Home > In the News > Finding the Missing Link in Linux-Windows Compatibility Finding the Missing Link in Linux-Windows Compatibility Submitted by Jerome Gotangco 2004-04-26 In the News 47 Comments In a small seminar room of the De La Salle University (DLSU)in the Philippines, Caslon Chua, chief software architect of SpecOps made a demonstration of the “bridge” software “David”. More at inq7.net. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 47 Comments 2004-04-26 3:57 am It seems, at least from this article, that it’s legit. I’m all for another Windows compatability layer on Linux, as long as it is done right (like this guy claims to have done it). A few years ago, I used to scoff at the efforts of WINE developers, saying if we can’t have native apps then might as well not bother. But now that the Linux app base has grown and has its own niches, the added benefit of being able to run most any Windows program without many hassles would be a major reason to switch. As is, it’d probably be neat to be able to run VS.NET and Dreamweaver MX through something like “David” rather than VMWare. But let’s see in the coming weeks/months whether this David stuff is all hype or whether it’s the real deal. 2004-04-26 4:01 am why do people want linux to be compatible with windows? Windows and Unix are different and are ment to be. We should all make an OS that is called “winux”. It does not surprise me. Open source has always copied off microsoft in some mission to destroy them 2004-04-26 4:02 am Microsoft is definately not going to be happy with this Linux innovation. 2004-04-26 4:03 am Well, Windows is (to a degree), POSIX compatible, so why shouldn’t a POSIX OS (Linux) but Windows compatible? Who, praytell, is copying who? 2004-04-26 4:05 am …a fork/branch/rebranding of WINE. It’s interesting that Veldes says he is using a “new approach” but doesn’t give any clue as to what the approach is or any proof that it is really a new one. It’s also interesting that the company claims to have “corrected design flaws in the Microsoft Windows system to make the simulation more efficient and avoid system crashes.” If they can do this successfully, they’re better at writing software than Microsoft is. So I agree with pixelmonkey, we’ll have to see how this all plays out. 2004-04-26 4:07 am But everything they showed off (well what the article detailed anyways) can be done with straight WINE, or more easily through Crossover Office, both of which are available now. In fact the reason most of what they showed off could be attributed to the work of the WINE team and Crossover. Now, if they all of a sudden had all full DirectX 9, 8, and 7 support I would be impressed. Right now it seems nothing more than WINE. 2004-04-26 4:18 am They might be starting with BSD-licensed ReWind. 2004-04-26 4:21 am Before somebody gets it wrong…… The WINE project is not an emulator!!!! Often, programs run faster running in WINE than they do in Window$. This could be a very significant product. 2004-04-26 4:25 am You can’t take source code that has been gpl’d and then turn around and claim to fork it and change the license at the same time. You can only change the license on parts you made and nothing else ! The rest belongs to those who contributed to the project. 2004-04-26 4:34 am why do people want linux to be compatible with windows? Windows and Unix are different and are ment to be. We should all make an OS that is called “winux”. It does not surprise me. Open source has always copied off microsoft in some mission to destroy them Maybe you can explain to us how we (Linux community) could get Adobe and Macromedia to port their software to Linux? the chances right now are so low, its almost at joking level. We *NEED* things like this so that the user base can increase, so people can *continue* to use the applications *THEY* want to use whilst waiting for the software company to port their application accross. 2004-04-26 4:37 am This is indeed very interesting project. If it’s not based on WINE then SpecOps truly has remarkable programmers. Moreover it’s from Asia. Which shift the balance of software development from traditional American based Keep it up 2004-04-26 4:49 am ->Maybe you can explain to us how we (Linux community) ->could get Adobe and Macromedia to port their software to ->Linux? the chances right now are so low, its almost at ->joking level. ->We *NEED* things like this so that the user base can ->increase, so people can *continue* to use the ->applications *THEY* want to use whilst waiting for the ->software company to port their application across. You probably would be better off using VMware or WINE now. I for one don’t care in the least whether or not Adobe or Macromedia port their applications. It would be nice if they actually kept their bug apps off. If you want these application use OSX (as long as they are available), it is doubtful that Linux will ever have them. It will only have them if corporate business wants them, and to do so is to remove the cutting edge environment of the operating system. It goes against the nature of “opensource” to have Proprietary interest available on the platforms 2004-04-26 4:51 am Anonymous said: You can’t take source code that has been gpl’d and then turn around and claim to fork it and change the license at the same time From http://rewind.sourceforge.net/ : ReWind is the MIT/X11-licensed fork of the Wine project, derived from its last MIT/X11-licensed release before it went LGPL. 2004-04-26 5:37 am Well SpecOps have been getting a lot of local media attention lately with how much money it can earn from it (David). I’m not sure if you can still google this or search thru inq7.net but SpecOps was involved in a legal tussle with one of the original “David” developers. I believe they already settled this out of court so that’s why they have been putting out a lot of stuff on “David” lately. Also, their website (http://specopslabs.com/david.htm) seems credible. They are also co-developing this “bridge” with a very reputable university. I haven’t seen “David” run but I’m pleased that its being developed locally (in the Philippines). 2004-04-26 5:58 am I think we will have to see how this plays out. Just seems fishy that they would load Office 2000 on a machine and not one of the newer versions of office like 2002 (XP) or 2003. In installing office 2000 sounds like they may have been using WINE or Crossover office to install the office apps then run them.. (I know that crossover pops up it’s installer tool etc when you do an install I am just giving an example of how it could just all be hot air) This would be nice if it is true. If a person can run almost ANY windows app but have the seecurity and stability of Linux that would be the product of the decade. Linux would become 100% more popular over night (If “David” is low in cost and is bundled with versions of Linux like crossover is with Xandros) That is one of the killers of selling Linux to my non Linux using friends. Their biggest questions are not “Is Linux lower in cost?” because most people get Windows for free anyway. Or “Is Linux more secure?” becuse most people don’t care about security if they have never gotten a virus or been hacked. Or even “Does it crash less?” because most people think that crashing is a part of life when using a PC because Windows has always done that and it does it less in 2000 and even less in XP. No what people ask me is “Can I pop in my turbo tax CD and use it??” Can I use my AOL account? etc. And when I say no, they very quickly want their Windows install back. Very simple. 2004-04-26 6:28 am If you want these application use OSX (as long as they are available), it is doubtful that Linux will ever have them. It will only have them if corporate business wants them, and to do so is to remove the cutting edge environment of the operating system. It goes against the nature of “opensource” to have Proprietary interest available on the platforms Funny, and when Oracle bought their DB to Linux, we didn’t hear screams from the opensource quarters. The bottom line is this; for Linux to move forward, there needs to be access to applications that are *MAINSTREAM* from *MAINSTREAM DEVELOPERS* like Adobe and Macromedia. Who cares if Widget Doodacky from sourceforge has some half-baked version 0.0000001 of an application with thousands of promises but little in the way of results? the fact is, people buy their computer and operating system to run applications. No applications, no market share, simply as that. As I have said previously, if WINE/David play their cards right, and the average user seen no noticable slow down in their applications performance, they’ll decide to move to Linux on the basis that the money saved not shelling out for an expensive operating system can then be re-invested back into purchasing applications. Positive spin off for Microsoft? they might actually find people purchasing their Office suite for once! 2004-04-26 6:52 am > More Magical Software from the Philippines > @Skeptical > The last piece of software I got from the Philippines was > the “I Love You” virus. I’m from the Philippines and I too is a little skeptical regarding this project ‘David’ (where it’s a WINE/ReWind fork, et. al). But please, don’t discredit the efforts and talents of some legit software developers in this part of the world. IMHO, I felt bad when I read your generalization(/discrimination?). Besides India, we here also get a lot of outsourced software projects mainly from US and Europe. Our software industry is ripe and active, both in local and foreign markets. I understand your view but IMHO, I found the generalizing statement (title) to be a little discriminating. Peace! 2004-04-26 8:02 am I doubt this would even be better than crossover office or vanilla wine. 2004-04-26 8:08 am >The last piece of software I got from the Philippines was the >”I Love You” virus. >I’ll believe it when I see it. Im from Philippines, and Im working as a software engineer for an american company, which means pinoy works are not just a piece of magical software, I accept Philippines is third world country but produced software for most of the bigger countries. Though we get a very low salary rate but our IT products are very competent. Indeed David will be magical but who knows it really works, ohh and it really works. but i haven’t seen and tried – Peace @Skeptical 2004-04-26 8:33 am Dexter instead of crying “discrimination” and reporting my post as “abuse”, why not give an example of worldclass software from the P.I.? I lived at Cubi Pt. for several years. When I see articles about this software, it reminds me of the “psychic healers” in Olongapo. If I sound sceptical, it’s because I am. 2004-04-26 9:18 am Skeptical, please do not point fingers on who clicked that “Report abuse” link. We could ask Eugenia to clarify this. So please. I can’t name exact products you’re asking, so excuse me. I’m a software developer and I believe the quality of our work is also competitive with the world. I’m also quite interested what’s your definition of world class. I respect your skepticism. I too is quite skeptical. I believe the image of my country’s too tainted already in world opinion but that makes it unique. 2004-04-26 9:28 am I know everyone is a skeptic at the moment, even local developers are skeptic about it (David). We have a good OSS community here that would be very proud to see something like David a commercial success. So let’s leave the skepticism on the software ok? Peace. Maybe some people haven’t noticed yet, but a lot of technology hardware also originated from the Philippines (Intel chips for example), so I guess our competency levels are just the same, the only difference would be the economies. It just happened that the West did become industrialized first. 2004-04-26 10:20 am They knew (it’s my best guess) that it couldn’t be achieved but the claims got them a lot of publicity, which is exactly what this start-up is trying to get. Linspire has now realised it wouldn’t work and is now sponsoring open source apps where it feels there are perceived application gaps for the Linux market they are trying to create. I think it is going to be a Crossover competitor if it doesn’t turn out to be vapourware. I hope they contribute to the wine project like Crossover does. 2004-04-26 11:25 am Perhaps this was coded with direct reference to the Windows source code that was leaked? 2004-04-26 11:28 am I want to see it working! 2004-04-26 11:37 am My bets are this this is bullshit. 2004-04-26 11:54 am I agree 2004-04-26 12:37 pm If they designed this software based on windows_source_code.zip that leaked earlier thir year, they’re in big trouble. From their site “David is the virtual Holy Grail in OS Technology — it is a Windows compatibility middleware, which will enable all major Microsoft Windows applications to run on the free and open source Linux OS.” For me it just seems to be a fork of WINE. I would run Office, and so, but a customized application for Windows that no one knows may just not work. 2004-04-26 1:14 pm To quote Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” 2004-04-26 1:59 pm “why do people want linux to be compatible with windows? Windows and Unix are different and are ment to be.” Duh, because we like it that way! And because we can. Why do you like pasta and not brocoli? 2004-04-26 2:05 pm I posted this OSNews post to /. and sure enough my submission was rejected because /. chose to publish the article as if they discovered it themselves, when in truth OSNews reported it first (i.e., OSNews scooped /., but /. didn’t admit it). I hate shit like that. In any event, some of the comments on /. are along the lines of “this is impossible,” “this can’t be done,” yadda yadda. What’s wrong with these people? If WINE were released yesterday instead of a few years ago, I bet these same /. trolls would say it’s impossible. A few years ago I thought what WineX has done was impossible. And 6 or 7 years ago, I thought something like VMWare was impossible. Surely, I was impressed with coLinux recently, and there are probably other trolls who thought that was impossible. Developers are clever, software is maleable, and people want higher levels of interoperability today than they did years ago. So why is everything impossible? David may be a hoax, but if it is, it’s not an incredible hoax. It’s totally possible for a company to “reinvent the WINE wheel,” and do so in a clean fashion. We all know WINE isn’t really an architecture for supporting Windows–it’s a bunch of finely-layered hacks. Recall that WINE began in the WINDOWS 3.1 days, and back then it worked a lot better because the APIs were a lot simpler. Everything since then has been layer laid upon layer laid upon layer. And now it’s a headache to hack WINE if you haven’t been for the last however many years. Codeweavers was an effort to peel down the layers of complexity to something that “works” out of the box, but there are still problems. Is it so hard to think a company might actually pull off a “complete” WINE? I don’t think so. It only takes smart engineers and a good architecture. SpecOpsLab may not have that. It may be vaporware. But I don’t think if it turns out David _is_ vaporware, that we should discount the possibility of getting true Windows API support in Linux. And THIS would be valuable. It would be so valuable most Linux trolls don’t even realize it. People aren’t attached to WINDOWS; they could care less about WINDOWS, they hope WINDOWS died tomorrow. What they are care about are their APPLICATIONS: Quicken, Microsoft Money, Office, Bloomberg, proprietary legal applications, proprietary real estate applications, everything that makes this fucking world spin round. If they can run those, what loyalty do they have to the OS? They don’t even realize an OS exists. An OS, to them, is the desktop which provides the icon to open their apps. Nothing more. But, if you told all these people that Linux meant less crashes, better speed (especially on older, cheaper hardware) but the same access to your tied-in Windows software, well, then you’d have something. Is this so hard to grasp? 2004-04-26 2:05 pm “Sounds like a fork/branch/rebranding of WINE.” REALLY?!!! And why? Because: “It’s interesting that Veldes says he is using a “new approach” but doesn’t give any clue as to what the approach is or any proof that it is really a new one. ” That’s why. The sleep of logic produces monsters. 2004-04-26 2:13 pm Gee! Another kook! Read: I for one don’t care in the least whether or not Adobe or Macromedia port their applications. It would be nice if they actually kept their bug apps off. Buggy apps?! Linux desktop apps range from extremely poor, to mediocre to almost OK. So to bash Adobe and Macromedia takes a lot of nerve! They are is not a single Linux **desktop** app for which there doesn’t exist a better proprietary one. Name just ONE. The only saving grace is Linux apps are free as in speech and beer. But, money and freedom to modify aside, proprietary desktop apps beat Linux apps in the first round. iTunes -> Rhythmbox / xmms? Gimp -> Photoshop? Postgres -> Oracle? Tomcat -> Orion? Quanta -> Dreamweaver? Audacity -> Soundforge? Ardur -> Logic 6.3/Nuendo? etc, etc… 2004-04-26 2:22 pm Yep, it takes some time for April 1st jokes to get from the Philippines to the rest of the world . But seriously. To be able to run Windows applications you need to have a. Windows (much like Win4Lin), or b. a Windows API implementation. The company claims that David can run without Windows, so a. is not a possibility. Well, let’s see, it would at least take years to implement the Windows API, so this is a. A hoax, b. Some 16 year old kids who think they can implement the Windows API, c. based on the leaked Windows sources or d. something based on Wine or Rewind. A. or b. would be a sad joke, if c. is the case Microsoft will pay them a visit soon, d. is nothing new (Wine/Rewind/CrossOver Office/etc.). 2004-04-26 2:44 pm It should be noted that you don’t take into account software class at all. iTunes vs Rhythmbox would be a legitimate comparison — both are free, but I would say JuK beats iTunes because of the larger featureset (eg: musicbrainz tagging). As for Gimp vs Photoshop: Gimp isn’t as good as Photoshop, but its better than Paint Shop Pro! Postgres isn’t Oracle, but its better than a lot of commercial DBs people use because Oracle is fricking expensive. Quanta isn’t better than Dreamweaver, but its close, and better than the competing tools. Etc, etc. There are lots of best-in-class OSS projects, but its true that in a lot of cases commercial software is better. It’s also true that in a lot of cases, that the particular commercial software people use for comparison is in the extreme stratosphere of the price range. I don’t know why people have gotten so used to there being just one “best” product in each catagory, but in reality, the market places is divided into classes for each category (by price and user skill level), and open source software is often competitive with all but the highest classes for each category. 2004-04-26 2:59 pm Until they can run Outlook, and all of Office 2003 without issue, they will be nothing more than a waste of time to even read about. Even WINE can’t run Outlook. That’s the killer app to shoot for. Once they can do that, then they have effectively gotten full Windows compliance–and all the other applications will run too. 2004-04-26 3:06 pm I wish I could make jokes likes that…. have a look at either evolution or korganiser and then tell me why they would even waste time trying to get outlook to work. oh, and I didn’t even mention that it would just mean more machines that would be available to distribute them windows worms 2004-04-26 3:14 pm MS already has an headstart on the Phil. Gov http://itmatters.com.ph/news/news_03012004a.html http://www.microsoft.com/philippines/pressroom/default.asp 2004-04-26 3:14 pm It should be noted that you don’t take into account software class at all. I do. It’s just that for some product categories there are just NO comparable products of the higher class in Linux (which, as a matter of fact, reinforces my point). iTunes vs Rhythmbox would be a legitimate comparison — both are free, but I would say JuK beats iTunes because of the larger featureset (eg: musicbrainz tagging). Juk is nice. However, it does not synchronize to iPod (or any player) As for Gimp vs Photoshop: Gimp isn’t as good as Photoshop, but its better than Paint Shop Pro! Price was not a parameter in the equation I was making. What I said was: price and licence aside, proprietary desktop products win over OS ones. Postgres isn’t Oracle, but its better than a lot of commercial DBs people use because Oracle is fricking expensive. OK. But if money was not a problem, someone would be better off with Oracle that Postgres. Quanta isn’t better than Dreamweaver, but its close, and better than the competing tools. Etc, etc. Same here. 2004-04-26 4:05 pm Crossover office (Which is developed off of and contribs back to WINE) Can run office XP and Outlook fine. (I use it every day connecting to an exchange 2000 server.) 2004-04-26 4:11 pm By saying price isn’t a parameter, you make it very clear that you pirate all your Windows software anyway. Price not being a parameter, I could hire a horde of programmers to give me exactly the program I want, and even release that program open source. But that’s not to say there is no point to any of these open source projects, precisely because price IS USUALLY A PARAMETER. Oracle isn’t just expensive. It’s insanely expensive. Whether it’s justifiably expensive is arguable. But for any DB project I work on, mysql is more than enough, it’s an easier learning curve, and it’s free. How is that seen by you to be irrelevant? The only reason you don’t see “commercial-grade” proprietary apps on Linux is because of market share. Doesn’t make economic sense to make retail software for Linux, when most Linux users enjoy free software and marketshare is peanuts anyway, so you can’t expect high volume. That’s not to say it’s not possible to make commercial-grade apps for Linux (look at Alias Maya 6, for example), but it’s just not economically feasible in most cases. So your argument dies. The other poster was right to point out that GIMP may not be as good as Photoshop but it is better than Paint Shop Pro. That’s really what we’re talking about here. If I install a Linux distribution from scratch, I get a lot more tools out-of-the-box than if I install Windows. I get an office suite without paying extra, I get development environments, text editors, photo editors and organizers, music players, video players, PIMs (Kontact and Evolution), tons of games, not to mention web servers, ftp servers, mail servers, databases, etc. Each of these things, to get LINUX-equivalents, you’d have to pay for. Look at it the other way around, for chrissake! Do you really think Joe Bluecollorworker wants to pay $499 (dunno the real price, is that it?) for Adobe Photoshop to play with the light adjustments in his photos when he could do it for $0 and the Gimp? It is precisely because the Linux “freeware” community is so vibrant that implementing the Windows API would make the Windows OS relatively irrelevant 😉 2004-04-26 4:11 pm “”Buggy apps?! Linux desktop apps range from extremely poor, to mediocre to almost OK.”” Disagree here. Linux apps range from extremely poor to mediocre to almost OK to extremely well-done. So do Windows apps. (For example, I would rate Ardour and Audacity toward the “extremely well-done” side of the scale. I won’t say it’s better than the so-called professional apps, but it’s definitely a viable alternative to those that can’t afford hundreds of dollars for the proprietary apps that are commonplace on Windows) The same could apply to apps like Gimp or OpenOffice. 2004-04-26 4:18 pm I wouldn’t be surprised if “David” ran Longhorn applicatins, before Longhorn even gets released. Maybe there is no need for Longhorn, because “David” is better, it runs better, it fixes all of the Microsoft programming errors. I wonder if the reverse engineering is based on some mathematical proof. 2004-04-26 5:59 pm By saying price isn’t a parameter, you make it very clear that you pirate all your Windows software anyway. Or, just that I’m wealthy. And in a professional environment you want the best, regardless of price, if you are to have an ADVANTAGE. You don’t buy thousands of products, you buy the tools of your trade. Price not being a parameter, I could hire a horde of programmers to give me exactly the program I want, and even release that program open source. But that’s not to say there is no point to any of these open source projects, precisely because price IS USUALLY A PARAMETER. Yes, and you just made an extremely out of proportion strawman argument. Photoshop is 700$ and less. Creating the program from scratch is millions of dollars. So, price is not necessarily a parameter in the first context, but it sure is in the second. $700 are within the reach of many people (people buy Apple computers, after all). Millions of dollars are not. Also: Paintshop Pro beats the Gimp any given day. Oracle isn’t just expensive. It’s insanely expensive. Whether it’s justifiably expensive is arguable. But for any DB project I work on, mysql is more than enough, it’s an easier learning curve, and it’s free. How is that seen by you to be irrelevant? Because, with enough restraint EVERYTHING can suite someone. But the question “is it any good” is another one. MySQL didn’t had very nice foreign key support, it had broken UTF-8 support, etc etc. It’s very far from being a true relational database (more far than Visual Studio from being a C++ compiler). 2004-04-26 6:20 pm “I for one don’t care in the least whether or not Adobe or Macromedia port their applications. It would be nice if they actually kept their bug apps off.” The person who said such a stupidity for sure hasn’t used both: – Photoshop and The GIMP – Dreamweaver and Quanta I did, and I was excited because I was going to use a free alternative to commercial solutions. Unfortunately, they’re far from commercial software in web edition. I have the whole collection of Macromedia and Adobe. They work very well, and it didn’t take time for me to pay the software, because I’m able to work better and faster than with open-source web editors for now. This doesn’t mean that in the future this trend won’t change. 2004-04-26 6:53 pm “Or, just that I’m wealthy.” The thing is, not everybody is wealthy. “And in a professional environment you want the best, regardless of price, if you are to have an ADVANTAGE. ” I think it’s a bit foolish to assume that price is not a factor. Somebody just starting out can’t always afford $500+ to get the top of the line, best app in the field that there is (of course, what is best/better is always a subjective argument). If you can afford the price, it probably is best to go with the well-established names. However, not everybody can afford it, and, open-source apps like Gimp, Open Office, Ardour, Audacity, and thousands more do extremely well considering they are free of charge and that they consist of programmers that work on it in their spare time. (with a few exceptions, some are paid to work on open-source projects) Ultimately, when choosing software to work with, you go with what fits your needs and balance it with what you can afford. The open source apps that are out there are not for everyone, but neither are the closed-source apps out there. That’s the beauty of competition. You choose what suits you, not what somebody chooses for you. 2004-04-26 10:43 pm >To quote Carl Sagan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” Bullshit. This may be off topic, but that argument is constantly used by skeptics to raise the bar higher and higher as to what constitutes proof. Extrordinary claims require the same level of proof that is accepted for any other claim, regardless of the extremity of the claim. But then, what do you expect from a butthead astronomer?