Installation and Version

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-11-14 Print this article Print

-Support Problems"> CrossOver is also a bit picky about its installation media. You cant, for example, easily install a program from a directory tree on a network drive or non-standard distribution DVD or CD. In my case, I ran headlong into that problem when I tried programs from my MSDN (Microsoft Software Development Network) DVDs. These disks contain dozens of Microsoft programs on each disk. There is a workaround that sometimes works with this problem. With a standard installation CD or ISO image, however, the process runs flawlessly.
Once installed, for the most part, the supported Windows programs run well on Linux. For several weeks now, I have been running Adobe Dreamweaver MX, Office 2003, Office 2000, Quicken 2005, IE 6, a variety of IE helper applications and iTunes 4.9, on both Linux systems.
For most day-to-day purposes, all these programs work well. Surprisingly, I found there to be little difference between the applications performance running on Linux with CrossOver Office and on XP. Indeed, I found some applications, such as Word 2000, to actually run faster on Linux. Who knew? CrossOver can pull this off because its not running as a Windows virtual machine, the way Virtual PC 7 does on Mac OS X. Instead, by simply providing an API and using Linux services for printing, sound and so on, users dont pay a performance hit for running the application. Where things can get tricky is the question of exactly how well a particular version of a particular application runs. For example, iTunes 4.9 runs well, except for two big problem areas, on CrossOver. ITunes 5 and higher, though, are much less stable. The aforementioned iTunes 4.9 problems, an inability to rip songs off a CD or to sync with an iPod, are showstoppers for some people. Since I use networked music directories, thats not a problem for me. When I need to rip or sync, I simply use my Mac Minis copy of iTunes 6. For the bread and butter work applications—Office, Dreamweaver MX, and Quicken—CrossOver works flawlessly. Again, though, there are exceptions. Dreamweaver MX runs well. Dreamweaver MX 2004 dies like a dog. You must make sure youre running the supported version or youre likely to run into real trouble. Some programs also dont have their full functionality. The most noteworthy example of this is Outlook. While it works fine as a mail client, if you want it to act as a groupware client with Exchange, youre out of luck. While CodeWeavers is working hard to fix this problem, the company admits that, technically, its very, very difficult to do. Next Page: The "pure Linux" solution to version problems.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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