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Wine Software Linux

No Wine for Dell Ubuntu Users, Says Shuttleworth 328

yuna49 writes "News from last week, but still worth noting: Mark Shuttleworth told eWeek in a May 3rd interview that Dell will not include open-source software such as Wine with the PCs it plans to bundle with Ubuntu Linux. Says Shuttleworth: 'I do not want to position Ubuntu and Linux as a cheap alternative to Windows ... While Linux is an alternative to Windows, it is not cheap Windows. Linux has its own strengths, and users should want it because of those strengths and not because it's a cheap copy of Windows ... Often we see proprietary software companies just completely fail to understand not only the motivations of the Linux community, but also the processes. It's very practical, there's a way to get things done, and it's different. The VMware guys have really engaged with us completely and worked to the agenda set by the Linux community, which is not an ideological agenda but a practical one.' Does that mean Wine won't even be listed in the package manager?"
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No Wine for Dell Ubuntu Users, Says Shuttleworth

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  • That's fine by me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cHALiTO ( 101461 ) <> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:31AM (#19081777) Homepage
    It's their choice, and I'm ok with it. Other distros also add or remove support for certain packages based on ideological positions (non free software, no binaries, stuff like that), so ubuntu and Dell can very well agree to do this to promote that way of considering GNU/Linux.

    And besides, it's still ubuntu, so nothing prevents those who MUST have wine to add a rep to their sources.list and get it somewhere else.
  • Ubuntu Fork (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:36AM (#19081815)
    In order for them to control what apps are available, this makes me wonder if they are going to do a respository fork. So when you apt-get install it's not coming from but or something like that. Will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
  • Well (Score:2, Interesting)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:38AM (#19081837)
    I'll never understand why is so important that an OS will be pre-installed with the machine. I'm NEVER satisfied with the way the OS is installed in any machine I buy, so the first thing I ever do is to re-format the drives in any new computer and reinstall it my own way.

    Any Linuzzz distro can be obtained for free, so just, download the packages you need and... done.

  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tribbin ( 565963 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:52AM (#19082061) Homepage
    I haven't installed MS software on my computer for about seven years now. People ask me if I got MS Office working on it; it is the first thing they try when they install linux.

    "I haven't tried it."

    People find that awkward.

    Also people often say that 'app X does not work the same as commercial product X'.

    Sure, intercompatability is pushed from the open side because of demand. But ...


    People find that hard to understand.

    I think this step by DELL + Ubuntu is a step in the right direction of bringing that understanding.
  • by Adult film producer ( 866485 ) <> on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:55AM (#19082087)
    it's because you haven't faced up to the reality: Wine isn't very good.

    Sure you can make some programs work, sometimes. And sometimes when applications do work under Wine they act horribly, weird, strange, lots of font issues. It's not that the wine developers havent tried, it's just that emulating a Piece of Shit like Windows is nearly fucking impossible.. nobody can emulate the development hysteria that went into building windows. I don't fault the Wine devs, they tried mimic microsofts bullshit, but failed...

    It's a work in progress, I know... but now Vista is out now.. and microsoft will release another POS of OS soon enough... they have no chance to keep up with the Redmond madness.
  • Great idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @09:57AM (#19082129) Homepage Journal
    I've seen for a decade in my LUG what people go through when they try to use Linux as a 1:1 replacement for Windows. It's miserable. Linux should not be positioned as "like Windows but cheaper." (Especially since Dell's OEM deal with MS and crapware vendors means that a Linux system from Dell will probably cost exactly as much as a Windows system.) Mark S. is doing exactly the right thing here.

    That said, I have the feeling that these things won't sell well at all. (Not that adding Wine would make much of a difference.) Be honest: what does Linux offer the average user that Windows doesn't? The main one is "won't get infected with crap."* That's great, but that's not enough. People have put up with crappy Windows systems for so long that they think it's normal to reinstall Windows periodically, or pay a neighborhood kid or local shop $50-150 to clean off the spyware every few months (if they even bother at all), and to buy a new computer every couple years when the one the old one gets slow. People are used to Windows. They fear change. "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't." We love Linux, but we know what's involved, and we understand what the million little differences are and why they're there. The rest of the world just thinks "this isn't working right." The result of all this is, Joe User will NOT be buying Ubuntu machines from Dell. Dell will sell a few, but not many, and there's a very good chance this program will be axed within 6-12 months.

    * OS X offers this same benefit, plus it has the great iLife suite, gorgeous hardware, and unbeatable hardware/software integration. Not perfect, but miles ahead of anything else. That is a compelling reason to change, and I've seen a few people go from Windows to Mac, but even so, Windows has 90%+ share and will continue to dominate for quite a while.
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:07AM (#19082267)

    And one of those strengths is that you can still install WINE after you buy the computer despite the decisions made by a large company or single individual.

    Only if you are squinting so hard you're blind. Linux is the only desktop operating system in which if your distributor decides to not include software, getting it anyway is extremely difficult. If a package isn't included in Ubuntu, your only option is either to compile it from source (good luck with that if you aren't technical) or using something like an autopackage. Neither Windows nor MacOS X practice this kind of software censorship.

    I have to admit, this news really pisses me off. Shuttleworth can't seem to decide what he wants here. For background, I am the creator of autopackage [], a framework for writing cross-distro binary installers for Linux. It's kinda like Loki Setup except it's designed for open source software, so it handles dependencies, has GTK, Qt and console frontends, etc. Now I haven't really been involved with this project for some time for various reasons, but back when I was, this whole idea that open source projects might distribute their own binaries was terribly controversial. People wondered what the point was.

    Now, I did a presentation at LUGRadio Live last year, in which I laid out the case for autopackage (and klik and zeroinstall), and also talked about a bunch of other issues like malware. One of the issues I raised is that every distribution is a political entity that excludes software for reasons that are, to the non-Linux enthusiast, more or less random. Whether it's to do with the license, or lack of manpower, or because a program isn't UNIXy enough, or simply because the maintainers don't like it, a distribution uses its monopoly on easy software installation to eliminate software from the users world.

    At the time I warned that this situation couldn't work long term as Linux scaled up. It makes the distro responsible for all the software that is shipped. More to the point, it harms users, because it forces one groups choice on everybody else, restricting the free market. I warned that while people might find discrimination on the basis of license acceptable, and on the basis of manpower understandable, distros would at some point start discriminating against software for bad reasons. And then what do the authors of the affected software do? They can't tell their users to compile it themselves, because that's too hard and fragile. They can't make their own repositories for every distro out there, that's too much work, and besides users are told not to trust 3rd party repositories because they might mess up the distro, break it or be malware. This was very visible to me, because when an enthusiastic user requested an Ubuntu package of the autopackage runtime (first time installs are awkward without that), it got shot down because an Ubuntu developer didn't think it was useful. A bunch of users did, but he didn't, so tough cookies.

    I'm pretty pissed off, because not only was I an autopackage developer but also a Wine developer, and now it's happening again. Once more, both users who want a program and the developers who write it are being screwed over due to the opinions of one guy combined with a bad system. About the best option Wine has now is for the developers to maintain an Ubuntu repository, and for users to be given clear instructions on how to add it, and be told to ignore any warnings about that being a bad idea. If N other distros decide to join in the fun, multiply the effort by N.

    Even Microsoft, at the height of their monopolistic practices, never made installing software they didn't like so difficult. This is a big shame for Linux, and as it slowly gets more popular these issues will return again and again.

  • Re:Way to go, Mark (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:16AM (#19082425)

    The focus will be on how Ubuntu sucks at running Windows software, not on how Ubuntu rocks at running Linux software.

    Well, that's great as long as there are perfect 1:1 replacements for all the Windows software somebody wants. That isn't true for any serious gamer, for instance, or people who use custom business apps, which basically means every business that uses IT, or anybody with kids who wants to use a particular educational software package.

    Hell I'll happily admit I'm biased, because I used to work on Crossover and Wine, but even the MS Office+Wine combination handily beats OpenOffice. Even when not doing anything Wine or software related, I'd use Word/Excel for office tasks on Linux, because it worked a lot better than OpenOffice did, and the small amount of integration OO had into the desktop wasn't a big deal to me compared to things like, not being sluggish, and being able to perfectly import Word docs. Now don't get me wrong, OO has improved a lot since those days and I want to love it, I really do, but I know there are still a lot of people who use MS Office on Linux over OpenOffice just because they prefer it.

    This is just a re-run of the ancient debate about whether Win32 emulation is harmful or good. It never interested me, because it assumes an operating system can be a closed world. That's clearly not true and never has been true, if it was, you should argue that MPlayer being able to play non-Ogg codecs is bad and should be pulled, or OpenOffice being able to read .DOCs is bad and should be pulled, or Linux being able to read FAT32 partitions is harmful and should be pulled. It just makes no sense, actually, because if people need that compatibility they'll either use the compatibility layer or they'll just stay with Windows, in which case you haven't even helped them a little bit.

  • by sillyphisher1 ( 1100841 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @10:58AM (#19083231)
    I am an ex-windows-power-user, using exclusively Ubuntu on the desktop for about 6 months now for academic, home, and media center purposes. I might be in the market for a new Dell laptop with Ubuntu- except Ubuntu runs great on my old Pentium M laptop. Even compiz runs great on an intel 915. The only app I have ever successfully run under wine is Picasa, and someone else did all the work to make that fairly painless. It still sucks (colors, themes, file paths...)- Linux is not windows and should not try to be windows. With Ubuntu all the apps I've needed are there under System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager: OpenOffice, Bibus, Inkscape, Scribus GIMP, Gnumeric, R... it all works and it is so refreshingly free of crass commercialism. No free trial versions with upgrade-offer popups, no ads, no need for spyware/virus software, my printer/camera/scanner software doesn't interrupt presentations asking for upgrades anymore. I can plug in an external hard drive and not wait while windows scans the whole thing for media files. The user is in control and that is the way it should be.
  • WINE lets me game (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:37AM (#19083969)
    I have tried several times to install Windows XP on my new Core 2 Duo machine (Intel DG965WH mainboard) with different BIOS settings and even newer versions of the BIOS, but it keeps locking up hard early in the installation process. Linux runs great through, and WINE handles the games I like to play (Warcraft III and Oblivion) just fine. Although Windows XP simply fails to install on my machine, I can still play my favorite games on my new machine because of WINE.
  • by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:46AM (#19084135) Homepage Journal
    Again, WTF?

    What happens if you are not included in a distribution (or just as badly, included but packaged wrong or out of date)? As there's a lot of confusion around what this means, it means you aren't apt-gettable by end users. Not in the repositories.
    You offer the file for download directly from you. How do you do it in Windows?

    That's OK if it's only one distro, but it quickly becomes annoying if it's several.
    No it's not, there are about 4 packages you can make that will cover 99% of users: RPM, DEB, TGZ and source. Just configure your build script to make each one every time you build, it's a 1-time cost in effort for the author.

    A package for Feisty isn't good enough. You need the last couple of versions as well, because not everybody upgrades at the same time. To do that you need a separate install of each version, and you need to build the package on each install, using multi-boots, or VMware, or chroots, or just relying on volunteers to fill in the gaps for you. So if there are 3 distros you want to support, each with 3 versions in the wild, that's 9 packages you need (therefore 9 independent OS installs).
    Only if your program is written to require the latest and greatest versions of dependent libraries, otherwise if Feisty has a binary compatible version of your dependency, you don't need to create a new package. And your autopackage system will improve on this how? You can create a single package that works with multiple incompatible versions of dependent libraries?

    Then you have to tell your users how to install it. Look at the complexity of the page you linked to. This is a light year away from "just download and install it yourself".
    That is only because WineHQ offers a repository for easy updating. They could just offer the .deb file for you to "just download and install".

    See, this is what I have problems with. It's the general design of the software distribution scheme that's bogus. It can never work reliably. It's like Microsoft announcing that Vista will only install software you got from Microsoft Download Center ... nobody would accept that: it doesn't scale, MS aren't trusted to be impartial, etc. It wouldn't work for Microsoft, so why would it work for anybody else
    Or, you can just download and install the RPM or DEB. Seriously, how can you not know this?
  • by at_$tephen ( 1100853 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:13PM (#19084659)

    One key comment that Mark makes in the interview is that he is for free software. By this I assume he means obtaining software development services for free (as opposed to support). I think all these debates about open source vs proprietary fail to see the big picture in sufficient detail. Let's think about this. The laws of economics and jurisprudence have not changed. What does a desire for free software really mean then? From a developer's standpoint, one implication is that a software developer's services have little value. Or perhaps it means the specific software under discussion has little value. Hmmm...that's definitely something to ponder. If it has little value then why bother with it anyway? But he was talking about software in a general sense so could that mean he's aiming for a situation in which all software has little value? Clearly software has value, particularly in new areas. Unfortunately technology by its very definition means change and while certain groups of developers are slapping themselves on the back for a job well done, the carpet is shifting as I type to a different direction.

    So what exactly does he mean? We're in the software development business which requires defining things a bit more precisely kinda like in mathematics or law. Perhaps he means there is value in software and a developer's services, but the person who created it or provided those services will not be compensated. That's ok if that's what the provider intended. If not, it's unfair. If that's what the provider intended, then let's look into that provider with the added assumption that Shuttleworth is trying to create a top system. The individual provider of software development services is saying I am a software developer and I am giving away value for free. Then where is that value coming from? Perhaps someone is paying him or her for those services rendered elsewhere in sufficient amounts to allow him or her some downtime to give away software services of value. Or perhaps software development is just a hobby for the provider and he or she earns a living doing something else. That's all ok unless the developer's main employer isn't being shortchanged which is unfair. Perhaps he or she really believes there is little value in his or her software developing skills, which is a sad case. But how can that mode of working produce this top system on par with systems in which the developers are giving their all day in and day out? Software development regardless of open source or not can be hard to do and can take a lot of time to do right, especially when defining standards. Defining technology standards involves the subject of how humans with differing objectives communicate with each other at a basic level and that has not changed so we'll leave that to a different discussion. Suffice to say that time and time again folks who concentrate power have used this point splendidly. In fact, my prediction is that in the future all this massive communication mishaps occuring these days will quite naturally lead to the creation of a technology monopoly with an even stronger hold than Microsoft (maybe even an off-shoot of Microsoft like those feisty Standard Oil offshoots that are still shouting today, who knows). But, like I said, let's leave that discussion to a different day.

    We can go on and on with this kind of analysis, but at the end I feel the conclusion from his goal is that (a) either software of inferior sustainable value is produced, (b) there has been too much value assigned to that particular line of software development in the marketplace, or (c) there is such massive altruism in the developer community to give so much software development value away for free. Let's leave (c) to a different discussion - I wish it's true but I'm not convinced of its sustainability. In (a) the system will not succeed in the market and we see this clearly on the desktop. The PC is basically a mass communication device and unless Ubuntu works very well with Microsoft file formats then forget it no matter how much it is d

  • by Yfrwlf ( 998822 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:54PM (#19086959)
    Yep it's listed in there. What he meant of course is that you shouldn't market Linux as "Windows Lite", it's a Windows replacement in a sense yes, but don't market it that it can run Windows programs too. Wine is pretty good and it's list of compatible apps is always growing, but there are tweaks needed for many things and there are a lot of things it can't run. Definitely don't market to n00blets that it will run their Windows apps, that would be very unwise, but you might mention that Wine for Linux can run SOME Windows applications.
  • Re:Bingo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bent Mind ( 853241 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:08PM (#19089273)
    Fast-forward 24 months and Linux sales will be good for institutional sales,

    Since some of the local schools have started using Linux, I've seen an increase in requests to install Linux on old Windows machines. Parents see it being used in the school and don't want their kids to fall behind.

    Finally, what concerns me most is we're now getting into a speeds-and-feeds business mentality where there will be good market research quantifying Linux-based OS penetration. This will simultaneously thin the distro herd, and give Microsoft's investors the information to force Microsoft to halt the spread of Linux-based OS distros that threaten their monopoly.

    I'm not sure how Linux-based OS penetration will lead to a thinning of the distro herd, or provide Microsoft the ability to halt the spread of Linux-based OS distros. If someone wants to fill a niche with their own distribution, Linux market penetration isn't going to stop them. As for Microsoft, Microsoft will compete with Linux, OSX, Solaris, and any other competing product. They already do. Competition is a good thing. Linux can stand on it's own.

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