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Wine Traffic #229 For 1 Jul 2004

By Brian Vincent

Table Of Contents


This is the 229th issue of the Wine Weekly News publication. Its main goal is to light fireworks. It also serves to inform you of what's going on around Wine. Wine is an open source implementation of the Windows API on top of X and Unix. Think of it as a Windows compatibility layer. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely alternative implementation consisting of 100% Microsoft-free code, but it can optionally use native system DLLs if they are available. You can find more info at

Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 90 posts in 290K.

There were 38 different contributors. 18 posted more than once. 16 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. News: Interview with Shachar, Reviews

26 Jun 2004 - 1 Jul 2004 (2 posts) Archive Link: "News"

Topics: News

People: Shachar ShemeshNewsTransGaming

This past week we discussed Wine's internationalization efforts with Shachar Shemesh. Read the interview.

In the as-seen-on-Slashdot category, they posted some reviews of both CrossOver Office and TransGaming's Cedega. As always there were many comments from the community about both products, most of which were very positive.

This issue is getting pushed out the door kicking and screaming. I'm headed out for a long weekend and am a bit crunched for time to fully complete this. However, one thread I really wanted to cover both last week and this week concerned FreeBSD. You can find the whole thread here. Basically, there seems to be a problem with FreeBSD right now that's preventing it from running Wine and the proper fix seems to be changing the FreeBSD kernel. John Birrell is looking into it, but it's unclear how long it will take to sort things out.

2. Fixed Mandrake RPMs

29 Jun 2004 (3 posts) Archive Link: "Mandrake RPMs"

Topics: Build Process

People: Mike Hearn

Mike Hearn found a problem with recent Mandrake RPM's:

Ivans comment that the Mandrake RPMs didn't work on Red Hat/Fedora surprised me, so after encountering a stuck Mandrake user for whom the RPMs weren't working either on IRC I decided to check them out.

It turns out the reason they don't work on Fedora is because they don't work at all - wine.inf is in /usr/share/doc/wine-20040615 which is wrong, it needs to be in /usr/share/wine. As this file is in the wrong place Wine refuses to start on a new users account.

Once I manually copied the file to the right place Wine worked just fine.

A quick look on the SourceForge download page shows that the files haven't been updated. However you can perform the simple fix Mike described.

3. Making Wine Upgradable

29 Jun 2004 (4 posts) Archive Link: "[RFC] Wine upgrade procedure (spec)"

Topics: Configuration

People: Dimitrie Paun

Dimi wanted to get everyone's thoughts concerning how Wine should support being upgraded:

It seems that we are getting ever so closer to 0.9. Slow, but steady. Looking at the TODO, it looks like upgrading is one of the big showstoppers, in that it will affect (1) the end-user experience, and (2) how we deal with the configuration.

So this seems like a good time to start discussing this topic, as we need to eventually reach the elusive 0.9. This seems to be a difficult topic, so we need to approach the problem well prepared. That is, we need to first define (and agree) on what we need to solve here. So after a tumultuous discussion on IRC, I decided to get the ball rolling.

Intuitively, upgrading wine is simple to understand: once a new version is installed, we need to get users in a state where they can use it. While simple to state, this problem is complicated by the various corner cases that can appear in Real Life (TM):

We can also look at some important use-cases that we need to support, but before we do, the following must hold true in all cases:

Let's look at the use-cases:

A. Global Install
In this case, both Wine code, as well as applications are installed globally, for all users to access. This is the most Unix-like setup, but unfortunately the most difficult to support, due to the fact that Win32 apps simply expect a different environment. Since we can't control application's code, this setup may present some limitations, but it may be sufficient for sites that need a limited set of applications. For this to work, it is acceptable that we ship special scripts that know about the applications that are supported, so that they can work around inherent limitations in the applications themselves. Users should transparently be able to use the new version of wine, the next time they start wine.
B. Mixed Install
Here, Wine code is installed globally, but applications are installed in the user's account. In a way is like (A) but with some additional applications installed directly into the user's account. Same requirements apply to this case as well.
C. Local Install
Both Wine code, as well as applications are installed locally, into the user's account. The Wine code is still installed globally by the administrator (as in A & B), but it is copied locally before it's being used. An upgrade in this case may require an explicit action by the user, so the upgrade can happen at a controlled time, when the user desires it.

In all of the above, there is always state in the user directory. Thus, it is imperative that the upgrade process makes sure that after the upgrade, the user-private state is consistent with the new code base. Also, any solution must take into account that the registry must be created on the fly, as it is created when registering the DLLs.

Before we go any further, I'd like to ask everybody to contribute their thoughts/requirements/desires so that we get a conprehensive view of the problem we are trying to solve.

There wasn't a whole lot of discussion, which probably means a lot of people agreed with Dimi's assessment. The few posts generated seemed to be concerned primarily with if, or how, Wine could support being upgraded while actually still running on the box (i.e. keeping the Wineserver process intact.)

4. About Converting W->A Calls

29 Jun 2004 - 30 Jun 2004 (4 posts) Archive Link: "Cleaning up W->A calls"

Topics: Internationalization

People: James HawkinsMarcelo DuarteSteven Edwards

Wine's Janitorial Projects are a great way to get involved. We actually have a pretty good track record of finishing things, but there's always more to do. One big project is to change the way ASCII and Unicode functions are called. Much of the Windows API has provisions for two different versions of a function - one is the regular ASCII version and the other handles "Wide" characters. Many functions were originally implemented only as the "A" version. Howver, with the switch to Unicode we now have to support the "W" version as well. The simple way that was done was to just call the A version from the W version and be done with it. But that conversion is lossy, so a better way is to implement everything in the W version of the function and have the A version call that. An alternative is to implement two complete versions that handle their respective type of character. James Hawkins wanted to work on this clean up and asked for what approach would be best:

I am currently working on the janitorial task of getting rid of W->A calls and I have a few questions about how I should implement these changes.

I'll start the question with an example:

Initially CryptAcquireContextW converts all of its arguments to ansi then calls CryptAcquireContextA (which is intuitively not what we're wanting and thus the cleanup.)

The question is, what exactly is the best way to clean this up?

It seems to me that there are two main options as to what can be done:

If we are to choose plan A, I have seen several different methods of converting asci to wide-char, and I am wondering which method is best.

I would have to argue that implementing both the asci functions and wide-char functions separately would be the most efficient way to solve the W->A problem. Throughout all the wine libs, many conversion calls are being made from W->A and A->W, when most of these calls could be left out. I think performance would improve without all of the conversion calls. Granted the size of the code would increase, but speed would also increase.

There are a couple snags when it comes to implementing asci and wide-char functions independently, but that can be discussed later.

If I'm totally off the mark, let me know, and if there are other jobs I could be doing, let me know as well because I would like to contribute, but I'm not exactly sure what to do yet. Thankyou for your time.

Marcelo Duarte advised:

I did not check your code, but each situation has its reason and you decide which you will be better. I suggest you to start converting something simple, like:

When I made one of these conversions, I chose "dlls/shell32/shlexec.c: shell32: ShellExecuteExW: illegal call to ShellExecuteExAand" very laborious and was complicated. You can give one looked at as I made:

Steven Edwards also had some suggestions, " Welcome! I dont think it matters from a performance point of view. From my reading of documentation regarding Windows NT it seems they have abut a 20% performance hit on the ASCII calls vs the Unicode calls. I think that they implement both ASCII and Unicode rather than have ASCII call the unicode functions. (This is due to the fact that they had a semi-share source base with Win9x). Most of Wine just has the A function call the W function so I would follow this standard. It will reduce code duplication and prob'l lessen bugs."







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.