Real-world appdb

tony_lambregts at tony_lambregts at
Fri Feb 11 11:11:53 CST 2005

Holly Bostick wrote:
> Jonathan Ernst wrote:
>> 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 the list outdated), and how do you actually vote, anyway?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?
Well the big picture is that the more apps that run "out of the box" the better 
Wine is. Apps that can be downloaded are available to anyone so if a regression 
occurs in one of these apps it is easier to debug than one that a developer does 
not have access to. It is even better for Wine if the program has source code 
available. So having entrys for and (hopfully) maintainers for programs like 
WinZip or Mozilla benifit Wine in a very real sense.

Also for newcomers to linux knowing that programs that they are familiar with 
run eases the transition to what can be a very intimidating environment. If 
being able to run winzip instead of the native alternative makes someones life 
easier that IMHO is a good thing.

One last thing is that having programs that run on the front page is our way of 
blowing our own horn.

> 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:
> -------------------------------
> Welcome
> 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.
I guess I never *really* read that. I think that what the appdb is today is not 
the original conception. From what I can decipher form other clues there was an 
idea that the appdb would contain all the windows calls that a program made. 
while this seems like good idea perhaps it was not a practical one.

The problem of collecting all the api's a program calls is do-able ( 
WINEDEBUG='all' ). However what do we do with that trace afterwords. Manually 
entering each call int the appdb is out of the question. I am certain that we 
could parse the file and somehow to get it into the database. However, how 
usefull would that data be for either the end user or the developer?


> 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".
You are probably correct here. Certainly voting for an application version makes 
more sense to me. However voting for any app makes no "real" difference to the 
developers at this time.

The voting system is an indication of how popular (important?) a program is. I 
do think it really good at what it is supposed to do.

I think that a system that indicates how popular a program is can be usefull. 
certainly you would like to have the database users be able to indicate that 
they would like a program to run. I would like to propose the following changes.

- Voting for app version ( not app family).
- only one vote per person per version.
- more total votes, say 10-20 instead of 3.

> 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 
> users)?
> 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 .
I think that we have a ways to go before we have a Grand (re)opening. There are 
stability problems and missing features that we need to address before we want 
to get slashdotted ;^). We are getting a steady increase in the number of 
comments and maintainers that so I think that the word is getting out anyways. I 
don't think that I want to make a big annoncement and have users going away 

There are a couple of big features that need to be dealt with.

- Add monitoring system for users to monitor changes to an app without becoming 
a maintainer.

- Revamp the integration with bugzilla so that a bug can belong to an app 
version instead of the app family. Also it should be possible to link a bug to 
more than on app.

- revamp the voting system.

- Make the documentation mor usefull.


Tony Lambregts

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