Win4Lin Plays Windows Apps on Linux

Almost every Linux user encounters certain Windows-only applications that they must or would like to run. There are workarounds, however. One such option for running Windows applications within Linux is Netraverses Win4Lin Workstation Edition 5.0, which Ive recently been testing.

The $90 product enables Windows to live within an auto-resizing window on your Linux desktop. Inside that window, you can run standard Windows software.

Once Win4Lin was installed, it worked well. Windows applications ran as Id expect them to, and the data and devices from my Linux system were pretty much all on hand.

Installation was a bit tricky, since it required a change to my kernel. Win4Lin ships with hundreds of vendor-specific kernels and a number of generic ones that Netraverse has patched for Win4Lin, compiled and packaged in RPM form. (Check out for the list of supported distributions.)

The other tricky part of the installation is locating a Windows 9x or ME installation disk. Microsoft has left Windows 9x and ME to die—the next version of Office wont even run on those versions.

Also, the most common form of Windows installation media seems to be the system restore disks that come with OEM systems, and those wont work for installing Win4Lin.