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Wine Traffic #255 For 31 Dec 2004

By Brian Vincent

Table Of Contents


This is the 255th issue of the Wine Weekly News publication. Its main goal is to watch 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 142 posts in 512K.

There were 47 different contributors. 26 posted more than once. 22 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. News: Xandros Reviews

25 Dec 2004 - 31 Dec 2004 (1 post) Archive Link: "News"

Topics: News

People: NewsforgeNewsForgeMicrosoftXandrosNews

Some reviews of Xandros Desktop 3 Deluxe have come out this week. Xandros includes CrossOver Office and usually gets high marks for the integration it has with the rest of the desktop. Once again, reviewers seem impressed with CodeWeaver's work. Mad Penguin's review thought CrossOver Office 4 showed good improvement over earlier versions. NewsForge's review thought it was a valuable addition to the distribution:

CrossOver Office is going to be a big selling point for this version of Xandros, and if you have indispensable Windows applications that are on the supported list (like Quicken, various Microsoft Office versions, and so on) it can provide you with an end to dual-booting to get them those apps.

2. Kernel Problem Solved (con't)

28 Dec 2004 - 31 Dec 2004 (53 posts) Archive Link: "Re: ptrace single-stepping change breaks Wine"

Topics: Integration

People: Thomas SailerJesse AllenLinus TorvaldsMike HearnDavide LibenziRoland

Over a month ago we reported some issues with Wine running on the latest development versions of the Linux kernel. For the most part everything runs, but some specific stuff used by nasty things like copy protection schemes seem to mysteriously fail. We first covered this in issue #249, but you can find a detailed description in issue #250. At the time, Linus came up with some patches that fixed some problems he uncovered but it didn't appear to fix the original problem reported by Jesse Allen. This week Thomas Sailer raised the issue again with a different program:

Any news about the ptrace single-stepping breakage of wine?

The application that stopped working for me is xst, the Xilinx HDL synthesizer (there's a free as in beer version at ed. this link ). I'm currently at kernel 2.6.10-ac1 (as packaged by Arjan van de Ven), and wine-20041201-1fc3winehq.

Compiling vhdl file H:/sailer/src/vhdl/xxx/vprim.vhd in Library synwork. FATAL_ERROR:Xst:Portability/export/Port_Main.h:127:1.13 - This application has discovered an exceptional condition from which it cannot recover. Process will terminate. To resolve this error, please consult the Answers Database and other online resources at If you need further assistance, please open a Webcase by clicking on the "WebCase" link at

Just a few hours before that Jesse posted a great analysis of the original problem he uncovered:

Last I reported on Warcraft 3 with the ptrace changes in 2.6.10-rc3 is that it made some improvement, but still doesn't work. I'll will describe in detail what I know now.

Since the changes in 2.6.10-rc3, Linus made a very good clean up of ptrace.c and signal.c in arch/i386/kernel. I don't want to necessarily reverse all these changes because they are good changes (ie easier to understand and hack now). So I hacked the kernel to change what is necessary to make the game run again. I have attached the patch against 2.6.10 to show the required changes.

Comments on what I have learned about the 3 ptrace changes (see my original report): #1 ptrace.c

#2 signal.c - Not single-stepping into signal handlers unless the tracer requests it

#3 signal.c - Clearing the trap flag if being traced by debugger in setup_sigcontext()

This last item, #3, seemed to be at the core of the problem. Linus and Jesse exchanged some emails discussing it and Jesse began coming up with some patches to address the problem. Linus had an idea for another change to make in the kernel for locating the exact cause of the problem:

Setting TIF_SINGLESTEP shouldn't actually matter in this case, since we set the TRAP_FLAG in eflags by hand anyway (and that's what TIF_SINGESTEP will just re-do when returning to user space).

What TIF_SINGLESTEP does do, however, is change how some other issues are reported to user space. In particular, it causes system call tracing (see arch/i386/kernel/ptrace.c: do_syscall_trace), and maybe it is _that_ that messes up Wine.

So instead of removing the setting of TIF_SINGLESTEP in set_singlestep(), can you test whether removing the testing of it in do_syscall_trace() makes things happier for you? Hmm?

(Also, looking at the code, I get the feeling that set_singlestep() should only set TIF_SINGLESTEP, and not set the TRAP_FLAG by hand at all, since TIF_SINGESTEP should take care of that detail regardless).

Jesse tried that and reported it fixed the problem but it did require another small change regarding how the TF bit gets cleared. While that additional change worked for Jesse, it wasn't the proper solution and Linus came up with a more general approach. Linus also brought Davide Libenzi into the conversation since he'd made some of the original changes a few months ago. After some more testing it became obvious there were more interactions between other parts of this area of the kernel than originally thought.

At this point, Thomas jumped back in to mention that none of the changes that were working for Jesse had any effect on his problem. He suspected that other kernel changes, perhaps flexible mmap, were causing it. Mike Hearn began digging into it confirmed it was a different issue than Jesse ran into. Thomas' app seemed to depend on a specific memory layout for the stack. Mike came up with a patch to Wine that works with newer kernels.

That left finding a solution to Jesse's problem. Linus began putting together some patches for Jesse to test and reported:

I'm actually able to now re-create some problems with TF handling with a simple non-wine test, and I think I'm zeroing in on the reason for Wine breaking. And I think it just happened to work by luck before.

Not only do we have problems single-stepping over a system call, we also have problems single-stepping over a "popf" - we'll set TF (to single-step), and then afterwards we'll clear TF, even if the "popf" also was supposed to set it.

Working on a patch for this right now, I'll send something out soonish (and I'll test it on my test-case before sending it, so that it at least has some chance of working).

With that in mind, Linus went back to work to find a fix. Within a few hours he whipped up a couple hundred lines of code and described what it did:

Ok, here's a patch that may or may not make Wine happier. It's a _lot_ more careful about TF handling, and in particular it's trying really really hard to make sure that a controlling process does not change the trap flag as it is modified or used by the process.

This hopefully fixes:

It's a bit more involved than I'd like, since especially the "popf" case just is pretty complex, but I'd love to hear whether it works.

NOTE NOTE NOTE! I've tested it, but only on one small test-case, so it might be totally broken in many ways. I'd love to have people who are x86 and ptrace-aware give this a second look, and I'm confident Jesse will find that it won't work, but can hopefully try to debug it a bit with this..

(I found the comment about pushf being a hard case to handle particularly amusing since at this point it's pretty obvious there's maybe a handful of people the world who could understand the exact nature of this problem.) While Linus had low expectations for the patch, Jesse reported it worked! Namely:

Well I tried this patch and it works. I captured a log showing the signals and eflags again when running the program. I compared it to the working version. There are differences, but none seem to be the scenario TF was not set when it should have been. Both log files are just about the same size too. I captured a second log in a row, and compared the previous. Again there are differences, so there is some unavoidable randomness.

Since I cannot spot any issue, the patch looks good. Are there any other test cases?

There was some back and forth discussion with other kernel developers and some people expressed concern that the patch looked overengineered. Linus felt it did exactly what it needed to do and since no one else could come up with a simpler solution it should be the proper fix. Various people pointed out some other situations that broke with Linus' patch and he came up with fixes for them. Jesse was just glad his problem was taken care of, " I think that copy protection routines are particually nasty. They purposely make debugging hard (again see above, no sane program would be like that). And the program's reason for failing is not the reason at all -- "please insert disc" -- the disc is already in there! So they don't say the real reason why it failed, leaving the user totally hopelessly lost on what they should do. It's really hard to file a bug report on that alone! Had I not placed my guess on ptrace early on, this problem may have gone undiscovered for a long time. I have checked transgaming and they seem to be not aware about this, but it would have been a rude awakening for them when they find that when most distros had updated to 2.6.9, that all the SecuRom protected games silently broke, and they would have had a heck of a time debugging them to find the reason, I'm sure, even with the specs on it! Though who knows if cedega is affected because their code-base is diverging, and I'm sure their copy protection support is very different."

3. Safedisc and ntoskrnl (con't)

26 Dec 2004 (1 post) Archive Link: "safedisc update"

Topics: Status Updates

People: Ivan Leo Puoti

Ivan Leo Puoti had a small update on some of the Safedisc work he's been doing:

I've got safedisc and ntoskrnl to load, unfortunately safedisc throws an exception as soon as it starts, so I'll be learning x86 assembly (cool!) soon to try and work this out. I've got ntoskrnl with all the correct prototypes for safedisc, and I've added some definitions to our include/winternl.h so ntoskrnl can build. Unfortunately quite a few structs are needed to compile one of the functions (IofCompleteRequest), so as I don't have time to add them right now it's commented out.

These patches are strictly work in progress, but as I'll be away for a few days I'm posting them here just in case someone wants to play with them, I would also like to know if I'm adding the definitions to the winternl.h stuct correctly (For example, is it OK to have all the structs for ntoskrnl in the same place?).

If anyone feels the temptation to fix the header so IofCompleteRequest compiles, please go ahead and do it.

Comments/suggestions/whatever highly welcome.

4. Software to Test Crypto API

30 Dec 2004 (4 posts) Archive Link: "Looking for Software which uses the MS Crypto API"

Topics: Security

People: Michael JungJesse AllenScott RitchieMicrosoftcvs

Michael Jung wanted to know if anyone knew of some software to test out the library he wrote to implement the CryptoAPI:

In order to test rsaenh.dll, I'm looking for software, which applies the Microsoft Crypto-API. Any suggestions? It would be ideal, if the source is available.

Jesse Allen replied first, " Blizzard's game patching software seems to use it to authenticate the patch archive. Your changes broke the patcher: "unable to authenticate", last time I checked, but I am unable to update to the current cvs at the moment. No source, sorry. I'll check up on it at a later time."

Michael tried it and reported, " I've downloaded the current Diablo II patch and tricked it into running up to the authentication step by patching my registry. It crashed and allowed me to find and fix a bug. This is exactly what I need. Thanks! "

Scott Ritchie had some ideas too:

I'm pretty sure Steam does.

And, coincidentally, Steam happens to be broken at the moment, although it does work in Crossover.

Also, I think the open source eMule uses that DLL a bit, IIRC to generate a crypt key for each userid. Previous hacks to get eMule working in Wine involved generating the key in a seperate program and then merging it in - there's an entire thread about it in the eMule forums.

5. Removing include/heap.h

30 Dec 2004 (4 posts) Archive Link: "Re: Remove heap.h"

Topics: Fixes

People: Jon GriffithsDimitrie PaunMike HearnDimi Pauncvs

Jon Griffiths posted a patch and noted, " After applying, include/heap.h can be removed from cvs. " His changelog included this line, " Remove heap.h, and simplyify code that used HEAP_strdupWtoA. "

Dimi Paun thought it obscured a different problem involving converting a Wide (Unicode) character to an ASCII one, " To be honest, I'm not too happy with this patch, HEAP_strdupWtoA was a good marker for code that needed fixing, this patch just makes those places harder to find."

Mike Hearn thought it could still be removed but leaving the semantics in place as a reminder it needed fixing, " I don't really understand why we can't make this an inline or something, it seems that it's a lot more convenient than the direct win32 equivalents. Making it an inline would achieve the same effect as simply replacing each usage manually, and allow us to improve DLL separation as well. "

Dimi didn't like that either, " Because in 99.99% of cases you don't want to convert from W->A. If all our functions are Unicode, a W->A conversion is a warning sign, and for sure you wouldn't want to encourage people to do so by making it any easier."

Jon thought it was worth getting rid of heap.h though:

winapi_check will allready tell us all cross-calls anyway, doesn't it? It may be years before all the a to w conversions are done and we are 100% internally unicode, why live with a non standard header that long?

The patch hasn't been committed yet, but then again there haven't been any commits at all since it was submitted.







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.