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GNU is Not Unix

Talk to the GNUWin II Team 209

imevil writes "GNUWin II is a collection of Free Software for Windows, and it also includes articles about Free Software and explanation pages. It is multilingual (it was born as a Swiss product). You can browse the CD online or download the ISO from one of our mirrors. The GNUWin II team is ready to answer to your questions, about GNUWin II, and also about GNU Generation, the student association at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne who gave birth to the GNUWin project."
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Talk to the GNUWin II Team

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    is not available
    • Re:google cache (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Katalyzt ( 546182 )
      so i click the site, click the english flag next to the pretty picture, click programs and what's the first thing I see? Celestia (a beautiful planetarium) described as a 3D Game! sheesh have these people even run this software?
  • Pun time (Score:5, Funny)

    by MondoMor ( 262881 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @10:54PM (#5099587) Homepage Journal
    Those guys are really dedicated.

    They don't GNU Win II Quit! LOL OMG WTF

    kill me
  • by MoThugz ( 560556 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @10:55PM (#5099594) Homepage
    Q20: Who's the chick in the pictures?

  • Major problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kruetz ( 642175 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @10:57PM (#5099599) Journal
    What was the hardest aspect of producing the GNUWin II CD? Was it selecting the software? Was it making sure the software worked okay (ie, were there any major portings issues, and if so, how much work did you have to do vs. how much did the developer do). Was it something else entirely?

    Also, what criteria did you use to select the software? Did you consider which applications had a UI that Windows users would find more comfortable? Did you consider any programs that you weren't able to get running under Windows?

    BTW, best of luck with the project. My father has been using the Win32 port of the GIMP for about two years now and loves it! As I type, he's (ab)using his work's net connection to d/l the ISOs.
  • by ajs ( 35943 )
    There's also the very nice cygwin. I suppose this is just a sort of distribution thing, but cygwin has actually been around for longer even than Linux has. Why the sudden need for other distributions of GNU tools for Windows, I wonder?
    • Re:cygwin? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by damiam ( 409504 )
      Really? Their first documented release was around 1996, five years after Linux. Am I missing something?
    • Re:cygwin? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kourino ( 206616 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:11PM (#5099653) Homepage
      Actually, GnuWIN includes Cygwin, as well as several packages that aren't in Cygwin. For example, LiteStep, which only makes sense on Windows (since it's an alternative Windows shell - that is, litestep.exe runs instead of explorer.exe). Not all of the stuff in GnuWIN is actually GNU. It's just a convenient collection of free/gratis (are all these free/libre?) apps for Windows.
    • GNUWin is more of a package of "windows friendly" applications, ones that have proper GUIs and stuff, it's not like Cygwin at all.
    • I use Cygwin heavily, very cool toolset. IIRC, GNUWin doesn't use an emulation layer like the Cygwin.dll. It's a lot more native. Because of that, the GNUWin set is noticeably faster (or is it Cygwin is noticeably slower). So there's that speed tradeoff.

      The other thing would be redistributing stuff. If I want to give someone an app, I have to track down cygwin.dll, set something up so they can use it. Multipl apps, well it then makes sense to give them one copy, so then you need to put it in a dir, and change your PATH.

      My personal thing, use Cygwin. Slick installer, most of the chain is there, and a lot of apps are fairly quickly released (I use cygwin to track openssl progress - they have a compile within a day) while others sometimes are slower (There's a wmaker bug in 0.80 fixed in 0.80.2) but when there are no upgrades I just build it myself, its fairly complete. I compiled a few DockApps, including speyes.

      For folks who just want a couple apps, maybe GNUWin would be better. Me, I like the completeness of Cygwin. Besides, cygwin has strace, and watching the cygwin/win32 exchange is real cool.
    • Cygwin is designed to provide a UNIX-like environment under windows. The setup program is very nice for GNU/Linux users who know they want, for example, tcsh, libjpeg, gcc, X, Windowmaker and vim. After you have Cygwin installed you are left with a desktop shortcut that launches bash in a windows command window. The rest is up to you.

      GNUWin II appears to be aimed to offer Windows users free alternitives to their proprietary applications, and perhaps to inform them about some free softare / open source political ideas.

      The difference is largely the user target, and I assume GNUWin II's installers will be friendly for those used to cliking "Normal", "Next", "Yes" and "OK" and will place icons in the start menu and/or desktop.

      By the way, GNUWin II guys, I went to the site, saw the link for Pingus next to Lemmings on the "Free Alternatives" page, but there are no stable versions available to download for any OS. The download page is full of "don't use this" comments. The last news item dated 12-22-02 said that a working release might show up in a few days.
  • by TheReckoning ( 638253 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:00PM (#5099613) Journal
    Windows is pretty easy to live with as it is.

    I guess it depends on your paradigm... command-line commandos don't like the GUI's insulation, while GUI geeks hate remembering a bunch of bizarre program names.

    Unless I'm missing the point - the only real failing of Win32 is that a lot of stuff can't be scripted because of the lack of a CLI. Does GNUWIN allow for some of this? Does it have hooks into system admin programs on Win32?
    • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:10PM (#5099651) Journal
      >> Unless I'm missing the point - the only real failing of Win32 is that a lot of stuff can't be scripted because of the lack of a CLI

      If anything, Windows is even more scriptable than linux because of COM and it's progeny, ActiveX. The functionality of just about every portion of the OS is available, and that of any application that chooses to expose it's functionality. So script away in VBScript, Javascript, TCL, or any other COM-aware language - dealers choice.

      Linux is great and all, but you really wind up with an incohesive jumble of software, each developed in it's own little bubble with no knowledge of the others. If your lucky you can get an integer return value to tie it all together.

      The problem with most free software for windows is that it carries the *nix school of thought. No exposed interfaces, and they don't like to play nice with the rest of the system. COM is really a binary format that has nothing to do with OS's (there's no reason it couldnt be implemented in linux), so it's not about it being proprietary.

      MS-bashers are quick to point out shortcomings in the OS, but never seem to notice the Good Things (tm) that make it popular.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        - dealers choice

        I think these two words spell out the biggest problem I have with the M$ Windows world. I much prefer 'users choice' which I only seem to get in the Open Source world.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I agree that COM makes Windows scripting quite functional given a large object model that lets you control many aspects of the system, including full CIM support. The OOPish nature of it is considerably easier to deal with than parsing stdio anyday. I also like that Windows Scripting is a plugin model that lacks a language (although it comes with VBScript and JScript.) I use Windows Scripting with ActiveStates Perl. Works wonders.

        However, while I enjoy the world of scripting, I greatly dislike the standard Windows commandline. I think it was a big mistake to hold onto the DOS moniker, especially when the advent of Windows NT made it possible to provide something entirely new. Batch scripting is a horrible joke given it's syntax and shortcoming of useful commandline utilities. The latter is slowly changing with Windows XP and Windows 2003, but it's still not *ix level.

        But then the question becomes do I really want it *ix level for the shortcomings in that I mentioned in the first paragraph? Why not an object-oriented moniker like Windows Scripting provides? You would spare yourself the requirement of parsing and gain the possibility for command completion and parameter information that could even get new users into the habit.
        • "DOS" is just another application on the system, all it does is fire up No more different than "bash" fires up /bin/sh. There's no reason not to use a better CLI if you need one, and they do exist because I've seen 'em.

          Thing is, they're pretty much irrelevant. It's just the CLI vs GUI thing; Windows is a GUI driven OS, and there's really no need for DOS save backwards compatibility.

          Fankly I'd love to see the OOP goodness of COM partnered with the process control and flexibility of a good CLI like bash. Which is why I wonder why COM (or something like it if it's so abhorrent to use something MSFT invented) hasn't been implemented in the linux world.

          Heck, they could start with a consistent method of cut n' pasting.
      • Way to go on this one moderators. Um, ever heard of CORBA or ORBit? They too are ways of moving objects around (CORBA being the standard, ORBit being an implementation thereof). Yet, CORBA is considered an accepted standard. DCOM is not. Microsoft once again decided to reinvent the wheel. There's no reason you can't use CORBA on Windows.

        I particularly liked "incohesive jumble of software" comment. By downloading a Windows program, it might be dependant on something else that I don't have. So I have to go and get that. In Debian, I apt-get and have everything I need and nothing I don't. Authors of Windows programs generally adhere to no standards except their own. Open source projects are pretty predicatable.

        • Way to go on this one moderators. Um, ever heard of CORBA or ORBit? They too are ways of moving objects around (CORBA being the standard, ORBit being an implementation thereof). Yet, CORBA is considered an accepted standard. DCOM is not. Microsoft once again decided to reinvent the wheel. There's no reason you can't use CORBA on Windows

          Yes, there are ways, but that's not the point. COM is deeply ingrained into Windows. You can use the same basic technique to request that the OS add a user as to request that Excel draws a graph for you as to query SQL server on a remote machine. Once you get your head around it, it's enormously powerful.

          Meanwhile, on Unix, they can't even decide if a configuration file should be .conf or .rc or .ini or even have no extension at all, let alone standardizing the format of the files. The only standard way of getting data from some applications to others is as a stream of text, it's very difficult to move structured data around on Unix - why do you think, after decades, that it's still so hard to cut and paste in X windows? Maybe XML can address that, but your point stands: why reinvent the wheel?

          Authors of Windows programs generally adhere to no standards except their own. Open source projects are pretty predicatable.

          That simply isn't true. Example: if I want to pipe the output of lynx to a file, I need to use -source on the command line. If I want to do the exact same thing in wget, it's -o. In netcat, I can just use the redirection of the shell. Open Source programmers are notorious for doing their own thing (and why shouldn't they, not as if it will hurt their revenue stream). In the commercial world, on NT or Unix, playing well with others is much more important.
          • That simply isn't true. Example: if I want to pipe the output of lynx to a file, I need to use -source on the command line. If I want to do the exact same thing in wget, it's -o. In netcat, I can just use the redirection of the shell. Open Source programmers are notorious for doing their own thing (and why shouldn't they, not as if it will hurt their revenue stream). In the commercial world, on NT or Unix, playing well with others is much more important.

            Bad habits are management's fault -- even if a project lead on an open source project. Being a Windows or X program matters not one bit, though the libraries in Windows do help. Nothing is preventing these features from being added to any of the libraries under the different flavors of *nix -- except for virus worries, maybe, and general apathy since the shells available work damn well for most tasks.

            I've worked on plenty of commercial projects (COTS and custom) where one or two folks in development decided that their way of doing something was better. I'm talking button placement, dialog modality, error boxes, and basic menus not one-use algorithms. None of these changes were impovements over what is normally expected or the project's existing style. Pure lazyness.

          • That simply isn't true. Example: if I want to pipe the output of lynx to a file, I need to use -source on the command line. If I want to do the exact same thing in wget, it's -o. In netcat, I can just use the redirection of the shell.

            How would I do the equivalent task with a script in Windows? Not a troll or a flame, an honest question: what's the Windows equivalent of lynx -source > file.html ?

      • by Patrick13 ( 223909 ) on Friday January 17, 2003 @12:10AM (#5099853) Homepage Journal
        If anything, Windows is even more scriptable than linux because of COM and it's progeny, ActiveX.

        Yah... Haven't you noticed all the great viruses that people have been making?
      • There is a COM implementation for linux from softwareag []. Admittedly it's geared towards transparent DCOM interop with windows machines rather than ActiveX style scripting, but pretty much all of the base COM stuff is there. Can be a bitch to get things working on it sometimes though.

        More interestingly, Mozilla is largely hooked up using COM (well, they call it XPCOM [], but it's extremely similar in the fundamentals), and there are mappings to JavaScript [] and Python []. Maybe more people will expose applications/components using XPCOM in the future; isn't the web browser supposed to be the operating system anyway?... or maybe I'm out of date :)

        Anyway, I agree, OLE/ActiveX/COM are great, and hopefully linux (or I guess more probably KDE/Gnome) will eventually incorporate some or all of the functionality they provide. But better, with less stupid gotchas, and less bloat (as a user I love OLE, as a developer I loath it:)

      • If anything, Windows is even more scriptable than linux because of COM and it's progeny, ActiveX.

        Well - yes and no. Yes, in that COM has "proper" scripting support, but no, in that most apps don't expose services in such a way. Believe me, OLE Automation as it was known when I learnt about it is a total pain in the ass for developers, the only reason it's possible AT ALL is that Windows IDEs have lots of wizards to do it all for you. It's not just a case of building a COM object, you've got to provide the IDispatch interface (to allow for method invocation), you've got to register it, give it a ProgID, set up the server when the app is running, deal with cases when then server isn't running so the app has to be specially started etc....

        Don't get me wrong, OLE Automation is cool, but it's HARD and therefore rare outside of Microsofts own products. Also, it's harder to program. Because it's available via actual programming languages, to do something like access a file via WSH you create an object, call it's methods etc.

        Scripting on Linux (with the command line) is totally, totally different. bash started out as a command line, and mutated into a programming language as well. All command line apps support scriptability to some extent because they take input, parameters and output. It's crude, but it works surprisingly well.

        Oh, and for those who are wondering about GUI apps - the boys over at are working on a new message bus architecture, similar to DCOP, called DBUS, which looks like amongst many other cool things will allow for simple object scriptability in a desktop-neutral fashion, from the command line or other languages. It's not as powerful as ActiveX, but then again most of the power of COM/OLE/ActiveX was never used anyway, so that's not too bad, and because it should be simple and easy to add support hopefully we'll see lots of apps adopting it.

        Disclaimer: nothing about DBUS is actually official, it's a bunch of KDE and GNOME hackers working on something that may or may not be adopted by either project. You know how it goes - it'll be adopted when it's shown to be mature and better than the current solutions.

      • Linux is great and all, but you really wind up with an incohesive jumble of software, each developed in it's own little bubble with no knowledge of the others. If your lucky you can get an integer return value to tie it all together.

      • If anything, Windows is even more scriptable than linux because of COM and it's progeny, ActiveX.

        If the software you're working with chose to provide a COM interface, and it exposes the functionality you want, it's documented well enough to use, and the language you're interested in can access COM. COM requires that lots of people play nice together. Also, the resulting scripts tend to be much more heavyweight.

        The benefit of the command line is that text is the lowest common denominator. Even if a program never expected to be scripted, you can easily call it and parse its output with scripting. You can observe the output yourself and decide how to parse it, no documentation needed. You can also say very powerful and useful things in just a line or two of shell script. Want to do a bulk rename of a set of files as a once-off task? Easy in Bourne shell or Perl. Not quick so easy with various scripting languages and COM. (Fortunately you can use Perl on Windows.) Want a quick and dirty summary of the popularly over time of a particular web page on your unix server? Something like "cat access_log | awk '{print $4" " $7}' | grep $1 | sed -e 's/^\[//' -e 's/:.*//' | uniq -c" will do the job nicely. Most popular files on your unix web server? cat access_log access_log.resolved | awk '{print $7" "$9" "}' |sort |uniq -c|sort -nr. The equivalent in COM with a scripting language isn't anywhere nearly as pleasant. Unix admins assume everything is text and are comfortable whipping up once-off scripts to answer questions or solve problems. The individual tools are simple to learn one at a time as you go. COM has a significant overhead to learn the minimal things, and the minimal things are surprisingly non-trivial to write.

        I've done development and administration on both Windows and Linux. When it comes to scripting, I'll take Linux any day.

    • Um, no, in fact, Windows IS VERY scriptable. In fact, I've gotten quite a bit of use out of VBS that does some really cool things. For example, I have a machine that runs Windows Media Encoder 24 hours a day. Well, in case of power outage, system reboot, etc, I want it to automatically log in as a user, start Encoder, select the appropriate settings, click the "Start Encoding" button, then lock the machine using NT's workstation lock command (usually ctrl-alt-del, then click Lock Workstation). Sound impossible? One might think that, but with the super coolness of the Win32 API, I have a script that does just that. It 'talks" to the application, and virtually clicks all the buttons necessary. Totally automated.

      And that's just one example.
      • Sound impossible? One might think that, but with the super coolness of the Win32 API, I have a script that does just that. It 'talks" to the application, and virtually clicks all the buttons necessary. Totally automated.

        That's really impressive until you remember that the whole, original, blasted POINT of Windows was to present a Graphical User Interface.

        The fact that there exists a backhanded way to sit there, at a console, and figure out how to direct buttons to be pushed is exactly like something that's a good idea, but backwards. The fact that this is the most efficent way to conduct this automated task is nothing short of laughable.

      • And that's just one example.

        So you have others?

        "super coolness"

        That sounds like a Microsoft marketing term used to target MTV viewers. "Windows Media Player: Get lost in it's super coolness and DRM."
      • Um, no, in fact, if you are having to script the pushing of buttons on a GUI, then that is hardly even barely scriptable. You might be able to get "a bit of use" out of such an ugly kludge, but its not something to be proud of.
  • by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) <.kt.celce. .ta. .eb.> on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:14PM (#5099660) Homepage Journal
    GNU/FSF is ran by RMS who feels that the world should be free, but GNU now wants to support the windows platform officially? If you can run these popular tools on windows will RMS be emailing windows and telling them to rename windows GNU/Windows?
    • by jcast ( 461910 )

      If you can run these popular tools on windows will RMS be emailing windows and telling them to rename windows GNU/Windows?

      No. For some reason, RMS considers Windows a ``complete system'' which is left in place by these sorts of things. So, no GNU labeling (just like installing GNU on BSD doesn't involve a GNU/ holy war from RMS). I'm not entirely sure what crucial system component Windows has that Linux (as distributed by Linus) doesn't (however you want to read that), but RMS has appearantly identified something.

      Btw., this came up on the Cygwin mailing list a while back (RMS was cc'ed); google for it if you're interested in a link.
      • "Linux (as distributed by Linus)" is a kernel. There are no applications. There is no commandline interface, because the shell isn't there. There is *nothing* but a kernel. So I think its fair to call a working system GNU/Linux. Windows will boot without GNU tools. It is complete unto itself.
        • And I think this is one aspect that many Linux people miss. MS, and many other OS makers provide a very large base of things that make up the OS. Windows provides a kernal, a multitiude of APIs, a LCI, a GUI, scripting support, a web browser, media playback, and so on and so forth, all as part of the OS. MacOS is much the same, as are some UNIX distributions. Linux is a very differnet philsophy. The kernal is the only thing that makes Linux what it is. Everything else is optionally added by distribution makers. There are some conventions (like that X is the basis for the GUI) but they aren't required, just what most people do.

          This is two very different design philsophies and why Windows or MacOS will never have the customization of Linux, and indeed shouldn't. Microsoft and Apple want to provide a gaurentee of more services being available so that when someone buys Windows or MAcOS or writes a program for it, they know these tools and services are available to them. Linux chooses not to do this and rather allows people an almost infinite felxability.

          Neither way is the right way to do it. For it's felxibility LInux trandes standardizaiton, and suffers compatibility problems because of it. For it's comatibility and standards, Windows suffers felxibility because of it.
        • so by the same logic, the product which is shipped by RedHat, RedHat Linux is a complete system. It's their choice to tack the kernel name onto it (do they need permission from linus to do that?). The kernel shouldn't need to be called GNU/Linux anymore than PERL needs to be GNU/Perl, or KDE needs to be GNU/KDE. In fact, most people refer to just their distribution by name, RH, drake, gentoo, slack, etc. yes, the term linux is often referred to the general system being used, ie "what flavour of linux are you running?". you're not going to get people to pronounce GNU/Linux in their everyday talk about it. GNU, GNU, GNU. there's just something about that GN that doesn't seem to flow so good. so we say f-it and stick with something we can fairly easily say, linux, kde, kazza, etc.
  • "GNUWin II is a collection of Free Software for Windows"
    Looks like they missed something out [] :)
  • by jonman_d ( 465049 ) <> on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:20PM (#5099676) Homepage Journal
    The site's moving at a crawl, so here's the FAQ and software list (what I just happen to have open when I noticed its slashdottedness):

    Q1: What is GNUWin II ?
    R1: GNUWin-II is a free software distribution for MS-Windows. It includes a large spectrum of programs, notably a whole office suite (MS-Office compatible), Internet utilities, development tools (C, C++, ...), typesetting software (LaTeX), calculus environments, games, ...

    Q2: Who made GNUWin II ?
    R2: GNUWin-II was made and is still being improved by GNU Generation, a team of students of the EPFL who promote free software and operating systems. It is a collaborative and voluntary project.

    3: What is the purpose of GNUWin II ?
    R3: The purpose of GNUWin-II is to help Windows users discover the free software and Open Source world. After using free software on MS-Windows, it is easier to migrate to a free operating system (GNU/Linux for instance), where the same programs are used.

    Q4: How much does GNUWin II cost ?
    R4: GNUWin II is free (as a "free beer"). The programs included on the CD are free software (here, free is to be understood as free in "free speech"). The edition work and HTML pages that contain GNUWin-II are themselves copyrighted under a free license.

    Q5: Why GNUWin II and not GNUWin 98 ?
    R5: Because GNUWin-II is the second version. The first one can be seen here. GNUWin is not a Microsoft product, and we do not count "3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, 2000" !

    Q6: May I copy this CD ?
    R6: Yes, you are encouraged to do so, and to distribute copies of this CD.

    Q7: May I lend this CD to a friend ?
    R7: Yes, you can give / lend / copy / distribute this CD as often as you want to.

    Q8: Where can I get the licenses so that I can use the programs included on the CD ?
    R8: You do not need to buy licenses, as all applications on the CD are free software or Open Source software.

    Q9: May I use the programs included on this CD for professional or commercial purposes ?
    R9: Yes you may. There are no restrictions on the use of the programs.

    Q10: What is the difference between the programs included on this CD and freeware that can be found on the Internet ?
    R10: Most freeware programs are "free" in the sense that they don't cost you money ("free" as in "free beer"). This is your only freedom. On top of this, these programs are often watered-down versions of commercial products (be it with limited functions or limited time of use). The programs that are included on this CD are "free" in all senses of the term : they are "costless", they are unlimited, you have the right to distribute them, and most important, their source code is freely available, and you may modify it to improve the program or fix bugs.
    This ensures that the program will always be costless in the future, and allows to keep the program alive, even if its original developers lose their interest in it.

    Q11: What is "source code" ?
    R11: Source code is a text written in a programming language that was used to create the program. The source code is often kept secret by companies so that nobody can understand how the program works, nor check what it actually does. All programs on this CD are "Open Source", that is their source code is available; thus, everybody can improve, correct or check the program.

    Q12: Where can I get the source code for the software included on this CD ?
    R12: The source code is available on the Internet on the official program site. The link to the site in available at the description page of the program.

    Q13: Can I install the programs included on this CD on my Macintosh computer ?
    R13: No you cannot, for technical reasons, unless you have a PC emulator. There is already free software distribution for Macintosh, like fink. In addition, MacOS X can be turned into a full GNU system, using GNU/Darwin.

    Q14: Can I install the programs included on this CD on my Linux/Unix computer ?
    R14: No you cannot, for technical reasons, unless you have a MS-Windows emulator. But most of the programs included on this CD were initially developed for Unix or GNU/Linux. In this case, you can download the GNU/Linux version or the source code on the official site. The link to the program official site is available at the description page of the application.

    Q15: Do I need to install Linux to use GNUWin-II ?
    R15: No, you do not need to. On the other hand, most of the programs included on this CD were originally developed for GNU/Linux; if you want to migrate to Linux, you can go on using the same applications on the Linux platform.

    Q16: What version of Windows is needed to run GNUWin-II programs ?
    R16: GNUWin-II should not require any particular version. But we cannot test all applications on every available Windows version, and it might happen that some programs work badly, or even not at all, on some Windows version. Should this case arise, we would be grateful if you report the problem to us.

    Q17: Who can I contact if I have questions or problems ?
    R17: Please send an e-mail to

    Q18: Why is the XXX software not on GNUWin ?
    R18: There might be several reasons for this :
    o The software might not be free. It's not enough for a software to be free of charge to be on GNUWin, the source code must also be available to the public.
    o There might already be an application on GNUWin that has the same features. There is no need to have half a dozen of FTP clients, for instance.
    o The software might have a very specific use. GNUWin is aimed at a wide public who have discovering free software, not at specialists.
    Anyway, GNUWin also holds a list of links to similar projects that cannot be o n the CD itself, but deserve attention.

    Q19: Why is software XXX on GNUWin even though it's not free software ?
    R19: GNUWin promotes free software in the sense of the FSF, and advocates use of the GPL. However, we do claim our right to decide by ourselves whether or not an application is "free enough" to be part of GNUWin.
    To be part of GNUWin, a software must be free to execute, the source code must be available freely and widely, and redistribution must be authorized without restriction. Freedom to distribute modified Source, although a valuable and esteemed feature, is not required. Thus you can find for instance Scilab and Povray on GNUWin.


    Quick start:
    * OpenOffice
    * 7-Zip
    * Mozilla

    General purpose:
    * The Gimp
    * Zinf
    * X-Tractor
    * HTTrack
    * WinJab
    * Sylpheed

    * MiKTeX
    * Dia
    * GnuPlot
    * R
    * Scilab
    * Maxima
    * PuTTY
    * HTTrack
    * GPG

    * SciTE, Vim or XEmacs
    * GNAT Ada Compiler or Mingv32 or Python
    * MySQL
    * HTTrack
    * GTK+ or Simple Direct Media Layer or wxPython
    * Inno Setup
    * MiKTeX

    * TuxPaint
    * TuxType
    * Jump'n'bump
    * TuxRacer

    * Apache
    * MySQL
    * Python
    * The Gimp
    * iXplorer
    * PuTTY
    * CatFish
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was a hardcore Windows developer. I downloaded a lot of free software, started to like the open source concept, and now I have Linux installed on both my home computers and I write open source apps. I just wanted to say that open source on Windows is a good thing, even for the Linux community.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I was a hardcore Linux developer. I downloaded a lot of proprietary software, started to like the closed source concept, and now I have Windows installed on both my home computers and I write closed source apps. I just wanted to say that closed source on Linux is a good thing, even for the Windows community.
  • by Guiri ( 522079 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:28PM (#5099705) Homepage
    "It's GNU/Win and no GNUWin"
  • Dear Good Sirs (Score:3, Informative)

    by Amsterdam Vallon ( 639622 ) <> on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:36PM (#5099740) Homepage
    I have set up us the Google cache of every page. Just keep clicking 'next' to view each page of their site in various languages. =off&start=10&sa=N []
  • by Znonymous Coward ( 615009 ) on Thursday January 16, 2003 @11:43PM (#5099771) Journal
    GNU Win II is an excellete project. Good job guys! Also, check out The Open CD as well.

  • "In the past year, we've seen a lot of attempts by companies to make a profit by selling mixed open and closed source software. Lindows and CrossOver spring to mind. How do you, both personally and as a representative of the EFF, react to this trend? Is it beneficial to the Free Software Movement in the short and long term?"

    ---- By tps12 [], one of the best Slashdot members of all time
  • Why Bother? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Malcontent ( 40834 )
    Windows already runs more software then linux.

    People who use windows often pirate copies of commercial software so they don't need or want open source software.

    Even if a an open source software was clearly superior to a windows equivalent (zope, apache, postgres etc) why make it so that it runs on windows. Aren't you discouraging people from using linux by doing that?
    • ok, I'll bite.

      It was ported to windows because someone felt like doing it.

      Thats whats so ninja about open source. you have the power to do what ever you want with the source....
      • Well I realized that but it does not answer my question. Why bother doing such a thing. If you goal is to advance open source then why not leave better products like mozilla only running in linux? That way you actually encourage people switching to linux.
        • Showing my unix age here, why port most of the gnu unix filesystem utilities to SunOS, AIX and Irix?

          How does keeping open source development excusively on a single operating system that runs on only a handful of hardware platforms advancing open source?

          Pardon me, I was under the mistaken impression that free software was about empowering all computer users, not just users of your favorite operating system.
        • Re:Why Bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JordoCrouse ( 178999 )
          That way you actually encourage people switching to linux.

          Lemme stick some numbers out there for you. Of all the people currently using Windows, I would only say that about 10% feel comfortable in a Unix environment. And lets say that another 5% are beginners, but are willing to try. And of that 15% who might switch, at least half will switch right back again. So really, you only have roughly 7% of all personal computer users that would end up choosing Linux (and feeling comfortable with it).

          Given these numbers, why would you even want to keep open source programs like Mozilla, Apache and the GIMP away from 93% of your possible user base? Why not expose as many people as possible to the chewy goodness of open source? Why cut them out because they are unwilling or unable to use anything except a operating system from Redmond, WA?

          Free as in speech, indeed.
          • Because a really good program can drive the adoption of an operating system.
            • Oh, it certainly is a great marketing model, one used to great effect by Microsoft to produce vendor lock-in. I'm not convinced that vendor lock-in to linux is all that much more of a better idea than vendor lock-in to another OS.

              The basic fact of the computer market is that for some people the best tool, or even the only tool for the job will be a proprietary software package running under a proprietary operating system. The fact that I need a proprietary software package to make a living (in my case Dragon Naturally Speaking) does not obligate me to use a proprietary office suite, a proprietary email client, or proprietary file management tools.

    • Re:Why Bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kirkjobsluder ( 520465 ) <> on Friday January 17, 2003 @01:43AM (#5100178) Homepage
      Windows already runs more software then linux.

      People who use windows often pirate copies of commercial software so they don't need or want open source software.

      Believe it or not, there are people who prefer to use open source software on windows. Some of these people consider piracy to be ethically problematic.

      The biggest point about open source software is not price, but freedom. Even though I get Microsoft products legally for $5 a CD (one perk of university life), I still don't like the closed security model, the license restrictions and the understanding that using the software after I leave the university will require shelling out $400.

      The fact that I use (and pay for) some closed source software on windows, does not mean that I should not benefit from open source software when available.
      • Re:Why Bother? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        this smacks in the face of EVERYTHING I have seen..
        EVERY windows user I have met has no problem with stealing software. I constantly hear "can I have a copy of Office 2000? Visio? can I have a copy of Filemaker Pro for home? can I have a copy of Photoshop? etc.... they gladly steal software. and this is a sampling of 5 businesses that I contact on a regular basis... over 300 people and 99.997% of them have asked me to make illegal copies of software for them. I started to ask why.. and this is the string of responses I get.

        They charge WAY too much for that.
        I already PAID for windows. - this is my favorite
        I only need it for a little bit.
        I cant afford it.
        Those companies make billions, they dont need my money.

        While in the LUG I am a member of I asked the question about piracy... how many of them have a cracked copy of vmware, copies of Loki Games, etc...

        I was almost attacked... First response was "That's stealing!"
        You dont do that!

        Linux users have more respect for software and software writers than windows users. why?? is it that the linux user is generally 40% higher in IQ? is it that a linux user is smarter and more educated than a windows user?

        I have met some supposed windows users that are against software sharing... yet they sill asked me for a copy of a "neat" program that they dont want to shell out cash for.

        Note: I am a IS/IT freelance person. I have access to a HUGE legal pool of software between the 3 companies I maintain... this is why I am asked.
        • Re:Why Bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

          Perhaps I just work with a better quality of computer users who are aware that piracy can result in getting slapped with huge fines for the organization.

          But focusing on gratas as opposed to libertas is missing the point about why we need free software on Windows. By all means, I could be using and distributing gratas software that just fell off the back of the truck, but cost of ownership is only one small reason for adopting open source software.

          So why would I want to promote open source software for windows?

          1: Because I need software that I can print on CDs and pass out to dozens of students. Software that does not cripple its self after the end of the semester, software that they can install on multiple computers, software that spports existing standards, software that does not suck, software that will not advertise AOL or install spyware, software that will not leave me vulnerable to audits, suits or prosecution.

          2: Security. I may be stuck with a proprietary operating system but that does not mean that I should be stuck with a proprietary word processor or email client that runs viruses. I want the hundreds of eyes auditing Mozilla and Open Office code.

          3: Standards compliance. I can't expect students to design cross-browser standards compliant web services without using a standards compliant browser.

        • Not IQ. Awareness. (Score:3, Informative)

          by dmaxwell ( 43234 )
          The LUG I occaisionally attend also takes a dim view of stealing software. They basically tore a mailing list poster a new poop chute for defending some warezing he was doing. Ditto on the typical LUG reaction to copyright infringement.

          LUGs are largely polpulated by sysadmins, programmers, technical managers and highly computer literate users. I don't think the higher respect for software licensing comes from greater intelligence. It comes from a higher awareness of the issues around licensing. A sysadmin who doesn't want warez showing up on HIS network is going to take a dim view of stolen software. Ditto for anyone who has spent more than an hour worrying about licensing.

          It is also the flip side of the outrage these people feel when a high profile GPL violater is outed. How can we expect the likes of MS and Adobe to respect (phobic paranoia in MS' case) our licences if we don't respect theirs? Linux users also often feel that draconian licensing terms are Linux' best advocates. If users can just steal software for whatever reason then why try out the free stuff?

    • Re:Why Bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 )
      >People who use windows often pirate copies of commercial software so they don't need or want open source software.

      I'd say people as a whole don't like getting into the porn pop-under world of serial websites, P2P spyware, etc just to use a common app. It makes you wonder why the software world is such a free-market failure. Not only are the major players few in number, but they can afford to let others copy their software just for the name recognition, format dominance, and free advertising.

      There's also the question of ethics. I'm sure technophobes wonder why they have to either pay through the nose or "steal" and office suite. I wonder how many acrobat users out there know there are free Windows alternatives to producing PDFs?

      I think Open souce and linux can only win by becoming more prominent in the windows world. Not only will people go for the easy install and stop serial/crack hunting they'll be exposed to OSS philosophy, name recognition, etc which can only help the transition from Windows to Linux, that is if that's all you care about.
    • Re:Why Bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

      I use Cygwin all the time at work because I don't have the option of installing Linux. It is pretty dang convenient for a lot of things, especially little bash 1-liners for doing bulk file renaming and such. Consider:

      $ for i in *.ps; do ps2pdf.bat $i; done
      $ for i in *.pdf; do mv $i form_${i%.pdf}-031015.pdf; done

      If you have a hundred or so files which you want to rename or prepend things or change the suffix, for instance, it is a slick way to do it rather than clicking away for hours.

      Likewise, you can use awk to do some pretty nifty tricks with large text files.

      And finally, I don't rate to get a copy of Visual Studio, so if I want to write a little program for some reason then Cygwin's g++ is my only option, or the GNAT Ada95 compiler in GNUWin (I have it installed as well). These GNUWinII programs are more GUI-style programs which really Cygwin is mainly command-line based. I can't get by without Gimp and I have been using the GNUWin version for a couple years at work now.
    • why make it so that it runs on windows. Aren't you discouraging people from using linux by doing that?

      Because it's better to advertise on TV during the superbowl than put a small ad in the back of a trade journal?

      Just getting the concept of free software across to the windows using world is a major feat.

      The main obstacle to moving to Linux for many people is the perception that "it's too different" despite the fact that in any discussion about window managers every other post usually complains "they're too the same".

    • Re:Why Bother? (Score:2, Interesting)

      My understanding is that this is about free software. This may not be a distribution for every user, but it is a good move.

      For instance, my off-line HOME PC is better served by a concept like Windows than Linux. I don't need nor like to have all that functionality I wouldn't use at home, so it is a nightmare for me to configure a Linux system so it doesn't do all the stuff I don't want while overloading my CPU and hard disk.

      Other people use Windows instead of Linux simply because it came preinstalled (together with driver and some application support for all the hardware and peripherals).

      Complementing those applications with other free ones is a great possibility (there's nothing wrong with MS paint, but I prefer the Gimp). Switching to Linux would be way more difficult.

      > People who use windows often pirate copies of commercial software so they don't need or want open source software.

      Well, even if I wouldn't care about piracy, I wouldn't learn how to use some software that may not be available to me in the future (because I copied it from some friend instead of downloading it, and then I had to patch it with a crack specificaly made for that version blah blah). It is the same reason why I wouldn't learn a programming language unless it is ANSI or ISO or very widely used.

      > Even if a an open source software was clearly superior to a windows equivalent (zope, apache, postgres etc) why make it so that it runs on windows.

      Because (I hate to admit this since I hate MS with a passion) I like Windows.


    • It's fair to ask "why bother", but I think this is a smart move by this group. Making it easy to run open source software / Free Software (OSS/FS) on Microsoft Windows makes it much easier for people to transition to OSS/FS systems over time, if they choose to do so... and thus more likely that the use of OSS/FS systems (like GNU/Linux) will increase.

      People do not buy operating systems, generally. People buy applications, and then buy whatever operating system is needed to run the application. In particular, most people don't care if Windows or GNU/Linux is "better". The primary thing most people want to know is which one runs the applications they need. For example, they want to know what runs Word, or at least, which one can read and edit Word files easily. And once they start using a set of applications, they don't want to immediately switch to a different set of applications - especially since some may be home-built and require some time to re-develop. People are willing to make slow transitions, but massive all-at-once transitions are risky and painful.

      Thus, if you want users already using a proprietary operating system to switch to GNU/Linux, you're better off first getting them to use OSS/FS applications on whatever operating system they're currently using. A user who uses Windows with Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Microsoft Word will usually not be willing to instantaneously switch to the Linux kernel, Mozilla, and Open Office; the time to do the transition is quite painful. But a Windows user is probably willing to try out Mozilla - the pain is quite low. Installing Open Office is not risky.. and look at the money they save (if they aren't pirating, which is becoming more dangerous due to the BSA etc.).

      This has already happened, for example, with the compiler suite gcc. For many years gcc only ran on proprietary operating systems. But because it was freely available for those proprietary systems, and was a good product, people increasingly used gcc. Increasingly, code was written that required the gcc compiler, or at least was only known to work with it. Once an OSS/FS kernel became available, developers were more willing to switch to it... because their application (gcc) was already running on it.

      Imagine that more and more users begin to install Open Office because it cost less than the proprietary alternatives (Word Perfect, Microsoft Office). Now imagine that they send their documents to other people. Those other people will be incentivized to also use Open Office, in part because it's the safest approach (no concerns of subtle incompatibilities) and it's easy (there's no harm in loading both Open Office and Microsoft Office on the same system). Then, due to network effects, more & more people do this; I suspect this effect would be especially strong in less developed countries, where there is just no money for proprietary products, Microsoft's products are less firmly established (in some cases), Microsoft is viewed with suspicion, and where recent trade agreements (e.g., efforts to join the WTO) makes it slightly more dangerous to pirate. Now imagine a place where most people using Microsoft Windows also use Open Office, and many use Mozilla, at least some times. They may not have considered using GNU/Linux before, but suddenly you've greatly eased transition. And each step made sense to the user: they added Open Office due to price or due to compatibility with other users, and then could switch to GNU/Linux for the same reason.

      Indeed, this group should encourage the Business Software Alliance (BSA)'s enforcement actions, especially in other countries. The BSA's tactics are often reprehensible, in particular the BSA's presumption that organizations are guilty until proven innocent (even though, in many cases, the problem is simply that some licensing paperwork has been lost). But that can work to the advantage of anyone recommending that OSS/FS be considered. Imagine an organization presented with these options: (1) use the current application software, whose rental agreements are getting costlier and which they'll have to carefully track (or be subject to stiff fines), (2) new application software that is a "work-alike" and doesn't require them to throw away their operating systems (as well as all the specialized programs built on that operating system), or (3) replacing all operating systems and all applications all at once. Option 3 is completely impractical, but option 1 is getting expensive enough to make option 2 worth considering.

      I expect the name of this CD will have to change, or they'll have to remove a few of the products. The FSF certainly permits its programs to run on proprietary operating systems - indeed, for many years they ran only on proprietary systems - I'm sure they won't want the name "GNU" (the key FSF project) associated with some programs that don't meet the "Free Software" definition. According to the web site, some applications don't permit redistribution of modified programs, and that fundamentally contradicts the FSF definition of "Free Software". But this won't be hard to fix, really - just remove a few programs (none of the most critical ones) or change the name.

  • Popularity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bfree ( 113420 ) on Friday January 17, 2003 @12:13AM (#5099866)
    Do you have, or would you consider adding, a voluntary popularity rating system for the programs on your CD? I'm thinking of the likes of the debian popularity-contest which tracks which programs are installed (and how often they're used I think) to decide what programs should be included on which CD of their release. It would also help for the Linux (BSD, any other FreeOS you care to name) community as they could see which programs Windows people like and therefore can help most in bringing them across from Win to Lin.
  • I looked at the list of software [] on the GnuWin page, and it looks strangely almost exactly like my downloads directory.

    Virtual Dub
    etc ...

    I may buy a copy of this CD just to help with the project. Very cool work here, guys.
  • According to the Team page [] they have Jesus working for them. No picture, though (see about halfway down).

  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Friday January 17, 2003 @01:07AM (#5100060)
    the target audience already gets most of their software for free. windows is free, right? it comes on the machine. there are so many appz, warez, crackz, etc., that it is silly. for instance, a close family member (by marriage), who is a school teacher like me, swaps cd's with his students and he gets games for his kids from kazaa (i know, helluva lesson!!). he knows all about "free" software. and if he is doing this, then i can only imagine what others must be doing. since i have been winfree for a few years, i really don't care. the cd is a nice try, no flaming please.

    the real target should be schools first. sure, most boxen come with some form of windows. the real value is that say, a project done in abi or OO, graphics by gimp, etc., and student needs to finish at home, just give them the cd. schools need to be target number one for FS/OSS. teachers need to be weaned from "free" office. sure, our ed. price is for school computers only, but you know how many teachers got the district office cd?
    • Uhhhhhhhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday January 17, 2003 @06:50AM (#5100925)
      I can prove you wrong by the simple fact that software companies make money. If all Windows users were just pirating software, as you suggest, then no commercial software companies could make money for Windows (except MS who has their software bundled wiht PCs). Yet there seem to be profitable Windows software companies. Thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of them.
      • (even some "free" software companies make money) of course software companies make money. businesses have to pay for software, er, licenses. piracy is a funny word relating to software. if i had no intention of buying photoweaver7 or dreamshopMX but got a free copy, i am a pirate. but, this is a big but (no sir mixalot jokes), it actually costs the company absolutely nothing. a digital copy imposes no opportunity cost on the vendor. same with mp3's, though another story...

        of course people buy software, even lots windows users. plenty of games, for sure. and no, many people wouldn't pirate software. they buy what they need. i have even paid for linux distros and hell, i have broadband. it is just that for many, the software on windows is already free. this project, noble that it is, is intended to "convert and educate" as well as provide great software. but no WP is going to compete with a free version of Word.
    • the target audience already gets most of their software for free. windows is free, right? it comes on the machine.

      Not what's on that CD []. It comes with several office suites, at least 2 text editors (unfortunately XEmacs instead of Emacs though...) 30 games, 7 image processing tools, 9 programming languages, a full versioning control system, a full webserver, a full SQL database server, 2 file compression utilities, and some CD burning programs.

      Getting the leading commercial equivalents for all that stuff for your new PC would probably run you well over $10,000.

      Sure, smart folk can download all that stuff for free. But that hasn't stopped Linux distributions from appearing on shelves in Best Buy, now has it?

      Personally, I'll probably get a copy myself, just to save the effort of downloading and installing all that sutff separately every time I have to set up a new PC. All the stuff I usually install on a Windows system to make it usable appears to be there already.
  • Give everyone a copy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trickster Coyote ( 34740 ) on Friday January 17, 2003 @01:51AM (#5100206) Homepage
    This is a great collection of software (about 100 programs on the disk) and covers just about anything the average home user would want as well as a whole lot more.

    I burned a bunch of copies and gave them out as stocking stuffers at Christmas. I also sent one to my father who is a retired programmer and now repairs used computers to send to Africa. I suggested that he send along a copy of GNU Win II with every computer he ships.

    I think everyone should take a tip from AOL and burn a lot of copies and hand them out to friends, family, co-workers, stuff them in the neighbours' mailboxes, etc. Point out that they don't have to pay for or pirate software anymore. They can use these for free and with a clean conscience.

    Using these programs will get people used to the concepte of free/free software and when they buy their next computer, they then can switch to the Linux OS and still use all the software they have become familiar with.
  • GNU? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lpontiac ( 173839 ) on Friday January 17, 2003 @02:22AM (#5100287)
    Most of the software on that CD has nothing to do with GNU or the Free Software Foundation.

    The FSF would be perfectly within their rights to demand that the name be changed. I think it would be courteous of the GNUWin team to change their name first.

    Not meaning to belittle the CD itself.. it's a neat idea, kudos to the team.
  • by kirkjobsluder ( 520465 ) <> on Friday January 17, 2003 @02:32AM (#5100313) Homepage
    What makes your work different from competing projects?

    Could you describe in detail your relationship with your host university? I currently am a student at a university with strong economic ties to Microsoft. Within a university setting, what strategies do you recommend for increasing awareness of the benefits of open source software?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2003 @02:52AM (#5100369)
    Isn't writing GPLed software for a closed, proprietary OS somehow counter to the GNU principles? How can you justify it ethically?
    • The point of releasing GPL'd software for Windows was so that Windows users could find it easier to migrate to Linux - currently, the application barrier is keeping a lot of people who would otherwise appreciate Linux from using it.
    • > Isn't writing GPLed software for a closed, proprietary OS somehow counter to the GNU principles? How can you justify it ethically?

      RMS wrote gcc on a closed OS, and much of the GNU toolchain was developed similarly. The more quality free software that makes it onto windows, the more people are going to want it. I see more windows freeware these days coming with source.
  • What about cygwin? Djgpp? Why reinvent the Window? I think the FSF would say this is counter-productive for the OSM. There's plenty of stuff that already cross-compiles w/ cygwin anywho. If you are worried about platforms, you probably should be using perl or java or something else anyhow.

If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary. -- Samuel Clemens