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Linux to Get Windows Apps? 318

Alowishus writes "ZDNet reports that MainSoft, a Microsoft Partner and Windows source licensee is working on a Linux version of MainWin - a product that makes the Win32 API available on Linux, thus enabling cross-platform development. A demo version is supposed to be available in a few weeks."
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Linux to Get Windows Apps?

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  • Right on dude! And I was listening to the Clash way before they ever got popular! The same with Green Day!

    Why don't you use a product/like something because you actually like it, not what other people think.

    First time I have ever heard the cry of "Sellouts" on /.
  • The based on 30 year technology gave you away. In theory you are right in that having this technology for linux is good. It could bring more applications to linux. But at what cost? Remember, Microsoft is ultimately behind this. And even the most die-hard Microsoftie surely is aware that they're ultimately out for themselves, at the price of screwing over anyone/anything (I don't think of conspiracy theories, I just look at the facts). Yes, I realize they are a business and they want to make money. I just personaly agree with most of their methods.

    Now take for example a company (like mine) that is developing a product on NT. We are using COM/ATL, but we have kept a lot of it cross-platform because we want to be open to have a Unix version. So instead of using CORBA for the distributed object aspect of the product, we go with MainSofts product (I'm assuming your claim of COM/ATL is true, and I have no reason not to believe you). Then, some time down the road Microsoft decides to either put a stop to this or raise the licenses incredibly high (if you don't think this is a very real possibility, you have been living in a cave... just read through some replys). Where does that leave us or any other company... "Shit, I guess we're going to only support NT. We can't backtrack and redo everything for Unix." Bottom line, if Microsoft wasn't who Microsoft is, it be a different story. Something good to come out of this is that vendors that already have an NT product could "port" it over. But I would be leary if starting from scratch and cross platform is important to you.


  • I've been waiting for a usable version of wine for at least 3 years now. It's not any more usable for me now, than the first day I started waiting. How long should we be waiting? If it doesn't run the apps I need then it is useless for me.

    --Aaron Newsome
  • Do you ever actually read the articles you comment on, JDube? From what I know of you both here and IRL, I'd guess not.

    If you did, you'd realize that this project has little to nothing to do with specifically running Micros~1 products on your box. It's about running Win32 apps on linux. Now, if I cared to, I could come up with a long list of Windows programs that have nothing to do with MS.

    I don't know what's worse -- when MS tries to make themselves look pretty by spreading their usual lies, or when linux users spout anti-MS statements that are just as unfounded.

    "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?" -- Scarecrow, from the Wizard of Oz
  • Okay, fair enough - maybe he has seen MainWin in action. Well, Gnubie? Have you?

    Whether or not he's used the product is besides the point. The post was just a bunch of speculation as to whether or not certain features will be included in MainWin, as opposed to WINE. There was no basis for the argument or facts to back it up, just "WINE is open source, so WINE will be better". As far as I'm concerned that's not much of an argument. I like Open Source as much as the next /.'er. but it isn't the magic answer for every software product's ails. WINE has a long way to go before it'll be usuable in a general sense, and if MainWin is working alongside Microsoft on their product, then MainWin has an enormous head-start.

    That said, you are correct: MainWin is not an end-user application, whereas WINE is. They can be used to server to totally seperate groups. Although, yes, WINE can be used for both :)


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    MainWin is a horrid bloated beast. I hope I never have to face it again.
  • You will see few linux applications. borland will probably cancel their linux projects, and corel the same. Companies would not want to develop 2 apps for 2 operating systems if one will run on both. You can see this now, corel are using WINE, so the same source code will work under linux and windows.
    You have to just look at history.. look at OS/2, that could run win16 apps, and because of this, companies just released the native windows version because it ran on os/2 as well.
    Also, if customers run both linux and windows, and run the app on both operating systems, do you really think for one minute they are going to buy the linux and windows version? Nope, too expensive.
    Yes, it may bring more apps to linux, but linux doesn't really need this. You need patience. It looks good at first, but if you look further, linux will be another windows platform. First quarter of 2000 is going to be good for linux with alot of applications released for it. thinking the MainWin will be good for linux, yes in the shortterm, no in the long term... Linux will probably fade away like o/s2 has.
    Do you think windows apps will be more stable than native linux apps, and as fast - probably not. Only native applications will run and full speed and be as reliable (Ie, if it crashes, linux won't go down).
    As for Internet explorer for linux, by the sounds of it, many linux users like IE, and would use IE in preference to netscape. This could do harm to mozilla.. if there is a small amount of potential users, and people get fed up because its late (i'm not fed up, i'm looking forward to it), Mozilla will be seen as a faillier, when its got a small user base - also woulldn't look good for open source. By i'm getting a bit off topic here.
    Windows can only get stronger if people use this application, linux will get weaker. You can see it through history... if you look.
  • oops, it happens :(


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • > remember that WinAmp does a buttload more than x11amp

    Maybe I am wrong, but have you recently visited the XMMS home []?

    It's a long time since x11Amp switched to XMMS.

  • Then I weep for tomorrow.
  • I think, it is really time to become concerned about Linux future. Definitely, the long time development strategy is lacking. Remember, what happened, when Qt and GTK appeared? Tons of buggy and unneeded applications started to appear, because every kid, who has read one book on C++, decided to become "k3wl" and "code for Linux". With the appearance of Windows API it will get much worse. I think, that Linux should be split into two branches - one, supporting limited amount of extensively tested hardware, containing only stable native linux applications, manifestly open-sourced, server-oriented - a robust, free, extremely stable working tool. Another - supporting all modern and unstable hardware, all the "bells and whistles", non-open-source stuff and other BS - desktop-and-newbie-oriented. While all the commercial Linux distributions will tend to become the second type, someone should care about enforcing this separation. Otherwise Linux risks to lose a lot of people to other free operating systems.
  • I'm convinced that this was one of the nails in OS/2's coffin. Once OS/2 got good Windows support (pre-Win95), the incentive for developers to develop native OS/2 apps went through the floor. Why should they develop for OS/2? Develop for OS/2, it runs on OS/2, develop for Windows and it runs on Windows and OS/2. But without native apps, OS/2 became just a marginally better GUI. It lost all those stability and performance advantages that were its reason for existence in the first place.

    Fortunately, this should only effect developers who are developing for profit. Open source developers aren't likely to change because they don't care about profitability. They'll develop on the OS they like. This could certainly effect how proprietary developers work, though.

    BTW, Someone mentioned that "no one programs using the Win32 API directly these days". While this is certainly true, I must point out that Microsoft gives you the source to at least two important wrappers (MFC and ATL) with their development kit. MFC should run pretty much unchanged (Though why you'd want to I can't imagine). ATL would need COM, obviously, but I'd guess that that would be the next logical step.

    Personally, I'm not much interested in this WINE stuff because it goes against the whole reason I put together my Linux system. I am sick and tired of the damn Windows APIs and Windows bloat. I have to suffer through it eight hours a day. I've no interest to suffer through it at home one minute longer than I have to.
  • Read what I wrote again.

    I'm a Linux user calling BSD users elitist, and I want to be part of that elitism (and probably could be, too, and would enjoy it immensely).

    Linux could use some elitism to keep out the trolls, dolts, twits, marketroids, suits and just plain morons. (The ones who think they know stuff are the worst.) Seems like Linux is just too "hip" for that now, though. Hence my considering moving to BSD, where you can still get flamed for asking stupid questions or not RTFM...

    OTOH, I could just wait for Linux to get passe, like Southpark is now - after the huge wave of mainstreamism, I find it's really just the original fans who watch it, rather than those who watched it because it was "cool" and/or for the shock value. Can't wait to be rid of those little turds, when they piss off back into Windows. :)
  • Good comments regarding Window Managers, Environments, and how open source/free software trancends any particular OS.

    Is it possible that one day, we'll all be saying "Open-Source is essential" and actually wake up & realise it doesn't happen any more, given the rate at which non-free things are being ported?

    No. This is tantamount to saying that the marketroids and suits can fool the geeks, which we all know is completely impossible - they're too stupid and we're too smart.

    It can't happen because there are people like you and I and RMS and Bruce Perens and on and on, who actually care about the freedom of software "for the sake of it", as the suits would suppose. While these people exist, non-free software cannot win (at least not with these people), because you can't beat free software. That's the beauty of free software - you can't wake up in a world of non-free ports, because dedicated people will keep working on the free software, and once it's free there's (usually) no going back.

    The suits may fool as many Joe Averages as they like into using non-free software, but they can't fool free software believers into using the non-free software, and they cannot beat free software except by joining them, and making their software free. And if they do that, well, who's won then?
  • >maybe MS is planning a move to buy TrollTech.
    >End of game.

    Not really. TrollTech caved in a few months ago and GPLed KDE and the QT toolkit. If Troll gets bought out by M$, QT and KDE will still go on.
  • Since the user (at this moment) chooses to use internet explorer, that's the target platform for web developers.

    Most users don't choose to use Internet Explorer. Ask a user sometime what browser their using. If they know that (possible) ask them what version. They probably have no clue. Most users use what's given to them. In the case of Windows, that would be IE. We all use Netscape where I work because I set up the computers and that is what I put on them and that is what the users are trained to use. This is mostly because of all the security bugs that keep popping up in IE. That and yes, we don't like MS.

    If the average user had a choice, IE would probably not have such huge market share.
  • by Zigg ( 64962 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @04:07AM (#1603075)

    What makes or breaks an OS? A short trip down at least the recent history of failed computers and those that stick around for the long run should show you.

    It doesn't matter how wonderful your operating system is. It doesn't even really matter how stable, or how many features it has, or anything. No company, not even one as big as Microsoft, can create an OS and then create every application that will ever be needed for it. This requires inspiring a development community to develop for your OS. I submit that this is the reason that lesser-known, though probably superior, operating systems have failed and others have grown up -- by enticing or turning away developers.

    Microsoft has virtually overlooked one part of the development community for quite some time now; the public domain/freeware/open source part. Admittedly, open source for Microsoft platforms is still next to nonexistent; most software with an open source license is also ported to UN*Xish platforms; but until Linux started taking off, the PD/freeware crowd was still going strong on Windows.

    Now recently, many companies who previously sold software for Microsoft platforms almost exclusively have announced their intention to bring their applications to Linux. I firmly believe this is largely due to the precursor loss of the PD/free/open crowd. I know I've seen this pattern before. My best guess is that it follows the learning pattern of a programmer; whichever OS and development tools you can get your hands on without spending a fortune, you start to learn to develop for -- later in life, when you want to make money for developing, you still feel most comfortable on that platform.

    In any event, Microsoft now sees too late the pending loss of their developer base, and is taking the completely incorrect route to recapture it. MainSoft's product will probably address the high-end, large-scale, mucho dinero market quite well. However, it won't do anything for the PD/free/open community, and as such it won't be anything more than a temporary win. If Microsoft was really interested in recapturing developer share -- which they absolutely must do to survive, they need to relax their ever-tightening grip and open everything up.

    If I were running Microsoft, I would open up MainWin. Make it completely open source. I don't think it would be good for the developer community at all but it would definitely insure a win.

  • I'd sorta like it if i could -- gasp, heresy -- run the linux kernel as a Win32 app.

    yeah, I know, there's vmware, and yeah, I know, there's dual boot and all sorts of other things, but on many occasions I have to sit down at somebody else's machine running one of Microsoft's windowing operating systems, and I'd like to be able to unpack a little archive and run linux, and be able to assure the owner of the machine that all I did was put a bunch files in one directory and they can be deleted.

    Then, they'd love using the various things I'd install and there'd be another linux convert.

    BTW, all of those "other ways to do it" say to me: hey, most of this work is already done, just bring the pieces together. Anybody know of a reason why this might be too hard to do?

  • So how does this project differ from WINE?
  • With "kill", I mean that Wine will lose the functionality battle with MainSoft - no wonder, because MainSoft has the Windows source code and Wine doesn't. MainSoft basically has to recode Wine. Remember how Micros~1 recoded Netscape?
    You are right; proprietary Microsoft-Win32 libraries are a scary thing. But this is probably exactly what MainSoft is going to ship... and every distribution will be going to include it, just like they include Wine. Which brings us back to the question, how bad is it to support the Win32 API?
  • by Witchblade ( 9771 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @04:15AM (#1603080) Homepage

    Well, this is something I've been wanting to say for a long time, and unfortunately maybe a moot point now: Linux can be run on non-X86 hardware. Okay, I know most of you know this, but from many of the comments to various announcements seen here it's obvious that many don't. The press orgy surrounding Linux over the past year has certainly ignored this fact

    I've been running Linux on several PowerPC boxes for the last three years. My first impression of Linux was that I'd found the Holy Grail: I could run powerful applications at home on my PowerMac, on a friend's Dell, or a Sun workstation at school. GNU software and POSIX compliance made all of this possible.

    The first inkling that fragmentation was going to occur in this wonderful new community was when id released the Linux port of Quake. The Linux world went crazy- those that could run it, at least. Suddenly the rest of us were shut out. It wasn't free software, either- which meant there was no ability to hack it for the rest of us. When they released the Alpha-based Linux port it was an encouraging sign, but the future was all too clear.

    Now everyday there is a great new "Linux" product announced, most by comapnies that aren't even aware that an "Intel compatible processor" is definitely not a requirement for this wonderful opertaing system. If software based on Win32 APIs become the standard Linux applications, everything Linux was created for is over. The various productivity suites under development will be crushed by Office2000- authentic Microsoft bugs, security holes, and all.

    What can be done? I don't know. Until the last year or so we used to stick together as a community. Now software is developed strictly for one graphical desktop, or worse one particular packaged distribution. I'm not willing to concede there's the imminent fragmentation the traditional technology press is salivating waiting for, but we s the Linux community need to start looking out for each other again, and fighting to make sure this wonderful operating system remains free from being shackled to one particular company (software OR hardware.)

  • I agree, the OS is going to take more of a back seat, as there are more kinds of devices out there that require a specialized OS. In that context, a good OS should strive to be transparent, not feature-rich and apparent. It should be designed and optimized to interpret cross-platform standards, like *ML and Java, and the higher-level features should be done in those languages, rather than bloating the OS.
  • I actually had a MainSoft rep call me about this product of their's. I told here I wouldn't even consider using their product unless a Linux version was available. That was, until I asked a few more questions. The redistrubable libs are *huge* (10 meg or so). I didn't even get into performance. It sounds like they did implement it The Right Way(tm), but they only license the technology from Microsoft. AND, get this, the royalities you pay are a *per seat* royality. The more you sell, the more MS makes. Can't beat that, eh? (NOT!)

  • I actually had a MainSoft rep call me about this product of their's. I told her I wouldn't even consider using their product unless a Linux version was available. That was, until I asked a few more questions.

    The redistributable libs are *huge* (10 meg or so). I didn't even get into performance as the deciding factor was: they only license the technology from Microsoft. AND, get this, the royalities you pay are a *per seat* royality. The more you sell, the more MS makes. Can't beat that, eh? (NOT!)

  • I think the real killer for OS/2 was that nobody would write native apps for it since it ran Windows apps.
    I also believe that Linux is not about world domination, its about having an operating system that is/has exactly what you want. And as long as there are geeks out there who love to build their own kernels Linux can never die.
    However, if "world domination" is what you want out of an OS then you must crush Windows. To do that, create an environment that makes it much easier to write native apps and drivers for linux, and tools that make it very easy to port them to windows.
    It's the applications that drive the OS and it was the way Bill made it easy for other companies to make money that made his OS the market leader.
  • MainWin uses the Windows source, as far as I know, wine doesn't.
  • If you complain that Netscape is unstable, use Lynx.

    Um. Do you use the web on a regular basis? Do you even realize what the web is all about? If Lynx was all we need, then why would we EVER have invented the web? Lynx is a glitzy version of a gopher browser for http.
    The web is about multimedia. Without graphics and sound, we simply have glorified ftp and gopher.
    Lynx _IS_ occasionally useful, but is NOT suitable as a dedicated web browser. Anyone who uses Lynx as their only web browser is really missing out on the whole web experience.
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Monday October 18, 1999 @10:51PM (#1603091) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is likely willing to spend an awful lot of money on "market research". At this point, they are probably just trying to find out how viable a platform Linux is. The added bonus is, if they port Win32 now, they won't have to port it later if they find that they need to ship something under Linux. This is also a cheap way to test the FUD waters. After all a lot of people are thinking of porting apps to Linux. If MS announces that Win32 may support Linux "Real Soon Now", those plans may be de-railed by companies that don't want Linux porting to be a waste of their time...

    My question is this, though: what underlying toolkit will they use. Will it be based on raw Xlib (good for speed), Motif (a lose just about all the way around, at this point), GTk+ or Qt (good, full-featured toolkits with powerful features "free") or GNOME or KDE (even more features than their underlying toolkits, but even more bloat to put the world's most bloated toolkit on top of). I think that at this point even GNOME is not in a position to be a simple back-end to a Win32 port (i.e. there is not a 1-1 mapping from all Win32 features to GNOME, yet), so there's going to be a lot of glue code no matter what. I'd hate to see Win32 apps released for Linux, and be 10 times slower out of the gate.

    This will be fun to watch, but I doubt it will pan out as anything serious just yet.
  • isn't this what twin is doing? Have a look at all the wine-ish projects at [].
  • IE's fast & well-integrated with the OS.

    And that's a Good Thing???
    OS integration is bad, bad, bad

    Netscape's look hasn't changed since the dawn of a couple years ago.

    If it ain't broke.....

    Bitch & moan all you like, but it just shows how you'll use & love any piece of crap as long as its not Microsoft.

    Erm, that's not my reasoning at all. Netscape just handles standards better - No matter what the IE docs tell you. As a web developer in my previous job we had no end of hassles getting a new web site to work even remotely well in IE. The JavaScript, frames, MIMR type handling etc just didn't work! (BTW, I didn't design it :)

    You'll love this: I even use IE on my Macs...why? It looks cooler.

    Even if it does pervert all web standards known to man!!!

    God forbid someone express their own opinion that goes against the Party Line..

    As I've already said, Netscape is simply better than IE, regardless of what it looks like - this is completely independent of any Anti-MS feelings.

    If we want to be taken seriously out there in the world, ya gotta learn how to get along with other people.

    I couldn't agree more. This is a lesson that IE fanatics would do well to heed - just because a HTML-impaired page looks good on their browser doesn't make it a standard!!!

  • CrayDragu, you are an idiot and you repeated that quote twice. It's a joke, get over it.

  • by Forge ( 2456 ) <> on Monday October 18, 1999 @10:54PM (#1603096) Homepage Journal
    It's closed. It's endorsed by MS ( Indirectly ) and it will probably work properly since the easiest way to emulate a monster like Win32 is to look at the source.

    SoftPC for the mack was also built by an NT source code licensee.
  • Most people are not webdevelopers so they use a browser that works for them.

    But that's just the point - it doesn't work on some rudimentary web sites, but there are some that are deliberately engineered to handle its quirks.

    Non webdevelopers don't care about the mime output of cgi scripts. nor do they care about javascript.

    Yes they do when the site doesn't work because of the crappy implementation of those two facilities.

    "Why trust MS to implement standards properly .."
    Netscape hasn't done any better

    I think it has - I'm not saying Netscape 4 is perfect, but it's a damn sight better than IE.

    (excluding mozilla which will take another few months to appear). The 4.x version of their browser can hardly be called standards compliant. But standards are only relevant to web developers not to users. Users expect their favorite webpages to just work they don't care how they work.

    But that's just the point - their 'favourite' web pages won't work because of the half-assed way IE handles frames, JS etc......

    This is something MS used to their advantage when developing IE. While netscape was fooling around with the 4.x generation of their browser, IE created IE which from a users point of view is faster, more stable and prettier.

    Can anyone say 'Style over content'?
    What it looks like doesn't matter in the slightest. Whether it handles simple web standards is more important.

    And my pessimistic guess is that they will use the same thing again to outcompete mozilla. Nobody outside the webdevelopers community cares about standards.

    They do when things don't work!!! Without standards you'll just end up with a proprietary MS-web - sure MS users can view it, but with the proliferation of set-top-boxes et. al that don't use IE, MS will be forced to comply to the standards...

    MS is compliant enough for most users.

    I agree. But claiming it is superior is another matter altogether!

  • Bristol actually went ahead and sued Microsoft (and lost the case badly)


    Bristol won [] the unfair trade practices case, but MS successfully convinced the jury that Bristol had stopped functioning as a company partially with the intent of making it look like Microsoft crushed them and needed to be punished (by making Bristol exceutives rich). MS argued this behaviour shouldn't be rewarded with a huge judgement, and the jury agreed awarding Bristol exactly $1. Also, the jury found MS had not violated antitrust laws, so the award was not tripled.
  • Okay, to summarize: OS, irrelevant; programs, reason for having a computer; anything that blurs the distinction between one OS and the next (or makes the OS distinction a distant second to program usability), good news indeed.
    Allow me to offer a different angle on the subject. The ultimate goal of Linux is to be irrelevant.

    Now, this is possibly a misleading statement. The Linux as an OS is not irrelevant to enthusiasts and developers working on Linux. Certainly, there is always development to be done - new hardware to support, new concepts in computing to implement. In this light, Linux is the focus.

    However, to those who are "computers as a tool" folks and are more interested in the applications they need to run, the Linux OS isn't specifically important. They want the OS to be pretty much secondary to their being able to use specific tools.

    Linux provides this kind of environment.

    Linux is able to be "irrelevant" in two ways - via its development model and its ability to be customized.

    Lets look at the Linux development model first. Features make it into Linux distributions based on the merits of that feature. Features that meet a great demand, and have technical merit, often get the most support. Features that don't meet either requirement tend to be abandoned. The Linux environment is developed based on workable technologies and applications; there is rarely any other consideration.

    In contrast, commercial developers are often pressured to maintain an OS' market. Often this takes the form of marketing agreements and requirements to support specific technologies. This leads to technical decisions becoming dependent on marketing requirements. Eventually, the applications you need are developed based on the requirements of an OS. The OS becomes the focus.

    The next issue is that of customization. Different people work in different ways. Being able to make an environment behave in a way that makes you productive is important. Customization allows you to generate that environment even if your requirements are different than your coworkers.

    One of the most visible aspects of one's computing environment is the graphical user interface. Within Windows, you are expected to use the default GUI. Applications are designed with these conventions in mind. They also occasionally make use of hidden hooks within the default GUI. Meanwhile, Linux uses the X Windowing System. X allows users to use whatever window manager they wish, thus having the ability to completely customize the "look and feel" of their environment. Furthermore, applications are designed to work independently of the GUI environment.

    There are exceptions to the points in the above paragraph. For example, there are 3rd party alternatives to Window's explorer shell. However, those alternatives aren't 100% compatible. And in the Linux environment, some applications are dependent on desktop environments such as KDE or Gnome (which in turn are compatible with numerous window managers). However, that being said, I think you will find the philosophy of Linux lending to customization much easier than Windows (or many other commercial, proprietary environments).

    In the end, you have to use what works the best for the task at hand. Linux is not always the answer. That's why dual-boot environments are fairly common.

    However, if you are interested in an environment that is designed with the user in mind and is able to be configured according to your requirements, you owe it to yourself to look into Linux or another Open Source OS (such as the *BSD flavors). Support projects that provide the functionality you need to these OS'. Demand that functionality from your vendors.

    Sure. The OS should be irrelevant to functionality. But that doesn't mean the OS is not important.

  • IE5.

    Seeing as MainSoft are the guys who 'ported' IE5 to Solaris with their win->unix tools.
  • . . . yeah, and the electricity your computer uses dates back to Franklin's little experiment with a kite. . .

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • A browser shouldn't give you any leeway in html code. It should followed standards to a t. Sure IE currently supports more standards, but what good is it if it doesn't care if you don't have a closing tag or if XML namespaces is handled totally wrong.

    As from personally experiences IE 5 is slower and crashes on my computer more than NS.
  • heh - my company had a DCOM-based program, and when we decided to port to Unix, did we look for a DCOM solution for Unix? Hell no. We yanked DCOM and reinvented a proprietary subset for our own use. Portable, far more stable, and much, much faster. No more coding around MS bugs, no more code-and-see to make sure it behaves as documented, no more service packs breaking things in our code.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Linux was also developed besides the fact that there was 'closed source' operating systems avaiable.

    Think about it.
  • No dude, you have not used it lately. What are you trying to get work? MS Office - yes it works, even 2000 And with Corel donating developers to the WINE project, things have been moving along faster than before Wine has its bugs, but development is constant, and things are moving forward very progressively best of luck to the wine crew
  • This makes a lot of sense. OS/2's big claim was that it ran Windows Applications "better than Windows". But, I think, people then think "why not just get Windows if running windows app's is what we want". With Window's source running rampant I am suprised that someone hasn't put it out on the net where everyone can grab it. assuring you that your code will run on UNIX exactly as it does on NT. Yeah, crashes alot and runs slow
  • Many of us have seen what MainWin does, dude.

    Microsoft used MainWin to make Internet Explorer (4 and 5) for UNIX. (i.e. Solaris and HP/UX)

    It's huge, it's bloated, it often doesn't run. I've only tried it on Solaris, but it only works on certain versions of Solaris, requiring some patches. I'm not impressed with any porting library that needs kernel patches to run.

    Compare this with running Internet Explorer 3 for Windows 3.1 under Wine: fast, light, doesn't die immediately, views slashdot over ssh (with some problems -- inverts truecolor images? (recent Wine bug)).

    Now, let's compare the products. MainWin is very expensive, professional, proprietary porting software. WINE is completely free, anarchic, completely alpha-level software. So why does it run Internet Explorer better?

    I think MainSoft needs to fund Wine development. Since it's completely free, they can steal it and call it 'MainSoft'. I don't care that much, as long as Wine gets better and MainSoft doesn't get any worse. Besides, it'd be cool to see Wine running on non-x86 architectures, too. ;)
  • by Tom Christiansen ( 54829 ) <> on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @04:48AM (#1603120) Homepage
    We don't need this. We need real Linux apps.
    I agree that we need more native Unix programs across a variety of domains. Furthermore, I hold that many of what we think we have now are not Unix programs. They're actually "Winix apps", which is quite different from a "Unix program".

    A "Winix app" is a program that happens to run under Unix but doesn't fee like it. All the social cues are wrong. It's like a hard-core Apple Mac user being given an MS-DOS program that has been ported to his system, where "ported" means no more than making the code run. It's still not going to work for him. And he'll hate it.

    What are the the Unix cultural cues that are missing from Winix "apps", or Windows cues that are present in Winix "apps" but missing from Unix programs? It's a lot of little things. Here are just a few:

    • Trying to be all things, not one thing, and thereby ending up being huge and bloated, not small and functional.
    • Not being usable as a tool called from other programs, nor being able to call other tools using this programs.
    • Requiring a bitmapped display with bus-speed updates for proper operation, making them useless over a modem connection or on a vt100-style terminal.
    • Can't be run in a batch script or cron job, because it can't be automated.
    • Not having keyboard support, or good keyboard support, for basic operations.
    • Relying upon the mouse for too much when the keyboard would be more efficient.
    • Not having regular expressions for searching. You're lucky if you get a case-sensitive string comparison.
    • Not having any manpages even though these are basic commands, and all commands must have manpages for searching and indexing and printing.
    • Being forced to learn yet another set of unsearchable, unmemorizable, unsortable hieroglyphics (iconic ideograms) rather than alphabetic commands.
    • The ubiquitous "toolbar" at the top of every program.
    • Lack of config files in simple text formats for easy parsing and generation by other tools.
    • Inability to configure out the eye-cruft, or to avoid the seven levels of mouse clicks needed to get to a particular selection. There's no ease of long-term use, only short-term use.
    • Complete ignorance of the user's preferences from stty settings for interrupting, line editing, etc.
    • General disdain for shell globbing conventions, especially tilde expansion.

    If you run Word Perfect under Linux, it's still not a Unix program. It's a Winix "app". It doesn't feel like Unix. xv is a Unix program, but ee is a Winix "app". KDE and CDE mostly comprise Winix "apps", not Unix programs. Netscape is a Winix "app", not a Unix program.

    Linux users in particular seem to be happy with Winux "apps". Even more frighteningly, they seem happy to crank them out from scratch. I'm not completely certain I understand that phenomenon. Perhaps this is because they never really got into Unix programs in the first place. These things certainly aren't Unix friendly.

    I don't see the mindless porting of Windows "apps" to Unix systems as being particularly useful to Unix people. The resulting "Winix apps" will never be proper programs and tools. They weren't designed that way. They may well appeal to the mindless masses who've been trained to accept a completely distinct set of cultural computing cues, and this strategy might get more non-technical users to employ the platform, but it does nothing to make happy those of us who are already comfortable with Unix. In fact, it often has quite the opposite effect.

    This isn't Unix as Literature [] anymore. We're in the the post-literate age of populist pablum instead. But hey, that's both the price and prize of popularity. You're supposed to enjoy it. Well, unless you're one of those Unix types, that is.

  • I think that people are missing something fundamental here. Porting Win32 apps to Linux would not make Linux applications extinct. In fact, the groundswell of support for native Linux apps that we're seeing here indicates that. The Open Source movement can't be crushed so long as there are coders out there who are willing to distribute their source. So what happens when Office 2000 is available for Linux? Well, it still costs a bundle. One of the biggest reasons for the Open Source movement was to counter the overpricing of software by the big software companies, such as MS. So Office2K is now available on Linux. Now what? Well, it still costs more than most people can afford to pay out of pocket. So, then what? Well, hopefully, a gleefully stubborn but talented coder out there gets to work, and codes his/her own office productivity software, and distributes it for free. So maybe its not as pretty as Office 2000 for a little while, but people like me will use it, because it's either free or cheap.

    Mickeysoft isn't going to put Open Source in its grave. We Linux enthusiasts out there are too bullheaded to let that happen. They might make it difficult, but it's tough to stop a revolution, even if you are Mickeysoft. People will still code, and still distribute their source, and with luck, someday Open Source, Linux-native apps will have to be ported to Win32 platforms, too. Don't look at this as a defeat, but exploit it as an opportunity to infiltrate.

    Okay, so I'll finish the flag waving here, but let's face it: This isn't the end of the world, and if it's used correctly, it could mean that we take over Redmond. Hey, its possible. And wouldn't you just LOVE to see a Penguin flag flying outside the Mickeysoft HQ?
  • What you just said was a decent argument in favor of WINE. Seriously, if I had no opinion either way and I read it, I would've been pushed away from MainWin. The original poster, however, just said "I think WINE is better. I don't think MainWin will work as well. WINE is themeable.", so you can understand why I didn't jump through hoops to download the newest version of WINE.

    I'd love to see a direct app-to-app comparison of MainWin and WINE, both using linux-compiled binaries. That would be really interesting. You may be right, of course, MainWin might really suck cheese. Or, the MainWin team might introduce a much better product to the Linux world, and we might be pleasantly suprised. I guess we'll see.

    And on that note: Does this give anyone else an inkling that we might be seeing an MSIE port to Linux soon?


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Sorry, folks. I badly want Wine to work. It doesn't. It isn't even close to working. Yes, I know that 90% or so of the API has been implemented, sort of, but the remainder will take years at the current pace.

    MainWin, on the other hand, works. It has problems, but lots of companies are shipping software that runs on top of MainWin.

  • "Yes they do when the site doesn't work because of the crappy implementation of those two facilities"

    But that doesn't happen. No sensible webdeveloper would produce a site that doesn't work on the browser with the largest market share. If those two features are a problem the solution is simple: don't use 'em.

    "I think it has - I'm not saying Netscape 4 is perfect, but it's a damn sight better than IE"

    They are both far from perfect.

    "What it looks like doesn't matter in the slightest. Whether it handles simple web standards is more important."

    Bullshit, as I pointed out, looks are all that matter. The average user is quite clueless about so called standards (I think the word standard is a bit premature when it comes to HTML 4.0 since no browser has fully implemented it yet). Since the user (at this moment) chooses to use internet explorer, that's the target platform for web developers. So in reality most sites work on ie. The few that don't are usually not so relevant. It's been a long time since I encountered "this site only works with netscape 4.x" or even "this site is best viewed with netscape 4.x".

    "They do when things don't work!!! Without standards you'll just end up with a proprietary MS-web - sure MS users can view it, but with the proliferation of set-top-boxes et. al that don't use IE, MS will be forced to comply to the standards..."

    Set top boxes at this point use far less advanced browsers than netscape or IE. Generally HTML 4.0 and XML are not supported on them. So I don't see how this makes a difference.

    I'm not saying I like this situation but I'm realistic enough to recognise things as they are. I truly hope mozilla will make a difference.

  • by Jerky McNaughty ( 1391 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @05:19AM (#1603141)
    We used it to port a relatively large (~300,000 lines of source) Windows app to four flavors of UNIX. MainWin is quirky at best, but did allow us to ship said product on those platforms and customers seemed happy. I personally found the apps to be considerably more memory hungry and far slower than a native X11 app, but that's to be expected.

    At the time, the licensing fees were somewhat high (approx $4,000-$5,000/year for one platform, additional platforms were cheaper).

    I was always surprised that they didn't have Linux support, but that seems to be changing. All in all, it's still far better to be a Good Programmer (tm) and separate your GUI from your core code and allow yourself to "change with the times" and rewrite only the GUI portion when porting to new platforms. Toolkits like this are usually for programs which are inherently tied to the Windows platform either because of poor programming ability or lack of foresight about where the system would end up.
  • Remember Bristol? They used to make (and I think they still do) a MFC compatibility library for UNIX. They ported IE3 to UNIX, and it was a disaster, so MS yanked their licence. Bristol took MS to court and won, so I think they have their license back. Anyway, MS turned around and licenced MainSoft with their technology, and Mainsoft is now making the MFC compatibility library.
  • Before we all go off M$ bashing, have any of you ever seen MainSoft's product? It's been around for a while, you know.

    What MainWin does is make windows-developed applications work under UNIX OSes. They are not just runnable, they run exactly like they do under windows. This is a good thing for linux, because it means that companies (like mine, for instance) which must spend serious amounts of money to develop applications under WinNT or Win95/98 don't have to spend equal amounts of money to port those applications (along with all the specialized GUI features, like drag-n-drop, scripting host, etc.) to the various UNIX flavors. This means more applications that would normally never see the light of day on UNIX have the opportunity to grow into a real market there.

    For my company in particular, this is a life-saving product. We simply do not have the extra resources to develop all that stuff on another OS.

    However, that being said, I do feel that in some ways microsoft is trying to preserve its market by getting developers to choose M$ as a "common" platform. IMHO this won't work. We only use mainwin because we want to port a product previously targeted for the winnt market to the UNIX market. If we knew there would be this kind of demand on UNIX 3 years ago, we would have developed the product differently.
  • As an athiest I find it very amusing to be suggesting that you check out a passage in the Bible, of all places. However, the Christians have a very apropos parable which should explain to you the fundamental flaw in your reasoning.

    When using an operating system as poorly designed, buggy, unreliable, and proprietary (with all that implies: constantly moving technical targets for strategic business reasons, adding to the instability of the product and breaking dependent code -- i.e. programs, etc.) as, say, Microsoft Windows, you are essentially building your house upon a foundation of sand. It may be a very pretty house, with snazzy features that would make any home owner green with envy. But alas, after the first big tide, it will be little more than driftwood.

    It doesn't matter how well written your CAD program is, if the operating system it is running on is so unreliable and crash-prone that you are frequently losing hours of work. Add to that the time and money forced upgrades your vendor requires you to make in order to "remain supported", and you have an ideal scenerio for flushing a great quantity of cash and time which would have otherwise been productive down the toilet, directly into your vendors pockets. It may not even be the CAD manufacturer's fault, since they are more than likely chasing a target which Microsoft is moving every few months.

    Add the complexity of wanting to use two or three independent apps, which depend on the same, moving platform (but aren't necessarilly being released on the same timetable), and you have a situation wherein at any given time one or more of the apps are incompatable with the very version of the OS the other apps require!

    The OS is the very foundation of your system. Ignore it at your own peril.
  • "sure MS users can view it, but with the proliferation of set-top-boxes et. al that don't use IE, MS will be forced to comply to the standards..."
    Certainly not. In the situation of a proprietary MS web, only the set top boxes produced by MS proliferate, and in some cases the most common authoring software might well be tweaked to produce code that intentionally fails to work on whatever set-top boxes aren't made by MS, unless the vendors license proprietary IE code at extortionate prices from MS.
    I'm surprised you missed that, it's the most obvious thing in the world. We are already about 80% of the way towards that proprietary MS web, it's just that what with the DoJ case and Netscape only recently having died and AOL not being dead enough yet, MS doesn't choose to start turning the screws just yet. The time to start changing everything to really punish anything non-MS and render it useless is about a year and a half from now assuming their plans continue effectively. Until that time it is not in their best interest to put on the pressure. It's like hunting and chasing something- they have to let the rest of the computer industry run until it is tired before they catch up to it and snap its collective neck. Closing with it too early is overly chancy, and not the behavior of a smart predator, and MS may be a dreadfully sloppy software developer but they are a very smart predator and always have been, in the sense that Sweeney Todd may have been a terrible barber but was a very effective murderer.
  • What part of Ie sucks?

    What part of IE dosn't suck? ActiveX is nothing but a huge security hole as is their independant and non-standard "implementation" of Java. I've never seen a DHTML page and I've never installed Shockwave and I don't think that I'm missing a damn thing. I have to use IE at work because the PHBs have standardized on it. But, half the time it won't pull pages through the proxy server correctly. It writes outside of it's own frigging window on this NT box -- software shouldn't even be able to do that. I would never use it on my Windows PC at home.

    I certainly don't use it on my Linux boxes. (note the singular in the previous paragraph and the plural here.) Not even in VMWare.
  • by Adrian Harvey ( 6578 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @10:56PM (#1603183)
    It is interesting that they don't mention WINE [] as competition. Normally ZDNet not mentioning the Open Source product wouldn't surprise me, but this *is* a Linux article.

    Wine (by my guesstimation) is looking at a similar time period to be stable enough to port sellable applications with. Corel must think so too, or Corel Office on Linux would be too far off to be worth doing this way (IMHO, of course))

    To head off wasted posts quickly, please remember that WINE is *BOTH* a Win32 API implementation, AND a Windows emulator (The latter being a binary loader and interface to the former, of course)
  • Remember Bristol? They used to make (and I think they still do) a MFC compatibility library for UNIX. They ported IE3 to UNIX, and it was a disaster, so MS yanked their licence. Bristol took MS to court and won, so I think they have their license back. Anyway, MS turned around and licenced MainSoft with their technology, and Mainsoft is now making the MFC compatibility library.

    Except that this is completely untrue. I did a little research (anyone remember search engines?) and found out that:

    1. Bristol sued MS because MS wanted to renegotiate the contract. Bristol charged them with anti-trust, saying that MS didn't want people to port software to UNIX, now that NT had significant server market penetration
    2. Bristol LOST. See this page [] for MS' spin on the loss. Bristol's site is strangely silent on the outcome of the case. No press release, and only one link to a story in a newspaper about it (and I can't get the link to load).


  • I'm disappointed that ZDNet didn't mention WINE in their article. You'd think they'd make an effort to make a more complete report- they mentioned Bristol, which sounds like a slightly different project.

    This almost reminds me of something I saw this summer... I worked a comapny which routinely uses SAMBA when deploying mixed UNIX/Windows networks for clients. We recieved plenty of advertising for a product that did exactly what SAMBA did- for a price, of course. One of the quotes in the brochure was supposedly from a CEO who said something along the lines of "Our projects are too valuable to trust to free software..."

    We all shared a good laugh over that one. Who has experience with this? Is it a way better product than WINE? Or can we laugh at this, also?

  • Of course, it would be nice if WinAmp would become free (speech) software too...

    You know, that kid made like $25 million off that piece of software when he sold it to AOL. Remember that next time you think about freeing some code, kids!
  • by Knightmare ( 12112 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:02PM (#1603204) Homepage
    I have wanted to be able to use Internet Explorer for Linux for a long time. I don't like many Microsoft products but IE is one thing microsoft did right.... It crashes less on me than any other browser I have used. So until Mozilla gets to a stable point, I may start using IE!
    On the other hand I think we need to keep an eye on this type of stuff. If alot of windows programs start flowing into *nix it could cause interest in open source to taper off. Alot of people get into developing open source products because they want to do something in their OS of choice and find out that there arn't any programs out there that do what they want... If there are alot more closed source programs out there coming over from windows, not only will there be less "why doesn't my OS have one of those" projects and more people learning the windows api and going closed source because its common with that api.
    I know some people are going to flame me for suggesting using Microsoft products but grow up. If a company has a good product I am going to use it. If you have a valid counter or something to add to my statements please add them but if all you are interested in letting people know is how much you hate Microsoft, please don't waste everybodys time
  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <> on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:04PM (#1603215)
    Microsoft is likely willing to spend an awful lot of money on "market research". At this point, they are probably just trying to find out how viable a platform Linux is.

    Microsoft may or may not be spending money on this; MainWin is a product of Mainsoft, not Microsoft, so all Microsoft may have done is said "we won't yank your license for the Windows source in MainWin if you do a Linux port", they haven't necesarily contributed money or other resources to this.

    (It is interesting to note that they don't already have an x86 UNIX in the list of platforms on which MainWin is available [], so, if they port it, Linux may be the first UNIX-that-runs-on-a-PC on which MainWin is available.)

    My question is this, though: what underlying toolkit will they use. Will it be based on raw Xlib (good for speed)

    Probably. I don't have IE-for-Solaris (the port of which was done with MainWin) handy, but I don't remember it being dynamically linked with any toolkit libraries (although I also don't remember whether it was dynamically linked with Xlib, so that doesn't by itself prove anything). The UI of IE-for-Solaris is somewhat Motifish, but looks different enough that it's unlikely to be Motif. I suspect it's neither GTK+ nor Qt, either - I seem to remember the bevels on the scrollbars being narrower than those of Motif, GTK+, or Qt.

    They're extremely unlikely, I suspect, to use KDE or GNOME - not all Linux systems necessarily have those, and they don't require either of them for IE/Solaris, so MainWin doesn't require them.

  • From MainWin:

    These Windows Services on UNIX incorporate several
    million lines of Windows source code, assuring you that your code will run on UNIX exactly as it does on NT.

    MainWin's implementation of Win32 on UNIX is a thin, efficient layer that sits directly on top of UNIX operating system low-level
    services. MainWin's Win32 for UNIX supports the full range of Win32 API calls on the UNIX operating system.

    Er... does anyone else see a contradiction here? I want to hear from someone who's got their hands on this beast. Does it use a toolkit? Does it even use X? Is it as much of a pig as it sounds?

  • by Lucius Lucanius ( 61758 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:06PM (#1603218)

    The whole point is to make NT apps run under *nix. Since the old school unix platforms are being drowned by the linux wave, MS is latching on to linux as an interoperability platform to stamp out. It's a clever tactic - basically, their goal in buying mainsoft was to position and elbow in NT. This is part of the elbowing process.

    Nobody can accuse MS of being stupid. Their whole game plan in this area is to make NT indispensable.

    This reminds me of an Andy Grove statement about how MS has its structure set up to act like antibodies reacting - they use email and feedback mechanisms to react rapidly and carry out their defense. It's very effective. Sure, people accuse them of being clueless, but they're the ones laughing. It's clever, and it works far more effectively than any other large software company.

    BTW - Mary Jo Foley has been on a pro-linux anti-MS spree for months now. A lot of her articles are quite insightful too, though I suspect she's lost some of her MS insiders at this point. And she does read /. a few times a day.

  • I can't tell you how interesting and inspiring it is to see the above post.
    I'm an extremist, myself- on Linux I gravitate towards the approach Tom prefers, with digressions for things like trying out piles of GNOME apps to see what that's like (tried KDE, didn't like the 'winix' feel of the apps). However, when my Dr. Jekyll side takes over, Winix or for that matter Windows itself is pathetically inadequate, and I boot into MacOS day in and day out, running a set of habitual stable programs and not being bothered with inconsistencies on the scale of a Windows or Winix. So in some senses I would have to consider myself so much of a GUI purist that, again, Windows is pathetically inadequate, and Winix only gets by because it's too primitive to offer the full morass of Windows-like GUI crud!
    Most of your basic GUI functionality was present in MacOS before even System Six- there have been some very important refinements, particularly in defining semantics for drag and drop of various different datatypes between apps and in window zooming logic (which wasn't really perfected until System 7 and 8), but on the whole the essence of GUI is in offering a _simple_ and physically direct interface. Mere pictures are not enough- the ridiculous toolbarness of Windows and Winix is every bit as arcane as the most strangely-named Unix commands, only with pictures. It takes a lot of selfdiscipline to keep a GUI approachable and learnable- something that Windows disdains to do, and something that Winix/X in general never considered doing (for example, consider the classic X text handling mousebutton boondoggle! It entirely replaces direct manipulation with an emphasis on weird specialised controls, presumably so the mousehandling code will be simpler).
    What is the alternative? It is what Tom is talking about. It's not elitist- but it is very different. Consider a user interface where operations are no longer behaviors of 'app' objects lying around like Swiss Army Knives- instead they are like words that must be formed into sentences, new sentences for every need, an 'interface' that must be learned but is then used unthinkingly for years.
    I had to zap several lines of many HTML files the other day. My boss, with great effort and inconvenience, managed to fix the lines in one file and upload it by FTP to the website, using Windows tools. This involved a great deal of GUI manipulation. Using Winix tools would have required a comparable amount of clicking and manipulating (assuming a remote client), as it was inherent in the approach. I tired of watching him and said, 'Give me a terminal', and took over, doing all the rest of the files in vi on the webhosting machine itself, remotely via terminal, with the following commands: vi *foo.html, (arrowkeys), dd, dd, dd, dd, dd, ZZ. Lather, rinse, repeat- I could have been faster if I wanted to rush. Yet I'd had to learn, earlier, that vi had 'modes', what 'dd' and 'ZZ' meant, and how to run vi on a text file.
    If I was still more literate, the nature of the exact problem that faced me was a natural for a recursive line-deleting script, in that the deleted lines were always identical. If I spoke Unix even more fluently, the image is of me looking at one of the files, copying some text or making note of the lines to be deleted, and then effortlessly writing about two lines of bafflingly cryptic line noise script (if that!), hitting return, and just walking away. Done. Done all the same even if it was thousands of files to correct, because I had the power to identify common factors among the work to be done, and Unix had the power to let me address only the exact tasks that had to be performed, and to build a 'sentence' that was the Unix translation of "See those lines? Go through all the files and delete them when you see them."
    I didn't have quite that power. I vied with all the files individually, hampered by the terminal's inability to do tab filename completion (sorely missed), and still each task took easy seconds, not in spite of the lack of a GUI, but because there were no actions to perform that did not directly relate to what I was doing, and because the few vi commands I had committed to memory (just by use, nothing more) happened to perfectly suit the tasks I had to perform.
    If Linux becomes completely synonymous with KDE and Gnome, it will be cheating itself of some incredible potentialities- yet it cannot ever completely lose this. Anyone can fire up six different kinds of term (even if many people's goal is to never have to use one!) and all of this is latent, waiting to be used.
    More relevantly, the mere existence of KDE and Gnome does not mean that nobody is thinking about how to best maximize the classic potential of Unix, but combine it with the eye candy of modern window managers. I know I have a whiteboard right now filled with brainstorming on how to combine an eyecandy window manager with a powerful emphasis on term windows and methods of manipulating them and handling them. I'm talking not a GUI in which you can run terms, but a windowing environment centrally focussed on certain possibilities inherent in the concept of fixed-character-dimensions terms and use of a mouse to manage window positioning and launch icon-resident processes (and I'm thinking one button mouse with rightclicking being the extra value, rather than two-button or three-button as compulsory to be able to do anything).
    It's not ready yet. I'm still working on it and in fact I need some window manager behaviors that I'll have to learn to program, because nothing, not even E, does quite what I'm thinking of. But it's coming, because regardless of current fashion there IS another way of doing things, and the way to make it approachable is not to put buttons on everything, but to think out and design the concepts so that they make sense when used as language.
    Once people start using language-style interfaces, they never let go...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    i dont see how so many people (of the posts ive read so far) can be complaining about WINE or anything like this.

    i mean, this is exactly what LINUX needs.
    either that or some stable applications!
    look at netscape, oh wait it crashed.
    most people (except the over the top linux advocates) would prefer to use a stable web browser - so IE5 is obviously the way right now.
    what other applications?? hmm lets see...
    sure gimp is a nice tool, but wouldn't it be a lot cooler to use photoshop?
    email clients, ummm... netscape's email client is about the friendliest thing i've seen for an x-client and has the expected features, but outlook express or eudora is a hell of a lot better.

    having a working win32api emulator is what linux needs if it is to get anywhere with people like myself.
    i've used linux for a few years on and off, sure it was fun to mess around with the console and play with x for a while - but now after all that time wasted crapping around i think i'd still prefer a nice, easy to use application which is a standard.
    give me IE5 and outlook or eudora for x and linux would have me for good - rather than it being a "hobby" to me and the many others who constantly swap between Windows and Linux.

    look forward to the flames.
    and yes i probably am ignorant, but its people like me who will make or break linux in the desktop marketplace.

  • by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:19PM (#1603233)
    We won't see shareware/freeware ported, since the cost of this package will almost definitely be quite prohibitive...shareware from big names like Id Software ... err.. well, Id's already doing native Unix stuff... okay, shareware like WinZip and the like might get ported... and I'm sure someone at WinAmp would take a swat at it... but by and large, such a thing will almost definitely be priced out of the range of shareware/freeware coders...

    Also, bear in mind that the Linux scene has "advanced" only in the opinions of some. For those of us whose primary concerns are quality, tight code and the free software ethic, the Linux scene has horribly DEVOLVED, not evolved. For those who are focusing on increased availability of productivity/multimedia/game/etc. apps and device drivers, yes, these are definitely the best of times. It all depends on where your priorities lie...
  • basically, their goal in buying mainsoft

    Mainsoft, or Softway? Microsoft did buy Softway, whose Interix product is sort of an inverse MainWin (it's a subsystem+libraries for NT that lets you recompile source code written for applications for UNIX-compatible OSes and run them on NT), but I have seen no announcement that they bought Mainsoft.

    Microsoft probably views Interix as a way to get a site to move to NT if they have a pile of (in-house) UNIX apps, as the press release on their purchase [] suggests:

    "Our acquisition of Softway's assets is a demonstration of our commitment to provide interoperability for applications and other solutions between UNIX and Windows," said Keith White, Director of Marketing, Business and Enterprise Division at Microsoft. "While we recommend that customers migrate their software solutions to native 32-bit Windows, today's announcement allows certain customers to move rapidly to a Windows NT-based solution during that transition process."

    and they probably view WISE [] (Windows Interface Source Environment) products such as MainWin as a way of encouraging people to write Win32 applications rather than UNIX (or MacOS) applications.

  • by CocaCola ( 30016 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:28PM (#1603240)
    Typical bait and switch Microsoft tactics. A sane business simply should not rely on a cross-platform solution that is fundamentally dependent on one of the target platforms! (Microsoft NT source code in this case) Microsoft did this with Bristol as well: gave them NT source code access, Bristol developed a WIN32 API implementation for Unix and this indirectly baited Unix companies like AutoDesk to port their app to NT and still keep it running on Unix as well. A year or two later Microsoft suddenly increased the licensing cost of the NT source code five-fold. Five-fold *per client license* price increase. What did this mean? NT-only versions of the software remained cheap, the Unix port suddenly got very expensive. Bristol actually went ahead and sued Microsoft (and lost the case badly), and AutoDesk was stranded in the NT space. Btw., the market share of AutoDesk's AutoCAD has dropped significantly since then, so this should be a warning to other businesses.
    Now how is MainSoft different? Sure it will work for a year or two, until President Bush orders his antitrust chief to settle with Microsoft (under ridiculous conditions). Microsoft will be the true 1100-pound gorilla again it used to be, and MainSoft will be yet another Bristol. Keep in mind that Microsoft can increase the price of the NT source code license unilaterally at any time, to almost any value. It's theirs after all, so if you depend on it thats your problem.
    What should we Linuxers do? Just ignore them and write cool Linux-API (Unix) apps, Micro/MainSoft are losers ;) Maybe ask MainSoft wether Microsoft guarantees (contractually) that MainSoft will get easy, fair-price, volume-independent and early access to NT source code (and source code in development) in the future.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    MainSoft has a source agreement with Microsoft and they port the WIN32 API to native calls on the UNIX platform. All the display routines use Xlib directly.

    There are several advantages to this strategy which I think makes it hard for Wine to compete with this.

    1) True bug for bug compatibility with Microsoft's version of Win32. Don't laugh! This is important to Windows developers because they can work around (and sometimes even exploit) the well known quirks in Win32. Also, far less testing effort will be required on the UNIX side which is important as MainWin is primarily used to deploy Win32 applications on secondary platforms.

    2) Developers can use all the high level MS APIs like COM, DCOM, MFC, ATL, ActiveX (and probably a few others I've missed...) Let's face it, no one develops using the Win32 API these days so a Win32 emulation layer without all the accompanying APIs is irrelevant for porting contemporary Win32 programs.

    I think this could be a good thing for Linux as it will open up a whole bunch of new applications which could help it become more mainstream.

    Personally, I don't think Microsoft is that dogmatic when it comes to operating systems. Of course, they would like to dominate everything on the desktop but in the past they have sold applications on other platforms like the Mac when it made good business sense.

    Perhaps, they are starting to see Linux as a similar business opportunity and don't want to sit by and see other companies provide Linux replacements for their market dominating Win32 applications.

  • Apps?

    "They", in the sense of "Mainsoft", sell Visual SourceSafe for UNIX, which is Microsoft's source code control system rehosted to UNIX using Mainsoft's MainWin product - MainWin isn't an app, it's libraries and the like to let you build Win32 apps to run on the UNIX-compatible OSes on which MainWin is offered.

    Internet Explorer was ported to various UNIX-compatible OSes using it, as were a variety of apps - none of them looking like they'd be the Top Ten Shrink-Wrapped Windows Applications at your local computer store (they're more specialized) - as seen by checking out Mainsoft's press releases []. Those applications don't all come from Mainsoft and don't all come from Microsoft; they come from a variety of vendors.

  • by ninjaz ( 1202 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:35PM (#1603247)
    It is interesting that they don't mention WINE as competition. Normally ZDNet not mentioning the Open Source product wouldn't surprise me, but this *is* a Linux article.
    It's slightly interesting, but perhaps not in the way you're thinking. This article appears to be a reworded version of the Press Release [] that Mainsoft released Monday.

    I think it's more a case of ZDNet continuing to illustrate that they are not concerned with journalism. Even google turns up hits on their site for Wine, but the last one by Mary Jo is from December, 1998 ... And it's doubtful whether a zdnet type can remember that long. At least they toned the press release down a bit, and ran it through demoronizer, though.

    For instance, the subheading of the press release is: "Mainsoft? Corporation First to Address Market Demand for Applications on the Linux Operating System" - Which actually reflects as doubly disingenuous of Mainsoft, as Corel has been doing much work on Winelib *and* using it to port all of their applications to Linux. (not to mention Netscape, Star Division, etc, who have supported Linux before any "HOT IT INDUSTRY" trade mag had ever mentioned Linux)

    This brings to mind some comments Mary Jo Foley made in an article where the "HOT IT INDUSTRY" trade mags were holding a Slashdot bashing. She said that it was weird how Slashdot would "slant" things, eg., they would pick out the parts that made Microsoft look stupid, rather than hightlight the article a real -journalist- would.

    I get the idea that her idea of a real journalist's job is to further polish and sensationalize press releases and product announcements so as to better fit the audience the magazine targets. Fun stuff, those editorial policies.

  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <> on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:39PM (#1603249)
    does anyone else see a contradiction here?

    A contradiction between "thin and efficient" and "several million lines of Windows source code"? Perhaps the "thin and efficient" layer implements very low-level Win32 operations, and the "several million lines of Windows source code" make those Win32 calls (and undocumented Windows calls implemented by MainWin, if any), so that most of the environment consists of said Windows source.

    Does it use a toolkit?


    Does it even use X?

    Yes. For details on those last two answers, see Mainsoft's "MainWin and the X architecture" [] white paper.

    Think of it as containing its own toolkit, whose API looks suspiciously like the window-system part of Win32....

    (No, I have no idea what rule they used to insert registered-trademark symbols into that white paper; of whom is "Window Manager" a trademark? :-))

  • Are the Microsoft transcripts online anywhere, as far as you know?

    Eventually the judge declined to seal the document, and the trial transcript wasnt edited either.

    I'm particularly interested in seeing this document, as well as the op-ed piece that MS authored. Any ideas as to how I can get my hands on them?

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

  • The major difference between MainWin and this being CygWin is open source.

    No, the major difference between MainWin and Cygwin [] is that they go in opposite directions; MainWin provides a Win32 API atop UNIX-compatible OSes, while Cygwin provides a UNIX API atop Win32 OSes. If you want to contrast Cygwin to a non-open-source UNIX-apps-atop-Windows product, contrast it with Interix [], and if you want to contrast MainWin with open-source Windows-apps-atop-UNIX software, contrast it with Wine [] or TWIN [] or Twine [], say.

  • by flieghund ( 31725 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:41PM (#1603252) Homepage
    I am becoming resigned to the fact that the operating system, for all intents and purposes, is meaningless. I use a limited number of programs on a day to day basis; the three that I use the most are:

    - AutoCAD 14
    - form*Z 3.1
    - Photoshop 5.5

    (I am an architecture geek, if this wasn't obvious.) I have found that (at least in the case of Photoshop and form*Z) it matters next-to-none what OS I am on -- both run equally well and without any major differences on either platform. I'm stuck using a Windows machine for AutoCAD: Autodesk (its makers) decided after Release 12 (?) that it was no longer financially worthwhile to support two versions for platforms that made up less than 10% of the marketplace combined (namely, Mac and Unix). But I guess I'm okay with that, because it has allowed some nice CAD programs to flourish, at least on the Mac platform.

    So, the point: I hate Windows; I specifically hate all the little crap that it does, its bugs, its "helpful features" that are anything but. However, due to my field of study and the choice of programs available, I'm rather stuck on a Windows machine. How I long to use Linux, Be, or *anything* other than Windows! Alas, I cannot. I was literally a few hours away from installing linux when I found that WINE cannot even run *older* versions of AutoCAD and form*Z and Photoshop, let alone execute the latest versions.

    (I realize, and have heard arguments to the like before, that there are "similar" programs available on the linux platform. But is that really the solution you want to promote? "Don't like your OS? Switch and relearn all of the programs you use!" Harumph. For example: I've seen Gimp, I've dabbled with Gimp, I still vastly prefer the look, feel, and features of Photoshop. Sorry.)

    I welcome anyone who wants to create the ability to escape the curse of Windows, even if it is MS itself at the heart of it. Remember what I said at the beginning: the OS is irrelevant. There are Holy Wars being faught over Mac vs. Win vs. Linux vs. Be vs. BSD vs. etc. Why? To me, operating systems are the roads of the world; programs are the cars. No one fusses about the roads they drive on (well, almost no one), but few people miss an opportunity to fuss about their car.

    Okay, a fuzzy analogy, I apologize. (A wee bit tired right now...) Now, I'm an architecture geek, remember, not a computer geek; but try this: How much of what you do with your computer, productivity-wise, actually has anything directly to do with the operating system? I've examined my habits, and the answer is almost none. With few exceptions, almost everything I do on a computer involves programs that run on the OS, even telnet and plaintext editing. It seems to me that programs are where the money really is, not the OS.

    Now, I am *NOT* advocating a "one world, one OS" system; rather, I'm envisioning a world in which there are multiple vendors for your OS, all of which are essentially the same. Think of it as the gas you put in your car -- with some minor performance variations, the gas from Shell will get you where you're going just as good as the gas from Mobil. What gas you put in your car doesn't matter nearly as much as where you are going.

    Okay, to summarize: OS, irrelevant; programs, reason for having a computer; anything that blurs the distinction between one OS and the next (or makes the OS distinction a distant second to program usability), good news indeed.
  • and they use Mainsoft as a kind-of-reverse WINE to translate Win32 to Unix calls

    Reverse WINE? Isn't that what Wine does - translates Win32 (and Win16, and DOS) calls to Windows calls, so you can run Windows apps on UNIX-compatible x86 OSes, and compile source for those apps to make UNIX apps?

    (And I'd think that SQL or Exchange would be the remotest of possibilities just for marketing reasons.)

    Maybe Exchange, and maybe Outlook - it depends on whether they'd want to force folks with UNIX-compatible OSes on their desk to switch to Windows so they can read mail from an Exchange server, or whether they want to let UNIX systems read from an Exchange server on NT (rather than, say, some UNIX-based mail server).

  • Windows networking code is anything but posix compliant.

    As far as I know, the POSIX standards for network APIs (e.g., P1003.1g) are still drafts, so, arguably, NO networking code is "POSIX compliant"; has the standard been approved yet?

    Microsoft has decided to call their network api "windows sockets".

    They decided that ages ago; it's BSD-like, but has some of its own stuff (e.g., I think it lets you start a host name lookup without waiting for it to finish, and to wait for it to finish later, and, I suspect, to wait either for it to finish or some other event to come in, so you can handle other events while you're waiting).

    The aim of this project, at least in part as I understand it, is to write an api for linux that will allow the use of "windows sockets" code on posix compliant systems.

    If it works on POSIX-compliant systems, it's not an "API for Linux", it's an API for POSIX-compliant systems - or, rather, for systems that provide a networking API that looks like the POSIX/POSIX draft one, which would include but not be limited to UNIX.

    Or, perhaps, it's for systems with a UNIX-style network API, rather than the (still apparently in draft form, as per the above) POSIX network API.

    Of course, MainWin already has support for Winsock, according to this page on the Mainsoft site [], so it's not as if that's not already available. And it supports more than just the sockets API; I rather suspect you'd need to support a heck of a lot more of the Win32 API than just the Winsock calls to port the server applications you mentioned, so I rather doubt that there's some project to deal only with Winsock.

  • by _Gnubie_ ( 14485 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:44PM (#1603259)
    Wine has come a long way in the past year. I can only hope this doesnt cause wine to lose its momentum.

    Mainwin allows windows code to be compiled on linux into native executables. Wine does this too but also allows the loading of native Win binaries to be loaded and executed using the wine win32api implementation.

    Will the Mainwin people implement directX and write a direct3d to glx translation layer like the Wine crew are doing? Personally I doubt it. Wine also allows the loading of _native_ linux libs from a win32 program. I can fire up halflife and wine will load the _linux_ glide lib and give me full 3d acceleration.

    Last but certainly not least... Wine IS open source. You want to hack in something that makes the widgets look like GTK ones? fine! try doing that with Mainwin.

  • I work for a company that works with MainSoft. First they have very little to do with Microsoft. It's a little company that has a deal take the Microsoft source and port it to various *nix.

    MainSoft has done an amazing job porting the Win32 API for *nix for some time now. The've ported it to Solaris and HP/UX. Why do you thing IE is out for Solaris and not Linux? Because IE for solaris is using MainSoft's win32 port!

    Not only is MainSoft's port for win32, but COM/ATL and most C++ library's one uses in windows. It seriously only takes 5 mints to port your COM object to a Unix. No kidding.

    Anyone who ses's this tech coming to the linux world a bad thing is blinded by there own linux cult paranoia.

    Personally I think this is the only thing that would keep linux a contender. Wake up and realize linux is a collective piece of betaware built on 30 year old tech that is not suitable for most desktops. It's hot right now, but unless they get more things like mainsoft catering to it, it's going to burn out and die.
  • by Ice_Hole ( 87701 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @11:59PM (#1603266) Homepage
    Think about it.. This will change Linux a lot.. Everything for Linux (nearly everything) is open source. This is a good thing. But as soon as programs like this make it possible for Linux to run Windows apps, most of which are closed source, then we lose. Us open sourcers are still sucking Microsoft's tit for all it's worth (If that makes sence?) What is the point of Linux? I am sure this answer is different for everyone. I don't want Microsoft to come in, create a way for all Microsoft products and programs designed to run in Windows to be ran in Linux. It may sound nice to be able to use Microsoft Office, or IE, or other programs like that in Linux. But what are we willing to give to be able to do it? Are you willing to let Microsoft have their take in the Open Source field? Are you going to let them come in, and add to Linux for their own profit? Personally I would rather use a program some guy spent his time on makeing work right and efficiently, then some Microsoft Bloatware, that a team wrote not because they wanted to, but because that was their job. Which method turns out quality? I agree that the individual will not alway's come up with the better program..

    Also, on the flip side. (Now this will get you thinking).. Is this really a smart move on Microsoft? Are they really getting rid of the Open Source community, trying to nudge them out? I think not! Think of what this would transform Linux into. Now Linux would be able to efficiently and stably run windows apps. Hmm.. Can Windows run UNIX apps in the same fasion? Now Linux will be able not only to run it's programs, but also Windoes programs, thus replaceing 2 computers. But a Windows machine will still leave you looking for the features of a Linux Machine.. Thus, a Linux machine would be able to effectively perform all the tasks of not only a Linux machine, but also a Windows NT machine.. As for Windows, it is still lacking a lot in terms of being able to perform well as a Linux/ UNIX machine.. This is also a good thing for the Linux Community. The main reason for a Windows user not to change to Linux is that their programs (Which they have grown to love) don't work on Linux! They don't want to leave what they know behind to learn somthing new. That is how life goes. With this people would be able to run their favorite programs. This is a nice thing to be able to do. And I personally would like to be able to do it also.

    ((I think I have argued both sides. But that's OK. They are my thaughts. I feel that they offer a little insight as to what is happening. What Microsoft want to accomplish I can only guess..))
  • After reading the MainWin overview [] on MainSoft's site, it is obvious that it is just another Win32 emulation layer, similar to Wine [] for Linux or Wabi [] for Solaris. Of course, they state on their page that MainWin is not an emulator. But all it does is to translate Win32 API calls to something that runs under Linux. The calls are executed in the MainWin layer (thanks to the Windows source code that they can use) or translated to Linux system calls. By the way, MainWin is already available for many UNIX systems [], and they are just adding Linux to their list.

    How is this different from Wine? On the negative side, it is closed source and probably quite expensive. On the positive side, the fact that they have access to the Windows source code means that they might be more compatible with all the undocumented Win32 features that are used by some MS applications.

    I don't think that there is anything really exciting about this announcement. Win32 emulators have existed for quite a while on various UNIX systems, and all of them have their drawbacks. This one might be better in some areas and worse in some others, but it will never replace a native port of the applications to Linux.

    If MicroSoft (not MainSoft) starts publishing press releases encouraging developers to work only on Win32 because it is portable to all environments including Linux, then we may have something to respond to. But I don't think that any serious company would stop porting their products to Linux because some small company provides a (closed and expensive) emulation layer for Win32 apps.

  • i mean, this is exactly what LINUX needs.

    Do you remember why OS/2 died?

    either that or some stable applications! look at netscape, oh wait it crashed.

    Opera is making Opera for Linux. I'm still holding my breath for it.

    IE5 is NOT the right way to go. It doesn't keep to the standards.

    sure gimp is a nice tool, but wouldn't it be a lot cooler to use photoshop?

    Nah, it would be cooler if GIMP make so good that it could kill of photoshop. :)

    email clients, ummmm


  • To be honest, I'm very skeptical to this "emulating windows"-thing. Remember OS/2? Why should people develop for OS/2 when it was able to run windows programs? Isn't it possible that the same thing can happen to Linux too, if it become capable of emulating windows?

    I said skeptical, not afraid - this because I thrust the Linux/Open Source community to be able to avoid the trap... one way or another... :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @12:29AM (#1603281)
    MainSoft is member of the WinSource NT-source-code licensing program - this means money from Microsoft and 'Platinum level' support from Microsoft (which money cannot buy). MainSoft also probably is in the First Wave program - but it is usually top-secret, only high executives know about it usually. You are required contractually to deny even the existence of First Wave. First Wave gives even more money, at the price of *serious* dependency on Microsoft. Under a First Wave contract, Microsoft also has access to all the code and IP produced by the company. It also means that the company has to use Microsoft's JVM, Microsoft's Explorer browser libraries. First Wave contracts are reviewed frequently, and if you are not cooperative enough (eg. to write seemingly independent opeds to major newspapers in support of Microsoft's key legal positions), First Wave can get revoked and the money source is turned off.
    Microsoft wants to 'seed' the Linux->NT porting market, but the price is complete dependency on Microsoft's license. (which can be revoked/made uneconomical at any time by Microsoft)
    Being in bed with Microsoft does mean money - initially at least. It also means becoming a whore and you'll have to be ready to give up your dreams. (but if this is fine to you then OK)
  • The number one asset that microsoft has is the windows API. Because microsoft defines the API they are able to include hidden calls that only they know about. Some of these calls are simply faster implementations of other calls which are already documented. Others are unique. Either way it gives their applications an out of the box advantage over anything a competitor might develop. Wine threatens this hidden control by exposing the existence and nature of each call. Some of these calls have even been implemented in wine. Wine also has a slight chance of someday competing with microsoft in defining the windows API itself. If wine implements new and better calls that developer's make use of, Microsoft's control of the API will be threatened. Microsoft of course does not like this but they cannot directly attact wine because of the boiling water they are already in for anti-trust violations. So rather than attack wine they simply "embrace and extend," all to prevent the windows API from becoming open. Gates is a tricky SOB and that is also the kind of person he hires. The model Microsoft follows is that business is a form of warfare. Those of us who want to see Linux/*BSD/whatever succeed need to remember that and pay attention to what our customer's want. If we don't give it to them, MS surely will, even if their version is bloated and buggy.
  • Shortly after IE was released for Solaris, several people in my department tried it out. We were sick of Netscape crashes and bloat and speed problems, we liked a couple of features IE had, we wanted to be able to test sites in multiple browsers.

    It was a complete joke. The process took about 30MB, largely non-shared, and was slow as hell. (Netscape at the time was well under 10MB, as was IE natively on Win32.) We abandoned it as unusable; as far as we could tell, its only purpose was to allow MS to say "IE runs on all platforms, even Unix!". (Unix == Solaris in marketroid-speak.)

    Perhaps someone who has used IE under Unix more recently could comment on size and speed. If it's anything like it was back then, don't expect any useful applications to come out of this announcement.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am very familiar with MainWin (I have to leave it at that due to NDAs) and I can give you a bit of a scoop.
    MainWin is a porting environment that implements Win32 in user libraries directly from licensed Microsoft sources. It supports COM,DCOM, MFC and pretty much all of the other MS technologies Windows programmers use making it easy to port C,C++ applications at the source level to UNIX.
    MainWin will never be distributed as part of a Linux distribution or used by shareware authors for a couple of reasons.
    1) use of MS sources implies royalties on run-time
    2) a development license is very expensive. I don't know what the Linux pricing will be like but in general the pricing is in the order of magnitude of $A*10^4.
    Like a competing product, Wind/U, these porting environments are excellent for porting commercial windows applications to big iron or unix machines.
    This is excellent since it will allow quick retargetting of Windows and MainWin ported apps to Linux, perhaps resulting in major productivity applications being ported to Linux quicker.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @02:29AM (#1603306)
    There are references to it in the DOJ vs. Microsoft lawsuit, Gordon Eubanks, former Symantec CEO denies that Symantec is in a First-Wave relationship with Microsoft: [transcript excerpt, 1999.06.16]: "I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE FIRST-WAVE PROGRAM, AS I TOLD YOU" [...]. Then Boies submitted the Symantec-Microsoft First-Wave contract into evidence, which was signed when Eubanks was CEO :-) Microsoft counsel protested violently: [transcript excerpt]: 'THESE DOCUMENTS WERE PRODUCED BY SYMANTEC, WHICH IS NOT REPRESENTED HERE BY COUNSEL AT THE MOMENT, BUT IT'S MORE HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL. MICROSOFT REGARDS THIS DOCUMENT AS PROPRIETARY INFORMATION WHICH IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.' Eventually the judge declined to seal the document, and the trial transcript wasnt edited either. Then Boies continued to evaluate how the First-Wave relationship affected Symantec: [transcript exceprt]: "THEY ASKED ME TO WRITE--IF I WOULD BE WILLING TO EXPRESS AN OP-ED PIECE ON THE OPINIONS OF THE INDUSTRY." [...] Boies: [transcript excerpt]: "AND, INDEED, MICROSOFT ACTUALLY PREPARED THE FIRST DRAFT OF THAT OP-ED PIECE FOR YOU, DIDN'T THEY, SIR?". which turned out to be true.
  • by Foogle ( 35117 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @02:48AM (#1603310) Homepage
    You've never even seen MainWin, and you're saying that Wine is better? Maybe in theory, sure, but let's be honest - Wine isn't really a viable solution except in a few (few) cases. There aren't more than a handful of programs that run flawlessly under it. And that's what a company needs to run Win32 programs under Linux - flawlessness. Anything else won't cut it, and they'd be better off using WinNT instead.

    Same goes for MainWin. If they don't provide a stable system that can run just about any Windows app then they will not succeed. OpenSource won't even come into play with this - these guys are MS partners: They can produce code that's more compatible, because they probably have licenses to use the original source from MS. Don't kid yourself, they've got the upper hand. And as for customization, well I'd like my programs to work first, before I start worrying about theming, okay?


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • MainSoft also probably is in the First Wave program - but it is usually top-secret, only high executives know about it usually. You are required contractually to deny even the existence of First Wave. First Wave gives even more money, at the price of *serious* dependency on Microsoft.

    This is very, very intriguing.

    What other companies are suspected to be First Wave shops? And where can I read more about this tactic(which I haven't yet decided is predatory/evil/whatever, so back off /.'ers ;-)

    The part about writing op-eds--this seems really interesting. The story behind the story...

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, Linux is having a real hard time breaking into the mainstream, especially during the last year. In fact, during this time I've seen more people switch from Linux to Windows than I've ever seen before! It's incredible, you know, seeing people trying to get refunds on Linux because it was preloaded on their computers but they didn't want it. It's been a long time coming.

    One can see, of course, that with all of the financial and technical support that IBM, Sun, Oracle, HP and SGI (among other big boys) have finally given to Microsoft this year, there are more reasons than ever to switch to Windows! Especially the support issue. Finally someone will be able to help us when Windows breaks and that's a real incentive for me. I'll never forgive Torvalds - because of Linux I lost touch with that smart little tech support girl (we had to let her go) because we didn't have enough problems. With Windows I won't be lonely anymore.

    You know, I'm glad. I always hated that darned Linux stability and am really looking forward to being able to waste time at work again with the most trusted excuse in the world - my computer crashed. And another thing, I really needed a reason to spend more money in the computer department and now that we're switching to Windows I'll get my wish. I mean, if a computer just sits there and does what you want, what good is that? I can't spend any extra money because of that, and not spending money is just plain anti-capitalist and anti-American and I'm very grass roots patriotic []. And another thing- I'm really looking forward to the anti-virus industry once again taking off. I've got a lot of stock that's nearly worthless, but with everyone switching to Windows those virus alerts mean money in my pocket (and also allows me to get more work done).

    Things are really looking up for Windows lately, with everyone switching to 2000 when it comes out. I was so tired of using Alpha's and SPARC's and am really looking forward to the tried and true x86 boxes. This way, with slower processors, more time will be spent getting work done and my superiors love that. We'll have to switch everything over to new hardware, which means we'll get even more work done. If I'm that productive I'm sure to get promoted!


    It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

  • Most people are not webdevelopers so they use a browser that works for them. Non webdevelopers don't care about the mime output of cgi scripts. nor do they care about javascript.

    "Why trust MS to implement standards properly .."

    Netscape hasn't done any better (excluding mozilla which will take another few months to appear). The 4.x version of their browser can hardly be called standards compliant. But standards are only relevant to web developers not to users. Users expect their favorite webpages to just work they don't care how they work. This is something MS used to their advantage when developing IE. While netscape was fooling around with the 4.x generation of their browser, IE created IE which from a users point of view is faster, more stable and prettier.

    And my pessimistic guess is that they will use the same thing again to outcompete mozilla. Nobody outside the webdevelopers community cares about standards. MS is compliant enough for most users.
  • Why do I love IE5? Let me list the ways. Because it has much better bookmark system. The one in Netscape is complete and utter crap. IE handles more HTML and more advanced HTML and its' dirivities (DHTML, CSS). IE also looks better just looking at it, Netscape looks like something out of the early 90's. Netscape font's (especially in Linux) look like crap, half the time the text is all scrunged up and tiny so it's a pain to read. Netscape is incredibly picky on your HTML, IE gives you more leeway. Netscape on Linux crashes at least once a day, if not more. IE crashes maybe once a week. And yes, that is pushing the browsers to the max (ie. having about 5 of them open at the same time) And don't get me started on the lack of plug-in's for Linux. I'd take IE over Netscape (especially for Linux) anyday. Luckily, the rest of Linux kicks ass, so I put up with Netscape when I boot into it : )
  • It is more likely to be bug-compatible, since they use the original Win32 code.
  • Also, Redhat has signed a ISV relationship with mainsoft. Which side are these guys on? ners/press_partner_mainsoft.html [] just found that interesting. -bob
  • This would seem to be quite in line with the tagline on their website that makes me more nervous than anything:

    Develop on Windows, run on UNIX

    If this self-titled conspiracy theory is to be believed, here's a perfect reason to do it -- to drag potentially drifting developers back to Win32 with the promise of cross-platform binary compatibility.

    All we can do it wait and see, I suppose. Oh well, I prefer programming in UN*X any day :-)

  • I think people really aren't seeing the point to MainWin, Wind/U, and other such products. The main argument that people seem to be making here against these products is that it presents people with a really bad porting strategy, because of dependence on Microsoft's architecture, performance hits, etc. While I do agree with all of this, people seem to not realize that there are good things about it too, and I'm going to tell you why. I'm going to illustrate this with a personal example here. Over the summer I worked as a summer student for a company that started off a couple of years ago making a product for Windows. However, after a couple of years of success in the market (number one market share), some VERY important customers (read: big cellular tech companies) indicated that they would like to see Solaris and HP/UX versions of our software. Up until then they had been using tools which had been very inferior to our product, and they wanted to get their hands on what we had to offer. However, they were not about to go restructuring their whole network and switch from UNIX to Windows just to get our tools. So it was decided that our company damn well better give them what they wanted, because these companies's business is VERY important to our parent company, as even though these companies might only buy 100 copies of our software, they use our software to write code for the gazillions of dollars in chips that they buy from our parent company, so even though we could end up losing money on the software itself, the cost recouped in chip sales would blow that away. So, ok, our company now has to do UNIX ports. However, the program has already been written to use MFC. Ideally if you knew you were going to do a port you would design your code with an appropriate abstraction layer so that you could do a proper job of the port, but when they wrote the program they hadn't had any indication that they would have to do this. What's more is that the company is pretty small... 30 people. The company doesn't have the resources to devote to rearchitecting the entire program so that "proper" ports can be made. What's more is that they have deadlines still to meet for their Windows product line, and those have to be met at the same time... they can't be holding up production. So what do they do? They buy Bristol's Wind/U to do the port. In theory this allows you to just drop in your Win32 code and recompile it, and voila you have a UNIX solution. In practice this doesn't happen, as the Wind/U toolkit has bugs, and in our case there were lots of Intel/Windows specific assumptions made when the program was written, and these things all had to be worked around or fixed. But the result was that in less than four months a team of three developers (two of which were just summer co-ops, of which I was one) managed to port a 300,000 line program, and what's more, we managed to fix bugs that were in the original release, as well as add some UNIX specific behaviour and functionality (which you can't do if you just emulate a program under Wine). If we had tried to rearchitect the whole thing, it probably would have taken at least twice the number of people and taken probably more than three times as long. To be honest, those factors would likely have prevented the thing from EVER being ported. The company (which does tend to be Windows-centric unfortunately), would probably just have told those customers to go invest in some Windows hardware and hope they listened. Products like MainWin and Wind/U will allow products to be ported that would otherwise never get ported at all. I don't know about the rest of you, but I would say that's a good thing. It's better to have a port even though it may not be optimally architected, than to have no port at all.
  • I agree that the applications, not the OS, are the reasons we're supposed to be using computers. I still have to use Windows because there simply isn't a decent MIDI/Multitrack audio program available for Linux. Cakewalk Pro Audio uses directX for its audio plugins (real-time reverb, etc) which is, of course, proprietary, but it works rather well.

    However, Microsoft obviously doesn't feel the OS is "secondary" to the applications, because their OS actually costs more than most applications, especially NT. So for now, my home system dual-boots between Win98 and Linux. Right now I just have Linux there to learn it, but most of what I actually do requires Windows.
  • These things have been around forever yet we don't see any Windows apps anyway. For around $1000 you could have gotten a Win32 environment years ago but no-one did. There's a bigger demand for a Linux environment on Win32 as we have many unfinished tools for this. Cygwin never supported threads. Mingwin was abandonned two years ago.
  • If alot of windows programs start flowing into *nix it could cause interest in open source to taper off.

    I hadn't even thought of this point. If the licensing of MainWin was done in a certain way, it could actually end up being a license violation to make a MainWin-hosted program open source. Kind of like (and I know I risk making an apples-to-oranges comparison here, but bear with me) QT's "free" edition forces GPL, and to that end any GPL'd library won't let you link proprietary stuff to it.

    Definitely food for thought.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @03:39AM (#1603369) Homepage Journal
    Well, if I had a license to the Win32 source code, a Linux port would be a high priority because the easiest way to get rich is to be bought out.

    Unless a nearly 100% compatible Win32 on Linux is something Microsoft feels ready for, this won't see the light of day. If MS feels ready for Win32 on Linux, then we'd better watch out.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.