potentially serious problem (was Re: WinPT on Windows NT problem)
erpo41 at hotpop.com
Sun Apr 10 07:41:40 CEST 2005
> > The version of my SHELL32.dll is 4.00.
> That's the problem. You need 4.32 (or anything close to it or newer).
> > Does this mean, WinPT does no longer support Windows NT (like Microsoft...)?
> WinPT supports all Windows versions (95 limited). The problem is that some
> OS components are too old. This is also a problem for other programs and
> not just WinPT. If you update the Internet Explorer, you will get a newer
> version of the needed components. You can also use the MS update site to
> get a recent version.
I see this as being a potentially serious problem. Please allow me to
One of the most frustrating things for me when I switched from Linux to
Windows, as well as one of the most common frustrations I heard as I
helped other people to do the same, was that installing software on
Windows is a whole lot easier than installing software on Linux, and the
reason is dependencies.
The reason I say that this particular WinPT snarl is a potentially
serious problem is that I'm starting to see this linux "expecting the
user to resolve dependency issues is OK" mentality invade the Windows
desktop space, and by no means just with WinPT (which I love, by the
way). Because Microsoft has done a great job creating a dependable
platform for writing applications, users have gotten used to checking
for Windows 98/Windows XP/Windows Whatever on the outside of the box and
expecting the program to work providing that single criteria is met.
It's ok to list Windows NT 4 as a requirement for running a program, if
that's really the only requirement. It's ok to list Windows NT 4 with
Service Pack 6a as a requirement for running a program, if that's really
the only requirement. It's ok to list Windows NT 4 with Service Pack 6a
and Internet Explorer 5 as a requirement for running a program, if
that's really the only requirement.
It's not ok to list SHELL32.dll v4.32 or later as a requirement for
running a program. This does not mean it's not ok to _have_ SHELL32.dll
v4.32 or later as a requirement for running a program. The difference?
When the software doesn't work right, explaining the specific technical
problem to the average user isn't much use at all. Explaining how to fix
the problem, the easier the fix the better, is good. Making sure the
problem never happens is best.
In order to solve this problem, I propose that:
1. If technically and legally feasable, an appropriate version of
SHELL32.dll and other libraries from which WinPT requires capabilities
not available in the base OS should be bundled with WinPT. This is the
best solution since it works with the least user knowledge and effort
and potentially provides the best compatibility.
2. The download page for WinPT should list the compatible OSs as
"Windows 95(limited)/98/Me/NT with IE x.y or later/2000/XP"
and the installer should detect an intended installation on an
incompatible OS (e.g. NT without IE x.y or later) and prompt the user to
take specific corrective action (e.g. "Please install IE x.y or later
and try to install WinPT again.").
I realize that some people cannot hear "Microsoft has done a great job"
and cannot hear criticism of a FOSS program, the FOSS way of doing
things, or an author of a FOSS program, particularly one who writes
software without compensation, and particularly those as friendly and
helpful as the people who write Gaim*, The GIMP*, and WinPT without
going into "zealot with a flamethrower mode." I can only say that I have
put effort and editing into making my comments and suggestions as
conducive to creating cool, on-topic discussion as I can.
*Both Gaim for Windows after a certain version and The Gimp 2.x require
some specific version of GTK+ 2.x installed system-wide in order to run.
For a very long time, if you tried to install both at the same time
(even considering that new versions of GTK+ 2.x are supposed to be
backwards compatible all the way to 2.0), nastiness insued. At one point
I found a combination of a gtk installer, a Gaim installer, and a Gimp
installer that wouldn't destroy eachother. Champagne was nearly
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