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Win4Lin Pro for Win2k/XP is ready

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Beta testing went very well, and it appears to be ready and will be available on Feb 23.

For more info:

http://www.win4lin.com/index.php?option=co...d=64&Itemid=125

http://www.linuxgazette.com/node/9949

 

Cost is $99.95. There will probably be a cheaper deal for current users wanting to upgrade, but I have no info on that yet.

 

This should be a killer product and take away a lot of potential customers from VMware since the main reasons for most people to ante up the $300 for VMware instead was it ran not only Win9x, but Win2k/XP and no kernel patching was needed. Win4Lin Pro removes those objections and keeps the terrific speed and stability of Win4Lin, which VMware never could match. For many who must run Windoze apps - period, no choice - and Wine or Crossover Office can't cut it, this is a major improvement over Win4Lin 5.

 

As for me, I really don't have a good reason to upgrade (well, depending on just what features it adds), but probably will pretty soon anyway just to support Win4Lin. They've long made a terrific product to help Linux converts and have the best customer support I've ever encountered.

 

I'll post more as I find out, such as does Win4Lin Pro add long-awaited support for USB and DirectX?

 

[moved from Emulation by spinynorman]

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I'll post more as I find out, such as does Win4Lin Pro add long-awaited support for USB and DirectX?

 

Please do! ; I'm very interested in this product, but I did not find reviews or any details anywhere except for the standard press release.

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Yes, add me aswell. :)

In my daily work I have to VMware Dreamweaver, Flash and a few more Windowze only software,

so a less resource consuming solution is greatly welcomed.

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I would need more data before I made a decision on this. This is nothing more than a Press release. No data on the website. As yet.

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I would need more data before I made a decision on this. This is nothing more than a Press release. No data on the website. As yet.

 

We're all asking for more info, Sarissi... :juggle:

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Posted to the Win4Lin-users mailing list today:

 

Win4Lin Pro is now available for purchase on our store. We launched a mailing to our hundreds of thousands of Linux users last night informing them that we have made Win4Lin Pro available at a special introductory price of $99.95. This price will be effective through the end of March, at which point the price will increase to $139.95.

 

First of all, thank you for your patience and your support as we have labored to deliver Win4Lin Pro to you.

 

We are extremely proud of, and excited about, this new product. We believe Win4Lin will reach a whole new set of users with this release, helping us accelerate our goal of broader

Linux adoption by the mainstream IT community.

 

As insiders and valued users, we would like to share with you our expectations, give you some deeper insight into the product and, finally, ask for your continued support.

 

Expectations:

 

Win4Lin Pro runs Windows 2000 and XP. Windows 2000 and XP are much heavier than Windows 9x. You will see a performance difference between Win4Lin Pro and Win4Lin 9x. The majority of this difference is attributable to running Windows 2000 versus Windows 9x. That being said, we have identified a number of areas where we can gain dramatic performance improvements in Win4Lin Pro and we will be releasing these enhancements free of charge over the next several weeks.

 

If you have a need to run Windows 2000 applications faster, cheaper and with better integration with Linux than you have found in VMware, then Win4Lin Pro is your right choice. If performance is your highest priority, and your applications run fine on Win4Lin 9x, then you might consider staying with Win4Lin 9x or Win4Lin Home for the time being.

 

The Win4Lin Pro architecture is a combination of our 20 years of product development experience with Win4Lin and Merge, combined with our embrace of the QEMU project. We have been contributing to QEMU for some time now and expect to continue contributing and increasing our sponsorship of this very important open source project. We believe that our experience and value-add represents a significant value to Linux users needing to run Windows in a Linux environment. Integration into Linux host services file system, networking, cut and paste, etc, installation, QA and testing, usability, support, etc are all areas of significant value-add over the base QEMU project.

 

This is a 1.0 product. We will continuously improve the product. We have always valued the passion and expertise residing in our user base. We encourage you to continue to provide us feedback and identify areas you would like to see improved. But, please, we know about certain USB restrictions in both Win4Lin 9x and Win4Lin Pro. These will not be addressed in any short-term releases. Neither will accelerated Direct X. We welcome all other comments aimed at making the product better and more useful to you.

 

The introductory price is being offered in lieu of an upgrade price. Technically, there is no upgrade as Win4Lin Pro is an entirely new product. We are offering the introductory

price to our users as a way of saying thank you, as well as a way of offsetting any issues that you might have with respect to this being a 1.0 product. We are targeting a 1.1

release in roughly six weeks that will focus on performance and compatibility improvements, incorporating improvements from user feedback, as well as allowing the product to run better on less powerful systems.

 

Our product is differentiated from VMware in a number of ways first, of course, Win4Lin is offered at a much lower price. Second, our product is a Linux process, not a VM silo.

This allows us to leverage the host services of Linux and run in shared memory as a Linux process and allow management and deployment of Windows with Linux tools, resources and commands. Third, Win4Lin Pro requires no kernel hooks of any kind even run-time, as with VMware.

 

We believe the release of Win4Lin Pro effectively rounds out our desktop product offerings. Win4Lin Home establishes low-price point leadership vis-à-vis WINE. Win4Lin 9x is the fastest way to run Windows applications on Linux. Win4Lin Pro gives Windows 2000 and XP users the best way to run Windows 2000 and XP applications in a Linux process, integrated with the Linux file system and other Linux environment advantages.

 

FYI - We are targeting release of Win4Lin Pro Terminal Server in the first week of April.

 

Again, we thank you for your continued support. We hope that Win4Lin Pro meets all of your needs immediately. And, as always, we cherish and value all of your comments and feedback on how to make this product more useful to you.

This answers the questions about USB, DirectX, etc. It should be noted that At $139.95 after April 1st, Win4Lin ain't cheap, ($99.95 ain't peanuts either) though VMware is still more at $189.00, and it will very likely still kick VMware for speed.

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It's becoming clear that there is much work to be done on Win4Lin Pro. The guys at Win4Lin are pretty friggin' good though, and improvement will likely come quickly. Read the statement below.

For those who want to try Win4lin Pro, 2 things to keep in mind:

1. You can install and run Win4Lin Pro alongside an existing Win4Lin 5 installation, no need to uninstall your working Win4Lin/Win98 setup. You can leave the whatever kernel you have installed. Win4Lin Pro dosen't care what kernel you run, but a 2.6 kernel is strongly advised. Don't know yet if you can run sessions of both versions of versions Win4Lin at once. I'd think it might be possible.

2. There is a a free trial version that's good for 13 days available as .rpm or .deb here:

http://www.win4lin.com/index.php?option=co...=120&Itemid=153

It's the 'normal' full version and runs normally except for a message at every startup or installation until the 13 days are up or you buy a license and register. I intend to try it as soon as I have time and then decide if I'm gonna throw down my plastic for it now or wait a while.

 

And for the technically curious, here's more tech info from Leo Reiter, Vice President of Engineering at Win4Lin, who is very responsive to questions posted on the Win4Lin-users mailing list:

 

I am now sending this note explaining the state of filesystem integration in Win4Lin Pro, as well as where it is headed.  I will also give brief background information as to why it's in this state, and why it will be different than on Win4Lin for Win9x.

 

A little bit of background: on the Win 9x product, we achieve full filesystem integration due to the system bootstrapping with DOS.  We simply hook into the DOS file functions and direct them over to Linux.  That allows us to load Windows.  Once Windows is loaded, our specialized IFS (installable file system, based on a normal Microsoft interface) takes over and lets Windows talk to Linux pretty much directly through the use of a "redirector."

 

*Obviously* Windows 2000 is different, otherwise we would have done the same thing.  There is no DOS to bootstrap Windows anymore, instead being replaced by various stages of "loaders" and DLLs that *only* know how to talk to NTFS and FAT filesystems directly on disks.  Microsoft explicitly says that boot-time IFS's (see above) are not supported on 2000/XP.  So to boot Windows, the only alternative would have been to

replace the native loaders with our own versions, and load everything ourselves.  That would have resulted in us being locked in to specific versions of Windows, service packs, etc.  We decided to just let 2000 load itself as a cleaner (and more compatible way to do it.)  Obviously this requires a virtual disk image.

 

The plan was to have an IFS that could store the Documents and Settings directory, under which 2000 stores all user information (documents, profiles, user registries, user application data, etc.) directly on the Linux filesystem.  Unfortunately this did not make the beta cut, and we considered it to be too risky to roll out immediately without a really

good beta test.  We expect to be rolling this out in the next few weeks, as Jim Curtin explained earlier.  We are also looking at adding c:\Program Files to the IFS structure, so that all you will need to have in your disk image is the Windows OS and drivers themselves, as well as the system registry.  This will still mean approxmately 600MB worth of a single image file, but all applications you install and so forth will live directly on the Linux filesystem.  What's more, we will have the capability of making the "system" image read-only, or better said, non-commit, so that viruses and the like will never screw up your base system unless you allow access.

 

Now, we are hoping for 2 things: 1) we will find the magic formula needed to put the entire 2000 installation on the IFS, eliminating the need for the image, or 2) Windows 2003 does not have this limitation, so at least future versions will be better.  Still, in the grand scheme of things, a 600MB image is not that painful to backup these days with large hard disks and writeable DVDs.  Besides, you can gzip it down to 350 or so megs if you want to put it on a CD.  The really good news is that the image itself won't need to change very often unless you are making changes to the system registry or installing software.  What we have today is obviously an interim solution.  We modified the open source samba server to allow it to easily run as a non-root user so it can be launched by the Win4Lin Pro session itself when needed.  On this samba server we enable $HOME and $HOME/My Documents (or MyDocuments or Documents, whatever your desktop defaults to.)  We also enable filtered and raw printing through the same mechanism.  Today your documents will automatically live in your Linux filesystem, which obviously is not the only thing that eventually should, but they are pretty important to be able to share with Linux apps.  You can also easily access your home directory through \\HOST\HOME without having to

set up a Samba server yourself - it's all automatic.

 

As for performance, please keep the following in mind: our development will always focus on functionality first, followed by performance optimization.  So the first cut of the "full" IFS I mentioned above will work very well, but may not be the fastest thing.  We will quickly

optimize it to realize the type of FS performance you see on Win4Lin 5 after the base functionality is rolled out.

 

As for the disk image today, there are 2 things to keep in mind: 1) it's actually very fast, we did a lot of work to optimize it (like caching, etc.)  In fact, it's probably one of the fastest components of Pro right now - we were able to benchmark faster than native speeds using tools like Fresh Diagnose, where we saw it report 7200RPM IDE write speeds on

4200RPM laptop disks for example.  Second, the image grows dynamically, so it won't be just a huge blob on your filesystem unless you install lots of software on it.  Currently it's limited to 4GB, but that will be corrected.  Also, being able to store program files on the Linux FS will probably mean that the disk image should never exceed 600-900MB or so

anyway, so the 4GB limit will become a moot point very soon.

 

As for performance versus VMWare, we have seen *overall* performance for most things to be as good or better.  However, VMWare will beat us (for now) on things like heavy computation, such as MP3/DVD encoding, etc.  We should beat VMWare in disk image performance however, for most things, so *overall*, at least for productivity/office-type apps, we compare very well in most cases.  There are many performance improvements in the works that will close this gap quickly, and you will see these in the next few weeks.  Again, we went for functionality first, then performance.  This is part of the reason we are selling it at a discount until early April.  We believe this product is quite usable (and have been told so very clearly by prospects and many testers), but we also understand that it needs a lot of improvement.  Most of that improvement will be rolled out by early April, when the price goes to $139.  We appreciate your understanding on this, and yes, we do appreciate your feedback.  We will do our best to satisfy everyone, but keep in mind that we are a small company and do not have unlimited resources.  It may take us some time, but we will do our best to make things perfect as quickly as possible.

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im wondering if this thing would support my mp3 player under linux.

 

my mp3 player uses a plugin in realone to copy the songs to the player in some crazy format. the songs are stored on a usb-mass storage SD card read/write that works in linux.

 

anyone got any idea?

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