JUL
10
2001

Konqueror Gets Activ(eX)ated

Konqueror has received another
huge shot in the arm, this time
by gaining the ability to embed MSIE ActiveX controls such as
the popular Shockwave
Player
. KDE developers
Nikolas Zimmermann and
Malte Starostik today announced
the initial release of reaktivate.
While not perfect yet, work is ongoing to support other controls
for which no native Linux/Unix solutions exist, such
as Apple's QuickTime.
Credit goes to the WINE developers
for providing the ActiveX support. So now that Konqueror can embed
MSIE ActiveX controls, Netscape Communicator plugins (for Linux), any
X window
(through X window parenting), Java applets and any KParts components, and does an excellent job at handling HTML, CSS and JavaScript natively, it seems to me Konqueror is fast becoming the best browser on any platform. Sweet. Read more for the full press release.

 

DATELINE JULY 9, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KDE Web Browser Konqueror Gets Activ(eX)ated

Konqueror Embraces ActiveX, Plays Shockwave Movies

July 9, 2001 (The INTERNET).
Nikolas Zimmermann and
Malte Starostik today announced
the availability of reaktivate for
Konqueror, KDE's web browser.
Reaktivate enables Konqueror to embed
ActiveX controls,
such as the popular
Shockwave
movies, for which no native Linux/Unix solution exists. Reaktivate relies
on the
WINE libraries to load and run
ActiveX controls.

With this addition, Konqueror now enables KDE users to take optimal advantage
of sophisticated websites that make use of Microsoft Internet Explorer plugins,
Netscape Communicator
plugins for Linux and Java applets,
as well as KDE plugins designed using KDE's
KParts
technology.

According to Malte, the reason he and Nikolas implemented reaktivate
is rather simple: it broadens the spectrum of web sites accessible
to Konqueror, and it was possible.

Successes and Limitations

Theoretically,
Reaktivate can eventually be used to embed any ActiveX control into Konqueror.
Currently, however, not all ActiveX controls are compatible with reaktivate.
In particular, the Microsoft
Windows Media Player
cannot be installed using reaktivate (though it is not known if a player which is already installed will work with
reaktivate). Thus it is likely there exist other ActiveX controls which
will not yet work with reaktivate.
Work is ongoing to increase compatability with other ActiveX controls,
including the
Apple QuickTime plugin.

So far, however, reaktivate has been successfully tested with the
following ActiveX controls:

ControlStatus
Test-URLScreenshots

Macromedia
Shockwave Flash 5

No known problems.
Click here
[1], [2], [3], [4], and [5]

Macromedia
Shockwave Player 8

Some files require the use of a native msvcrt.dll instead of the
one provided by winelib. The post-installation dialog is functional
but hard to decipher due to drawing problems. Some movies do not
display properly (only black stripes and rects are shown)
Click here
[1]

LivePics
Clicking the "info" button in the toolbar has no result, everything
else works fine.
Click here
[1] and [2]

Note on Security

Install ActiveX controls only from sites that you
trust.

Microsoft's ActiveX technology has often been criticized for weak security.
Those controls are dynamic libraries that are executed exactly like any
other piece of code installed on the user's system. This means they have
full access to the file system, the system registry etc. As a means to
establish the users' trust in the controls a web site wishes to install,
every ActiveX control is cryptographically signed and carries a certificate
issued by an authority known to the web browser (like
VeriSign). A control
that has no signature or no certificate or if they are invalid will not be
installed.

With reaktivate the situation is similar: the installed controls can call
every WinAPI function provided by the WINE libraries and therefore have
access to WINE's registry and all files visible to the WINE installation.
The current implementation of reaktivate will ask the user for
confirmation to install a new control, but it will not check the embedded
certificate and signature. This is due to technical reasons as well as
limited time. Therefore we strongly advise to install controls only from
sites that you trust. To save your files from malicious controls, you might
also consider using this feature only from a seperate user account that
has no access to your main user's files. Reaktivate will not run from the
root account.

Installing Reaktivate

Source code for reaktivate is freely available under a Free, Open Source
license from the
kdenonbeta
module
in
KDE's CVS repository
and its mirrors.
See the KDE website for
information about how to get a module from CVS. You only need
the toplevel, admin and reaktivate directories from kdenonbeta. Before
compiling, get the latest CVS
version of WINE
(a snapshot will likely not be new enough). Next,
apply all patches from reaktivate/patches-for-wine/ against the WINE
sources and build/install WINE. Finally, you can build and install
reaktivate.

Disclaimer: reaktivate is not in any manner sponsored or endorsed
by, affiliated with, or otherwise related to,
Microsoft Corporation.

Thanks to Andreas "Dre" Pour and
Navindra Umanee for assisting in
drafting this release.

Trademarks Notices.
KDE, K Desktop Environment and Konqueror are trademarks of KDE e.V.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
Unix is a registered trademark of The Open Group.
Microsoft, ActiveX, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player
are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
Shockwave is a trademark or registered trademark of Macromedia, Inc. in
the United States and/or other countries.
Netscape and Netscape Communicator are trademarks or registered trademarks
of Netscape Communications Corporation in the United States and other
countries and JavaScript is a trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation.
Apple and Quicktime are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in
the U.S. and other countries.
All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.

Comments

That is really neat!

It's allmost like thumbing your nose at M$ and the companies that won't make plug-ins for Linux/Unix.

even the ideal would be native support...

I cannot wait to have a sorenson codec quicktime player for linux....


By L.D. at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

KDE developers have done it again. Just when you thought Konqueror couldn't get any better it makes a quantum leap like this. Shockwave is amazing, having this on the Linux platform is a real plus plus and I want my Quicktime!

KDE Team: Do you ever sleep?


By kde-fan at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Konqueror is, all-round, the best browser in the world. Nothing else even comes close to its truly staggering featureset, its configurability, and its excellent usability.

Well done KDE team! Lets keep the excellence (and releases) flowing and Konqueror will become truly world-changing.


By Amazed of London at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Take it easy, there's still a long way to go. I for one would rather have a konqueror with full javascript support (stable !) instead of this ActiveX technology. Just to check out this LivePics stuff I went to the following URL and noticed the javascript wasn't working properly with my konqueror from CVS. Just a few seconds later it crashed, leaving me with a backtrace leading to, indeed, the javascript libraries. This is what happens a lot lately, now I don't know if the javascript problems are caused by something else, but anyway I wouldn't go so far to call konqueror the best browser in the world.

A question for the javascript developers : are you interested in backtraces from crashes caused by javascript on certain sites ?

Jelmer


By Jelmer Feenstra at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

> A question for the javascript developers : are you
> interested in backtraces from crashes caused by
> javascript on certain sites ?

I think it's rather: "a question for the developers: are you interested in helping with the development of KJS ?"

When Harri doesn't have time, KJS doesn't evolve much.
pmk fixes the JS<->DOM stuff, but it seems the crashes we get now (the buglist is full of them), rather come from KJS itself.

> I for one would rather have a konqueror with full javascript > support (stable !) instead of this ActiveX technology
Different people, different interests, different challenges. KDE isn't a company, but a bunch of volunteers, remember ;)


By David Faure at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Ok, well it's just that javascript kindof scares the hell out of me as I read certain mails on the lists talking about 20 different ways of implementing mouse overs etc etc :) I'll have a look at some of the code, it might even be understandable.

>> I for one would rather have a konqueror with full javascript > support (stable !) instead of this ActiveX technology
> Different people, different interests, different challenges. KDE isn't a company, but a bunch of volunteers, remember ;)

Ok, sorry David :) Let me just say that I'd rather see konqueror not crash all the time because of javascript issues instead of having ActiveX support. My friends keep nagging me about konqueror crashing all the time; now is that perfectly reasonable, were it not that I seem to be getting more reports of unstable konq's as the CVS revisions increase ! I know I should fix the bugs myself, but now I suddenly remember I originally replied to someone who said "konqueror is the best browser in the world".

I'll have a look at some of those javascript crashes now, see if I can make something out of them.


By Jelmer Feenstra at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

A tip:
Disable JS globally in Konqi. There are so many sites which have reasonable fall-back code.
One example is www.alternate.de.
If you enter this site of a German computer seller with JS on you cannot navigate their hardware list. If you try it with JS off, everything is fine. If you find a site where JS is a must have, enable it locally.

Bye

Thorsten


By Thorsten Schnebeck at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

It's amusing that while *other* projects talk about delivering Microsoft .NET *next year* and make a lot of noise about vaporware, KDE delivers code for ActiveX support *today*...

What a difference. Congratulations all.


By n at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Hey smart guy: ActiveX and .NET have nothing to do with each other. 'Kay, buh-bye now.


By reprazent at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

Don't think so and see the future.
PERHAPS in 2005 there will have just some .NET programs, so be carefull insulting things which may save you from Micro$oft softs!!!


By XFly at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

I would like to point out a couple of things:

1) I love Linux - I am not here to bash it.

2) KDE may deliver ActiveX support today, but Microsoft delivered it years ago.

3) .Net, as you may or may not know, is in beta right now, and the framework, from what I can tell, is really quite stable. There isn't much to complain about. The Visual Studio IDE is still a little problematic, but I have been using it at work without much difficulty.

Anyway, it seems strange to me that a Linux guy would talk smack about beta software. That's pretty far along in the development stage considering the usual "something-0.0.0.0.0.1-pre-pre-alpha.tar.gz" that we're used to seeing.


By GuyWhoActuallyC... at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

Look at the subject line.


By n at Thu, 2001/07/12 - 5:00am

ActiveX and .NET are two very different things. There isn't some race between KDE's ActiveX support and GNU Mono. AFAIK, KDE has *no* support for anything resembling .NET, and there are not plans for it. This would put KDE behind GNOME in that sense.


By RevAaron at Thu, 2001/07/12 - 5:00am

Actually, AFAIK, Mono isn't just a UI, but a CLI Runtime Environment and C# compiler. Thus, both GNOME and KDE can take advantage of Mono.
As far as the ActiveX vs. Mono comparison goes, I think the poster was pointing out the KDE people just finished a major MS compatiblity project while the Mono people are saying they might be part way there [on an MS compatiblity project] by the end of the year.

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Thu, 2001/07/12 - 5:00am

...ActiveX support for Konqueror has never been mentioned before.
I'm sure they were already working on it a few weeks ago.
If they announced that they are working on this a few weeks ago, you wouldn't say this.
And this is based on Wine's existing work, which is a lot less work than Mono.

BTW, there's already code available for Mono.


By ac at Fri, 2001/07/13 - 5:00am

ActiveX and .NET are very different things, so the comparison isn't all that accurate...

...however, for those who seem to think Gnome is "ahead" and don't see how amazing this announcement is, I feel the need to point out that:

1) .NET was designed to be more platform-independent. ActiveX is based on low-level MS API calls, many of which are un-documented or poorly documented. So, the ActiveX stuff is harder to implement.

2) .NET is extremely new and has very few uses in current Windows versions. ActiveX is everywhere, and every time a Linux product expands support for ActiveX, it is taking a major step in compatability, far more than any .NET project will offer.


By JMoon5FTM at Thu, 2004/02/05 - 6:00am

Wow, this would be really nice for streaming video plugins. Windows Media Player works under WINE already, so maybe the browser plugin does too? Can't wait to go home today and mess around!


By Justin at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Geeze i'm becomeing more and more impressed with kde everyday. Much better than announceing what your going to do next year!!

Craig


By craig at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

this was a 20 minute hack on Konqueror's part, WINE did the real work of getting ActiveX working on linux. so why stoke the stupid desktop war?


By Joe at Thu, 2001/07/12 - 5:00am

Andreas, Malte, Nikolas: Don't take this personally, but I just have to say this.

I find this article insulting.

  • (Assuming for a minute that this is a good thing to have) It insults our non-ia32 users. Wine is not portable. To say that this helps Konqueror, and makes Konqueror the best browser on any platform, when this will only run on a few select platforms of KDE, dismisses all those users. Does Wine even run on all of the ia32 OSes that KDE runs on?
  • It insults our memory and intelligence. For the longest time we've been told over and over how wonderful KParts are. From the KDE 2.0 press release:

    KDE 2: The K Desktop Environment. Konqueror is KDE 2's next-generation web browser, file manager and document viewer. Widely heralded as a technological break-through for the Linux desktop, the standards-compliant Konqueror has a component-based architecture which combines the features and functionality of Internet Explorer®/Netscape Communicator® and Windows Explorer®. Konqueror will support the full gamut of current Internet technologies, including JavaScript, Java®, HTML 4.0, CSS-1 and -2 (Cascading Style Sheets), SSL (Secure Socket Layer for secure communications) and Netscape Communicator® plug-ins (for playing FlashTM, RealAudioTM, RealVideoTM and similar technologies). The great bulk of this technology is already in place and functional for KDE 2.0.
    So back in October, we were led to believe that KParts are the "next generation," as they are what Konqueror is based on. What changed? Why is suddenly ActiveX a great "obstacle" removed, and a "shot in the arm" for the browser? Is ActiveX superior to KParts? What obstacles were in front of us before? And why couldn't they be removed in the KDE way - using our libraries, following our UI standards, and using Free Software licenses?

  • Lastly, this article attempts to speak for the reader in ways I think are unfounded. How can things like the Shockwave player be "popular," when there was no way to run them on Unix before now? Or is it implied that all KDE users are Windows users, or ex-Windows users?

I see nothing wrong a developer for writing what he needs, and then sharing the results. I myself have an app in KDE that relies upon AOL servers. What I do think is wrong is when an article under the name of the head of the KDE League, on a site in the kde.org domain, makes these kind of assertions and implications about KDE and its users. Not everyone likes Windows, uses Windows, needs Windows, can run Windows, or even knows what runs on Windows these days. To portray the KDE community, and KDE apps, as aspiring to be Windows, is insulting.


By Neil Stevens at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

I wouldnt wory about that description of KDE2, kparts etc. It's a press release, and probably designed to be sent out to all sorts of journalists who might have no idea what KDE really it. It's standard practice to give background information about a company/product, inside a press release.

As for why they've chosen to use wine etc to implement activeX support, rather than with KDE libraries, UI standards etc. I suppose there's nothing (theoretically :P) stopping any one of us from doing so. Don't criticise their hard work since they're giving it away for free (even is it's not the ideal approach).


By matt at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Actually WINE-based support is VERY important, AFAIK. Unless I've missed something, ActiveX is very platform specific, so implementing ActiveX API's using KDE libraries wouldn't do any good unless someone released an ActiveX control for Linux. And, if they did that, why not just release a KPart?

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

By "any" platform, I believe it was meant that regardless of platform, Konq is the best browser. They did not mean Konq runs on all platforms... I mean, heck, they were comparing Konq against Netscape and even IE. It's not exactly fair playing ground since they all have various levels of portability. But if you could pick one that would work on your platform (defying all laws of portability), they are saying you would want Konqueror.

Also, the majority of KDE users are Linux users. Many times you will see people speak of "Linux is now better" this-or-that because of something KDE-related. No one is forgetting about non-x86 users (at least programmers aren't) so there is nothing to worry about. WINE has always been x86-only. Now Konq can use it for ActiveX on x86 platforms. Could KDE come up with their own ActiveX type thing? Sure, although portability would be difficult (delivery system could send source and compile on target machine?). Does it mean having an x86-only alternative using WINE is a bad thing? I don't think so.

I sort of see your point, but I believe you overreacted a little.

-Justin


By Justin at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

>It insults our non-ia32 users. Wine is not portable.

Okay. First of all, you're taking this _way_ too seriously. Nobody's insulting anyone here. Now that you've cooled off a bit, think. A feature that benefits some people makes Konqueror a better browser. Unfortunately, that feature is not available to you; however, that doesn't make the feature bad or detrimental to Konqueror, or insulting to you.

Also, check out Bochs. (http://bochs.sourceforge.net) There is hope!

>Is ActiveX superior to KParts?

ActiveX is a different solution to a different problem. No one is suggesting giving up KParts now that we have ActiveX! The _only_ reason we want ActiveX is to be able to watch Shockwave movies and Sorensen/Windows Media encoded videos. We would prefer a *nix native solution if one came along, but we do what we can with what we've got.

>How can things like the Shockwave player be "popular," when there was no way to run them on Unix before now?

Shockwave is popular *on the Net*! Not, obviously, for KDE users, as they couldn't access it. Duh!

>To portray the KDE community, and KDE apps, as aspiring to be Windows, is insulting.

We don't aspire to be Windows. We aspire to watch Shockwave/Sorensen/WMP web content as Microsoft goes down in flames!

Unfortunately, I fear IHBT. Oh well, it was fun actually :-)


By not me at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

> as Microsoft goes down in flames!

That kind of obsession with Windows would harm KDE, if the development community engaged in it.

KDE is no more in competition with Windows than it is with GNOME. Some organizations that package KDE may be, but KDE itself isn't. KDE just ships code. No more, no less.


By Neil Stevens at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Sorry, I was kind of kidding about that. I certainly don't really believe Microsoft is going to go down in flames on KDE's part. They've got billions of $ to burn, and if KDE really starts to threaten them, they will just spend their money on making Windows better until it's better than KDE. They could do that for years without selling a single copy of Windows, with the cash hoard they've built up. Heck, they could probably do it on the interest on Bill Gates' personal fortune alone. So Microsoft isn't going down in flames anytime soon (unless the DOJ has a major change of opinion), and it's probably a good thing anyway.


By not me at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Hey notme,
Thanks for pointing out Bochs! I certainly appreciate it!

-Tim (the Bochs web admin)


By Timothy R. Butler at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

> Andreas, Malte, Nikolas: Don't take this personally, but I just have
> to say this. I find this article insulting.

I'm sorry to hear that.

> (Assuming for a minute that this is a good thing to have)
> It insults our non-ia32 users. Wine is not portable. To say that this
> helps Konqueror, and makes Konqueror the best browser on any platform,

The article does not claim that this
support alone makes Konqueror the best browser, but it does fill a current
void on the Linux/Unix desktop which made it difficult for Linux/Unix
browsers to compete with browsers on other platforms. This failure
is not due to any lack of talent on the part of KDE developers but to the
fact that certain very popular technologies on the Web are not available for
Linux natively.

Also the intent clearly was not to insult anyone. Though I respect your
feelings, I do not see how it insults anybody. Also as a reality check
the fact is that KDE should not limit itself to things available for all
possible platforms, particularly when something relies on a large Open Source
project that developers of other platforms are free to port over if they
deem it important enough. Not to mention that clearly the vast majority
of PC users are on Intel platforms.

> when this will only run on a few select platforms of KDE, dismisses
> all those users. Does Wine even run on all of the ia32 OSes that KDE
> runs on?

I don't know, but it runs at least on Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris. If it
runs on FreeBSD and Solaris I presume it would not
be that hard to port it to
other BSDs and their derivatives, should someone be so inclined. After all,
WINE has an X-type license.

> It insults our memory and intelligence. For the longest
> time we've been told over and over how wonderful KParts are. From the
> KDE 2.0 press release:
>

[ ... ]

>
> So back in October, we were led to believe that KParts
> are the "next generation," as they are what Konqueror is based on.
> What changed? Why is suddenly ActiveX a great "obstacle" removed,
> and a "shot in the arm" for the browser? Is ActiveX superior to KParts?

Of course not. ActiveX is a great feature for permitting Konqueror to
go mainstream and for permitting users to achieve greater enjoyment from
their surfing. Remember that "it's the apps, stupid". Having a
compatability layer suddenly makes a lot of Web "apps" available to
KDE users that were not available before. I think our disagreement may
be that the article considers all PC users and you are considering
current KDE users?

> What obstacles were in front of us before? And why couldn't they be
> removed in the KDE way - using our libraries, following our UI
> standards, and using Free Software licenses?

If an Open Source Shockwave Flash Player were available, or an Open Source
Robinson codec, I would agree with you. But they currently are not, and with
reaktivate, KDE users will no longer be deprived of the web sites that feature
those technologies until they become available natively.

> Lastly, this article attempts to speak for the reader in
> ways I think are unfounded. How can things like the Shockwave player
> be "popular," when there was no way to run them on Unix before now?

People I have conversed with have universally praised Shockwave as a
great technology. According to Macromedia's website, over 200 million
users have Shockwave installed. If that's not popular, I don't know
what is!

In any case it is not speaking for the reader, it is speaking about the
Web -- i.e., Shockwave is popular on the Web. I hope that clarifies
the point being made.

[ ... ]

> Not everyone likes Windows, uses Windows,
> needs Windows, can run Windows, or even knows what runs on Windows
> these days. To portray the KDE community, and KDE apps, as aspiring
> to be Windows, is insulting.

Again, I am sorry you were upset by the article. Please rest assured
that nothing of the sort was intended. I think if you read the article
with the picture of Konqueror/KDE going into the mainstream in mind
you might view it differently. In fact I'm not sure what the article
has to do with Windows, except to say that technologies previously
available only on Windows (and maybe the Mac) are now available for the
great bulk of Linux/Unix users. I think that's good news for KDE and
Open Source.


By Dre at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

> Also as a reality check the fact is that
> KDE should not limit itself to things
> available for all possible platforms
> particularly when something relies on a
> large Open Source project that developers of
> other platforms are free to port over if
> they deem it important enough.

Of course people are free to use KDE in platform-specific ways, or in proprietary ways. That doesn't mean that the KDE news site, in the kde.org domain, has to act like they're a fundamental breakthrough for an open source project.

> After all, WINE has an X-type license.

Is Shockwave, or any of the other apps you suggest are useful with ActiveX, available under that license?

You say that ActiveX is a shot in the arm for Konqueror. Obviously you mean that it's the use of these "popular" ActiveX components that is a great boon for Konqueror's users. If these non-free components are what you are celebrating, then this is a break from normal KDE practice - to get things working with free software.

> Remember that "it's the apps, stupid".

Paraphrasing the Clinton/Gore '92 campaign doesn't win any points with me. :-)

But let's look at what that expression means. By saying "It's the economy, stupid," the Clinton campaign meant that the economy was the number one, most important thing in the campaign, and in the country. All other issues were beneath it, and could be compromised for it.

So, by saying "It's the apps, stupid," you're saying that just having these apps is more important than any other aspect of KDE, and that any other aspect of KDE can be compromised for having more apps.

As I understand it, one of the fundamental aspects of KDE is that the apps are free. By championing ActiveX, you're implicitly putting it over all existing free KParts, and implying that freedom is not a valuable attribute for users of software to have. Is that what you mean to do, compromise freedom for more apps and users?

Where would we be if, instead of having our own open source html renderer, we instead added hooks to use some internet explorer DLL to do the rendering? Or if aRts were as reliant upon non-free software as xanim?

Be careful what you paraphrase.

> If an Open Source Shockwave Flash Player were
> available, or an Open Source Robinson codec,
> I would agree with you. But they currently
> are not, and with reaktivate, KDE users will
> no longer be deprived of the web sites that
> feature those technologies until they become
> available natively.

Well, plenty will be. Every KDE user not on ia32 will be. Do you mean to say that Konqueror is not a superior browswer on any platform where Wine isn't supported, because people there lack the ability to run these non-free apps?

> According to Macromedia's website, over 200
> million users have Shockwave installed. If
> that's not popular, I don't know what is!

But what is your audience here? KDE Users and Developers, or "the web" in general? My impression of dot.kde.org was the former.

Microsoft Office has a bunch of users, too. Would you make a thrilled post to dot.kde.org if someone ported the latest MS Office run under KDE, via wine? Would you call it the removal of a great obstacle, and dismissed KOffice as you've dismissed KParts here?

> I think if you read the article
> with the picture of Konqueror/KDE going
> into the mainstream in mind
> you might view it differently.

What do you mean by mainstream? Mainstream Windows users? Are these "mainstream" users more important to you than the principles that got KDE where it is today?

You know, at first, I thought the article was exaggerated in tone just in awe of Malte's and Niko's work. Now you've made it clear to me that there was no exaggeration.

Your goalfor KDE seems to be that KDE should be used by as many people as possible, even if making that happen means running as much propreitary Windows software as possible.

> In fact I'm not sure what the article
> has to do with Windows, except to say that
> technologies previously available only on
> Windows (and maybe the Mac) are now available
> for the great bulk of Linux/Unix users.

Er, FYI, Wine is the "Wine Is Not an Emulator" project: a port of the Win32 API to unix, and a system for running Windows binaries under unix. This has everything to do with bringing proprietary Windows software to KDE.


By Neil Stevens at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

You seem to dislike the idea of any closed source programs running in Linux. Well, you're in the minority.

You said:
Microsoft Office has a bunch of users, too. Would you make a thrilled post to dot.kde.org if someone ported the latest MS Office run under KDE, via wine? Would you call it the removal of a great obstacle, and dismissed KOffice as you've dismissed KParts here?

I say:
I would love it if Microsoft Office (97 in my case) ran absolutely flawlessly under Linux (it runs off and on under Wine, but it would be lovely to have a native Linux port). Office is one of the jewels in the Microsoft crown, and my favorite word processor... although my favorite version was Word 2 (I've got the 4 floppies it came on sitting around somewhere :).

However, I still find KOffice very exciting, not because it will replease Microsoft Office, but because it increases choice, variety and competitiveness.

No-one has made any attack, actual or implied, on KParts. After all your long and rambling posts, I'm still not sure why you think there has been. Supporting ActiveX is exactly the same (and implemented in a similar, if more complicated way), to supporting closed Netscape plugins -- do you think that *they* are a threat to KParts as well?


By Jon at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

> Are these "mainstream" users more important
>to you than the principles that got KDE where it
>is today?

hahahaha... see the flamewar that spawned gnome for some perspective on that statement.

It seems to me that KDE has always been about providing a Free desktop environment for *nix, even if that means using a few tools that aren't quite as "free" as some of the more rabid zealots would like them to be.


By unterbear at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

> Of course people are free to use KDE in
> platform-specific ways, or in proprietary
> ways. That doesn't mean that the KDE news
> site, in the kde.org domain, has to act like
> they're a fundamental breakthrough for an
> open source project.

Okay - let me understand what you are saying.
If a program only works for 90%+ of all
computers users, but forgets those that use
sizably less popular architectures, it
shouldn't be posted? C'mon! The place were a
non-IA architecture doesn't reign as the market
leader is the embedded space. Does this mean
since the majority of PC users don't use KDE at
all, that no KDE news should ever be posted
anywhere?

> > After all, WINE has an X-type license.
> Is Shockwave, or any of the other apps you
> suggest are useful with ActiveX, available
> under that license?

You don't seem to understand the point. If
the ActiveX controls where open source this
wouldn't be needed. However, if KDE stubbornly
refused the fact that most people want to be
able to have Shockwave, et. al., we would have
a ticket to a failing platform. KDE developers
understand that the key to making KDE a success
is to support all major technologies. Like it
or not, ActiveX is a major technology.
Tell me, most Netscape Plugins aren't open
source either, does that mean that Konqi
shouldn't have Netscape Plugin support?

> You say that ActiveX is a shot in the arm for
> Konqueror. Obviously you mean that it's the
> use of these "popular" ActiveX components
> that is a great boon for Konqueror's users.
> If these non-free components are what you
> are celebrating, then this is a break from
> normal KDE practice - to get things working
> with free software.

No it isn't. Everything is working with free
software. However, we can't get the Shockwave
source, so what do we do? The KDE Developers
understand they can't stick their heads in the
sand and pretend that the majority of PC users
expect and demand supprot for things like
Shockwave. Until Linux/KDE commands enough
market share that major developers support it,
it must be accepted that KDE needs to develop
"compatibility modules."

> > Remember that "it's the apps, stupid".
[clip]
> But let's look at what that expression
> means. By saying "It's the economy, stupid,"
> the Clinton campaign meant that the economy
> was the number one, most important thing in
> the campaign, and in the country. All other
> issues were beneath it, and could be
> compromised for it.

Exactly. Without apps, what exactly does KDE
do for us? Apps are everything in a computer.

> championing ActiveX, you're implicitly
> putting it over all existing free KParts,
> and implying that freedom is not a valuable
> attribute for users of software to have. Is
> that what you mean to do, compromise freedom
> for more apps and users?

You are blowing this way out of proportion.
No one said that KParts should take second
fiddle to ActiveX. You seem to be interperating
this as they are being in ActiveX for replacing
the way of embedding things like KHTML.
However, you seem to miss that ActiveX also
serves a similar purpose to Netscape Plugins.
KDE didn't push aside KParts by supporting
Netscape Plugins, neither do they push it aside
by supporting ActiveX. That's like saying
supporting a new type of printer is pushing
aside truetype font support.

> Where would we be if, instead of having our
> own open source html renderer, we instead
> added hooks to use some internet explorer
> DLL to do the rendering? Or if aRts were as
> reliant upon non-free software as xanim?

Now you seem to be comparing supporting
proprietary technology with making it part of
key systems in KDE. ActiveX support isn't
proprietary, the stuff that runs on it often
is. The same goes for WINE itself. WINE isn't
proprietary, but it supports many proprietary
apps. Their is a difference between being
proprietary, and supporting such.

> Well, plenty will be. Every KDE user not on
> ia32 will be. Do you mean to say that

Okay, if you go by Linux sales statistics
(and Linux is by far the most popular desktop
*NIX), I'm pretty sure you would see that less
than 1 in 50 Linux users is a non-IA32 Linux
user. Let's face it, it doesn't make sense to
cater to the 1, and ignore the 49.

> Konqueror is not a superior browswer on any
> platform where Wine isn't supported, because
> people there lack the ability to run these
> non-free apps?

No. But it makes KDE EVEN better because this
is a major internet technology that can't just
be replaces with a OSS clone. If you don't like
that most ActiveX controls are non-free, go
make an OSS ActiveX control for yourself.

> But what is your audience here? KDE Users
> and Developers, or "the web" in general? My
> impression of dot.kde.org was the former.

Well according to the article it simply said
"popular," which would mean "overall," not just
for those that read the dot. Most KDE users
probably would like to use "overall popular"
technologies simply because they run into sites
that require them.

> Microsoft Office has a bunch of users, too.
> Would you make a thrilled post to dot.kde.org
> if someone ported the latest MS Office run
> under KDE, via wine? Would you call it the
> removal of a great obstacle, and dismissed
> KOffice as you've dismissed KParts here?

Neil, you just don't seem to get the point of
the whole thing. What they are saying is stuff
that probably will never (at least for a long
time) be ported to a KPart can now be used.
Macromedia IS NOT GOING to make a KPart
(AFAIK), because there simply isn't the demand
yet. Like I keep saying, it's just like
netscape plugins.
Now, you go back to apps again. ActiveX is a
technology, KOffice is an application. ActiveX
is not proprietary itself, MS Office is. You
can't replace all of the ActiveX controls,
because you would get your pants sued off buy
the companies that own the patents on the
technology. You can clone MS Office
functionality because no one owns the rights to
the idea of an "office suite."

> What do you mean by mainstream? Mainstream
> Windows users? Are these "mainstream" users
> more important to you than the principles
> that got KDE where it is today?

Yes. If KDE doesn't care about mainstream
users, you can pretty much give up on KDE
becoming mainsteam itself. Do you want Linux to
become another Amiga, or GEM, or GeoWorks, or
even Apple? NO! We want Linux and KDE to be a
success - thus we shouldn't follow ill-fated or
unsuccessful company's ideas.

> You know, at first, I thought the article was
> exaggerated in tone just in awe of Malte's
> and Niko's work. Now you've made it clear to
> me that there was no exaggeration.

Nor should it be, it is absolutely amazing,
and great!

> Your goalfor KDE seems to be that KDE should
> be used by as many people as possible, even
> if making that happen means running as much
> propreitary Windows software as possible.

Somethings may never be open source. Will
Macromedia make Shockwave open? I don't think
so. Will Apple make QuickTime open? Yeah right.
Still users need support for this popular
internet standards. How do you expect to
accomplish this otherwise?

IN CONCLUSION: You seem to be only seeing this
as that KDE might support some proprietary
software. Does this mean that KDE shouldn't
support Netscape Plugins? Does this mean we
should make it difficult for Opera Software to
make the Opera browser? Does that mean all of
KDE's libraries should be switched from BSD and
LGPL licenses to the GPL so only open source
software should be written? NO!
KDE will remain open, but that doesn't mean it
can't support non-open programs, because THEY
ARE NEEDED by MANY, if not MOST people.

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

> Of course people are free to use KDE in
> platform-specific ways, or in proprietary
> ways. That doesn't mean that the KDE news
> site, in the kde.org domain, has to act like
> they're a fundamental breakthrough for an
> open source project.

Okay - let me understand what you are saying.
If a program only works for 90%+ of all
computers users, but forgets those that use
sizably less popular architectures, it
shouldn't be posted? C'mon! The place were a
non-IA architecture doesn't reign as the market
leader is the embedded space. Does this mean
since the majority of PC users don't use KDE at
all, that no KDE news should ever be posted
anywhere?

> > After all, WINE has an X-type license.
> Is Shockwave, or any of the other apps you
> suggest are useful with ActiveX, available
> under that license?

You don't seem to understand the point. If
the ActiveX controls where open source this
wouldn't be needed. However, if KDE stubbornly
refused the fact that most people want to be
able to have Shockwave, et. al., we would have
a ticket to a failing platform. KDE developers
understand that the key to making KDE a success
is to support all major technologies. Like it
or not, ActiveX is a major technology.
Tell me, most Netscape Plugins aren't open
source either, does that mean that Konqi
shouldn't have Netscape Plugin support?

> You say that ActiveX is a shot in the arm for
> Konqueror. Obviously you mean that it's the
> use of these "popular" ActiveX components
> that is a great boon for Konqueror's users.
> If these non-free components are what you
> are celebrating, then this is a break from
> normal KDE practice - to get things working
> with free software.

No it isn't. Everything is working with free
software. However, we can't get the Shockwave
source, so what do we do? The KDE Developers
understand they can't stick their heads in the
sand and pretend that the majority of PC users
expect and demand supprot for things like
Shockwave. Until Linux/KDE commands enough
market share that major developers support it,
it must be accepted that KDE needs to develop
"compatibility modules."

> > Remember that "it's the apps, stupid".
[clip]
> But let's look at what that expression
> means. By saying "It's the economy, stupid,"
> the Clinton campaign meant that the economy
> was the number one, most important thing in
> the campaign, and in the country. All other
> issues were beneath it, and could be
> compromised for it.

Exactly. Without apps, what exactly does KDE
do for us? Apps are everything in a computer.

> championing ActiveX, you're implicitly
> putting it over all existing free KParts,
> and implying that freedom is not a valuable
> attribute for users of software to have. Is
> that what you mean to do, compromise freedom
> for more apps and users?

You are blowing this way out of proportion.
No one said that KParts should take second
fiddle to ActiveX. You seem to be interperating
this as they are being in ActiveX for replacing
the way of embedding things like KHTML.
However, you seem to miss that ActiveX also
serves a similar purpose to Netscape Plugins.
KDE didn't push aside KParts by supporting
Netscape Plugins, neither do they push it aside
by supporting ActiveX. That's like saying
supporting a new type of printer is pushing
aside truetype font support.

> Where would we be if, instead of having our
> own open source html renderer, we instead
> added hooks to use some internet explorer
> DLL to do the rendering? Or if aRts were as
> reliant upon non-free software as xanim?

Now you seem to be comparing supporting
proprietary technology with making it part of
key systems in KDE. ActiveX support isn't
proprietary, the stuff that runs on it often
is. The same goes for WINE itself. WINE isn't
proprietary, but it supports many proprietary
apps. Their is a difference between being
proprietary, and supporting such.

> Well, plenty will be. Every KDE user not on
> ia32 will be. Do you mean to say that

Okay, if you go by Linux sales statistics
(and Linux is by far the most popular desktop
*NIX), I'm pretty sure you would see that less
than 1 in 50 Linux users is a non-IA32 Linux
user. Let's face it, it doesn't make sense to
cater to the 1, and ignore the 49.

> Konqueror is not a superior browswer on any
> platform where Wine isn't supported, because
> people there lack the ability to run these
> non-free apps?

No. But it makes KDE EVEN better because this
is a major internet technology that can't just
be replaces with a OSS clone. If you don't like
that most ActiveX controls are non-free, go
make an OSS ActiveX control for yourself.

> But what is your audience here? KDE Users
> and Developers, or "the web" in general? My
> impression of dot.kde.org was the former.

Well according to the article it simply said
"popular," which would mean "overall," not just
for those that read the dot. Most KDE users
probably would like to use "overall popular"
technologies simply because they run into sites
that require them.

> Microsoft Office has a bunch of users, too.
> Would you make a thrilled post to dot.kde.org
> if someone ported the latest MS Office run
> under KDE, via wine? Would you call it the
> removal of a great obstacle, and dismissed
> KOffice as you've dismissed KParts here?

Neil, you just don't seem to get the point of
the whole thing. What they are saying is stuff
that probably will never (at least for a long
time) be ported to a KPart can now be used.
Macromedia IS NOT GOING to make a KPart
(AFAIK), because there simply isn't the demand
yet. Like I keep saying, it's just like
netscape plugins.
Now, you go back to apps again. ActiveX is a
technology, KOffice is an application. ActiveX
is not proprietary itself, MS Office is. You
can't replace all of the ActiveX controls,
because you would get your pants sued off buy
the companies that own the patents on the
technology. You can clone MS Office
functionality because no one owns the rights to
the idea of an "office suite."

> What do you mean by mainstream? Mainstream
> Windows users? Are these "mainstream" users
> more important to you than the principles
> that got KDE where it is today?

Yes. If KDE doesn't care about mainstream
users, you can pretty much give up on KDE
becoming mainsteam itself. Do you want Linux to
become another Amiga, or GEM, or GeoWorks, or
even Apple? NO! We want Linux and KDE to be a
success - thus we shouldn't follow ill-fated or
unsuccessful company's ideas.

> You know, at first, I thought the article was
> exaggerated in tone just in awe of Malte's
> and Niko's work. Now you've made it clear to
> me that there was no exaggeration.

Nor should it be, it is absolutely amazing,
and great!

> Your goalfor KDE seems to be that KDE should
> be used by as many people as possible, even
> if making that happen means running as much
> propreitary Windows software as possible.

Somethings may never be open source. Will
Macromedia make Shockwave open? I don't think
so. Will Apple make QuickTime open? Yeah right.
Still users need support for this popular
internet standards. How do you expect to
accomplish this otherwise?

IN CONCLUSION: You seem to be only seeing this
as that KDE might support some proprietary
software. Does this mean that KDE shouldn't
support Netscape Plugins? Does this mean we
should make it difficult for Opera Software to
make the Opera browser? Does that mean all of
KDE's libraries should be switched from BSD and
LGPL licenses to the GPL so only open source
software should be written? NO!
KDE will remain open, but that doesn't mean it
can't support non-open programs, because THEY
ARE NEEDED by MANY, if not MOST people.

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

Errmmm... just to point something out... KParts and ActiveX are two totally different animals. In fact, I'd wager that the the ActiveX implementation in kde is a Kpart. A Kpart is many times more powerful than activex and is used for embedding apps one within another regardless of what apps are being embedded where.

ActiveX (afaik) is used principly for embedding web content plugins in MSIE. Think of kde's implementation as a wrapper for activex controls to be used as kparts within konq.

TRoy


By Troy Unrau at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Then, instead of swooning over ActiveX plugins being available, why not just write KParts for the desired functionality?


By Neil Stevens at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

no. YOU do it.
good luck trying to implement opensource sorenson codecs, shockwave player, windows media player compatible stuff ....
now you ask those people who develop'd reaktivate to do just the same in 3 years more time (no, more) with legal risks because just ... you got 'insulted' by activex, not even because its bad.
Reaktivate is there for compatibility reasons. It makes technology available to more people (not to all people because it ain't possible - but konqueror is not there for blind users either)


By ik at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

That's just what they did. The wrote a kpart component which allows graphical embedding of COM components. The fact that the backend is actually implemented using wine is an implementation detail. An important one, though, of course, as it's the only possible way to get stuff like shockwave running. But still for KDE it just means that there is a component available to which you can pass a URL to a shockwave file and it does the job.

How performant and stable the whole thing is in the reality to the end-user still needs to be seen. But technically it's a very exciting thing and fun to implement/hack . (and fun is what counts when it comes to motivation in free software development) As it works, why not tell people about it? After all it's something completely new on linux (it's not that they just plugged in wine and it worked, they had to implement quite some stuff in wine itself and implement a good chunk of interfaces) .

The fact that it runs only in x86 is a pity, but it's not their fault. Instead it's a design limitation of the underlying technology that simply can't be resolved. And given the fact that x86 is a popular KDE platform it's just a good reason to tell other KDE developers about this project.


By Anonymous at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

man you're so dumb


By bg at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Maybe because the KDE developers don't have the time to rewrite Shockwave and Quicktime for KPart? Maybe because they can't afford the laywers when Apple comes down in one big swoop and sues the pants off of them for making anything even somewhat resembling the other "QT" without King Steven Jobs XIII for permission?

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

I find this post insulting. It's exactly this kind of flame thrower silliness that builds up over time to cause some of the most talented developers to throw up their hands and just give up. I further hate the fact that I'm getting sucked into replying to such a troll.

To your first point, the complaint you're getting at there should instead be directed to the Wine, not KDE folks. Unix applications are supposed to build from other widely supported libraries, and Wine certainly fits that description.

Second point: KParts is for connecting information paths within KDE applications. Where exactly do you get the notion that ActiveX is somehow to be used to fit that role? I can only assume that you decided to make that up as you went rolling along.

Last point: I don't believe that there are 2 billion Chinese in the world, as none of them are in my house at the moment. That's the logical equivalent to your suggestion that Shockwave isn't a popular technology.

It's this kind of mindless venom that does far more harm to open source software than anything Microsoft's PR department can come up with. Browser plug-in support is a huge hole for the *nix desktop, and these guys are well on the way of filling it. On top of that, they did so in a way that both stays true to the GPL, and the proprietary licenses of the plug-in creators. This is an accomplishment worthy of high praise, yet here I am instead responding to a troll.


By Metrol at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Well said !


By Jelmer Feenstra at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

For the longest time we've been told over and over how wonderful KParts are.
So back in October, we were led to believe that KParts are the "next generation," as they are what Konqueror is based on. What changed? Why is suddenly ActiveX a great "obstacle" removed, and a "shot in the arm" for the browser? Is ActiveX superior to KParts? What obstacles were in front of us before? And why couldn't they be removed in the KDE way - using our libraries, following our UI standards, and using Free Software licenses?

This is a complete misunderstanding. ActiveX does in no way replace KParts, those controls like Shockwave are not provided by reaktivate, they are used by it.
You obviously didn't bother to have a look at the code before assuming it's some kind of KParts "replacement". If you did, you would have noticed that reaktivate is a KPart.


By Malte at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Your argument sounds as if the following are true - (1) Non-Intel platforms are the most popular, and (2) Linux/UNIX has more market share than Windows. However, neither of these are true, and so the reality is we must recognize that.

1.) Supporting this as a big deal doesn't mean that no one cares about non-x86 users, it simply means that the x86 is the most popular platform, and thus if something works on x86, it works for most of us.

2.) Supporting ActiveX doesn't mean that it is superior to KParts, but when was the last time any major software developer released a browser plugin in KPart format. The KDE team obviously recognizes that the important thing is to support as many technologies as possible to insure support of most of the technologies we could ever want (just like they have made Konqi compatible with "broken" [read: MSIE-friendly] pages).

3.) Why do they call Shockwave popular? Because it is. Support for Unices doesn't make or break a product. Even support for Mac OS does very little. Support for Windows means everything right now. So, if a program is popular in Windows (i.e. 87% or so of the computer world), that translates as just plain popular.

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Wed, 2001/07/11 - 5:00am

Making Konqueror as feature packed as any M$ offering is what the public wants! To suggest otherwise is to relegate the best chance Linux has to become accepted and USED to the ash heap of past failures.

I absolutely abhor Microsoft's marketing practices, their history of poorly cobbled together code and the poor value their products have represented. The public wants and needs an alternative that does what M$ products promised and deliver so poorly. And we want it without all the nonsense that comes from living with an agressive monopoly.

Like it or not, Windows has set the standard for the kinds of features users want. If KDE and Konqueror are to succeed, they need to satisfy those needs the public now has and make the features accessible, affordable and an attractive alternative.

Well done KDE!


By Pat Jones at Wed, 2001/10/24 - 5:00am

To get rid of the security problems, why couldn't all ActiveX controls be run as a harmless user (such as the user nobody on most systems, who has no access to files)? It would seem pretty easy to implement. Does Shockwave really need disk access to function? Even if it does, it could be totally restricted to a single directory. You could even chroot it. Linux's security system is meant to prevent security fiascoes like ActiveX - we should use it!

P.S. I hate to be a wet blanket, but this is just one less reason for companies to make Linux native versions of their plugins. Oh well, if it helps Linux become more popular, I guess it'll be beneficial. If Linux becomes dominant, more plugins will become native anyway :-)


By not me at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

Brilliant idea! Make your reaktivate binary setuid nobody and chrooted /dev/null!


By KDE User at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

why not start reaktivate in a dedicated wine-system as a sandbox. best would be a template, from wich the actual wine-system will be copied for every activex control. this way the control could do whatever it wants with this system... just kill the wine instance and you have a clean system again... am i wrong ?


By cylab at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

I'm not too sure if su nobody is easily possible given that usually nobody has no write access at all (apart from /tmp maybe). We need to install some files that we download and need to change WINE's registry. Running the whole thing chrooted is planned, though. However, it requires quite a few design changes. Stay tuned.


By Malte at Tue, 2001/07/10 - 5:00am

I agree that it would be better if 'native' binaries were
made. But, think of the justice in running DLLs
intended for a different platform, but more securely.
Would people consifer running Linux so they could
run MS DLLs with greater peace of mind?


By Roger Oberholtzer at Mon, 2001/07/16 - 5:00am

You might want to check Fred Mclains webpage on the continueing security hole that is ActiveX. He has gotten to mimic a signed security certificate..... there are a lot of horrible things that can be done with that black magic....


By chris c at Mon, 2003/01/20 - 6:00am

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