RFC on our new initiative

Mike Hearn mike at theoretic.com
Tue Jan 20 13:10:07 CST 2004

On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 08:05:32 -0600, Jeremy Newman wrote:
> We've also, we hope, set the stage for a major new Wine related
> initiative - we hope to encourage lots of ISVs to certify their apps
> against Wine.

Cool! But.....

"We are confident that Wine has matured to the point that CrossOver will
run 95% of all Windows applications by the end of 2005."

Uh, guys, are you sure that isn't over-optimistic? I mean, it seems that Wine is moving
faster than ever before and that's great, but do you have any
hard facts or statistics to back up that claim?

It's been over a decade now, and Wine still crashes and burns with most
Windows apps, in my experience.

Only two years to implement all the random stuff apps want?
MSHTML, MSI, DCOM, get all the bugs out of window management, make
installers rock solid .... I mean the list of things that we need to do in
order to reach that target just boggles my mind.

I'm also a tiny bit concerned that the site seems to blur its focus a bit
- it seems to be positioned as a replacement for the appdb, despite the
fact that it's CrossOver specific: I think there's enough forkage between
CX Office and Wine now to make them basically separate products. 

For instance, on the front page, there is this paragraph:

	Up to this point, the perception has been that Wine only runs a limited
	number of Windows applications. For instance, CodeWeavers' CrossOver
	Office only officially supports about a dozen applications. However, the
	truth is that CrossOver runs many Windows applications quite well,
	although they may not be officially supported. Now, we're raising the bar.
	We are confident that Wine has matured to the point that CrossOver will
	run 95% of all Windows applications by the end of 2005. This Compatibility
	Center has been established in order to document that progress as Wine
	makes the next great leap forward.
This piece of text seems to use the names Wine and CrossOver interchangably, when
they are clearly different.

As for the database itself, well, it seems that it 
duplicates a lot of stuff needlessly - take "Alone in the dark".
In the appdb there is only one comment which is basically "Works great!",
but there is no indication the game works in C4. There's also no
indication in either database whether it actually works as of Jan 2004. 

Worst of all, there's no way to verify this except for a Wine developer buying
a copy of the game, checking it, and possibly fixing regressions. So I'm not
sure that an appdb type thing is even a good idea - a dedicated application 
maintainer who brings the app up to scratch, periodically checks it still works
and so on is easily more valuable than a hundred appdb entries saying "This 
app doesn't work June 1998" or whatever, even if you have far fewer of them.

The idea of advocates is a turn off for me. It sounds like a revival of the 
old application owners idea, except that (again) it's crossover specific. 
It also feels a bit misleading. I think we'd all agree that the following phrases:

"Here at the Compatibility Center, we're looking for similarly talented 
individuals who have a passion to see their favorite Windows applications
running on Linux under CrossOver."

"Volunteer your time to get an application working."

... makes it sound like all you have to do to get foo-app working is download CXO
nightlies and report back the results. We already have this in effect, it's called
bugzilla, and we all know that getting tester feedback of sufficiently high quality
to fix the bug is while not rare, not the expected outcome. Bugzilla and the appdb 
are littered with comments like, "The app starts but then I get a message about 
flat scrollbars which crashes wine".

Is the CrossOver team going to trawl through C4 looking for feedback
from the Advocates fixing bugs given (at best) a stack trace and a
logfile? It'd be nice but the incoming workload scales much better than
the workforce does.

Possibly there's something I'm missing here, like CXTest. Something like that 
sounds invaluable for tracking regressions if it works well, and maybe it's the
secret sauce. I'm not sure.

Finally (sorry guys! :) the FAQ lists the first advantage of C4 over the appdb as
the fact that it's maintained, but the cynic in me can't help noting that if you're
capable of maintaining C4 you'd be capable of doing the same for the appdb ;)

I know I'm giving you a hard time here, and while I really appreciate all you're doing
I thought I'd better air my concerns.

thanks -mike

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