Countering arguments against Wine

Holly Bostick motub at
Sat Nov 6 18:21:45 CST 2004

Mike Hearn wrote:
> As for Cedega/WineX - well, they have a big lead in gaming, but I'd like
> to think that one day Wine will be the swiss-army knife of Windows
> emulation. Regular Wine does have DX support, we should work on that
> rather than be distracted by a pseudo-proprietary fork.
> thanks -mike

I would like that too, actually, and I doubt I'm alone. Did you hear 
that TG is now offering a time-limited demo version so you can (finally) 
try before you buy? The thing is, this fragmentation of the Wine project 
really hurts Wine as a whole, and it just makes me wild.

It's confusing to people who simply want to run their programs. Wine 
actually works better than people are led to believe by the general 
scuttlebutt. WineX/Cedega does not work as well as TG would have one 
believe (not to mention that many users object to the way TG chooses 
what individual games to build support for, without regard to other 
games of the same class/engine, or fairly often breaking something that 
did work under previous versions). Crossover seems to be damn near 
perfect-- as long as you stay within its definitions of what it will 
deal with (but what it will deal with, it won't screw up in any way 
whatsoever, which is more than you can say for the other two variants).

So how are Bob and Betty Newbie (and their kids) supposed to know what 
to do when they need to run a Windows program? There's no Big Board to 
say "if Program X then do this; if Program Y, then do that." And we all 
surely know the consequences of trying to figure out which version of 
which Wine variant runs any given application.

And if you can't figure that out, you will have a (very) bad impression 
of the project as a whole, which is an argument that cannot be 
effectively countered.

Amazingly, in this sea of confusion, Wine appears to be the stable(st) 
leg. Crossover is a great product, but is not so flexible (on purpose, 
no offence intended). Cedega is just not stable; no one knows from 
version to version whether something that worked is going to be broken, 
no one knows when support for desired things (new or old) is going to 
show up; you just pay with a leap of faith-- which many people 
understandably object to.

Wine, on the other hand, gives a general impression of moving forward at 
all times. Yes, there are regressions; yes, things break that used to 
work. But because Wine works on supporting APIs and functions, rather 
than specific applications (which policy I support when Crossover does 
it, and object to when TG does it), when DX8 applications get working 
"perfectly" under Wine, I (as a user) can feel confident that *all* DX8 
apps will then work (at least as far as DX is concerned, notwithstanding 
quirks of individual apps). Which for me as a user, is much more of a 
load off my mind in terms of trying to keep track of how to get whatever 
random app I or my family might want to run working, than trying to read 
anybody's (or in fact, everybody's) application database(s) to try to 
figure out how best to proceed, as I currently must do.

And Wine really does get noticeably better from month to month, which is 
quite heartening-- and the fact that the project exudes a sense of 
hopefulness is not to be sneezed at. People are confused by many of the 
changes, but in case no one has bothered to say, symlinking the drive 
paths is *brilliant*. The auto-setup on first run is pretty cool, too. 
And I can certainly attest that I have run several programs that are 
supposed to work better on WineX (as it was then), which in fact ran 
better on Wine (or in fact, ran only on Wine).

Not to mention that WineHQ is the source of all in the first place, and 
that to WineHQ we have no ethical objections (as so many do with TG). Oh 
yes, I would love to see Regular Wine become the Swiss Army Knife that 
it is meant to be, that users expect it to be, and that it deserves to be.

Then we won't have to counter any arguments, because "is Wine a good 
thing or a bad thing?" becomes a matter of pure philosophy-- and users 
don't have time to argue philosophy, being busy actually getting 
something done, using tools that work.


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