Microsoft Office Under Linux
One of the more common questions experienced Linux users get asked by those considering migrating from Windows to Linux is, “Will my Windows applications run under Linux?” Thanks to the folks at CodeWeavers, the answer to that is yes–for some applications, anyway. The companys CrossOver Office lets you run many important Windows applications such as various versions of MS Office, Internet Explorer, and Quicken.
The new 3.0 release institutes a number of changes: CrossOver Office has been split into CrossOver Office Professional and CrossOver Office Standard (were looking at the Pro edition today). Also, CrossOver Plug-In (the browser plug-in product) has been discontinued and blended into CrossOver Office Standard (existing CrossOver Plug-In users have been upgraded to CrossOver Office Standard licensees).
The main differences between the Standard and Professional iterations are that the Pro version includes enhanced deployability features, multi-user support, volume discounts, and enhanced support. Most regular users will probably just want to opt for the Standard version.
In the Pro release, official support has been added for Outlook XP, Microsoft Project, and Notes 6.51. A complete list of changes can be found in the change log on the CodeWeavers site.
& Configuring CrossOver”>
We installed CrossOver Office Professional in SUSE Linux 9.1 Personal Edition. All we had to do to was click on the install file on our SUSE desktop and within just a minute or two we were ready to begin using CrossOver Office. It was not necessary for us to be logged in as root user for the purposes of installation.
Configuring CrossOver is simple and straightforward. The program is split into six tabs: Add/Remove, Menus, Associations, Plug-ins, Fonts, and Settings. Add/Remove lets you view a list of installed software, install new software, and repair or remove existing software. The Menus tab allows you to control menus for installed applications, while Associations allows you to associate file extensions and applications.
The Plug-Ins tab lets you activate or deactivate the modules provided by a plug-in. You can also install a wide range of TrueType fonts with just a couple of clicks via the Fonts tab. Even if youve never seen CrossOver Office, it wont take you long to get comfortable with using its setup tools.
What Applications Can You
CrossOver Office wont run all Windows apps, but the list of supported applications is extensive:
- Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0
- Adobe Photoshop 6
- Adobe Photoshop 7
- Authorware Web Player
- Cortona VRML Client
- Dreamweaver MX
- ebrary Reader
- eFax Messenger 2
- Flash MX
- Flash Player
- iPIX Netscape Plug-in Viewer.
- Lotus Notes 5
- Lotus Notes 6.5.1
- MDL Chime
- MGI 3.2
- Microsoft Excel Viewer 97/2000
- MS Internet Explorer 6 SP1 and Internet Tools
- MS Office 2000 Premium
- MS Office 97
- MS Office XP
- MS PowerPoint Viewer 97/2000
- Microsoft Project 2000
- Microsoft Visio
- Microsoft Windows Media Player 6.4
- MS Word Viewer 97/2000
- Quick View Plus
- QuickBooks 2000
- QuickTime 6.3
- RealPlayer 8 Basic
- Shockwave Player 8.5
- Superscape Viscape Universal
- VP3 for QuickTime 5
If you so desire, you can attempt to install software that is not in the supported applications list. Just keep in mind any programs not on the list may not work properly—or at all. For example, we tried to install the Windows version of GAIM (an open source instant messaging program). GAIM installed in a couple of minutes, but we were not able to use it successfully. (It didnt display properly on our Linux desktop.) So, keep in mind that installing unsupported software is a crapshoot. In the case of GAIM, it wasnt a big deal since there is a native Linux version available and we prefer running Linux applications whenever possible.
If you arent sure about how well an application will run under CrossOver Office, you should check the compatibility center before purchasing CrossOver Office or trying to install your application. Quite a number of apps that arent officially supported might still run well under CrossOver Office, since its based on Wine.
Running MS Office 2000
We tested CrossOver Office with Microsoft Office 2000 Premium. Note that this version of CrossOver Office doesnt currently support Microsoft Office 2003. No doubt well see support for it, though, in future versions.
Our install went well, taking about seven or eight minutes. At one point, it was necessary for CrossOver to simulate a Windows reboot in order to finish the installation. When it was all over, we were pleased to find a Windows Applications menu installed in our SUSE Linux applications list. We could easily open any of the MS Office 2000 applications exactly as we would a native Linux application.
We had no problems running any of the MS Office 2000 applications and load times were on par with native Linux apps. We were able to send and receive e-mail with Microsoft Outlook and our other apps performed equally well. Our overall experience running Office 2000 under CrossOver Office was quite positive.
Problems with CrossOver Office Pro
As we noted earlier, this version of CrossOver Office doesnt run MS Office 2003, which could be a problem for some. New versions of CrossOver Office generally seem to lag one generation behind Microsoft. Bear that in mind when planning which version of Office you want to use.
Wed also like CrossOver Office to run a more up-to-date version of Windows Media Player (though we understand there might be licensing issues involved). It would be nice to see some kind of bundled gaming application based on the Transgaming product included. We all need a break from the grind at some point. Why not give CrossOver Office some added value by letting users run some Windows games on their systems?
All in all, we liked CrossOver Office a lot. Its very easy to use and will come in handy for Windows users that need to run certain applications but dont want to spend time directly futzing around with Wine. Theres definitely some real value there for people migrating from Windows to Linux. CodeWeavers has provided a free 30-day trial version of CrossOver Office Standard. If youre the type that needs Windows applications in Linux, we recommend that you give it a download and try it out. Youll be glad you did.
CrossOver Office Professional 3.0.1
Lets Linux users run a wide range of Windows applications on their Linux desktops; easy install & configuration.
Lacks updated version of Windows Media Player; cant use Microsoft Office 2003; unsupported applications may or may not work.
This is a handy application for Windows users considering migrating to Linux or for current Linux users who need to run Windows programs.
CrossOver Office Professional: $84.95, CrossOver Office Standard: $39.95