Wine, WIDE & Unix (was: Support for pkgconfig)

Francois Gouget fgouget at
Sun Apr 27 16:32:29 CDT 2003

On Sun, 27 Apr 2003, Dimitrie O. Paun wrote:

> On April 27, 2003 12:47 am, Francois Gouget wrote:
> > Only as far as commercial companies are concerned. Under the GPL
> > license, anyone can fork QT.
> And you think this is any way acceptable?

Bah, I don't really care. Maybe because I use neither Gnome nor KDE.
I see your point but I can't help but think that it's a bit of a stretch
to say Trolltech could become another monopoly when there is a GPL
implementation available, which is why I said the above.

> I am sorry, but an OS that puts commercial development at such a
> tremendous disadvantage (that is, subject to the monopolistic whims of
> one company) is not a platform. So all the portability issues you
> listed don't even start to apply.

Because KDE's license is bad it does not matter whether WIDE is portable
or not? That does not make sense. Your telling people to ignore a fatal
flaw in WIDE just because _one_ of the other frameworks has what you say
is another fatal flaw. That's jumping out of the fire and into the pan.

Now if you think WIDE is portable, tell us how.

> > So you're saying Linux developpers should abandon Gnome/Gtk and KDE/QT
> > and instead develop using Win32+OLE+COM?
> No! Unfortunately, KDE/QT is in a difficult situation due to the
> licensing problem. It is the desktop of choice for most people,
> I use it, but I can't see what we can do about it.

So the situation will remain the same: we will haev KDE applications and
WIDE applications and they will not be interoperable. I.e. it won't be
possible to insert an Excel spreadsheet in a KWord document.

> > I'm not criticizing, I'm trying
> > to clarify because in one of your previous email I had the impression
> > that you advocated development against a Win32-based Gtk API.
> Gtk is already ported to Win32. App wouldn't even know what Gdk backend
> is used, they would be just the same.

Does that include interoperability with OLE/COM/DCOM or just the look
and feel integration?

> They have a choice: Gtk/Gnome, wxWindows, Win32. There are a lot of
> free apps (see the top SF downloads for examples) that use the Win32
> API, so it's not something new I'm suggesting? Do you think it's more
> moral/ethical to treat these apps as second class citizens in Linux?

I don't see the problem. Do you think it's more moral/ethical to treat
open-source MacOS/X applications as second class citizens in Linux? What
about DOS applications? OS/2 applications? Amiga applications?

> > Yes it would be very cool. I am far from being an expert on OLE/DCOM but
> > I have been told that it may be feasible. Probably a heck of a lot of
> > work though.
> I'm not saying it would be easy. But given that Bonobo was so deeply
> inspired by OLE, I'm hoping it can map easily onto an OLE backend,
> and maybe that leads to an easier path to integration.

I think we agree on most of the goals: we both want to integrate the
Wine, Gnome and KDE environments. By 'integrate' I mean, integrate the
menus and associations, automatically use the same look and feel, and
make it possible to use object components of one in the other and

I believe where we differ is on the method:
 * I think we should work on Wine to make that possible (though
   there may be some work to do in Gnome and KDE).
 * You think that it is mostly Gnome that must be modified to use the
   Wine APIs and you are ready to drop/ignore KDE. I believe you also
   proposed to replace Nautilus/Konqueror with Explorer, and to develop
   a new window manager.

> > Other questions so I better understand:
> >  * are you proposing source-level compatibility or binary level
> > compatibility?
> Both. We get both with Wine, we should be able to keep that.

Of course binary compatibility will only work on the x86 platform.
Porting applications to another platform will require recompiling them.
This will put commercial applications based on a commercial framework
such as MFC and Visual Basic at a big disadvantage. Is it fair to tell
people that this is the way to go when it will restrict them to the x86

I think not. Then you would push Gnome/Gtk as the framework of choice
for WIDE. But for these developpers, what's the advantage of WIDE
compared to the regular Gnome? It seems to me that it only risks to
tempt them into using non-portable APIs.

> >  * how do you propose to handle the issue of drive letters?
> What we do in Wine is just fine. I'm only concerned with GUI apps,
> and there I see drive letters as just shorthands to a bunch of
> dirs. If you like that, go nuts. I see it as mainly a UI thing,
> other than that we'd try to pass Unix paths around as much as
> possible.

You seem very concerned about look and feel. But drive letters are just
as big an issue. You won't have a unified desktop unless this is handled
uniformly. Or do you propose that Gnome applications too use drive

Francois Gouget         fgouget at
        It really galls me that most of the computer power in the world
                          is wasted on screen savers.
                     Chris Caldwell from the GIMPS project

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