Getting Help

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Where to go for Help

D. Kegel [Oct 05, during a discussion on getting bugs fixed in wine, noted a caution with getting bugs fixed]: Free Software works like this:

The programmers scratch their own itches.

That's it! Users who have an itch not shared by any programmer [who] *really* want a bug fixed, and no programmer is willing to fix it for free, and you can't fix it yourself, [..] have two choices:

  1. wait for some programmer to decide he wants to fix it for his own reasons
  2. pay a programmer to do it for you.

[Ed. A third is posting to the list and offering a bounty - perhaps others will join in and add to your bounty. Some have posted a bounty and linked to http://www.rentacoder.com/RentACoder/default.asp]


Anon: [Oct 05] I have found that, on many [other] open source projects,it is possible to get help from a developer. It takes an enormous amount of effort, a great deal of politeness, and some luck. But most open source developers are actually quite giving. The keys, imho, are:

  1. Do your homework
    • Read the FAQs. Read the ML archives.
    • Actually try the various alternatives suggested.
    • Research the technical issues at hand.
    • Learn enough so you know what you're talking about.
    Do that first.
  2. Make it easy
    • Developers find a nice bug report, with easy to follow instructions to reproduce, and nice easy access to the software to be quite nice.
  3. Ask nicely
    • If you want someone to work for you, for free, you have to recognize that they are giving you a gift - a gift of their time.
    • If you can't hold that in mind when you ask, then you're not asking right.

D. Paun: Wine [has been] very incomplete in the sense that you don't have to look far to find lots of bugs[...], there [has been] an infinite stream of them just around the corner. Not an excuse -- I'm just trying to explain why we don't [always jump] on the bugs when they are filled in Bugzilla. Now that we have 0.9 on the way (hopefully followed by 1.0), this attitude seems to be changing.

J. White: Wine [for a long time, has been] officially labeled 'Alpha' software [...] in recognition by the developers of Wine that fundamental pieces of the puzzle are not yet done correctly, and that future breakage [was] likely. The good news is the whole point of the [October 2005 Wine...] 0.9 release is to mark the turning point where we shift out of Alpha and towards 'Beta'. In other words, the [...] programmers now think regressions will happen less frequently, and will purportedly take them more seriously in the future. Wine archive

Filing a bug

R. Shearman [Jul 06]: There are a number of things you can do to make your bugs more likely to be fixed by volunteer developers:

  1. File a bug!
  2. Describe the bug accurately. If it is not completely obvious, describe what the program should be doing and what actually happens.
  3. Only describe one bug per bugzilla entry, unless you think they are related. Doing otherwise will probably cause your second problem to be ignored.
  4. Provide debug messages printed when reproducing the bug. Copy the messages that are shown in the terminal and attach them to the bug (Dont past them - that just irritates) or use redirection to send the output to a file and attach the file. Using the Command Line
  5. Use a standard Wine configuration. This includes not mixing native and builtin DCOM dlls and not using WineTools. In fact, try to use as many builtin DLLs as possible. [Ed: When reporting a bug, try and use the dlls that come with Wine, only using a Microsoft Dll if you must. To help your bug report, you could erase your .wine folder [or better, create a temporary WINEPREFIX which will not affect your existing software] and reinstall the software or set up a temporary wine folder (see WINEPREFIX) Do NOT use IE4Linux for bug reports - it changes Wine so much that developers cant help you and that really, really irritates them.]
  6. Try to reproduce the bug in a freely downloadable version of the application (for example, a demo or trial version) and provide a link in the bug. (Note that having to fill in a form with details to download a program puts me off trying to fix a bug, but others' opinions may be different.)
  7. If you suspect the bug is in a certain component due an error message in a dialog box or on the console and you know which debug channel it corresponds to then attach a log of that debug channel to the bug.
  8. Be responsive to developers asking for you to retest, try different dlls and create debug logs. You can be pro-active, but be careful to not be annoying. Deriding Wine or Wine developers is likely to be seen as annoying and your bug will be ignored. Testing the bug on each release of wine (or on a less regular basis) and reporting its status is welcomed and will show that you care about the bug being fixed and that you will be responsive if a developer investigates the bug further. wine archive

K. Blin Oct 07 wine devel: Please don't send emails to wine-bugs. Open a bugreport on http://bugs.winehq.org/ instead.

Posting to the Mailing Lists

Anon: [Jan 06] It is probably a good idea to post in Bugzilla first as it is very active these days. A number of developers appear to watch it and make comments or suggestions to help those reporting bugs to whip them into shape and then squash them.

If it is merely reporting a bug, perhaps posting to the wine-devel list is not the best. M. McCormack [Oct 06]: Please report your bug to bugs.winehq.org, not wine-devel. You'll have better luck getting help if your application is available for download. wine archive

A poster was suggested to [Nov 06]: please file a bug in bugzilla regarding this. wine-devel is not the place to file bug reports, much more can get done in bugzilla.

J. Hawkins: There's nothing wrong with bringing this up on wine-devel. [the programmer] has taken the time to track down the possible bug culprit, and he's sharing it with the developers. If, on the other hand, he had just said, "app xyz doesn't work, don't know why" the the response would be correct. Not every developer reads wine-bugs, or checks the bugzilla.

When you file a bug you may get more assistance if you detail these important things:

Further Reading

Commercial Assistance with Wine

There is considerable commercial support for Wine, but many of these companies are referred by word of mouth. You can list your company here, but as this is a wiki, we can only provide links to companies. There may be other sites that can provide endorcements.

How to discern which company to approach? Possibly by looking at the cvs entries and the wine mailing lists. Searching for their names and the areas of Wine for which they contribute will likely give you a good starting point. Or you could approach one of the many developers as found in the Wine Official Developer Wiki. If they are too busy, they might be able to recommend someone else.

Another options which has had some success in the past is to try to offer a Bounty via the Mailing list. wine archive

Offering a Bug fix Bounty

It appears a bigger bounty is better than a small one. Also by posting to the wine user list about the bounty and trying to get others to add to the bounty helps develop more interest. For a bounty to work well it seems that a clear and definable target is needed. A bounty for 'Making program x work perfectly' would not be as interesting as 'Making feature x work', 'Getting software x to install' or 'Making Software x able to do xyz'. See the following examples bounties that got results and those that did not:

Nov 2006 M. Slugen [Nov 06] got attention when he posted to the wine-devel list: Hi, I am not so good at programming in C, but I would like to be perfectly working in Direct3D 9.0c in the Wine. I dont know how much work is on so if someone could tell me how far is the complementation of the Direct3D 9.0c support in the Wine?

Here is the offer for everyone:

The aim is to prepare all apps

working under the Windows on Nvidia GF 6XXX series, with at least 50% of speed in WinXP. There is not needed sound after merging those patches in cvs main head. I offer __1 000 Euro or 1 200 dollars for this work.__

Please, contact me or send this to another person you would think could do it.

Several others offered further funds for this.

He posted a few days later [Nov 06]: Wow, I am impressed those patches fixed almost all tests in 3DMark 2003, test4 (mother nature), vertex shader and Ragtroll without any regression in other apps. Perfect work!

A. Mohr: Would be nice to have many more people (e.g. those who don't feel like programming things but still want to contribute somehow) offering such dedication towards getting their personal goals in various OSS projects reached. Thanks, and let's hope someone knowledgeable will follow up on this offer.

V. Virvilus: There are some companies that are specialized into these kind of collective payments. I haven't used any so I can't comment about the quality of their services.

Some links...

I am sure there are more...


Further Reading

Jun 2008 Get a Coder listed an auction to package windows program into a debian package using wine 1.0. D. Kegel observed on winedevel: the fee is about 10x too small, but perhaps somebody would be interested in the challenge anyway.

Jan 2009 Rentacoder listed an auction to support Autocad for $200.. The goal of this work will be that of having Wine become compatible with Autocad version >=2006. It means that Autocad must work flawlessly, with a good speed.[..] To describe it the Crossover way, Autocad 2006 must take more than a gold medal. [..]

Comments by the Wine list noted that the auction was too low for such an enormous task [ed solving all Autocad issues for all Autocad releases since 2006, especially since .net2 and .net3 has so much work yet to be done]. Perhaps by combining the offers of the number of Autocad users who are already using Wine, a larger bounty might have been offered, and a smaller more definable target for 'one' particular version of Autocad may have been more interesting for a developer.

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