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November 10, 2003

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Jeremy White and Mike Angelo Discuss Crossover Office,Wine, and MS Windows APIs for Linux

Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems

Mike Angelo -- 10 November 2003 (C) -- Page 3

The current version of Crossover Office is 2.1. It was released 27 October 2003. Below in Schedule 2 are some MS Windows applications that CodeWeavers lists as usable in Crossover Office 2.1.

CodeWeavers has an interesting rating system used to indicate how well various applications do work in Crossover Office and the level of support provided by CodeWeavers. Please see Schedule 1 for an excerpt of what the ratings mean. There is a link to the full CodeWeavers rating system discussion in the Resources section at the end of this article.


Schedule 1. Excerpts of what the ratings mean.

Gold Medal -- applications that install and run as you would expect them to in Microsoft Windows . . . customers can use these applications on an everyday basis with good results, and only minor bugs . . . CodeWeavers will respond to and address all bugs reported in a gold application, either immediately, or in a future release.

Silver Medal -- applications that install, and run well enough to be usable . . . these applications have signifcant (sic) bugs that prevent them from running flawlessly . . . CodeWeavers makes a firm commitment to bring all silver applications to the gold level in future releases of CrossOver, and that CodeWeavers will respond to and address all bugs reported in these applications.

Bronze Medal -- applications that install and run, and that can accomplish some portion of their fundamental mission. However, bronze applications generally have enough bugs that we recommend that our customers not depend on their functionality . . .. CodeWeavers makes a firm commitment to bring all bronze applications to the silver level in future releases of CrossOver.

Honorable Mention -- applications in this category have either been minimally tested by CodeWeavers and found to install and run, or have been reported by others to install and run. Applications in this category may install and run for you, but will not be supported by CodeWeavers in the current release.

Known not to work -- Applications with this level, currently do not install or run. We suggest you don't even try to use them until we have them labeled otherwise.


Schedule 2. MS Windows applications that CodeWeavers lists (excerpts) as usable in Crossover Office. Please see the Resources section at the end of this article for a link to the full list.

Gold

From Microsoft Office 97 and 2000

  • Microsoft Word 97 and 2000
  • Microsoft Excel 97 and 2000
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000

Silver

From Microsoft Office 97 and 2000

  • Microsoft Outlook 97 and 2000
  • Microsoft Access 2000
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5

From Microsoft Office XP

  • Microsoft Word XP
  • Microsoft Excel XP

Other

  • Microsoft Visio 2000
  • Intuit Quicken 2002 (all versions prior to 2003 run)
  • Lotus Notes 5.5
  • Photoshop 7.0. (Version 6.0 and 5.5. also reputedly work quite well.)
  • Dreamweaver MX
  • Flash MX


Microsoft Product Activation Note

GNU/Linux does not require any product activation nonsense nor does it require product registration.

If there were no other reason to chose a GNU/Linux OS distribution over MS Windows XP or 2003, not having to put up with the Microsoft product activation mechanism would be more than reason enough to chose GNU/Linux!

There are many reasons why Microsoft product activation is a bad thing. Discussion of all the bad and obnoxious things about Microsoft product activation is beyond the scope of today's article. However, a word of caution to anyone who is considering installing Microsoft Windows XP or 2003 on a computer system. The Microsoft product activation mechanism that Windows XP and 2003 places on your system can shut down your computer until such time as Microsoft decides to let you use your own computer. In other words, Microsoft, not you, ultimately is in control of your Windows XP or 2003 computer system

There is something that you can do to counter the Microsoft product activation mechanism if it does shut down your Windows XP or 2003 system. Install a GNU/Linux distribution on your computer before Microsoft can shut you down. This is called a multi-booting configuration. If you use a current GNU/Linux operating system such as Conectiva, Mandrake, or SuSE, you can boot into Linux and then access all your files on the computer even though the Microsoft product activation mechanism has shut down your Windows XP system.

For more about why Linux is so much a better choice, please see our article Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

There are other MS Windows applications that run nicely in Crossover Office too that are not officially supported by Crossover Office 2.1. For example we run mIRC, an excellent IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client for the MS Windows OS, all the time on Linux via Crossover Office. Yet CodeWeavers does not list mIRC as supported by Crossover Office.

In our April 2003 e-mail discussions we asked Jeremy White if there are any other applications in addition to the listed ones that work with CrossOver Office?

Jeremy White: Well, not that we want to officially support. We really try to be very careful with the applications we list, so when we claim an app works, we really feel that we know for sure that someone can be productive and cheerful using that app.

There are a lot of other apps that folks tell us run, but we don't really have a good validation for how well they run. Further, a lot of apps don't run. The lovely trick is when customer A says, "App XYZ works great!" and customer B says, "App XYZ stinks!"

Summary and Conclusions

If you would like to run MS Windows applications on a GNU-Linux computer system Crossover Office might be just that for which you are looking. Or if you would like to move up from MS Windows to the GNU-Linux operating system, but need to use some MS Windows applications, and that is what has been holding you back from making the move, Crossover Office might be just that for which you are looking.

Please check the complete list of Windows software that will run in a GNU-Linux environment under Crossover Office on the CodeWeavers Web site. See if the Windows applications that you use are listed there.

If you are not sure if Crossover Office will let you run the Windows applications that you use on a GNU-Linux operating system, you can download a free, 30-day trial version of Crossover Office. It's pretty darn hard to beat a try before you buy offer. (Incidentaly, Mandrake Linux 9.2 comes with a trial version of Crossover Office.)

If the Windows applications that you use are not listed there now, check the list again whenever a new version of Crossover Office is released. If the Wine project and Crossover Office keep moving at their current paces, there likely will be lots more application added to the list of MS Windows applications that are usable in Crossover Office.

Would it not be interesting if eventually Wine and Crossover Office could run so many MS Windows applications that one would never ever need to run MS Windows? You would be able to download a GNU-Linux distribution free, or pay a reasonable price for a GNU-Linux boxed product. Add that free or reasonable price to the $60 cost of Crossover Office and the combined cost still is less than the price of MS Windows XP or Windows Server -- and you get so much more with a good GNU-Linux distribution than you do with MS Windows. Moreover, you do not have to put up with Microsoft's horrible Product Activation crap.

If Crossover Office already supports the MS Windows applications that you use, the above mentioned eventuality already is here for you. You now can use a GNU-Linux operating system along with Crossover Office and run the MS Windows applications you need or want for less cost than you can do it with the MS Windows OS and on the more powerful and more stable GNU-Linux OS.

If your interest is computer games, check WineX. It's an adaptation of Wine developed specifically for running MS Windows games on a Linux-based PC.

  • Porting MS Windows application to Linux

Are you a software developer or computer accessory manufacturer that would like to open the GNU-Linux market to your products -- and your products do not work with the GNU-Linux operating system. Crossover Office could be just what you need to get into the GNU-Linux market without incurring a large overhead to so do.

Simply get in touch with the Crossover Office or Wine people. By working with them, you likely can come up with some low overhead solution(s) that will have your products running well with Crossover Office and Wine so that GNU-Linux users can run your product(s) on their GNU-Linux computer systems.

  • Use Winelib to port applications to Linux

Along that line there is another approach that software developers or computer accessory manufacturers can employ to open the Linux market to their products -- Winelib.

Winelib is a development toolkit which allows you to compile your Windows applications on Unix . . . What you gain by recompiling your application with Winelib is the ability to make calls to Unix APIs, directly from your Windows source code. This allows for a better integration with the Unix environment than is allowed by running an unmodified Windows application running in Wine. Another benefit is that a Winelib application can relatively easily be recompiled on a non-Intel architecture and run there without the need for a slow software emulation of the processor. Winelib User's Guide.

Thus, one can one use Winelib to recompile a Windows application so that it can run natively on Linux. Isn't that interesting.

  • Wrap up

CodeWeavers' Crossover Office, Netraverse's Win4Lin, VMware, and Wine let you run software designed for the MS-Windows operating systems on the GNU-Linux OS. Wine and Crossover office run Microsoft Windows applications on the GNU-Linux desktop by providing Windows APIs for the GNU-Linux OS.

Crossover Office and Wine are very efficient and cost-effective because they implement MS-Windows APIs within the GNU-Linux OS. Thus, Crossover Office and Wine use little system resources themselves. Moreover, with Crossover Office and Wine, you do not need to install MS-Windows on your Linux-based system -- that means you do not need to purchase a license or serial number from Microsoft to run Windows-based applications in Linux.

Additionally, computer software and hardware developers can use Crossover Office and Wine to port their products to the GNU-Linux OS with very little development overhead costs. On the other hand, Virtual Machine (VM) emulators such as VMware consume substantial system resources and require a license and serial number purchased from Microsoft in order to run Windows-based software on a Linux-based computer system.

If you want to use MS-Windows compatible software on a GNU-Linux OS, give Crossover Office a try.

<---- Back to Page 2

Resources

Article Index

CrossOver Office

CodeWeavers

CodeWeavers rating System

CodeWeavers List of MS Windows applications that are usable in Crossover Office

CrossOver Office: Comparison with Competing Solutions


Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

Mandrake Web Site

mIRC IRC client for the MS Windows OS

SUSE Desktop Linux

SuSE Web Site

TransGaming (WineX)


Win4Lin

VMware.

Virtual machine, Wikipedia

Winelib User's Guide


Books

Red Hat Linux 9 Bible, pp. 194-199 and 250-252, Christopher Negus, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-3938-8, $50

Red Hat Linux 9 Unleashed, Chap. 27 Using Emulators and Other Cross-Platform Tools in Red Hat Linux, Bill Ball and Hoyt Duff, Sams, ISBN: 0672325888, $50

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