Versions & mass-appeal

Dimitrie O. Paun dpaun at
Wed Oct 30 00:12:49 CST 2002


I think everybody here agrees that Wine's biggest problem is the
lack of developers. No developers, slow progress, no users, back
to no developers. We are in this vicious circle for a while,
spinning our wheels like crazy. We've achieved great progress
lately, but I hope we all agree that Wine is a vast project that
can succeed only with a mass appeal similar to the fueling the
development of the Linux Kernel.

Why are we in this position? For reasons I will not go into right
now, it seems painfully obvious to me that we are suffering from
a severe case of Bad Public Image (tm). Whenever I talk to people
not intimately familiar with Wine, about our beloved project, I
am _always_ treated with the same reaction: a surprised "Really,
it works? Hmmm, I thought it was only running Freecell...".
Translation: people consider Wine a huge hack that can run (by
some strange happenings) some apps, sometimes. It is viewed as
unreliable, "freak of nature sideshow"; something (maybe) cool
to talk about, but utterly useless. 

THIS IS OUR PROBLEM. The lack of users follows trivially.
We know the above opinion is not true. *I* get constantly
amazed by how much progress we've made. Something must
be done, and I think there is something to be done.

How do we change this state of affairs? Well, people need
major events to reevaluate their opinions. Being major, they
are by definition few, and so we don't have too many chances.
For Wine, these events are the upcoming x.y releases. What
I'm trying to say is that we have to prepare properly for them.

Here's my concrete proposal for releases:
  0.8.x : Wine is usable, we don't guarantee binary compatibility
  0.9.x : Wine is usable, and we kinda guarantee binary compatibility
  1.0.x : Wine is quite usable, we guarantee binary compatibility

I'll define these things more precisely later, but before that,
let me explain why we should introduce the 0.8.x series:
  -- a chance to attract more users into the fold
  -- Wine is approaching that stage fast
  -- it's a logical, interim step to 0.9
  -- will help us focus
Whatever the reason, it's a _logical_ step that we must go through
in our journey to 0.9, and from a user's perspective, it makes sense
to make it public. There's no point in robbing us of the userbase
for a abstract techy goal of binary compatibility. That's the next stage.

Criteria for these releases:

  -- Wine runs several popular apps well (we're close)
  -- Web site is updated (e.g. Who's Who, etc)
  -- Existing docs are up-to-date
  -- Utilities are close to final form (winebuild, etc.)

  -- DLL separation complete
  -- Server protocol complete

  -- Major bugs squashed
  -- Flawless UI
  -- Complete docs

I'll leave it at that. Comments, flames?


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