about warez.at

Josef Dalcolmo dalcolmo at vh-s.de
Wed Oct 31 14:27:44 UTC 2001

Florian.Weimer at RUS.Uni-Stuttgart.DE said:
> I'm not sure about that.  In the past, the big companies tolerated a
> certain amount of copying, in order to help spreading their software
> among home users etc. ...

To continue a little bit on this line of thinking, (e.g. spreading the word,) 
it is imperative to give people the opportunity to try free software. The fact 
is however, that many of us are bound to use MS software, either because it 
was forced upon us, or because we need to deal with documents in that format, 
or simply because it not worth while to reboot your computer every time when 
you want to switch programs (in the case that you have to use MS software for 
some tasks, but would like to use free ones for others).

Unfortunately, the latter method has been hampered by the fact that many free 
tools are only running under Linux and Linux is "only" an operating system.
That limits practically the freedom to use it the way I want.

I use Win4Lin at work, which gives me the freedom to switch between Windows 
and Linux, although the coexistence is not without problems. I am for example 
afraid to upgrade my kernel, because it means recompiling it and I am not sure 
if the new Version of Win4Lin will even work on my Debian system.

My point is: it would be great if the whole GNU/Linux system would be ported 
to Windows: Linux as a program running in Windows. That should be possible, 
just like any other port to a new machine, and would immediately allow access 
to the whole rich world of Linux applications. As a next step, cut-and-paste 
between Windows and Linux could be implemented making this a wonderful 
solution to benefit of many free software solutions. This approach has been 
taken by ETH Oberon, which exists as an OS in the form of Native Oberon and 
also as a Windows Program with almost identical behaviour, and the Windows 
version is just a port of to the Win API as the new machine.

Sure, I heard already many of the reasons why this is stupid: Linux is more 
stable and technically superior as an OS, so why use Windows, you can get all 
the tools in the world for Linux etc. --- However, I haven't seen any real 
solution yet for those who are forced to live with the MS "standard" for now.
This solution would give a choice.

Cygwins approach to this is not exactly what I meant, because porting 
individual programs is still a big task and does not give all the benefits of 
a great system at once: you are still forced to do things the Windows way.

Win4Lin is the other way around and has the problem to be limited to run Win98 
or older inside some versions of Linux. Even if someone comes up with a 
solution for Win2000 or even XP, there will always be a new system to catch up 
with, and it will always be behind. Apart, Win4Lin is not free software 
either. I sincerely believe that it would be easier and better to do this the 
other way around: Linux as a task in Windows. Once it works it is easy to be 
upward compatible.

Why I don't start this project myself? Because I am not a software engineer, 
e.g. not skilled enough for the task. I am just speaking as a technical user, 
interested to see free software succeed.

Why I am proposing this HERE? Because I think the right motivation behind such 
a task is important, and because I do not know a better place to suggest this. 
If at least some of the speakers of the free software community are behind 
this, it may actually happen.

- Josef

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