Bizarre idea: creating our own extension to msi for cross-platform installers

Reece Dunn msclrhd at
Sun Jul 27 04:09:58 CDT 2008

2008/7/27 Scott Ritchie <scott at>:
> Just a crazy thought, but...
> What if we created a standard for passing some sort of wine-specific
> metadata in an MSI file?  Windows would ignore it, but application
> developers could use it to include some helpful Linux-specific Wine
> instructions like what windows version to use, a custom .desktop file,
> or even instructions to install into a completely independent Wine prefix.
> This way, a single .msi file could be a true universal installer for
> both Windows machines and Linux machines.  Moreover, there'd be less of
> a need to create custom Wine packages for applications like Picassa
> since a lot of that functionality would be abstracted into Wine itself.
> Thoughts?

That sounds interesting.

The main MSI data is essentially just a database. Other people provide
their own extensions, for example, InstallShield have their own
extensions to support self-registration of DLL's via (something like)
_IISSelfReg and _IISSelfUnReg tables.

I don't see why we can't add things like X11Desktop tables and the like.

It would be easier for Windows-specific vendors to update MSI files
than it would for them to learn, support and test package
manager-based installs. Also, native Linux packages don't have support
for things like registering COM components, adding registry data and
other Windows-specific tasks.

How many people will add support for this, I don't know. Maybe this is
something the CrossOver team could do as part of their
migration/support service for vendors ^_^.

- Reece

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