[Wine] Re: Difference Between WINE and an Emulator

Alan McKinnon alan at linuxholdings.co.za
Mon Dec 11 00:46:15 CST 2006

On Saturday 09 December 2006 19:14, Alexandre Julliard wrote:
> "James Hawkins" <truiken at gmail.com> writes:
> > Whether it's 'strictly' true or not doesn't matter.  The only way
> > reverse engineering can be used to implement Wine, without legal
> > ramifications, is for one person or team to reverse engineer
> > Microsoft binaries and then write up documentation for the
> > particular APIs they reversed.  Then another team uses that
> > documentation to implement the APIs.  If one person reverse
> > engineers the API and then turns around and implements that API,
> > that's definitely not legitimate, and we can be sued if, say,
> > Microsoft found out and cared about it.  One could argue that we
> > could fight it out in court, and possibly win [1], but I don't
> > think anyone on this project has the funds to do that.
> That's true only if you restrict your definition of reverse
> engineering to disassembling. But there are many other ways to do
> reverse engineering, for instance the Samba way of sniffing the wire,
> or the Wine way of writing test programs and running them on Windows
> to see how the API behaves. Both are considered reverse engineering
> by most definitions, and both are legally OK.

Seeing as I was the one who sparked off this sub-thread I should respond 
at this point. The definition of reverse-engineering that I was using 
is the same one Alexandre used - somehow (by various possible methods) 
figuring out how an engineered product works or what it does, then 
making a new and different product to do the same thing. Implied is the 
factor that this new thing is not a direct copy of the original - that 
would be a facsimile, duplicate or copy which Wine definitely isn't.

There could be many definitions of reverse-engineering and we could 
debate semantic consequences of no consequence for hours. But this here 
list isn't slashdot so I don't want to go there :-)

At least most of us here know what Wine is, how it works and have a good 
idea of how it was developed


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