Subject: Re: Apache and GIMP
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 18:16:09 -0800

At 04:57 PM 3/20/98 -0500, Scott Goehring wrote:
>Did the folks at Cygnus or Cyclic (both of whom now have Win32
>products) face this question?  Or is this particular albatross unique
>to the Gimp's particular brand of visionary?

Speaking for Apache, we integrated a win32 port when it was offered to us,
on our terms, in a way which conformed by and large to our code style &
semantics.  We've done a fair amount of work bringing it up to our
standards since then, but we've come to realize late in the beta game that
it's going to be a lot more work for it to be a product we're as proud of
on win32 as we are of Apache on Unix.  A lot of this has to do with the
fact that we're trying to take a codebase born & bred on Unix onto NT,
instead of building it from the ground up as an NT application.  So for
example, we use the standard C I/O calls like fopen() and writev() rather
than using NT-native calls like TransmitFile().  Since the C standard lib
functions were integrated on NT as an afterthought, they are not nearly as
stable or tested or tuned as native NT calls are.  It wouldn't be a
disaster to attempt to follow the NT semantics in the current codebase, but
given that we really want to move onto a new codebase for 2.0, the less
work we have to put into the current system the better.  So we're in
something of a quandry.

All in all, though, win32 work on Apache probably mirrors what it is like
on other open source software projects: work is done by those who want to
do it.  A couple Apache-derivative companies who see win32 as an important
thing have put some resources towards it, but there's nowhere near the
"open source hacker base" on win32 as there are on other platforms.  I
chalk it up to the mindset and usage characteristics of that platform -
people usually buy software they use, expect it to work all the time, don't
expect to be able to modify or extend it, and if it doesn't work they call
the manufacturer and wait patiently for an upgrade.  Far cry from the open
source model!  This, I believe, is the biggest challenge facing any FSB
wishing to do a win32 port; you may find it a lonely trek.  Doesn't
necessarily mean it's not worth taking.

For a lark, check out the bug reports we get on the win32 platform, at


"Optimism is a strategy for making               
a better future." - Noam Chomsky