The Pure Linux Solution

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

to Version Problems"> There is a pure Linux way around this. And that is to use Evolution, the Novell groupware and e-mail client, with the Exchange Connector. With this, and either an Exchange 2000 or 2003 server with Outlook Web Access set up, you can use Evolution as a complete Outlook replacement. This approach is slower than using Outlook, since the Connector acts as a middleware program that translates Exchanges MAPI (Messaging API) calls into ones that Evolution can work with and vice versa.
On the other hand, you avoid Outlooks almost endless security holes.
The bottom line is that before committing to using CrossOver Office, you really need to check to make sure that the versions of the applications you need to run will indeed run. Short of checking yourself, CodeWeavers provides a good guide to what runs and what doesnt. The flip side is that you need the right Linux drivers in place to run some applications. iTunes, for example, sounds great on my Linux systems. Thats because I use the standard ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) drivers and libraries on all my Linux systems set to OSS (Open Sound System) compatibility. Lest you get too wound up about the jargon, thats a standard setting on many Linux desktop distributions. But if you use Esound (Enlightenment Sound Daemon), a sound server commonly found in GNOME and Enlightenment environments, youre not going to hear a thing. The best solution, for now anyway, is to disable Esound. To see these problems before you run into them, I highly recommend bookmarking the FAQ. CrossOver also has a new feature called bottles. These are virtual environments representing different versions of Windows. At this time, there are two of them: Windows 2000 and 98. Some programs run well in one, but not the other. While this expands the total number of Windows programs that CrossOver supports, it also comes with one problem: A Windows application in one bottle cant interoperate with a program in another bottle. Say youre running Internet Explorer 6 in a Windows 98 bottle and you want to cut and paste some text from a page into a Word 2003 document, which is running in a 2000 bottle. Under Windows, this is completely transparent. Under CrossOver Office, it looks like it should work, but it doesnt. If this sounds like getting your applications working just the way you want them can be a chore, well, yes, it can be. In my experience, though, CodeWeavers gives good support. Even with Standard, where once youre set up, youre basically on your own, I found the CrossOver Office discussion lists to be extremely helpful with several engineers checking in on a regular basis. All that being said, once you do have your applications running, they run very, very well. How well? I plan on keeping Internet Explorer 6 (for those pesky sites that insist on IE), Quicken, iTunes and Dreamweaver on my main SUSE Linux system with CrossOver Office. In short, its good enough that its become one of my regularly used software packages. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way. He can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms fo

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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