8 Jan 2004 mikehearn   » (Journeyer)

Ah, my first diary entry of the new year. I haven't posted much lately, it seemed I never had much to say.

Christmas was pretty average but new years eve was fun - all my old friends got together and we all had a big house party. There must have been 25-30 people there (ok, so not that big).

I've been pretty busy with Wine and autopackage related stuff lately. In particular, I got tired of people asking how to install Internet Explorer on #winehq, so I wrote a script to do it for you. It was posted to Wine Weekly News, frankscorner.org and linux-gamers.net CounterStrike howto, so it's been getting a steady ~250 downloads a day since then. As you can imagine, my inbox has been groaning.

For those who want it btw, you can get it here

One thing that really annoys me is how like half the script is to work around stupid packaging bugs. Some of them are really, really stupid - ie wine won't even start at all on an out-of-the-box install. Have these people done any QA whatsoever? Clearly not.

That's one category of problems (obvious and stupid brokenness). The other category is when packagers try and "improve" upon the install sequence we use in the source tarballs. For instance, they decide that because the wineserver has the word "server" in its name, it'd be a good idea to put it into the init scripts. Unfortunately this stops changes to the config file taking effect, as they are loaded in wineserver startup. Etc. This sort of thing goes on and on.

The problem is clearly that packagers for distros are typically not Wine developers, they are users. Therefore they make mistakes, even though we have a dedicated packaging guide (it seems people don't always read this).

There are two possible solutions.

The first is pretty obvious - winehq should ship one officially blessed package that works anywhere. If people want to use distro-specific packages built by who-knows-whom then great but if it breaks you keep the pieces. Unfortunately, short of rolling something with Loki Setup a la codeweavers, we currently can't do that well. This is exactly the sort of thing autopackage is built for of course, but I might make a Loki Setup installer in the meantime anyway.

The second is that every distro package should be done by a developer. We have this for Red Hat, and it works pretty well. The RH/Fedora packages generally work well. But for most distros, we don't have this. It's clearly not a reliable solution.

So it seems my two entirely separate projects are intertwined in some way ... interesting :)

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