[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [XBoard-devel] Bundling WinBoard 4.4

From: Tim Mann
Subject: Re: [XBoard-devel] Bundling WinBoard 4.4
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 20:22:59 -0700

I think we still need an installer rather than (say) a zip file
that the user has to manually unzip and create his own shortcuts to,
etc.  People who like to tinker don't need them, but I think the
average Windows user expects and needs one.  Maybe you're not
suggesting that we get rid of the installer, though, but just saying
you don't personally like them...?

It seems good to me to reexamine what we bundle with the WinBoard
installer.  I'd definitely agree to get rid of GNU Chess 4, but I'd
like to keep GNU Chess 5 there just because xboard/WinBoard is
officially part of the GNU project.  However, if the engine you
suggested that can play a lot of variants is also good at conventional
chess, maybe we could include only that one -- I'm not dead set on
including a GNU Chess version.

Adding other useful stuff seems good too, as long as we make sure the
extras don't get in the way or cause confusion for beginning/basic
users who don't care about the extras, but just want to play
conventional chess against the default engine or on a chess server.
People like that are usually the majority.

Mark's idea of an installer that knows how to download more stuff is
interesting, though I think it could turn into a big project if pushed
to its logical conclusion.  One would really like to be able to
download and add in more engines and/or other accessories at any time,
but there are hundreds of engines that can be downloaded from various


On Thu, 16 Apr 2009 17:53:01 +0200, "h.g. muller" <address@hidden> wrote:
> I already raised this point in a private mail to Arun, but I would like to 
> put it up for
> discussion in public. It is about the bundling strategy used for the 
> distribution of the
> WinBoard executable. For XBoard this is not an issue, as Linux users do not
> appreciate bundling and rely on the package depency mechanism to acquire their
> software. But for WinBoard bundling is really essential, as Windows users 
> are in
> general tot capable to install anything that does not come with the initial 
> install.
> So important components, like Polyglot, must not be missing. In addition, 
> we should
> provide data files for some of the new features to be usable in the 
> install, such as
> bitmaps for the board texture, and an opening book.
>  From the e-mail extchange between Arun and me:
> ------------------------ quote -----------------------
>  > I think 4.2.8 comes with some sort of windows installer, do you know 
> anything  about this?
> I have seen that, and I guess I have even used it first time I installed 
> WinBoard on
> one of my systems (which must have been in 2006). But I positively hate 
> installers,
> and since that first install, I only copy winboard.exe files from one PC to 
> another.
> (Note that I did ignore the entry where Chessknight did the initial logging 
> of the
> installer files in the CVS.)
> Anyway, the way the installer would install WinBoard on a Windows PC looks 
> nothing
> like the way I distribute WinBoard 4.3.15. For one, it contains the GNU 
> Chess engines,
> which I think we should really abandon. GNU Chess might have been of 
> interest and even
> instrumental at the conception of XBoard, but today it is just a mediocre 
> Chess engine
> amongst many hundreds. It is not particularly good (there are free engines 
> that are
> more than 500 Elo stronger, even as open source), it is not particularly 
> small, (strongly
> driving up the size of the download), it does not play any variants except 
> 'normal'...
> So to dump not one, but even two versions of it on every WinBoard user is 
> really silly.
> OTOH, much of the essential supporting software is missing in the 4.2.7 
> install. Poor
> bundling is one of the main causes of the demise of WinBoard as main Chess 
> interface
> on Windows. For the average Windows user that would benefit from an 
> installer, having
> to download supporting software is a real show stopper, as in general they 
> would not
> know where to find it, or where to put it to make it work with WinBoard. So 
> they cannot
> run any UCI engines because they lack Polyglot. They cannot run engine 
> tournaments
> because they lack a Tournament Manager. So they turn to other GUIs that 
> have these
> functions as intrinsic features.
> For this reason we created the 'WinBoard Gold Pack', (downloadble from 
> WinBoard forum)
> which contains a complete installation tree of ready-to-run executables, 
> containing not only
> WinBoard (as executable), but aso Polyglot, PSWBTM, an opening book, an 
> example
> WB engine and an example UCI engine, example bitmap files for board 
> textures, PGN
> and EPD files with test positions, etc. In other words, all the stuff they 
> badly need, in stead
> of the stuff they don't care about from the 4.2.7 installer package.
> As example WB engine in the Gold Pack I use Fairy-Max, because:
> 1) it is tiny (some 100KB uncompressed including all docs, only 35KB for 
> the engine proper).
> 2) it plays many variants next to noarmal Chess (Gothic Chess, Shatranj, 
> Courier Chess etc.).
> ----------------- end of quote --------------
> So I want to propose a new bundling strategy for WinBoard 4.4.1 (compared 
> to 4.2.7), abandoning
> GNUChess, including Polyglot and an opening book, and perhaps a true-type 
> Chess font

Tim Mann  address@hidden  http://tim-mann.org/

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]