April 23, 2019

The Many Faces of Wine: Realities of Open Source and Business - page 5

Looking For Success Stories

  • May 15, 2002
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

While it's important to learn lessons from the past and present, it's also instructive to look to the future. On the CodeWeavers front, they're going to release a major update with bug fixes for one of their products in the next week, including a vast improvement in non-English support.

For the Wine project itself, within a year they hope to finally reach version 1.0. The conference sponsored by Lindows.com helped by letting the developers talk face to face and set the specifications for the first official release, and as developer Eric Pouech points out, "with lots of bug reports to handle." With the 1.0 release project, members hope that companies that need Linux and Windows to work together will begin deploying Wine.

Within five years--always a shaky prediction--the hope is that Wine will be at least somewhat integrated into the Linux kernel and a solid part of the Unix desktop experience. How will they get there? In part by doing what they've always done: working at it to make more and more Windows applications run properly under Wine and Linux.

Pouech feels that more targeted efforts might be required with such a broad goal. Since most of the biggest contributors are somehow involved in commercial efforts this could create complications, since obviously the companies involved are going to work on the features that they most require at the moment. However, perhaps those folks who are purely volunteers can step in to fill the gaps.

He also feels that non-regression and performance metric testing are both needed so the project can determine code quality and robustness faster, but says that writing tests is the type of work that most developers really don't want to deal with. So if your thing is writing tests, the Wine project could certainly use your efforts!

Other items identified as needing to be done to bring Wine to the 1.0 stage include making the entire Wine experience more user friendly. A simple installation tool and more complete suite of documentation would go far toward achieving this goal, and for the business and educational crowds that need to install in a distributed environment, a suit of monitoring and other tools are required.

The Wine project has been around almost as long as Linux has, and the fact that it's still going at all is a testament to how determined open source developers can be. With hopefully under a year left before Wine 1.0 is finally released, the exhausted marathon runners behind the code a very likely focused on the finish line and quite ready to throw their arms up as they break the finishing ribbon together.

Hopefully at that same time there will still be useful exchanges between Wine and the commercial software industry. If nothing else, the Wine Project and its many commercial cousins have shown that open source and feeding one's family really can mix.

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