winhelp, Vector NTI, molecular biologists

Misha Koshelev mk144210 at
Sun Sep 2 20:12:45 CDT 2007

Hi everybody,

So as you all know I've been working on various bug fixes throughout
wine, with my most significant contributions to date being MSI OLE
automation support and implementation of http protocol support in
urlmon. This involvement was driven by my initial experiences of getting
a key program used by molecular biologists, Invitrogen's Vector NTI, to
install on wine with a fairly convoluted shell script and submitting my
first patch to fix a crash with this program; Dan Kegel helped me iron
out this first patch a lot and furthermore his comments about how it'd
be nice if such a complicated shell script was not necessary with wine
got me started with my other patches and the rest, as they say, is

So why, you may ask, am I sending all this in an email to wine-devel?
The short answer is that this is a shameless email to see if I might
motivate someone to work on our winhelp implementation a bit, as it is
currently completely useless with Vector NTI. This seems like a fairly
significant task, and my obligations at school/work have recently kicked
up quite a bit, making it unlikely I will be able to take it on anytime
soon. However, I hope to motivate someone with these reasons:

(i) I feel like I've certainly been doing (and will continue to do) my
part in helping out wine, and if this in any case motivates someone
looking for a development direction I would certainly not object; and

(ii) My ultimate vision/goal has been to have Vector NTI run so well
that I could approach Invitrogen and see if they might at the very least
say something to that effect on their Web site ("add wine + linux as a
supported platform"), if not package Vector NTI a la Google Picassa,
which would be great publicity for wine. Also, as you can see from the
comments on my ubuntuforums howto for a lot of molecular
biologists, Vector NTI is the only reason they have to dual-boot/use
VMWare at all (full-disclaimer: this is not 100% true for myself). So
you could help perhaps a fairly small but non-insignificant group of
people by doing some work on winhelp.

Although Vector NTI is a rather large set of programs, currently I
believe the only things keeping it from installing/working to a "gold"
level according to winehq definitions are (i) winhelp and (ii) either
MFC42 implementation (required for WSH to install properly; I suppose
only a few functions prob are really required, but I'm not sure how good
an idea having a very small stub MFC42 would be) or JScript support in
wine. Either item in (ii) seems like a very significant undertaking, but
(i) seems doable and prob. necessary for a lot of apps.

So anyhow just my attempt to influence someone to start working on
winhelp. Sorry for cluttering your inboxes.


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