CodeWeavers announced on Tuesday the release of CrossOver Office 5.0, its latest upgrade to the popular program for running Windows applications natively on Linux.
The new version includes performance upgrades found in the newest edition of WINE 0.9, the CrossOver Office open-source equivalent recently announced by The Wine Project.
Both programs are open-source implementations of the Windows API (application programming interface) for Unix and the X Window System.
With them, users can run numerous Windows programs on Unix operating systems.
Although Wine has been used to run Windows applications on Unix for more than a decade, it has always been an alpha project.
Now, according to Wine Project leader Alexandre Julliard, it is stable and consistent enough to be a beta product.
In the past, while WINE and CrossOver have been very usable, a great deal of programming work had to be done with each Windows application to make it run properly with WINE.
Going forward, far less effort will be needed to enable Windows programs to run on top of WINE/CrossOver on Linux.
Out of the box, CodeWeavers Inc.s CrossOver now supports Microsoft Office 2003, Outlook, Visio and Internet Explorer.
In addition, it supports other popular programs, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Quicken and QuickBooks, and Lotus Notes.
The new CrossOver also includes an improved installation routine.
While much of CodeWeavers Windows-to-Linux programming work is reflected in both CrossOver Office 5.0 and Wine 0.9, the new CrossOver also offers several unique and proprietary features.
The most significant of these is a new "Bottles" feature.
With this feature, separate Windows virtual machines can be created for individual Windows applications.
This is not end-user technology; its meant for use by IT staff and developers to create virtual machine packages to run a particular Windows program on Linux.
Jeremy White, CodeWeavers CEO, said, "Like a backwards compatibility manager, Bottles create a favorable environment for all of a companys important software. Now administrators can effectively install, manage and update their companies entire Windows application inventory within CrossOver Office."
Other operational improvements to CrossOver Office 5.0 include better Windows graphics support.
For example, according to the company, it provides better support for DirectX, smoother page refreshes and fewer graphic artifacts.
The end result is that "CrossOver Office 5.0 is a major step forward for the Windows-to-Linux movement," White said in a statement.
"Its improved install capability alone makes it far easier for Linux desktop users to operate independently in a Windows-dominant world. Were confident this new iteration of CrossOver Office will benefit our enterprise users in particular—not just for its Office 2003 support, but also for its other improvements that make life easier in multi-user Linux organizations."
Wine 0.9 is available from the Wine Project site.
CrossOver Office 5.0 Standard is now available for $39.95.
CrossOver Office 5.0 Professional, the enterprise version of the product, is priced at $69.95, with volume discounts available.
The Professional version comes with features for enterprise deployment, a shared multi-user mode, and one year of Level 2 support.
Both versions can be downloaded from the CodeWeavers site.