09.09.09

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Is Mono WISE?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, UNIX at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A moment from history serves as a reminder and warning

Wikipedia defines WISE (Windows Interface Source Environment) as follows:

Windows Interface Source Environment (or WISE) was a licensing program from Microsoft which allowed developers to recompile and run Windows-based applications on UNIX and Macintosh platforms[1].

[...]

The WISE program, which was discontinued shortly after its inception, was seen by some as a Trojan horse designed by Microsoft to penetrate the Unix market[2].

Does that sounds familiar?

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12 Comments

  1. trmanco said,

    September 9, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Gravatar

    More on WISE

    Microsoft engaged in similarly deceptive conduct to combat the growing
    popularity of the UNIX operating system within corporate networks. Microsoft faced a choice:
    whether to “love it to death (invest a lot of money and kill it slowly) or ignore it (invest no
    money on the expectation it will die quickly).”Microsoft chose initially “to invest in
    interoperating” with UNIX, by promoting its Windows Interface Source Environment (“WISE”), a program that purportedly allowed developers to write software to Windows APIs
    and run the resulting programs on Macintosh and UNIX systems.
    Microsoft’s plan was successful. By 1996 Microsoft had captured a large share of the
    corporate market. Microsoft then took the next step in its standard “embrace, extend,
    extinguish” playbook and extended the Windows API without copying its changes to the WISE
    program
    . This meant that developers could no longer smoothly port applications to UNIX and
    Macintosh. In public, however, Microsoft continued to lead developers into believing that this
    software was still fully cross-platform. In 1997, Bill Gates noted in an internal email that those
    developers who wrote applications for the then-available software without realizing that it would
    not port all APIs to UNIX and Macintosh were “just f*****.”57 He was right: Microsoft had
    successfully extinguished the cross-platform threat to its operating system monopoly. In a
    subsequent antitrust suit, a district court called this move “a classic ‘bait-and-switch’ tactic.”

    http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalversion_Consumerchoicepaper.pdf

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks. We have the entire document as HTML right here.

  2. David Gerard said,

    September 9, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Gravatar

    You realise of course that Winelib now allows one to do much the same thing!

    Though it’s easier just to make the original Windows program work properly in Wine and then tell people to use that. (Free software examples include VirtualDub – way too much work to port to Unix properly, so the developer just tells people to use Wine.)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Wine is not supported by Microsoft, though.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    As Roy points out, WINE is not from MS. That’s an advantage, but the point was that WISE was the one *official* Microsoft Way of writing programs.

    However, those that followed WISE got burned, and burned badly. IIRC, similar things happened to COM and DCOM users.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    (Free software examples include VirtualDub – way too much work to port to Unix properly, so the developer just tells people to use Wine.)

    Yep, the developer itself often refers to Wine source code when developing VirtualDub. Another famous example was Google Chrome, where the first version of Chrome was Windows-only. I remember that even Sergey Brin, having a Mac, was frustrated about that. Luckily CodeWeavers was able to make it work in Wine and provide a package, and later Google itself did a Mac and Linux version.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some people actually assume he still uses GNU/Linux.

  3. Yuhong Bao said,

    September 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Gravatar

    And in case of Picasa, that was bought from a company called Idealab, and Google itself provided a Linux package using Wine.

    David Gerard Reply:

    And Google also sponsored CodeWeavers doing quite a lot of work to Wine to get Picasa running well. And Dan Kegel from Google does quite a lot of work for Wine, including maintaining the winetricks script and serving as the Wine 1.0 release manager.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It helps weaken their biggest/fiercest opponent.

    David Gerard Reply:

    Dan works on Chrome and does the Wine stuff in his 20% time (and hasn’t been doing much of it) – his Wine work isn’t an official Google project.

    Dan did a presentation estimating that it would cost EUR 10 million to fix 5,000 open Wine bugs. Anyone got EUR 10 million to make Microsoft’s head *really* hurt?

    See http://kegel.com/ for other Wine-related presentations.

  4. Yuhong Bao said,

    September 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Gravatar

    When talking about WISE, a talk of Mainsoft is essential too. IE for Unix was ported in partnership with Mainsoft, and the source code of Windows was leaked from Mainsoft. They are now promoting Mono I think.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainsoft
    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Windows/Windows-Source-Leak-Traces-Back-to-Mainsoft/
    http://www.techlawjournal.com/atr/80930bri.htm
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CGN/is_3723/ai_55433237/
    http://hyper.sunjapan.com.cn/~hz/win32/wise.htm

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