I'd like to explain how we decide what to work on next and share our plans for 2008.
First, the big picture: the goal is to finish Wine so that it is a perfect reimplementation of the Windows API, thereby runing nearly all Windows applications flawlessly.
That is a huge challenge; it's going to take a while yet. And since I continue to miss the right Powerball numbers, we continue to bring out new releases of CrossOver to bring polished, if incomplete, versions of Wine to our customers. The idea is that we bring you joy with Wine as we work towards the ultimate goal, and that in gratitude, you buy CrossOver so we can buy food, mortgages, and more Powerball tickets.
Deciding how best to focus our efforts so as to both bring our customers the most joy and to keep Wine moving down that road is a hard challenge. I take as my primary input first the reports of problems from our active customers; I have a 'bugs pending tickets' report that is my primary priority list. Next, I use the list of top votes and pledges from our compatibility center. From there, I add in the estimates I get back from the developers on how hard something will be, and then mix in some intuition and go from there.
Normally, the intuition piece is a smaller role, but this year, we're going for a big leap. In the next few weeks we are going to launch a new product called 'CrossOver Games'. CrossOver Games is an entry level product that lets you play a broad range of games, particularly games with a lot of replayability such as MMOs like World of Warcraft and the range of games from Valve (e.g. Team Fortress 2, CSS, and so on). CrossOver Games will be available for free to any of our CrossOver Mac or Linux Professional customers. The idea is that we will rev CrossOver Games more quickly than regular CrossOver, so as to better take advantage of all of the great work being done on Wine with respect to games. The regular CrossOver will continue on a more stable and reliable pace. We're doing this in part to try to generate some buzz and interest; we feel like Rodney Dangerfield when it comes to games - we'd like to earn some respect. We feel strongly that CrossOver will be the finest way to run games on a Linux or Mac system, and we want to shout that from the rooftops!
Beyond the Games launch, we also have a lot of major improvements in store. We plan to launch CrossOver 7 for both Mac and Linux some time in April. The highlights of CrossOver 7 include support for Office 2007, as well as support for Photoshop CS/CS2 (and hopefully CS3) along with all versions of Dreamweaver, and a few other Adobe applications (thanks, Dan!). Of course, we have a lot of fixes our customers have requested. Office 2003, notably Outlook, should be much improved. Quicken 2007/8 should be able to connect properly with banks. There will be fixes across the board in other applications, notably Internet Explorer 6.
After CrossOver 7, we will turn our focus to several major areas where Wine is lacking. First and foremost is going to be better support for .NET based applications. We are hoping that will allow us to properly support modern versions of Quickbooks. We also hope to support modern versions of iTunes, and we're going to keep fighting to add support for things like the NetFlix player (if only so I can run them on my MythTV system). We'll also be implementing a DIB Engine - a tool we need to use to eliminate some performance bottlenecks in certain applications. This should help performance in Quicken, Visio, and Powerpoint for sure, and a range of other applications as well.
Essentially, our goal is to finish all of the basic building blocks that Wine needs. We hope to mark that event by releasing Wine 1.0. Of course, there will still be a lot of work to be done from there, but our hope is that increasingly applications will 'just work'.