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Re: problems with lilypond 2.5.31 under WinME

From: Brynne and Russ Jorgensen
Subject: Re: problems with lilypond 2.5.31 under WinME
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 22:08:30 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win 9x 4.90; en-US; rv:1.6) Gecko/20040113

Jan Nieuwenhuizen wrote:

First, I changed the lilypond shortcut on the desktop to run:

C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM /C "D:\LilyPond\usr\bin\lilypond.exe" >

And, when I double-click, lilypad does start up.  Progress at last! :)

Does everyone have write permission in the root?  Also, do you need to
specify the command intepreter?  I don't think these two things will
work on newer windozes.

Yes, for this hack, you need to specify the command interpreter, at least on WinME which is the only one I've tested, because explorer doesn't interpret the redirection of stdout - I think it just passes it as another command-line paramter.

As far as if everyone has write permission in c:\ - good question. By default, I believe the answer is "yes". Microsoft has done some things in each new version of Windows to make it more difficult to "mess up" C:\Windows, but I don't recall ever running into permission problems on C:\, even on business versions of Windows. But, I admit I don't have much experience with either XP-home or XP-pro, so that might be different. On the NT-based versions of Windows, an administrator conceivably could set read-only permission on C:\. I haven't tried, but maybe changing it to

C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM /C "D:\LilyPond\usr\bin\lilypond.exe" > %TMP%\lilyout.txt

would address that concern - the tmp dir should definitely be writable by everyone!

But, another possibility is to have your installer detect the version of windows, and install shortcuts and explorer right-click commands specific to that version. You're already doing it for the unicode vs. ascii version of lilypad.exe. Obviously it complicates the installer somewhat, but complication is pretty much the life of a s/w engineer! :) But, even better would be some type of front-end that works on all versions of Windows, and I will try to get something coded up one of these days so maybe it can be relatively elegant.

And, when I double-click on an .ly file, it actually creates the PDF
file!  Yeah!  However, thinks the world should be DOS-ey,
so it munges the ly-file pathname to 8.3, meaning that what should be
example-1.pdf actually comes out as EXAMPL~1.pdf.


I'd prefer to re-direct to a file in %TMP% or %TEMP% (which is the
Windows standard?), and then remove it once lilypond.exe is all
finished to be nice and tidy.  And of course, using real WIN32 long
filenames would be good.

Yes, until it works and is tested on Windows XP too, we should not
integrate it.  Also: do you still get an error log in foo.log if you do

    lilypond > lilyout.txt

When I do that, lilypad.exe pops up displaying foo.log with the following error message:

# -*-compilation-*-
warning: can't find file: `'

The lilyout.txt file is empty.

It seems that we encounter *a lot* of bugs/incompatibilities in the
DOS-based Windows versions.  It starts to be a major time sink, and
I'm beginning to wonder if we should support them at all.  The most
problematic thing is the lack of unicode support, it is really
embarassing that we can only support ascii (the English language).

What would people say if we suggested LilyPond users to upgrade from
DOS based Windows systems to something more modern, like Windows XP or
Ubuntu linux, or send tested patches to CVS?

I have mixed emotions about the wisdom of abandoning the old, problematic versions of windows. On the one hand, WinME is now 5-6 years old, so the user base should be dwindling, and I would agree that it might be so much wasted effort if there aren't that many users who would be affected. On the other hand, when Win-XP came out, there was a LOT of dissatisfaction about locking the license to a particular computer, thus making it a hassle to upgrade hardware or re-install. I've heard there's a thriving market for used Win-98, I presume because of this, so maybe the user base hasn't dwindled quite so much. Hmm...

You also mention that the most problematic thing is the lack of Unicode, and it being embarrasing to only support ascii (English). Is there any support, either now or planned, for lilypond itself to support Unicode? I had the impression that since the .ly file format is specifically specified to be ASCII, that it was probably only lilypad.exe that had ASCII vs. Unicode issues.

Regardless, I don't think it's as problematic as you say, nor do I think you should be embarrassed at all. You DO support Unicode (lilypad.exe), and any user who needs Unicode is running a platform where your installer will choose to install the Unicode version, so they won't be affected. English-only users who have non-Unicode platforms won't likely notice their limitation. And, even without Unicode, you probably do actually have support for the ISO 8859-1 character set (8-bit character superset of ASCII), so that covers Eastern Europe, if memory serves correctly.

As far as forcing the issue back on the users by requiring tested patches, you realize that practically speaking it means abandoning those platforms. I don't know what your user population is, but as this is a program of interest primarily to musicians, it's unlikely that a large percentage would have the necessary knowledge to even get the whole thing to compile, let alone fix bugs. And of the ones who do, many won't feel like they have the time or inclination. So, they'll either choose to upgrade to XP or go look for another program. I'm not sure what I'd personally do, given my loathing of Microsoft, so maybe that's why I'm willing to help out a certain extent.

I guess I'd say that if you'd like my advice, I think you're close enough to getting it working on WinME that it's probably worth a little more effort. Once it works, it probably won't be nearly so time consuming keeping it going. I'm willing to help out some - even though I've figured out some workarounds for my own personal use, I think this is an excellent program that deserves as wide a user base as possible.

Do you have a way to count the number of times each installer has been downloaded? You could pretend that there are two windows versions - one for Win9X/ME, and one for the other, better, versions - and then see how many people actually download the Win9X/ME version. Might give you an idea if I'm the only squeaky wheel WinME user out there!


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