Users of Linux- and Unix-based operating systems who find themselves forced to maintain a second desktop for working with Microsoft Office documents and for accessing corporate groupware servers via Outlook and Notes clients may be able to dump their Windows boxes with the help of CrossOver Office 1.0 from CodeWeavers Inc.
CrossOver Office, released last week for $55 per user, is based on Wine, an open-source Windows API implementation that enables Linux users to run many applications developed for Windows. (Site licensing is also available.)
eWeek Labs tests of the software yielded mixed results.
We were able to install and use Microsoft Corp.s Outlook 2000 on a Red Hat Inc. Red Hat Linux 7.2 machine without trouble, accessing data from our Exchange server as with Outlook on a Windows machine. Ximian Inc.s Evolution groupware client for Linux can also access Exchange servers but requires that Outlook Web Access be enabled—a feature that many companies disable due to security fears.
However, in testing with CrossOver, applications often lacked the correct fonts (particularly with Microsoft Word), which resulted in less usable interfaces and templates.
CrossOver Office works with Microsoft Office 97 and 2000, as well as with Lotus Notes R5. CrossOver Office does not support Office XP, nor does it work with Microsofts FrontPage or Access.
For more information, go to www.codeweavers.com/products/office.