or /conf'

    'Hybrid' sytems are never fun to support.

    If this works, however, and starts working reliably, it could be a great boon to getting certain apps ported over to Linux. If a Windoze software developer can run an app that will allow him to a compile a linux binary of his Windows program, it will start to open the door for a lot of 'effortless' porting work between the two OS's.

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:54AM (#384344) Homepage
    I wonder how many Windows users are actively waiting for Linux programs to use.
    Well, for Unix hackers like me who are stuck with Windows on the desktop but only use it to run Exceed (to get to the real machines) and Netscape and (ugh) Lotus Notes (blech), this sounds great. Maybe now I can actully use this box for something useful.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

  • WINE.

    So, I can have my cake and get instability, too? Awesome! I'll run all these sweet Linux ports of lame windoze apps and still be able to read .doc files! Rock on!

    rid-ic-u-lop-a-thy []

  • by alanjstr ( 131045 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @06:47AM (#384349) Homepage
    Trying to run Linux in a VM is taxing on a system. Dual-booting isn't always an option (like in the middle of a big download). Now when my friend tells me to try out a linux program I don't have to do either of them.

    I think this is a Good Thing (TM)! It will give Linux applications more exposure. As people try all these new programs, they will beging to say "hey, with all this great stuff, I might as well completely switch to Linux!" Ok, maybe not.

  • Running linux apps under windows seems a lot less hassle to me than running windows apps under linux.

    For me using windows as my basic opperating system has a lot of advantages:

    1. I don't need to go through all the hassle of installing linux. I did it a few years back and spent more time trying to get it to run than doing anything productive.
    2. 90 percent of what I need to do needs windows (people send me lots of MS office documents, and I like the occasional game).
    3. I've a feeling it might be simplier this way. There are so many wierd things going on in windows that it must be hell to get 100% compatability. Building a linux emulator is probably a lot simpiler.

    I tend to use cygwin all the time and gives me the best of both worlds. If only someone would write a good vt100 terminal I'd be happy.

  • Yeah, I was messing with Cygwin last night. After I got X up and running, I tried compiling stuff for it.

    With (very) minor tweaking, I got glib, gtk+, and xchat compiled on it. With a little more work, I compiled everybuddy as well. I would have tried for Mozilla, but I was running out of space on that partition, so I just called it a night.

    I'm pretty impressed with Cygwin; in fact, with a different X-Server, I'm sure I could get my roommate hooked on it. He wants something like Everybuddy for Windows, but they don't offer a Windows version. Little do they know that it compiles on Cygwin! :)

    Anyhow, this LINE project sounds like a much simpler solution, except that "LINE requires Cygwin". And the page was still somewhat slashdotted when I got to it. But it'd be interesting to compare performance against Cygwin compiled binaries, or DJGPP...
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • You can joke all you want, but it is, in fact, true in my case.

    I just dare you to try running LyX on Windows. I know it's possible, but I wouldn't want to try it.

    Can you get Broadcast 2000 for Windows? Is there an equivalent *free, open source* package?

    Star Office runs much better on Linux than Windows, judging from what I've seen here.

    Just because you can't run a few games, or an insipid office package...
  • You forget that if they do stuff like that they'll break tons of other apps as well, and people will be screaming in outrage about their payroll application which stopped working when they "upgraded" Windows.
  • CMYK output and Pantone color matching ensures that a printed image looks exactly the same as the output of a monitor. Photoshop allows for the easy calibration of monitor output to printer output largely because it is the standard in the graohic industry. And the reason it has become a standard is through use, practically every design firm uses photoshop, primarily on the mac. The gimp unfortunately is a pale imitation of photoshop, which suits most home users fine since some of photoshop's tools are unnecessary.
  • In fairness, this is moderately useful, I could run Apache/PHP locally for development work on my standard desktop,

    Hrm, I've been running Apache on my windows desktop for years, it wasn't really hard, seening as how they've had a windows port available. You can get []php for windows as well.

    Rate me on []
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Monday March 05, 2001 @07:51AM (#384367) Homepage
    Windows does not have any concept of a fork. Cygwin reimplements this as well as a unix like process table. It limits the number of processes to 127 and fork are very expensive with all the context switching going on to make it happen.

    I'll back that up -- Cygwin is an excellent product, but watching shell scripts that fly on UNIX grind to a halt under Cygwin is pretty soul destroying. Shell scripts by their very nature are constantly forking new processes, and something simple like:

    $filename=`echo $pathname | sed 's/.*\///' | tr 'A-Z' 'a-z'`

    ... is likely to take a couple of *seconds* under Cygwin as it forks 4 new processes, compared to a blink of an eye on Linux (this is on the Pentium 200 Laptop I took to America, and didn't dare uninstall Windows from).

    I bit the bullet and just had a coffee while scripts that should have taken seconds took half an hour: if I'd been willing to recode, I could have used Perl and got far better performance, but I'd *really* like a free way to run bash, sh, or ksh under Windows at respectable speeds.
  • That was a joke? I'm still waiting for a worthwhile Windows app to justify its use, but haven't come up with any. "The Sims" is really the only thing I can think of, and that's only a single game.

    Meanwhile, Linux is easier to use, easier to maintain, has better apps (for my use, anyway), better supported and costs a helluva lot less.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.