Ubuntu Open Week - Wine and Free Gaming - ScottRitchie - Fri, May 1st, 2009

(04:03:43 PM) YokoZar: Anyway, thank you, and I may as well begin.
(04:04:33 PM) YokoZar: First of all, my real life name is Scott Ritchie, and I'm responsible for Wine in Ubuntu.
(04:05:12 PM) YokoZar: I'm a community developer, recently unemployed, and have decided to spend the next month getting Wine very attractive in preparation for the next Ubuntu Developer Summit
(04:05:26 PM) YokoZar: I also wanted to talk a bit more about games, since I'm involved in quite a few games projects.  Feel free to pester #ubuntu-classroom-chat with any questions you have as they come to you, just put a big QUESTION in front so I can notice them easily.
(04:06:35 PM) YokoZar: My main interest in Ubuntu is improving usability, and for many users Wine is their main stumbling block.  They need some Windows application to work.  Often it's something that there's no native equivalent for, like a big game or an internal corporate app or tax software
(04:06:51 PM) ChanServ has changed the topic to: Welcome to Open Week || Session: 2000 UTC: Wine and Gaming || || All questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(04:06:57 PM) YokoZar: I've even met a few Ubuntu developers who use Wine for purposes like this.
(04:07:50 PM) YokoZar: At the moment Wine isn't very well integrated into Ubuntu - you have to install it specially, right click apps, open with Wine, and in many cases do various "shaman dances" to get them to work
(04:08:47 PM) YokoZar: Every time I mention Wine or Ubuntu in some context, I inevitably have real potential users come up to me and say something to the effect of "If just this one application could work, if Wine were a little better, I would switch tomorrow"
(04:09:45 PM) YokoZar: Making it easier to do that is one of my primary goals.  So, I've been working (and helping organize) work on a few really sweet looking projects to make Wine well integrated into the Ubuntu desktop - a first class citizen - and I'm going to show them off in Barcelona at the end of the month
(04:10:14 PM) YokoZar: However doing this presents a challenge as well - Wine isn't yet perfect, so when we do integrate it we have the paradoxical goal of making it both easy to install/use and also lowering user expectations about how well it will work.
(04:10:55 PM) YokoZar: If you used Ubuntu back in the Feisty days (7.04), you may remember how when you went to enable desktop effects you were presented with a bit of a disclaimer about how they were more of a technology demo than 100% ready
(04:11:25 PM) YokoZar: But by 7.10 and the Gutsy release, desktop effects became a well-integrated, expected (albeit optional) part of the desktop.
(04:11:32 PM) YokoZar: I imagine a similar path for Wine
(04:12:29 PM) YokoZar: So, let's talk a bit more about Wine in general, in particular what the community can do
(04:12:51 PM) YokoZar: We now have a dedicated Wine forum on the Ubuntu forums:
(04:13:09 PM) YokoZar: As you can see it's one of the most active and popular forums out there
(04:13:41 PM) YokoZar: Wine is a very common item to install - something like 50% of users have it installed last I checked popcon, and 10% have used it within the past week
(04:14:18 PM) YokoZar: And this may be a gross underestimate, since popcon doesn't generally contain Wubi users, who are obviously more likely to need windows applications
(04:15:06 PM) YokoZar: One fairly common question I see regards the role of Codeweavers Crossover product line
(04:15:41 PM) YokoZar: Codeweavers is the main steward of the Wine project.  Every paid developer is employed by them, and something like 70% of all patches come from them
(04:16:37 PM) YokoZar: However, the lead developer, Julliard, doesn't really work on Crossover specifically; he instead focuses on improving Wine long term.
(04:16:57 PM) YokoZar: QUESTION: surely wubi users would be less likely to need wine since they have a windows installation?
(04:17:37 PM) YokoZar: You're right in that they already have a dual boot setup, however most Wubi users will try Wine before dual booting because it's a hassle.  If it works for them, they're much more likely to make Ubuntu permanent.
(04:18:35 PM) charlie-tca: <zhurai> Question: how would you play localized games (like Japanese games) on wine. I believe I tried wineloc guide (CJK guide) but didn't work out for me
(04:18:43 PM) YokoZar: Ahh yeah
(04:19:17 PM) YokoZar: Wine's support for localization in other languages is a bit spotty, especially when it involves fonts that we don't have
(04:19:46 PM) YokoZar: Hence you'll encounter some guides that ask you to do various shaman dances like install windows native fonts and specify locale settings
(04:20:17 PM) YokoZar: Honestly your best bet is the users forum (either the ubuntu wine forum or the wine-users mailing list or the forums at
(04:20:32 PM) YokoZar: The latter two are actually the same, linked together through a clever piece of mailing list-> forum software
(04:20:52 PM) YokoZar: QUESTION: Do you envisage Wine coming pre-installed on Ubuntu? What about people who don't want Wine for maybe ideological or maybe security reason? e.g. fear of downloading Windows malware that can run in Wine?
(04:21:18 PM) YokoZar: No I don't.  I imagine Wine only being installed when the user indicates they need it, such as by trying to open an executable file
(04:21:53 PM) YokoZar: That's a great place to inform them that they're opening a Windows application, that we can try to do it with Wine, and that it might not work
(04:22:14 PM) YokoZar: This is very similar to what happens when you try to open a movie file without the right codec
(04:22:37 PM) YokoZar: We don't ship them by default, but they're very accessible to users with a simple install setup
(04:23:02 PM) YokoZar: Writing and polishing an equivalent for Wine is part of my tasks for this month leading up to the developer summit
(04:23:24 PM) YokoZar: That install prompt would need to be installed by default, of course
(04:24:07 PM) YokoZar: There's a few other bits of software that should be there before Wine is installed as well.  For instance, most windows executables have built in icons, but you can't see them in Gnome without some particularly clever scripting magic
(04:24:19 PM) YokoZar: That's something we can fix that doesn't involve Wine directly, per se
(04:24:41 PM) YokoZar: However letting the user know that the application they're opening will require Wine is important too
(04:25:08 PM) YokoZar: We can do this through special icons
(04:26:05 PM) YokoZar: back to codeweavers for a moment
(04:26:22 PM) YokoZar: There is no dedicated "Wine foundation" or equivalent yet
(04:26:38 PM) YokoZar: There's a Wine developer fund, but it's not actively advertised
(04:26:55 PM) YokoZar: The fund was used to sponsor plane flights/hotel rooms for the last Wine developer conference (myself included)
(04:27:08 PM) YokoZar: I've been considering holding a fundraiser to replenish the losses
(04:27:22 PM) YokoZar: But there's no central organization other than Codeweavers directing this sort of thing as of yet
(04:28:19 PM) YokoZar: QUESTION : i suppose we could get this to Xubuntu easily too, right ?
(04:28:23 PM) YokoZar: (~ wine installer)
(04:29:13 PM) YokoZar: Yes, it should be a relatively simple app.  Work with me during the Karmic cycle and we'll see if we can get Kubuntu/Xubuntu working as well as Ubuntu for the user who hasn't had wine installed
(04:29:48 PM) YokoZar: Most of the tools to control this stuff are command line python scripts, so all that's needed is a front-end.  That could be customized for the desktop environment depending on their different goals
(04:30:26 PM) YokoZar: sebsebseb: QUESTION:  Wine config and such is not that user friendly to configure for apps that don't just work,  so  why dosn't someone work on a nice user friendly  GUI (Graphical User Interface)  that configures apps for people?  Codeweavers have  done nice GUI's, but they aren't what I meant.
(04:30:40 PM) YokoZar: It's a great question
(04:30:54 PM) YokoZar: There have been more than a few third party projects trying to do just that
(04:31:02 PM) YokoZar: Playonlinux is the latest example
(04:31:07 PM) YokoZar: Before that there were things like winetools
(04:31:32 PM) sebsebseb: YokoZar: yeah, but there should be one as part of Wine really :)
(04:31:56 PM) YokoZar: In an ideal world, however, Wine shouldn't need any configuration at all.  There's no reason a user should have to worry about selecting a sound driver or whatever
(04:32:02 PM) YokoZar: or worse, messing with native DLLs
(04:32:25 PM) YokoZar: or saying he wants to enable/disable GLSL or pixelshader support or all the other shaman dances winecfg lets you do
(04:32:34 PM) YokoZar: (or even worse, editing the registry manually)
(04:32:51 PM) YokoZar: That said, just about all of this configuration represents open bugs in Wine
(04:33:12 PM) YokoZar: Users configure sound drivers because the ALSA driver isn't yet perfect (or the system pulseaudio isn't)
(04:33:38 PM) YokoZar: So the Wine upstream philosophy is to focus on just fixing these sorts of bugs rather than letting users go to elaborate workarounds
(04:33:45 PM) YokoZar: However, there is some configuration that will be inevitable
(04:33:51 PM) YokoZar: And that's where I step in
(04:34:22 PM) YokoZar: For instance, even on Windows you sometimes need to specify a Windows version to emulate with an application
(04:34:44 PM) YokoZar: On Vista, for instance, you can right click an executable and go to the compatibility mode tab, then tell it to act like Windows XP
(04:35:33 PM) YokoZar: This is functionality we'll need for Wine, which is why I'm working on getting it done in much the same way - right click the executable, go to a new Windows Program tab, then tell it you want to run in win98 mode or whatever
(04:35:46 PM) YokoZar: We can also put functionality there that Wine is capable of that Windows itself isn't (or doesn't make easy)
(04:35:54 PM) YokoZar: For instance forcing a "full screen" game into a window
(04:36:32 PM) YokoZar: For instance you can play Diablo 2 in a little window on your desktop despite the game declaring itself as full screen in Wine, however currently this requires an annoying terminal command
(04:37:29 PM) YokoZar: That's exactly the kind of "inevitable configuration" I want to make really easy.  Another volunteer and I are polishing off the back end to this, and I'm going to be giving the front end a very close look with a nice UI
(04:38:39 PM) YokoZar: So, in the long run, I don't see much of a role for these third party tools like Play on Linux, as installing a game should be as simple as it is on windows - just double click the installer
(04:38:56 PM) YokoZar: (or, if it's a CD with autorun, just put it in, click open autorun, and then click install)
(04:39:47 PM) YokoZar: (01:38:21 PM) genii: QUESTION: Have you seen the ReactOS and if so, what opinions may you have formed?
(04:40:09 PM) caty is now known as caty_brb
(04:40:41 PM) YokoZar: I've seen it, and I think it's an interesting concept, however I believe that Ubuntu itself offers a much better user experience for much the same reason that I believe our default desktop can be superior to Windows
(04:41:15 PM) YokoZar: ReactOS has a well-integrated Wine, obviously, however in principle there's no reason that Wine+Linux can't be any more compatible
(04:42:26 PM) YokoZar: (01:42:16 PM) sebsebseb: QUESTION: 3D  Directx games keep  gamers on Windows big time,  because  virtulization (virtual machines) won't cut it yet and neither will Wine.  Is proper 3D Directx 10 support being worked on for Wine?
(04:42:44 PM) YokoZar: DirectX 10 is being worked on in Wine in very big ways
(04:43:00 PM) YokoZar: perhaps more importantly, DirectX 9 is being continually polished as well
(04:43:12 PM) caty_brb is now known as caty
(04:43:23 PM) YokoZar: If you look through the changelog of an arbitrary Wine release, you'll inevitably see about 20 or so patches having something to do with Direct3D
(04:43:44 PM) YokoZar: DirectX10 support is one of the five "big things" that upstream is working on
(04:44:14 PM) YokoZar: Julliard has said he'll start the release process so we can have a stable 1.2 release as soon as at least one "big thing" is ready enough
(04:45:03 PM) YokoZar: Those are: DirectX 10 support, USB driver support (for eg ipods), Quartz driver (for mac), 64-bit support (for win64 apps), and the DIB Engine (for 2d apps to run well like AutoCAD and Starcraft)
(04:45:32 PM) YokoZar: I'm really hoping one of those will get "done enough" in the next 4 months so that we can have a Wine 1.2 ready by Ubuntu Karmic
(04:46:00 PM) YokoZar: (01:43:38 PM) rski: QUESTION: how did the release of vista affect wine , and how will win7 do it if it does.
(04:46:15 PM) YokoZar: Not nearly as much as the release of Windows 98 and Windows XP, actually
(04:46:35 PM) YokoZar: There's a suggestion that Wine is fighting a "moving target" and will thus never be done, always one step behind Windows
(04:46:47 PM) YokoZar: But Wine isn't targetting windows per se - it's targetting the applications people use
(04:47:15 PM) YokoZar: It took until about 2005 before we started seeing substantial numbers of XP-only applications
(04:47:35 PM) YokoZar: Similarly it'll be a long time before we start seeing a lot of Vista-only applications
(04:47:57 PM) YokoZar: So from a user's perspective, it'll be ok if Wine doesn't implement vista-specific APIs for a while
(04:48:15 PM) YokoZar: More encouragingly, Microsoft themselves has very few ways they can keep changing the API
(04:48:49 PM) YokoZar: They've already written most of it, and application developers are already using that.  Switching to new API functions implies both learning something new and breaking existing windows-version compatibility
(04:49:20 PM) YokoZar: So Microsoft's rate of change is slowing down dramatically.  And Wine development speed is also increasing as we get way more users and more developers.  So we're catching up, fast.
(04:49:44 PM) YokoZar: I'm reminded of a blog post I made recently:
(04:50:11 PM) YokoZar: The idea there was that Wine's usefulness will increase upwards sharply as it approaches "almost done"
(04:51:12 PM) YokoZar: similarly, Ubuntu adoption can increase sharply after Wine's usefulness increases.  If 80% of users can't switch because of some Windows application holding them back, then an easy to use functional Wine would literally quintuple our user base
(04:51:33 PM) YokoZar: (01:51:12 PM) rski: QUESTION: Wine is a very different project compared to other opensource projects, someday all games will be native but think of the hours of coding wine will be wasted and in the past :)
(04:51:48 PM) YokoZar: I find this idea interesting for a few reasons
(04:52:21 PM) YokoZar: The first is that no one is going to rewrite the tens of thousands of old Windows applications out there that people use in various niche circumstances.  Sometimes there is literally no source code to port.
(04:52:40 PM) YokoZar: So Wine will have a use case regardless, even if we have all new apps being written for Linux and solve bug #1
(04:53:15 PM) YokoZar: But, if we think about it, there really is no reason that Wine should be thought of as any different from any other system library, like GTK
(04:54:36 PM) YokoZar: Other than current deficiencies with Wine, there's no reason that an application HAS to be ported using a complete rewrite into a "native" library - Wine runs natively too, and with some relatively minor tweaks we can completely hide the underlying win32 from the user such that they don't even know they're running Wine
(04:54:56 PM) charlie-tca: 5 minute warning
(04:55:19 PM) YokoZar: If you've used Google Picassa, it's a first approximation of this approach.  There's still a few bugs in Wine that it runs into (eg theming), but from the user's perspective it's just a normal ubuntu package
(04:55:34 PM) YokoZar: rski: QUESTION: when using and developing wine, what is the most usual wall to hit. X not being to handle? the kernel missing stuff? or just hard to figure out what windows does
(04:55:49 PM) YokoZar: It's figuring out what Windows does
(04:55:55 PM) YokoZar: The API is complete crap
(04:56:02 PM) YokoZar: And the documentation on MSDN is often worse
(04:56:06 PM) YokoZar: (if existant)
(04:56:44 PM) YokoZar: So instead we have to write elaborate test cases that show what applications are actually expecting, find that they want different things on 8 different versions of widnows, and then code to them
(04:57:27 PM) YokoZar: In theory, if Wine's test suite covered everything in the API well, we'd be about 90% done.  The main difficulty is figuring out what the functions want rather than how to give it to them
(04:57:45 PM) YokoZar: so, I've got a few minutes left, so I'd like to talk briefly about a couple of hobby projects I'm in
(04:57:47 PM) YokoZar: other than Wine
(04:57:57 PM) YokoZar: The first is the game engine Spring
(04:58:40 PM) YokoZar: Spring was originally written to be a remake of the game Total Annihilation, but now you can play all sorts of mods on it (including some that just use the original total annihilation content)
(04:58:57 PM) YokoZar: Some are completely free, however, and are suitable for packaging and inclusion in Ubuntu
(04:59:12 PM) YokoZar: For instance, the game kernel panic:
(04:59:21 PM) YokoZar: Which is very simple to pick up and easy to learn.  I'll invite you all to a game with me
(04:59:36 PM) YokoZar: You'll need this PPA:
(04:59:50 PM) YokoZar: And to install the spring, springlobby, and spring-mods-kernelpanic packages
(05:00:07 PM) YokoZar: The second project I'm involved in is just in the design phases, but it's based on my experience with lots of games
(05:00:34 PM) YokoZar: It's called Glou, and it aims to be an open source game lounge
(05:00:41 PM) sebsebseb: this was  one of the best ones,  and sadly comeing to an end soon
(05:00:47 PM) YokoZar:
(05:01:03 PM) YokoZar: Check in -chat for more kernel panic instructions ;)
(05:01:24 PM) YokoZar: Quick principle from Glou:  Organizing a game to play should be easy, even if you don't know what it is yet.  The computer should help you play with your friends as well as it helps you talk to them.
(05:01:46 PM) charlie-tca: Thank you very much, YokoZar. That was a terrific session.
(05:01:52 PM) YokoZar: Cheers

MeetingLogs/openweekJaunty/WineAndFreeGaming (last edited 2009-05-02 01:17:40 by adsl-69-108-231-241)