Wine, CrossOver wins LQ Members Choice awards 2004

Holly Bostick motub at
Fri Feb 11 11:34:08 CST 2005

Mike Hearn wrote:
> Hey, we won by a large margin!

Congratulations!!! You've earned it, and you deserve it!!
> Wine                   293      42.59%
> Crossover Office         139     20.20%
> Cedega                 131     19.04%
> VMware                 101     14.68%
> Win4lin              24     3.49%
> Good going chaps and chapettes! Nice also to see the results are ranked 
> in rough order of "freeness" too.

I am surprised that you are surprised by this ranking order. It seems 
clear to me (as a user interested in this functionality) why the ranking 
is in precisely this order:

Wine, while not always easy to use (a minus), is a) free/gratis (meaning 
that it's easily available, a plus) and b) free as in FOSS (a big plus, 
since many users who use Wine, rather than dual-booting or making a 
Windows box available, do so because they have an objection to Microsoft 
and so *care* about freeness, both in terms of money and licence). Plus, 
it c) generally works well in most instances (and works noticeably 
better every month, which is also a plus, making this a plus and a 
half). So overall there are many more reasons to love Wine than "hate" 
it (even though sometimes getting any given application working can be 
rather hellish, even for "technically-inclined" users), and for the 
majority of users with "non-specific" program needs/desires, it is 
understandably the first choice.

Crossover Office, although not free/gratis (a minus, but not necessarily 
a big one), is very (very) clearly a professional product in the true 
sense of "crafted to a standard". This professionalism makes it very 
obvious that, should one choose to buy it, the buyer will not be 
throwing their money away (naturally, a huge plus when buying any 
product). The product *guarantees* that it will do what it says on the 
tin (another huge plus if you want me to give you my hard earned Euros), 
and while it doesn't serve all general needs the way that Wine aims to 
(minus), if the user has the needs that this product very explicitly 
states it will serve, buying it is a bargain, because it's a damn good 
product (another plus, because we've all had the experience of buying 
something that just wasn't any good, even though the product "did what 
it said it would" successfully). Furthermore, since everyone who knows 
anything about "the Wine issue(s)" knows how closely CX is related to 
Wine, there is no question-- despite CX being a closed product-- that 
Codeweaver's is anything other than a fine and upstanding member and 
contributor to the community (another plus, since even if I don't like 
spending money, it hurts less if I'm clearly supporting the community by 
doing so). Discounting the opinion of those who have some objection to 
buying any Linux program (since they live in a pretty unrealistic dream 
world), the only reason that CX is not voted above Wine (imo) is because 
of CX's limited scope, since from a 'pure consumer' viewpoint, it stands 
head and shoulders above all the commercial Linux applications I am 
aware of, in any field. And head and shoulders above not a few Windows 
applications, for that matter; CX is very much in the very small class 
of apps I (would) buy simply because they are every bit as good as they 
say they are.

Cedega is 1) not free in any sense, 2) not a good product, 3) not a good 
and upstanding member of the community in the eyes of the community, and 
4) not very consumer-friendly in the most ordinary sense of the word. No 
ordinary consumer is going to feel good about being forced to buy a 
product with absolutely no assurance that it will in fact do what it 
says on the tin, whether they care about FOSS issues, or know the 
history of TG, or not. The policy offends even the 'ignorant' (in the 
simple sense of "not knowing anything about the history or issues 
involved"), and any consumer can surf the TG site/forums and other 
forums, and see that they're pretty much up the creek without a paddle 
if the supposedly working game they attempted to run does not in fact 
work-- especially if that game is not one of the "hot 5 of the month" or 
you have an ATI card (as I do). Plenty of people who actually subscribe 
hate this program, it seems, and I suspect the only people who have 
(unbelievably) voted for it as "the best" are 1) in the specific 
situation of running only one or two of the "supported" games (with an 
nVidia card), and thus had a good experience (unlike many of the rest of 
the users), and 2) are the same people that think it's OK (or even good) 
that you are required to have a Steam account and broadband Internet 
connection for that Steam account in order to play Half-Life 2 
single-player, after spending 50 Euros for the game. I'm not sure that 
these voters are respondents whose opinion I trust or value, and the 
fact that there are so many of them causes me to wonder about the 
composition of the responding group.

VMWare is, of course, very expensive, which knocks it right out of the 
running for many. From what I have heard from users of the program, I am 
not surprised it is voted above Win4lin, and my impression is that it 
would also be worth the money if one needed it. But again, this program 
is for relatively specific needs (which condition is also indicated by 
the pricetag; it's not for "Joe Average User"), and has requirements 
that may be above the heads of the "average" user, assuming said user 
could afford it. The kernel has to be (re-)compiled to support it, you 
must have a Windows license to use it (to install Windows), and you need 
a fair amount of technical understanding to set up the virtual machine 
and maintain it. After you've done all that, there are whole classes of 
programs that the virtual machines do not support anyway, so this is not 
really a viable option for the "general" user, explaining why Wine, CX 
and Cedega come in above it. LQ respondents are more likely general 
users than the specialized users that would find VMWare valuable, but 
it's nice to see that there were a goodly number of such respondents 
around to make their mark.

I'm sure Win4Lin must have a user base, but they are either not very 
vocal, or not very many... one certainly doesn't seem to hear much about 
or from them in the course of participating in large forums or following 
distribution mailing lists and the like. So it is by no means a shock 
that less than 5% of respondents chose it.

> Let's see if we can win again in the 2005 voting :)

Oh, I think you're going to wipe the floor with everybody in 2005... I 
cannot express how much Wine has improved since I last used it 
intensively a few (4-5) months ago-- and this is not even with "focused" 
testing, just noticing that "the same old stuff I always install" 
installed easier, and ran better without me having to do any tweaking or 
  dll copying or anything of that nature, at all. I really felt as if I 
was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; still rather distant, 
perhaps (or perhaps not), but distinct and visible in my vision.

I installed "In Memoriam" (aka "Missing: Since January"), which is a 
pretty recent game compared to what I usually install (2003 in Europe, 
2004 in the US). It installed without difficulty, which was a pleasant 
surprise, and the opening QT (or Shockwave or whatever they are) movies 
ran fine, which was another pleasant surprise. But I was alarmed when I 
started the game (which I didn't really know much about; a gift from the 
Bargain Bin) and discovered that it uses Internet connectivity 
extensively to provide game information (you get an account with 
Freeserve and receive emails either via the web or in your own email 
client, and there are many links within the game-- that you must follow 
from within the game-- to websites where you must go to find clues to 
stop the serial killer) to advance the plot.

It works perfectly. I mean, *perfectly*. I gave my gmail account in the 
opening screen, and I get the mails in gmail (finally, a use for bloody 
gmail). I click a link in the game and the game opens Firefox. Yeah, I 
had to install the Shockwave plugin, but even that worked (and Wine must 
have done that, since the Shockwave plugin is a Windows plugin), and the 
Shockwave web pages run great.

I am no expert on Wine, but I am absolutely sure this would not have 
worked a year ago, and maybe not even 6 months ago. My jaw is on the 
ground that it works now-- without me having to do anything at all. No 
config tweaks, no dll overrides, no nothing. It "Just Worked".

And if Wine is coming along that well... oh yeah, you're going to wipe 
the floor with *everybody* (except CX, but you're not in competition 
with CX) in 2005. And the world will stand in awe.



> thanks -mike

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