[Wine] Get real - install Windows!

JontomXire wineforum-user at winehq.org
Sat Nov 12 07:02:20 CST 2011

After months where my wife was patiently playing WoW with appalling graphics because WoW doesn't really support OpenGL any more, and an even worse frame rate despite really low graphics settings, I finally got fed up with the fact that I cannot, under any circumstances, get sound out of Mangler and WoW at the same time even though the Wine audio test works fine, and was getting zero support on the issue from anyone, so I re-installed Microsfot Windows XP.

I fired up WoW and you know what? The graphics, on much higher settings, are much much better - this despite the fact that one chap on this or a related forum tells me that he gets just as good graphics performance under Linux as under Windows and it must be my dated graphics cards. I had told him that I remembered having had better performance under Windows with an older motherboard, and less ram and MUCH slower CPU. Turned out I was right.

And the sound just works. It just does. No extra effort required at all. For that matter it didn't take any extra effort to get fantastic graphics right off the bat without having to muck about over-riding the default Wine repositories or installing manufacturer proprietary drivers directly (which is actually easier than installing through the Ubuntu package manager).

Much as I hate Windows, I am now going to go buy a license and pay my hard earned cash to a company I loathe. Because, let's fact it, these days I do naff all programming, I'm not running a server, I'm running a desktop and all my wife wants to do is play computer games and browse the internet. Me too pretty much, but I do that on my PC.

So it sounds like I'm just whinging right. Just another sad loser whining on the forums? Yeah maybe, but I'm computer savvy, professional software engineer, who hates Microsoft with a passion. So if I am going back to Windows it must really mean something. And what it means is this.

Linux still cannot compete with Windows in the home.

Despite all the effort that has gone into making Linux desktops more user friendly with more features, and easier to manage, the one failing is this: Most of the world's desktop home PCs run Windows because most of the world's desktop home PC users want to play games and the games manufacturers write their software almost exclusively to run on Windows because....most of the world's desktop home PCs run Windows.

The ONLY thing breaking this vicious cycle is right here - Wine. But until the graphics and sound support, and support for running multiple applications with sound simultaneously actually works, and works easily out of the box, Linux will never break into the homes of the mass population as a desktop OS.

This partisan in-fighting between sound systems is stupid. FFS make Wine support PulseAudio. Don't argue about it, just do it. My Mangler install says it is using OSS, but I'm fairly sure it isn't because I uninstalled every spec of OSS in my system that I could find and it still works. Winecfg says it is is using the ALSA driver and I'm sure it is because the sound test works - untill I installed the PulseAudio sound server and the OSS stuff in a somewhat desperate attempt to get it all working.

Graphics is a tricky issue I know. Reverse engineering DirectX and getting it to run using OpenGL because the driver manufacturers only support OpenGL on Linux - that's hard. But there are free open-source drivers for my graphics card, and nVidia are very good about supporting Linux. Is it not possible to install the Windows nVidia drivers via Wine and use the actual DirectX DLLs from Windows or something? I did read somewhere about someone using DirectX using that mechanism, but I suspect the post was about 5 years old. Most of them seem to be. I'm fed up of people saying that they get as good graphics frame rate on Linux as on Windows. What are they comparing? OpenGL on Windows? My aged 4 year old twin SLI capable graphics cards run just fine thankyou - under Windows. They have more than enough processing power. Maybe someone else gets 50 FPS with graphics card hardware that costs 4 times as much as mine cost when new. But given a choice between spending £90 on a Windows license, and £300 on new graphics cards with enough oomph to provide decent graphics (I spent less than that on my new Windows PC a few months ago and get AWESOME graphics) which do you think I choose? Me and everyone else with any common sense.

So something needs to be done. I appreciate, from reading posts about Wine dating back over 7 years or so, that Wine has vastly improved since the old days. Apparently you can now run it in parallel with PulseAudio, although the sticky post on the forums still says that you cannot.

Anyway. I'm back to Windows. Been nice meeting you all. Have fun and good luck. Let me know if you finally get Wine working.

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