Real-world appdb

Holly Bostick motub at
Wed Feb 9 20:11:04 CST 2005

Jonathan Ernst wrote:
> Thanks again for your message.

Jonathan, thank YOU for your support and encouragement. And also thanks 
to you and everyone helping to make a place for "the middleman" to 
provide useful input, and a mechanism by which it can be heard; since 
the appdb wasn't really functional, there was not much point in using 
it... now there is. Good Lord, it's turning into a real information 
production line! Woo-hoo!

> Le lundi 07 février 2005 à 01:16 +0100, Holly Bostick a écrit : 
>>I had to go through 4 links just to get to the main application page.
>>First, the sidebar link from the main site to the appdb front page. This 
> [FIXED] I sent a patch to replace "Applications" with "Applications
> database" in

Thanks! It's not showing yet, but I'm sure it will soon, and it will 
make the menu choice somewhat more understandable to many users, I think.

EDIT: Now it's there. It does clarify the entry nicely.

>>front page is useless to me (and imo, fairly useless overall), 
> [NOT FIXED] We have to discuss it and make changes to this first page.
> Paint and other applications are here because peole voted for it (i.e.
> the list is generated automatically).

Fair enough....but when were these applications actually voted for (is 
the list outdated), and how do you actually vote, anyway? I understand 
that on previous visits to the appdb, I wasn't logged in, so was unable 
to vote (does that make sense, btw? Shades of Transgaming...), but now I 
am logged in and I don't see any method on the front page to actually 
vote for an application-- nor, in fact, what voting for an application 
actually accomplishes.

The applications listed as Gold and Silver are apps which meet both of 
the following conditions (I'm working this out as I type) 1) they work 
out of the box or with minor modifications (neither of which is a 
votable condition, the condition either exists or doesn't) and 2) they 
have been voted as a "Favorite" by users.

Fine (if that's the case), but we care because why, exactly? If WinZip 
is the favorite "works perfectly out of the box" application among users 
(whenever these users may have actually voted, since I can't seem to 
vote *today*, but we'll get to that), well, what does it get us to have 
that on the front page?

Leaving aside the fact that there is no real reason to even run WinZip 
under Wine (given that zip is provided by default with every 
distribution, so *.zip files are already handled, WinZip doesn't handle 
*.rar files or *.ace files, iirc, and in any case, both unrar and unace 
are available by selection under Linux as well, so that's no excuse 
either), I don't particularly care that everybody else finds that 
application their favorite. Furthermore, I'm either not at the appdb at 
all, or if I am, I am not looking for WinZip, *because it runs 
perfectly*! Thus the only information I'm getting is that it runs 
perfectly (which I already knew if I've tried to install and run it; how 
likely is it that I've come to the appdb to "shop" for base utilities 
like WinZip to see if they run before proceeding?), and that the 
proportion of the userbase that cares enough to register and vote loves 
it. Yeah, and? What "big picture" am I missing here?

As for my ability or inability to vote: Here I am on the front page of 
the appdb, which shows the results of registered user votes, right?

Here's the text:


This is the Wine Application Database. From here you get info on 
application compatibility with Wine. For developers, you can get 
information on the APIs used in an application.

Oooh, I can? Never noticed that.... sounds like it would be useful 
information even for a non-coding maintainer, since I would then have a 
better idea what debug channels I'd want to use in case of trouble. Must 
explore later.

As an Application database member you enjoy some exclusive benefits like:

     * Ability to Vote on Favorite Applications

I am logged in, thus a member, thus I should be able to vote, if there 
was a way to do so, but I don't see it.


     * Access to the Application Rating System. Rate the apps that 
"Don't Suck"


Not clear. "Don't suck" in what respect? I mean, plenty of games/apps 
may run fine, but still "suck" (not have been worth the trouble, which 
is the primary definition of this term). But since that's not what we 
mean (I suppose), what is the definition of "sucking"? Septerra Core ran 
perfectly after the addition of some Registry entries (bug in both 
Windows 2000 and above and Wine that Reg entries are not written), but 
the Quicktime cutscenes did not play, although QT was installed. 
Unfortunately, the final reward cutscene for finishing the game is (I'm 
almost sure, haven't actually finished the game yet) a Quicktime movie. 
Thus, the game itself runs perfectly, but you can't see the reward for 
finishing it (and get the answer to the central mystery of the game). 
Does that "suck" or not?

IMHO as a user, it does. In the eyes of a Wine dev, I would think it 
does not (since 99% of the game code runs perfectly). So who defines 
what "sucks"?


     * Ability to customize the View of the Apps DB and Comment System
     * Take Credit for your witty posts
     * Ability to sign up to be an application maintainer.
     * Submit new applications and versions.

We'd like to thank your for being a member and being logged in the 
system. Your help in stomping out Wine issues will be greatly appreciated.

If you have screenshots or links to contribute, please browse the 
database and use the AppDB interface to send us your contributions.

If you have anything else to contribute (howtos, etc.), enroll to be an 
application maintainer or contact us at: appdb at
Note that this address is not for end-user support, for end user support 
please use the mailing lists or newsgroups that you'll find on the main 
There are 2506 applications currently in the database with Visual FoxPro 
being the top voted application.

OK, here we come to the crux of things. Visual FoxPro is the top voted 
application? Then why is WinZip first on the Gold List?

*Visual FoxPro does not even appear on the page*!!!

Oh, right.... I see (after I found out the voting mechanism, understood 
what voting is supposed to be about and came back to this section of the 
mail). Voted applications are the ones you most want to see working (but 
are not listed on the page which discusses voting), and the applications 
shown on the page are the most popular already-working applications.

It's giving me a headache, so I can't explain why that makes no sense, 
but it makes no sense. What it adds up to is that the voting procedure 
mentioned as a benefit of registration has no relationship to the 
content of the rest of the page, which displays the results of a 
different (but not specified as different) voting process, and neither 
of these voting processes are carried out on the page in question. What 
a mess. The quick and dirty hack that comes to mind is that these two 
pieces of information (benefits of registration and results of the Gold 
and Silver voting) should be on different pages. In fact, that's not a 
bad idea, because then you could put the results of the "Wishlist" 
voting on that page as well (assuming that the "Wishlist" remains in 
force; more on that shortly), consolidating all the "user-voted" data on 
one page, so we'd all know where to look for such data if we wanted it.

The word "voted" in the sentence "There are 2506 applications currently 
in the database with Visual FoxPro being the top voted application." is 
a link to (also linked to by the 
Top 25 link in the side menu). I followed this link under the assumption 
that it would lead me to somewhere where I could vote, but it does not 
appear to; there is a banner at the top of the page offering me the 
ability to change the number of Top Apps to be displayed, and the 
Category of Top Apps to be displayed, but no apps are actually displayed 
  using the default settings (25, Any).

Oh, and the Category drop-down does not contain any further entries than 
"Any" so I can't change that anyway, and changing the number of apps to 
be displayed has no effect either.

EDIT: This has been fixed in the time it has taken me to compose this 
mail. Yay, team!

There certainly is no "Vote" option.

I then went to the Excel 2000 page (just because I knew it had votes), 
and did not find any option to vote... oh, wait, there it is! Down the 
side, as a new addition to the sidebar menu. Fine.... but I don't think 
3 radio buttons for "No App Selected" are going to help me.

Fine, let's follow this "Voting Help" link and see if it helps.


Application Voting System Help

The Application Database features a voting system that allows you to 
pick which 3 applications you would MOST like to see running in Wine.

Step by Step help on Voting

    1. Log into the Application Database.

    2. Browse to the Application you wish to add to your vote list.

    3. In the sidebar, Click one of the 3 available slots, and click Vote.

    4. Done!


OK, now I know how to vote. A bit counter-intuitive, but I guess it will 
work. The main thing I see is that these instructions (or a link 
thereto) need to be on the front page of the appdb, where voting is 
first discussed. The only reason I went to an application page was 
because I was troubleshooting this voting procedure; any "reasonable 
user", presented with the results of a poll which the page informs them 
they may participate in, would expect the means of such participation to 
be on the page they are currently on, and if not, that instructions to 
guide them to the proper location be on the page they are on. For this 
procedure, neither is the case.

The second thing I see is that I was not too far off with my "Shades of 
Transgaming" comment. Yeah, right, pick the three applications I would 
most like to see running under Wine. Why? What good is it going to do?

a) if the most-voted applications are unmaintained (as is Excel 2000, 
which I will use as an example, since I would expect it to be highly 
voted; let's pretend that we have no association with any group who has 
Excel running perfectly well :-) ), just what is the mechanism for the 
dev team to stop whatever they might be working on and focus on getting 
*just* Excel 2000 to work? If there is no coordination (maintainer) 
between the application's specific problems and the team's coding 
efforts, what is the incentive for volunteers to pile on this additional 
load? Are you depending on the charity of strangers (if someone cares 
enough to vote, they will care enough to become a maintainer), the 
charity of the dev team (to do all the footwork manually, as there is no 
maintainer to apply the first layer of elbow grease), or just "hoping it 
will all work itself out somehow"? If I have no reason to believe that 
my voting will affect the dev teams activities, why should I bother to 
register and vote?

b) if my three applications are not highly voted (which they likely 
would not be, given that there are thousands of applications to choose 
from, and a couple of thousand in the database), I have no option to 
increase voting support (at least on the old TG forums, you could call 
for a vote and get a "low-voted" application onto the monthly poll). If 
I feel my vote is useless, why should I register and vote?

c) Is there really a benefit in getting specific applications working at 
the cost of specific program classes (or APIs or whatever)? The reason 
that I like Wine over TG is that Wine works on getting DX8 (or 9 or 
whatever) working, whereas TG works on getting Morrowind working. Now as 
it happens, I do play Morrowind, so that works for me, but while 
Morrowind may work under Cedega, pick-your-random-DX8-game does not. 
Whereas under Wine, if somebody fixes (I dunno) dinput.dll, then 
*everything* that broke because it wasn't working gets fixed. Which 
ultimately works out better for me, because I have a much better chance 
of running *anything* I might choose to run, instead of being locked 
into one game or app that has been specifically hacked into working 
because everybody voted for it (but none of the other apps or games I 
might want to run actually do, because the hacks were specific to the 
one game or app rather than general).

d) My impression has always been that the voting mechanism for TG has 
been a somewhat desperate attempt to add value for the forced 
subscription; collecting votes for your particular application is an 
effort to essentially "force" TG to direct the devs in their employ {who 
are presumably paid with the money you already gave TG) to use their 
time to hack your application to a working status, thereby allowing you 
to get value from what you already paid for, so that you will happily 
continue to subscribe (hopefully; it's a pretty thin hypothesis, but 
it's all a subscriber has to hold on to in order to justify this 
purchase). The only reason I believe that voting on TG's site does 
anything at all is because money is involved-- and the reason I believe 
it's really wishful thinking on my part is because I'm the only one 
giving money away. Let's face it, they're basically saying "buy our 
coffeemaker, and if you vote, we will 'enable' it to make (Special Blend 
Columbian Roast) coffee for you". My money is already gone if I have 
stupidly bought a product that doesn't necessarily do what it says on 
the tin in the first place, so why should I believe that the 
manufacturer is actually honorable enough to keep more of their 
"carrot-and-stick" promises?

I mention this only because at least there I can find a (very tenuous) 
logical chain of incentive to vote. I don't see what motivation my 
voting gives to the Wine devs (who's going to "force" them to stop 
working on whatever they're interested in and work on Uru: Ages Beyond 
Myst?), and because of that, I don't see what is the incentive for me to 
vote, or in fact what is the purpose of this entire voting business. Is 
it possibly an implementation of an idea that was obsoleted by later 
changes in the project's direction? If not, it needs to be made much 
clearer what function it serves within the "project production line".


Voting System Notes

     * Please seriously only vote for applications which will benefit 
the community. Don't vote for applications that are known to work well. 
We know Solitaire works. Voting for it would not make much sense.

     * When voting for an application, you are voting for ALL its 
various versions. There is a separate system in place for ranking versions.

     * You can clear your vote at anytime. Simply browse to any 
application in the database, select the slot you want to clear, and 
click the Clear button.


"* Please seriously only vote for applications which will benefit the 

In the judgement of whom? Which community, for that matter? Many feel 
that improving the ability to run your previously-purchased Windows 
games will encourage migration for home users; naturally, improving the 
ability to run various office-centered applications will stimulate and 
encourage enterprise and small business migration. Users from either 
group will not really have any overview of benefit to "the community" as 
a whole, since they are most likely new users, who 1) have no experience 
with "the community", and 2) may often run Windows applications under 
Wine for which there is a native alternative simply because they are 
unfamiliar with Linux and with the operation of the alternative, and so 
prefer to stick with "the devil they know" (thus, they know even less 
about the community than they might otherwise, because they are not 
participating in it fully, but instead using Wine as a "buffer zone" to 
avoid it).

Furthermore, most users probably don't care anyway. I myself don't care 
if getting Icewind Dale running "benefits the community"; it benefits 
*me*, and the community of which I am a member is benefited only by 
extension. Getting it running does enable me to provide information to 
those members of the community that have an interest in about Icewind 
Dale, which I do care about, but I'm not sure that my caring to 
contribute helpful information to the community has any relationship to 
this particular decision of whether to vote for this specific 
application or not.

I mean, fine, if I was really going to vote for applications that will 
benefit the community, I would be voting for some DTP app (many feel 
that Scribus is just not there yet), some audio recording app (I'm sure 
we've all heard the stories of attempting professional audio 
manipulation under Linux) and I guess Photoshop (since many say that The 
Gimp is very nice, but just not as good). That's what would be of most 
benefit to the community, based on my knowledge of the community. But I 
do not do DTP, or record professional audio, or do graphics 
manipulation-- and I am not so selfless that I am going to vote for 3 
applications that are of great use to the community, but no use to me 

I find this request stress-inducing and vaguely antagonistic. I 
understand that users should be warned not to vote frivolously, but I 
don't think this is quite the way it should be phrased (though the 
"correct" phrasing is not leaping to my mind ;-) )

>>What I would have found more useful on what is essentially the
>>"overview" page is some indication as to whether the problems with the 
>>application that I am consulting the app database about are known
> [FIXED] Application overview contains a general description of
> application but version-specific pages (should) contains the
> informations you are requesting and new templates are trying to enforce
> that. Yes you have to click once more on your version but it is normal
> imho as each versions has it's specific problems and the summarry under
> the main overview tells you already if an application is Gold, Silver,
> Bronze or Garbage.

Indeed, fixed, I checked the page for Fallout, which is maintained, and 
it looks both "very nice indeed" and "helpful"!!! Looking forward to 
this month's release, since I have not installed Fallout in months due 
to this issue (and I'd like to finish the game; I was enjoying it).

>>1.4) The big "Become a super maintainer" link/button is nice
> [FIXED] Please report back if you think otherwise.

Yes, it works now. The "Add Version" button is nice, too.

>>1.4b) more importantly, I do not know what the responsibilities of a
>>"maintainer" are-- much less a "super maintainer". 
> [FIXED/NOT FIXED] These informations are shown after clicking on the
> button. But we discussed the possibility to add a "?" sign near the
> button that will bring you to the related help page.

Yes, so they are (after you reassured me, I clicked the button). On the 
whole, I find the information good, but not very detailed or complete.

Here again, is the text:

This page is for submitting a request to become an application 
maintainer. An application maintainer is someone who runs the 
application regularly and who is willing to be active in reporting 
regressions with newer versions of Wine and to help other users run this 
application under Wine.

Being an application maintainer comes with responsibilities.

You are expected to:
# Keep the application comments clean, all stale data should be removed
# Be an active user of that application and version
# Keep up-to-date with all Wine releases, if there are regressions they 
should be reported to wine-devel

You will:
# Receive an email anytime a comment is posted or deleted for the 
application or the application information is modified

We ask that all maintainers explain why they want to be an application 
maintainer, why they think they will do a good job and a little about 
their experience with Wine. This is both to give you time to think about 
whether you really want to be an application maintainer and also for the 
appdb admins to identify people that are best suited for the job. Your 
request may be denied if there are already a handful of maintainers for 
this application or if you don't have the experience with Wine that is 
necessary to help other users out.


No problems with the text relating to how to maintain the appdb entry 
itself (keep the comments clean, etc), but "be an active user of that 
application and version", and "if there are regressions, they should be 
reported to Wine-devel"?

That says absolutely nothing to an "advanced user" such as myself, because

"Be an active user of that application and version." Fine, if I was the 
maintainer of Excel 2000, I should have Excel 2000 installed, or have 
attempted to install it (if that failed), and presumably I should write 
my experience doing that in the description.... but I'm just guessing 
that last part, because the requirements do not specify that. I am aware 
that the Mainatiner Rules are still under revision, but this is a bit 
too minimalist even for me :-) .

But here's my real problem: "Keep up-to-date with all Wine releases, if 
there are regressions they should be reported to wine-devel."

 From both my own sense of self and your encouragement, I am fairly 
certain I am capable of meeting this requirement--- *but I don't know how*!

I've hung around Wine-users and wine-devel long enough to know what 
regression testing is, and the very most basic level of what it involves 
(compiling CVS from the date of the "broken" release, then going 
backwards in CVS by day to find the date where the program works again, 
and then testing the patches committed on that day to find out which one 
breaks the program)-- but I have no practical knowledge of how to do any 
of the tasks required to perform this procedure (compile multiple 
versions of Wine on the same system, keep the configs separate, patch 
individually or revert a specific patch, etc).

I also do not know how to run the debug channels (assuming I installed a 
package that even has debug, since some packages do differentiate 
between "regular" and "nodebug") in order to create useful traceback 
logs, nor do I know how to choose which channels to run for any 
particular app or presenting issue ("all" creates giant logs from what I 
hear, most of which is not needed).

And lastly, I do not know how to submit the information to wine-devel so 
that it will be "proper", whatever that means; I know that "we" don't so 
much use Bugzilla for such things, but should there not be a 
wine-maintainers list or some such? It seems to me that just sending a 
regular email to the wine-devel list might well result in it either 
being considered "noise", or just getting lost in the mix.

In any case, I do feel that if such technical procedures are to be 
required of me, I should have access to some instructions on how to 
perform them before making the committment, so that I can adequately 
judge whether or not I can fulfill the responsibilities I am considering 
taking on.

EDIT: After writing this, I was reading mail on the wine-users list 
which mentioned a very similar problem (with something of a solution). 
In the "Re: [Wine]Invisible Menu Items in Wavelab [was: Problems 
starting Wavelab]" thread, Shayne O'Connor said:

"i haven't been able to find a good debugging
how-to for wine ... any suggestions?"

And Mark Knecht answered:

"Well, the Wine Userr's guide gives some good instructions but you need
to be pretty interested in learning before you delve in.

You can learn about debug channels in other parts of the same
document. It's interesting (sort of...) that all this capability is
there, but also frustrating as it feels like you have to get a
programming degree to even get started."

So at least I know where to look for the information, even if it looks 
like there's a good chance I won't understand it immediately. But we'll see.

This is not really a hopeful omen, though: one user indicating that the 
information on debugging is not easily found, and another indicating 
that, when found, the information is not easily understood. That kind of 
comment would be raising orange flags in my book (not the kind of thing 
I would want to hear my users/customers/people I'm supposed to be 
servicing saying about the instructions I'd provided), and so you may 
not be surprised if there's a "Real-world debugging docs" in your near 
future :-) .

  >>which usually should not be run at lower versions if a patch (which
>>increases the version while repairing errors) is available. So there is 
>>in some ways no reason to maintain version "1.0" when no one should 
>>actually be *running* version 1.0 other than immediately after install, 
> [WONT FIX] We cannot handle different behaviour for games and other
> categories. As you said it yourself there are cases when it makes sense
> to maintain separate version. If it makes no sense it's the duty of the
> app or version maintainer to rename his version (for example 1.x instead
> of haveing version 1.1 and version 1.2 if their behaviour is the same).

OK, that's a good alternative, but this should be mentioned in the 
Maintainer's Guidebook (if it isn't, haven't checked yet), since I 
wouldn't have known to do that if you hadn't just told me, and even had 
I thought of it, I wouldn't have known it was "OK to do".

>>1.5) Comments are not being counted properly on the main overview page;
> [FIXED] I sent a patch for this as well. Thank you for reporting.

Thanks! It doesn't show yet either, but it's still cool :-) .

EDIT: It's fixed. Hoorah!

>>I'd really like to see forums or at least some kind of PM system 
> [FIXED] Maintainers, Supermaintainers and Administrators  receive e-mail
> telling them an user made a comment in applications they maintain. If
> the comment is in reply to another comment the other people in the
> thread receive the email as well.

Yes, I saw that in the explanation of maintainer duties and privileges. 
This doesn't so much reassure the users, though (i.e., they will not 
know that their comment will be "mentioned" to the maintainer unless 
they have read the maintainer's information notes. A note to this effect 
that an "average" non-maintainer user will see as well might be useful.

>>Comments should also require the specification of the Wine version, the
>>distribution under which it is used, and the type of install
>>(self-compiled from source, distribution repository package, or Wine
>>distribution package; I have visions of a radio button) to be attached
>>to the comment, as new users often don't know to include this
>>information, but it's pretty hard to answer many questions without
>>having this information (so one has to ask, which wastes time and space).
> [NOT FIXED] Good idea. Might be worth implementing it.

I hope you do; imagining trying to field questions from users of a 
popular app such as HL2 (when that DX9 work is done) as the maintainer 
(not that I would ever volunteer to maintain HL2; I'm not a lunatic) and 
having to ask each and every posting user what these specs were, is the 
stuff of nightmares to me. Have a heart.

>>A Wine FAQ at the forefront of the appdb, or even linked to each
>>application's overview page might be nice, too
> [NOT FIXED] Good idea too. Might be worth implementing it in the help system.
>>Somebody's going to say I should write a FAQ myself and submit it as a
>>patch, aren't they? Yes, OK, but let me finish this mail first ;-) .
> Are you thinking to do that ?

Naturally I am. I wouldn't be a very good and responsible member of the 
FOSS community if I wasn't (and it's important to me to be a good and 
responsible member of the FOSS community). I haven't started the text 
yet, though (a bit short on time), and I have a technical problem in 
that I don't know how to format or submit the text when done (or at 
least drafted). I keep hearing "submit a patch", but I really don't know 
how to do that for non-code text or HTML (I don't know how to do it for 
code either, but I assume that if I could code, I *would* know).

But OK, now that I think of it, a couple of people have submitted 
documentation updates in the past several weeks; I'll check through my 
email and see how they did it.

>>1.7) Descriptions are really not very useful, for several reasons.
> This should be fixed by maintainers.

Fair enough, but what about all the applications that do not have 
maintainers? They remain in disarray until someone steps up, if someone 
does? If the appdb needs a "spring cleaning", somebody has to make a 
start, and if there are no maintainers available to do so, does it then 
not become the responsibility of the admin (if there is such a beast)?

>>1.8) (or, "On the road again") Off to the Baldur's Gate page, then... 
>>Back button to the subcategory (Games=>Role-Playing; thank heavens 
>>they're the same type), follow a new link to the Baldur's Gate page... 
>>I'm ranging far afield now, but in this case, that's OK. I have BG as 
>>well, but haven't installed it yet, so it's useful for me to look at the 
>>page anyway. Luckily. Because if I didn't have BG, I would now be 
>>traveling to the page of a completely different application in which I 
>>had no interest, with no assurance that what I find there will be of any 
>>use to me. In that case, I'd probaly be pretty bloody pissed off by now, 
>>given that I would have spent a fair amount of time trailing around the 
>>appdb without being so much as a single step closer to solving my actual 
>>problem with the original application, or even having it confirmed as a 
>>known problem, or receiving a clue that implied "user error", or 
>>anything whatsoever that would give me a troubleshooting or solution 
>>trail. if you'd like to 
>>come with me.
> Hmm not sur I understood you on this one.

What I'm saying here is that I started out looking for a solution for 
problems with installing an expansion for Icewind Dale on one page. Not 
only did I find no mention of my problem on the most relevant page, I 
also found no mention of the version evidencing the problem, after 
following five links to reach this page in the first place.

The only information I did find on that page that had any hope of 
providing a solution to my actual problem was that I should go to 
another application's page (the Baldur's Gate page, to which no link was 
provided), because that game was related (in an unspecified way as far 
as Wine is concerned) to Icewind Dale, and the solutions for (also 
unspecified) problems that Baldur's Gate users were having might also 
apply to Icewind Dale.

As it happens, because I also have Baldur's Gate, going to the Baldur's 
Gate page was useful in itself. However, let us presume I did *not* also 
have Baldur's Gate.

In this case, after following five links to reach the application page 
for Icewind Dale, where no solution to, or in fact mention of, my 
problem was found, I am being suggested to redirect (manually) to the 
application page for a completely different application (Baldur's Gate) 
than the one I wanted to know about. Because (in this hypothetical 
situation) I do not have Baldur's Gate, I have no interest in being on 
the Baldur's Gate page; I can't install what I don't have, thus I have 
no interest in knowing about the problems of this new application. 
However, I am nonetheless going to this 6th page, which I have no 
interest in or use for, simply because this game that I do not have is 
in some way related to the one I do have, and related in a way that 
means nothing to me as a normal user, since the relationship between 
Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate is not explained in the context of what 
we're dealing with (Wine). So what if IWD "uses a modified Baldur's Gate 
engine"? What does that mean to Wine, and why does that mean that the 
Baldur's Gate page might serve some purpose for me when I don't in fact 
have Baldur's Gate, but Icewind Dale?

I don't know, because I am an "average, non-technically-inclined" user 
who is just trying to get IWD:HoW to install, but nonetheless, I am 
expending further manual effort (since there is no direct link) to reach 
this new page that I have no interest in on its own account. I am doing 
this because this new page *may* contain information relating to my 
problem with the application I actually have-- but I won't know until I 
get there, and read the issues with this other application and see if 
any of them are the same as the ones I am having with the application I 
am actually using.

I recognize that the maintainer is responsible for making this somewhat 
more tidy, and there is atm no maintainer for this application to clean 
it up.

I was only pointing out that this particular entry (and possibly others; 
I can't check them all), was originally posted in the most circular and 
frankly infuriating manner possible. Windows migrators who are used to 
getting to some kind of useful information (or being told definitively 
that such useful information does not exist) in one or two clicks would 
have left the appdb long ago, especially since any such user is already 
angry and impatient after having attempted to install their application 
and failing, and this entire unneccesarily extended journey through the 
appdb is essentially a distraction from what they originally wanted to 
do (which was play Icewind Dale with the expansion pack). So the fact 
that this journey *is* unnecessarily extended (by sending me to vaguely 
related pages) is bad, because if one must be distracted, one strongly 
prefers that such distractions be as short as possible.

If the help exists, it should be presented as soon as possible. If the 
help does not exist, that should be said as soon as possible. But 
entries that dick you around (excuse my French) with vague hope ("the 
concrete help you're looking for may possibly be found in the far 
reaches of Timbuktu; travel there and perhaps the mystery shall be 
revealed unto you") should absolutely not be accepted as valid, and 
frankly do somewhat more harm than good to the appdb's reputation if 
left as they are until a maintainer steps up to fix them, because that 
was a really tedious runaround for no gain whatsoever (the Baldur's Gate 
page did not help me either).

>>1.10) *this application is not listed in the appdb*
> You won't find every application and version in the appdb, nor every fix and problem. That's why you as an user can:
> - submit applications and versions
> - submit screenshots
> - submit how-tos, notes and comments
> - modify application and version description (maintainer)
> - etc.

Yes, that's true. But now we're coming to another important issue: 
Publicity. Who really knows about the appdb (meaning in terms of Wine 

You need the user community to step up, and in a (very) big way, 
participating both as users and maintainers, but how are they to even 
know that they should do so?

What would really help here is the equivalent of a "Grand Opening" bash, 
complete with marching band. Maybe I should see if I can submit 
something to OSNews (they seem to take all kinds of ...stuff... which is 
often consdidered much less useful, if the user comments after many 
articles are to be believed), or some similar missive. What I'm thinking 
of is widely-announced news that these resources are available, and 
making people aware that they can contribute to them (and should), no 
matter their level of expertise. Anybody can make a screenshot, and even 
that helps to make users having trouble with an app feel better (it 
*can* work; somebody got it running long enough to take a screenie; 
*there is hope*). And once someone has been able to help in even a small 
way-- often when they thought there was nothing they could contribute-- 
it can easily lead to more significant contributions. If they contribute 
a screenie, they might stay long enough to notice and read the debugging 
docs. And once they do that, they can try to help by submitting 
tracebacks for the stuff they can't get working, and help get it fixed.

But an acorn doesn't become a mighty oak if no one plants the seed. And 
of course, this will all fall flat if the appdb backend is not in 
place/stable, so maybe that should be confirmed before I get all excited 
:-D .

> You seem to know how to make many application run fine, why don't you
> share this knowlege with other appdb users ? You'll make the appdb more
> usefull for many and so more people will come and visit the appdb. Some
> of these new users you attracted might know more than you on
> applications you failed to make to run and might decide to contribute
> as you did. That way everybody will benefit.

Yes, of course I will do that; although Wine self-destructed on me two 
days ago, so I have to reinstall everything I did have running, but at 
least I can document it this time around.

But I don't agree that simply making the appdb more useful will 
encourage more people to use it-- many who have already written it off 
(and told others to do so), will need a big "New! Improved!!" sticker on 
the thing before they bother to come back and pitch in, and many likely 
don't even know of its existence in the first place.

>>Also not listed are the Baldur's Gate expansion, "Tales of the Sword
>>Coast", and the Baldur's Gate 2 expansion "Throne of Bhaal"
> Please submit thes new versions or application if you can.

Yes, just as soon as I get them installed.

>>Fine, I'm stopped cold with this issue, let's stop quickly by the
>>Icewind Dale 2 page ( )
>>and see if there's help for me there; 
>>according to the description, I am supposed to be
>>able to install this, as long as I have an insanely old version of Wine
>>(the original description was penned by someone installing under
>>20020904!), which I don't.
> The fact that someone reported that an application worked fine with
> Wine 20020904 doesn't mean it won't run with a newer version. On the
> opposite, regressions are not so common in Wine nowadays and if you or
> any user finds out that an application which was working with an older
> version of wine doesn't work anymore you can just send an e-mail to
> wine-devel to spot the regression. On the other hand if you find an old
> comment like this and can confirm that it still works using the current
> Wine version, you can tell others by adding a comment or modifying the
> description (please keep an history of reported Wine-version tested) if
> you are a maintainer.

Yes, got it-- fortunately, I do believe I have some older versions of 
Wine stored as backups from sometime last year (probably at least 6 
months ago), and I know that this used to work (as I still have 
savegames from playing under Wine last year). I might be able to narrow 
the "where did it break?" gap to within a couple of months (or closer), 
rather than the current gap of a year and a half, which would be 
something, at least.

>>2.3) I'll try the workaround listed in the description, but... 
>>If the workaround doesn't work, I will probably dig up my backup of my
>>last installed and updated Win98-- which I cleverly saved all the
>>system files from before blowing it away, for just such an eventuality--
>>and "taint" my Wine installation by copying over the "real"
>>InstallShield files to the fake windows Common Files. This will probably
>>work-- it has in the past-- but I was really hoping to run 'pure' Wine
>>this time around. It has so been improving by leaps and bounds lately.
> If you take time to investigate this you might then report back in the
> appdb so that next user will have mor luck than you had in the first
> place.

Yes, of course-- I will probably maintain this application (and IWD2) if 
no one beats me to it (as if there's a line of eager supplicants before 
me!) before I get my "tracking system" in place.

The only thing that concerns me in terms of my "hack" being the 
"semi-official way to get it working" is that everybody may not have 
Win98 InstallShield files, I don't know if this will even work with the 
analagous files from 2000 or XP (I had Windows 2000 but didn't save the 
files, and I've never had or intend to have XP), and on the whole, I'd 
really rather see if I can track the issue down with the devs, or 
whether a new release will solve the problem itself-- I know some devs 
have been working on Installshield recently, but I would have thought 
that they were likely concerned with a newer iteration than the one 
here, which, to be honest, I don't even know why it should be broken, 
since it is fairly old as Installshield goes (Icewind Dale was released 
in 2000, the Heart of Winter expansion in 2001).

>>Let's see if things are any better in the Applications section. My issue
>>here is that I need to burn some CloneCD images. 
>>I have already tried to install both programs; CloneCD installed without
>>problems, but would not run, starting the debugger immediately with an
>>error in the 32-bit code-- I would like to find out why, and if there is
>>a solution. I then tried to install Nero 6.3, but clicking either the
>>Nero 6-only setup button or the "install suite" button on the autorun
>>dialog blinked and returned me to the autorun dialog-- I'd like a
>>solution, if I cannot get CloneCD to run (which I don't think I can).
> This kind of informations would be very usefull to other appdb users.

Yes, I suppose in the absence of concrete solutions, a confirmation of 
the problem is better than nothing, and I will provide that to the appdb 
within the week. But I would rather help work towards a solution, or be 
able to definitively pass along the information that the problems are 
(currently or permanently) insoluble, but that means going through those 
debugging docs.

However, it does also remind me of another question I had: I know we 
don't "care" about TG, and afaik, many of the Wine devs actually work 
for Codeweavers, but I also have a copy of Cedega and I can download the 
CXOffice demo (can't afford to buy even the Standard, sadly).

I have tried some 'limited triangulation'; for instance, under Wine 
Icewind Dale Heart of Winter bombed before the Installshield even 
extracted fully, but under Cedega got far enough to claim that IWD was 
not installed (so the installer exited gracefully). Now, I can guess why 
that happened (Registry issue; TG seems to put per-application entries 
in the program folder, which the expansion is not going to find, God 
only knows what the point of doing it that way is), besides which we 
don't care about TG in any case, and plus this is an Installshield 
issue, and their implementation is under a different licence than 
Wine's, so we can't look at it and see what's going on anyway. But if I 
downloaded the CX demo, I could try it there, too, and see what the 
differences are, giving me 3 points of triangulation (since "we" 
--meaning you devs-- do know the specifics of the Wine and CX code, if 
not the TG).

Would reporting (to the dev list, or maintainer's list, not the appdb) 
how the same application behaves differently under the variants be of 
any use in more speedily finding the likely location of a problem with 
that application in Wine?

>>4.1) Hey, the first app I've looked at in this db with a "native
>>alternative" link. Nice, but I'm not reading the description anyway 
>>I'd be much more likely to see it then (if I didn't know about K3b already).
> [FIXED] It's now possible (again) to add applicatin specific links in the place you mention.

Yeah, and I like the great big can't-miss-it recursive link above the 
comments on the version page, too.

> Thanks again, I'd be happy to see you reporting back.
> Jonathan

Thanks again for caring :-) -- this is thus the 'reporting back'. I've 
pretty much got my work cut out for me in terms of 1) reinstalling Wine 
2) documenting the apps that I have working 3) posting comments to the 
appdb and taking on some maintainer's duties for at least a couple of 
them, but I would appreciate input on how to proceed with a) drumming up 
some publicity that you guys have really made some wonderful 
improvements and the disenchanted should drop by and pitch in, and b) 
providing viable information to the devs in order to tackle some of the 
problem applications I have tried to install or run.

I really appreciate this opportunity to contribute-- and in case I 
haven't said lately, you guys are doing a great job. Thank you all very 
much for Wine and all the related infrastructure.


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