Why Wine should not be included in Trisquel

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jmarciano
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Joined: 03/12/2016

Trisquel is free software distribution of GNU operating system.

Please see the ongoing discussion that I have made on GuixSD developers mailing list: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guix-devel/2016-03/msg01213.html

The discussion is related to MAME mainly. Here is my incentive to Trisquel, to simply remove the Wine software from distribution.

However, Wine is problematic software to be included in any of free software distributions. Why? It is not aligned with free software philosophy and guidelines:

From: http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html
-- cite --
Please Teach Users about Free Software

To establish lasting freedom, just giving users freedom isn't sufficient. It is necessary also to teach them to understand what it means and to demand it. Thus, we suggest and urge that free distros announce prominently on the screen, before login and on the default desktop after login, a prominent statement about freedom, such as “This system is freedom-respecting free/libre software” or something comparable, and to present a link or icon pointing at gnu.org or gnu.org/philosophy for further information about the issue.
-- end of cite --

When software package includes the homepage to WineHQ, it clearly gives references to a platform that promotes and encourages users to use non-free software. Just look at their website: https://appdb.winehq.org/ -- there are at least 30 games that are promoted in the Platinum, Gold and Silver list just on that one page.

There shall be no rationalization or justifications for Wine, "it runs my notepad++" or something like that. Because majority of users will be searching for Wine, they will come to Trisquel, and what is happening then? People are divided.

Let us see example of "dividing people":
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/can-i-get-games-wine-working-trisquel

That clearly shows rejection of the user, who did nothing else but found wine in the free software distribution, and instead of learning what is free software, he logically asks other users to help him install games, which are not free. The community answer is "no, we don't support you to install non-free games" -- but why in the first place was Wine included in the distribution then?! To divide users?

Imagine how many other users will come over the time to Trisquel. How many times they will be rejected in the future with "No please, we will not give you answers on the running the proprietary software". I have not seen a real "support request for Wine running the free software". I have seen only support requests for non-free software.

By including Wine, Mame, and any other such emulator which is basically platform for non-free software, free software distribution falls into hypocrisy and encourages users to go to homepages, dedicated to support, download or run non-free software, which makes absolutely no sense.

Who wants to play non-free games, may download packages themselves, but it should not be distributed from a free software distribution.

There is whole list of supposedly "free software" that runs on Wine:
https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?bIsQueue=false&bIsRejected=false&sClass=application&sTitle=Browse+Applications&sReturnTo=&iId=0&iItemsPerPage=25&iPage=1&iappVers...

However such list is deceptive. If user follows the development of Wine,
user is going to see or browse package definitions, will see the Wine
website and then numerous numerous pointers to non-free software:
https://appdb.winehq.org/index.php

How many people more are going to be divided due to inclusion of such software?

Why not make a clear policy on that, and simply not include it.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

One argument for including WINE is that it allows the use of hardware people already own and need to use (eg pedometers, digital audio recorders and cameras, cell phones), but that only works with the Windows drivers supplied.

When I help someone transition from Windows to GNU/Linux, it usually involves the following steps:
1) dual-boot GNU/Linux (usually Mint to ensure the first impressions are of a reliable OS that supports as much of their hardware as humanly possible) and encourage them to try it out
2) help them troubleshoot any of their everyday computing tasks that don't seem to work on GNU/Linux (this often involves installing WINE)
3) once, they are using GNU/Linux at least half of the time, encourage them to delete their Windows partition, and use any devices/ programs they're not ready to give up using WINE (which also gets them tinkering, increasing their confidence in administrating their own GNU/Linux system)
4) encourage them to replace any hardware that depends on WINE (and/or non-free drivers/ firmware) as they can afford it
5) once they no longer need any non-free drivers for their base system, move them from Mint to a free distro, usually Trisquel
6) once they no longer need any non-free drivers at all, encourage them to uninstall WINE

WINE is an essential part of the hand-holding involved in successfully getting people from Windows to 100% libre GNU/Linux, without frustrating them, and losing them along the way.

davidnotcoulthard
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Joined: 02/28/2014

There is free software only available with Wine some might want to use.

If someone asks about how to install K-meleon onto Wine I think said someone will get quite a bit of help.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Disregard whether or not Wine is useful. Two facts:

1. Wine is libre and doesn't do anything to steer users toward using proprietary software. There's nothing wrong with it.

2. Ubuntu's repositories include Wine.

There is no reason to remove a libre program from Trisquel's repository just because its main use is to run proprietary software.

> Wine is problematic software to be included in any of free software distributions. Why? It is not aligned with free software philosophy and guidelines:

Considering whether a program aligns ideologically with you makes no sense. Linux is not ideologically aligned with the libre software movement, either. If a program gives the users the four freedoms, it's libre, end of discussion. There's nothing wrong with a program's developer having a different viewpoint.

As a side note, I hate the way the word "problematic" gets used. I used to think of this word as meaning "causes a problem", but it seems the way people use it, the only thing it means is "I don't like it". That's how I'm seeing it used here, and it's nothing more than a weasel word.

> Because majority of users will be searching for Wine, they will come to Trisquel, and what is happening then? People are divided.

What majority of users will be searching for Wine? Why would you expect this? Anyone who knows about Wine in the first place knows what it is, and I don't see why anyone would think it reasonable to search for the name of an alcoholic beverage in the software repository.

It doesn't matter, anyway. Ideological hegemony is not something we need to have. If a user believes that proprietary Windows games are acceptable, this is not a problem. Everyone is entitled to their views. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, we have a few active users on this forum who are of this opinion.

> That clearly shows rejection of the user, who did nothing else but found wine in the free software distribution, and instead of learning what is free software, he logically asks other users to help him install games, which are not free. The community answer is "no, we don't support you to install non-free games" -- but why in the first place was Wine included in the distribution then?! To divide users?

Wine was included because Ubuntu included it, and there's no need to remove a perfectly good libre program just because the job it does is not a job we are likely to need to do (running Windows software).

> By including Wine, Mame, and any other such emulator which is basically platform for non-free software, free software distribution falls into hypocrisy and encourages users to go to homepages, dedicated to support, download or run non-free software, which makes absolutely no sense.

If Trisquel was adding Wine, FCEUX, ZSNES, and other such programs into its repository, I would say that this is a waste of time, because these programs are mostly useless. But that is not the case. What's happening with Trisquel is Ubuntu already has these programs in its repository, so Trisquel gets them, too.

Including libre software that happens to be mostly useless is not "hypocrisy". Including software whose developers disagree with you is not "hypocrisy".

You're making a stink about nothing.

hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

what if you want to study a proprietary program in order to make an equal or better libre version?

It reminds me of Magic Banana telling me on the forum that Trisquel doesn't prevent proprietary software installation, because that would be contrary to freedom.Handcuffed to freedom? Sounds weird.

lembas
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Joined: 05/13/2010

Handcuffed? What are you talking about? Nobody's suggesting nothing like it. Please don't spread FUD on purpose...

hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

I'm saying the opposite. Or at least I tried. Sorry, English isn't my first language.

being "handcuffed to freedom" would be not allowing Wine for example.

lembas
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Joined: 05/13/2010

But nobody suggested not allowing it, how would that be even possible, just removing it from the repos.

hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

I though the OP suggested that. Yeah, I mean removing it from the repos.

hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

I though the OP suggested that. Yeah, I mean removing it from the repos.

hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

Ok I see what I did here, let me rephrase it :

It reminds me of Magic Banana telling me on the forum that Trisquel doesn't prevent proprietary software installation, because that would be contrary to freedom, which makes sense to me.

Having Wine removed from the repo would feel like being blocked from doing what I want, which is contrary to freedom (hence the handcuffs metaphor).

If it's still unclear, that means I agree with MBanana, and I disagree with OP.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010
Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Like onpon4 and jxself, I am against banning free software from the repository because it is mainly useful along with proprietary software.

Besides the 445 programs that https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iappVersion-licenseOp0=5&sappVersion-licenseData0=Open+Source lists and free software that GNU/Linux developers port to Windows (and test with Wine), I believe there must a a lot of custom software that was written for Windows only but can run on GNU/Linux thanks to Wine. In this way, Wine helps companies adopt free software.

andermetalsh
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Joined: 01/04/2013

There are Windows only libre software and games (yeah, just search them) which can be run and *compiled* against WineLib.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Indeed. Wine isn't just something that runs Windows binaries; it's also a Windows API and DirectX implementation. Some people have actually ported software that depends on the Windows API to the OpenPandora by using Wine. XM Solitaire, for example.

One Windows-dependent libre program I think it would be worthwhile to port to GNU/Linux is Construct Classic. Not urgent given the recent explosion of libre game engines, but still worthwhile. Wine would make this task much easier, since you would only have to adapt the MSVC build process to a different one, rather than replacing its use of DirectX.

tdlnx

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Joined: 04/09/2014

I don't believe saying WINE can be used to install non-free sofware is a valid argument. In using that same argument, we shouldn't be using Trisquel at all because with a few clicks you can manually install non-free software even without the use of WINE.

Software freedom is important, and I agree you should only recommend free software, but if people wish to use free software to install non-free software it is their choice to do so (See Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.) even though it may not be the ethical thing to do.

ewlabonte

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Joined: 08/29/2009

I created a piece of free software for my own use before I had discovered gnu/linux using Visual Basic. I still use that software. The only way I can run it is through Wine, and it runs very well through Wine. Please don't make me switch to a non-libre version of gnu/linux.

andermetalsh
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Joined: 01/04/2013

Does Wine have a VB6 interpreter now?

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

I don't know about Visual Basic 6, but Mono has some sort of Visual Basic.NET support:

http://www.mono-project.com/docs/about-mono/languages/visualbasic/

(This might be a bit off-topic, but it seems worth mentioning.)

ewlabonte

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I have no problem running that application in wine.

megurineturilli
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Joined: 01/10/2012

I did *not* use Wine, after I switched to Libreboot, before I used Wine to reverse engineer some proprietary formats. One of those programs UTAU is written in VB6, now I am working on a free replacement using Qt5.