June 20, 2001

CodeWeaver unveils its new Wine Application Database

Author: JT Smith

-By Dan Berkes-
Will Word and Wine work well with each other? How about Half-Life and Wine? Photoshop? The answers are just a few mouse-clicks away at CodeWeaver's shiny, new Wine Application Database -- and it can only get better with your help.As the Wine list of frequently asked questions helpfully points out, Wine stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator -- it provides native code for the function calls in Windows libraries so that Windows applications may function in Linux. That makes Wine quite different from emulators, which would have to mimic the entire operating system in order to provide many of the same functions and features that Wine offers.

Wine includes the all-important libraries -- the native code -- that maps Windows function calls to their Linux equivalents, and the program loader, which loads and executes Windows programs. Through Wine, a Linux user can use just about any Windows software available without actually having to bother with using the Windows operating system.

Well, sort of.

Wine is a work in progress, and not everything will work with Wine the way it does with Windows, and in some cases, it may not work at all. The Wine user and developer communities see this as a challenge, not an obstacle, and in some cases have devised creative workarounds to whip a Windows program into shape for use via Wine.

Everyone can now benefit from the shared experiences and frustrations of their fellow Wine-tasters by paying a visit to the CodeWeaver Wine Application Database. The site has been online for about two weeks now, undergoing testing and receiving feedback from the Wine community. The database extends the original concept of Doug Ridgeway's excellent WineHQ Apps Database.

"The key thing we wanted with the new database was a moderated database," says CodeWeaver CEO and founder Jeremy White. "The WineHQ database had a lot of garbage in/garbage out that made it just a little difficult to navigate. It wasn't uncommon to see up to 40 different entries for a single title [in the WineHQ database]."

Because the CodeWeaver Wine Application Database is moderated, multiple entries are eliminated. This consolidates the information into a particular version of each software title, allowing users to find the resources they're looking for in a much faster and easier manner.

Applications are broken down into several main categories, such as games, multimedia, networking, productivity, and so forth. From there, users can browse information on specific Windows software titles and versions. Each title is rated twice on a five-star system, with one star denoting "crashes on load," and five stars indicating the program runs flawlessly. Each program receives a dual rating -- "with Windows" indicates how the application runs when Wine is configured to use a Windows partition, "without Windows" sizes up how that program runs when using Wine's own internal Fake Windows system.

Each version of the program listed has its own comments system, enabling registered users to swap ideas and opinions about a particular program or its method of working with Wine. The system running the new database allows for a high degree of individual customization, and White said there's a chance it may be released as Open Source code in the near future, to allow others to create their own application tracking database services.

The information offered in the new database is a little on the light side at the moment, with just 76 applications listed at the time this report was filed. This can be attributed to the fact that the site is still new -- it's been online for two weeks, but today was the first day its existence was announced outside of the Wine developer community.

The moderation aspects of the new database might cause some users to initially approach this new resource with skepticism. White makes it perfectly clear that CodeWeavers is merely providing the infrastructure to disseminate information that it believes is vital to the success and adoption of Wine. The company exerts no editorial control over the content of the site, and considers it a non-revenue contribution to the community.

To that end, White has issued a volunteer "call-to-arms" of sorts, spreading the word that the only way for the CodeWeavers Wine Application Database to improve is for the community to get involved.

"This is an all volunteer-driven site, and we want people who can step up and own an entry in the database; someone who can take responsibility for a specific title, moderate submissions for that title, or maybe even write up a mini-FAQ for that title," says White.

And what do volunteers get in return, aside from knowing that they've made Wine easier to use and understand for the masses? White says there's a chance that those dedicated experts could get a first look at the latest versions of CodeWeavers Wine.

"This is a great opportunity to volunteer and help Wine," says White.

Anyone interested in becoming an "application owner," taking screenshots of Windows programs running via Wine, or willing to write application HOWTOs for the new database should drop a line to: appdb@codeweavers.com.

Category:

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