Most desktop Linux users have at least heard of the free application Wine or its retail cousins CrossOver Linux and CrossOver Mac.
haven't heard of these applications, you may want to give them a try.
They allow users to run Windows programs in other operating systems
(namely Linux, Mac OS and Solaris) without any virtual machines or
other resource-intensive processes, as long as you have an x86-compatible CPU in your PC -- and let's face it, nowadays, who doesn't?
In fact, with WINE there's no need for Windows at all. WINE
creates an environment that responds to Windows API calls, so apps 'think' they are running in Windows, when in fact there's no Windows there at all.
The difference between the two applications is that CrossOver
proprietary, more up-to-date version of Wine along with some handy
extensions. The two also differ as far as support; CrossOver is
commercially supported by CodeWeavers while Wine relies on the
community for support.
Last week Codeweavers' Jeremy White posted an update
on the CodeWeavers website outlining what has been happening over the
last eight months and giving a preview of what is to come this year for
CrossOver and Wine.
As far as the last eight months, most of the development work has gone
towards what White calls "under the hood" improvements and better
support for the newer releases of Microsoft Office. Many of these
changes are now present in the development version of Wine. Quite a
few DirectX 9 games are well supported along with many other common
applications such as Photoshop and QuickBooks.
What is more interesting, though, are the few details White gives about
what this year has in store. It seems that this year will be focused
more on the core functionality and user experience.
begin working on adding DirectX 10 compatibility layers while improving
support for Outlook, Quicken, Photoshop, QuickBooks, and many other
applications. On top of that, CrossOver will get a user-interface
All of these improvements should be working before the end of the year.
If Wine and CrossOver continue to develop as they have been the past
year or two, in a few years they might
offer better support for Windows
applications than Windows itself! But changes occur rapidly in the
world of technology, and Microsoft might have a trick or two up its
sleeve with Windows 7.
Time will tell.