[wix-devs] Running WiX on Linux using Mono

Christopher Painter chrpai at iswix.com
Sat Jul 8 02:52:22 PDT 2017

My automated system saw your build 70 at 3am. Congrats on the ship.  I'm currently working on an electron angular 4 packaged app where I'm using concourse to build this dist folder on Linux and the Msi on windows. I'm a grey beard and I'm pleasantly surprised. I'd be happy to show you how it all works. 

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jul 8, 2017, at 3:19 AM, Simon Tatham <anakin at pobox.com> wrote:
> <rob at firegiant.com (Rob Mensching)> wrote:
>> This isn't something we'll consider for WiX v3.x (WiX v3.x line is
>> done) but there are big enough changes in WiX v4 that we can try to
>> make life easier.
> Thanks for the point-by-point breakdown.
> Sorry for the delay in replying - I've just finished actually getting
> the PuTTY 0.70 release out of the door. (Which has its MSI files built
> by my Linux-only method, incidentally, if you or anyone else has any
> interest in looking at them in detail.)
>> 1. ::MsiGetFileVersion() - [...] if it can be shown that the C#
>> FileVersionInfo class is a perfect replacement for
>> ::MsiGetFileVersion() then I'd consider that like for like swap. I'm
>> assuming that Mono (or whatever) has an implementation for
>> FileVersionInfo.
> I hadn't even found C#'s FileVersionInfo class, so thanks for the
> pointer there.
> A quick check in Mono confirms that it does indeed have an
> implementation of that, and it's at the very least competent to retrieve
> the same numeric PE VERSIONINFO fields that my own current Linux support
> code is fetching. So to start with I wish I'd known about that facility
> before I spent 200 lines of C writing my own custom code to do the same
> job :-)
> I don't know exactly what you'd consider proof that the replacement is
> perfect, but I can certainly look into preparing some weird kinds of PE
> file (with multiple, malformatted or missing version resources, that
> sort of thing) and do some cross-testing on Windows between
> MsiGetFileVersion and (the proper Windows implementation of) C#
> FileVersionInfo.
>> 3. Cab compression in C# - I'm not at all interested at recreating
>> "smart cabbing" in C#. However, I am very much thinking about getting
>> rid of the multi-threading and winterop.dll and instead launching a
>> process to do cab compression. Essentially, much of winterop.dll turns
>> into one (or more) executable(s). If you've recreated winterop.dll
>> already, not sure this helps significantly... but maybe.
> It may not help 'significantly' in the sense of reducing the amount of
> code I have to maintain in addition to the main WiX tree, but it would
> still help somewhat, so if you were planning to do it anyway then that's
> great.
> Having a process boundary in place of a DLL API between WiX and my
> winterop reimplementation would make testing easier on my side. Also, if
> the semantics of the subprocess's command line / standard input are
> documented as stable - unlike the current interface to winterop.dll,
> which as I understand it is internal to the WiX codebase and subject in
> principle to change without notice - then that cuts down my risk of
> maintenance churn just to keep the same code working against future
> releases.
>> 4. Stopping at .idt files - unfortunately, with Merge Modules there
>> are phases of processing that happen after .idt file generation (WiX
>> actually uses .idt files to create the MSI today). You are probably
>> avoiding use of Merge Modules today.
> *nods* You're right that I hadn't spotted that feature bceause I'm not
> personally using it.
> OK, so between that and point #3 it sounds as if I'm not going to be
> able to offload _all_ my work into the upstream WiX C# code, and will
> have to continue maintaining some sort of separate supporting project
> for people wanting to cross-run WiX in my way. That's fair enough (it
> always seemed to me like a strong possibility anyway). But if the .cab
> and .msi building functionality were to move from .dll into .exe, then
> that would seem like a pretty good outcome for me, and provide a
> generally sensible and well-defined place at which to draw a line
> between the two projects.
>> So how much of the above would actually help you? Are there are other
>> tasks needed?
> There is one other thing, which is that my WiX shim code also had to
> implement .cab _extraction_ as well as .cab creation, and the only thing
> I've actually seen that used for is extracting things from
> .cab-formatted files in the WiX distribution archive itself. For
> example, in the PuTTY MSI build, I find that WiX asks my winterop.dll to
> extract a file called "cab_1_WixUtilExtension.cab", which as far as I
> can see comes from data embeddded in WixUtilExtension.dll in the WiX
> binary distribution.
> .cab extraction is actually a much more painful job than .cab creation.
> (For the usual reason when a file format has many options - a producer
> can choose whatever subset of the options it finds easiest, and commit
> to only generating those, but a consumer has to be prepared to handle
> them all. In the case of .cab, the relevant options are three different
> compression methods, of which one is the completely standard and readily
> available Deflate and the other two are both proprietary and more
> complicated.)
> So if I'm right that WiX's only need for .cab extraction arises from the
> files in its own distribution, then one helpful thing would be to
> convert those files into a format that's less dependent on helper code
> provided by a particular host platform. Would that be a reasonable
> request?
> Cheers,
> Simon
> -- 
> import hashlib; print (lambda p,q,g,y,r,s,m: m if (lambda w:(pow(g,int(hashlib.
> sha1(m).hexdigest(),16)*w%q,p)*pow(y,r*w%q,p)%p)%q)(pow(s,q-2,q))==r else "!"
> )(0xb80b5dacabab6145, 0xf70027d345023, 0x7643bc4018957897, 0x11c2e5d9951130c9,
> 0xa54d9cbe4e8ab, 0x746c50eaa1910, "Simon Tatham <anakin at pobox.com>")
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