As the de facto standard in desktop operating systems, Windows is generally the platform of choice—often to the exclusion of others—for commercially developed applications, including many upon which companies rely heavily.
Although good open-source alternatives to Windows-only applications have been appearing in growing numbers, sometimes only the Windows version will do.
CodeWeavers Inc.s CrossOver Office 2.0, which shipped last month, enables Linux users to run certain Windows native applications, most notably Adobe Systems Inc.s Photoshop, IBMs Lotus Software divisions Notes and Microsoft Corp.s Office XP (including Microsofts Access, which the previous version of CrossOver Office did not support).
CrossOver Office, which is priced at $55, is based on Wine, an open-source Windows API implementation that enables Linux users to run many applications developed for Windows.
CodeWeavers builds on this base, implementing application-specific fixes and adding a Windows software installation tool.
Installing and running Windows software with Wine can be tricky, and CrossOver Offices installer simplifies things nicely. In eWEEK Labs tests, CrossOver Office did a good job with the applications in its supported list.
Even Microsofts Internet Explorer ran fairly well, along with plug-ins such as Macromedia Inc.s Flash client.
We were, however, disappointed that CrossOver Office does not support Microsofts Outlook XP.
Outlook 2000 is supported, and CodeWeavers officials have announced plans to extend its Outlook support in the next version of CrossOver Office.
CrossOver Office 2.0 supports most major Linux distributions, including Red Hat Inc.s latest version of Red Hat Linux, 9.0, which shipped with library changes that made it incompatible with Wine.