Run Windows software in Linux
Some users switch to Linux to completely get away from Windows. But others still find some Windows software helpful or important. If you're one of those users, you'll be happy to know that there are a number of ways you can run Windows software in Linux.
Chris Hoffman reports for PC World:
...as most dedicated Linux desktop users will eventually discover, there comes a time when you just need to run a particular piece of Windows software on your Linux PC. There are quite a few ways to do so. Here’s what you need to know.
Wine: Wine is an open-source “Windows compatibility layer” that can run Windows programs directly on your Linux desktop. Essentially, this open-source project is attempting to re-implement enough of Windows from scratch that it can run all those Windows applications without actually needing Windows.
Virtual machines: This process involves installing a copy of Windows in a “virtual machine” program like VirtualBox, VMware, or Linux’s built-in KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) solution. That copy of Windows thinks it’s running on real hardware, but it’s really running in window on your desktop.
Dual-booting: Dual-booting isn’t technically a way to run Windows software on Linux itself, but it is how many Linux users run Windows software. Rather than using it directly under Linux, you just reboot your computer, choose Windows, and boot into Microsoft’s operating system. The Windows software can then run in its native environment.
How To Geek also has a roundup of ways to run Windows software in Linux, and it includes a section on CrossOver:
If Wine seems like too much of a pain, you may want to try CrossOver Linux. CrossOver is a commercial product so it will cost you money, although CodeWeavers offer a free trial. CrossOver essentially takes the Wine software and packages it so that it’s guaranteed to work properly with popular applications like Photoshop, Office, and even popular games. CodeWeavers provides commercial support for these supported programs, so you have someone to turn to if something breaks.
This option isn’t for everyone – often you can run the same applications by using Wine – but if you’re just interested in running a few popular applications on your Linux desktop and paying someone else to do the tweaking for you, CrossOver may be your ticket. CrossOver also sends their patches back to the Wine project, so the money you pay helps fund open-source Wine development.
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