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Old 01-25-2008, 03:17 PM   #1
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Needed a complete solution for running windows software.

I mostly wanted to vent... and maybe by some miracle someone has a solutions for me.

I've been a major advocate for open-source, free software and Linux, for my corner of the world. However, I keep running into these people who must have their favorite software. Most of the time I can find a linux equivalent but for some software I have no choice. (ie wish I could still play SFC, or run AudoCad)

There are several emulation type programs to get WinApps running. I just wish I could use one to get everything working.

ie my wife's favorite game works in Wine (but not crossover, or cedega), my SFC doesn't work in anything. Dune2000 works in everything, but Sorry (and other cereal box games) don't work in cedega. By the time I'm finished I've spend days writing scripts to make it easier for people to run their software but none use a consistent interface.

I'm trying to stay away from qemu and vmware as then the person brings up... why wouldn't I just run windows then.


My dad even sprung a new one on me. He bought a TV Tuner, Geniatech HDTV Thriller USB.... of course no drivers for Linux.

Why can't things just work!
Old 01-25-2008, 03:40 PM   #2
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The very best solution to run Windows software is.... MS Windows . Seriously though: If you really need 100% compatibility with Windows, you are better off dual-booting. Wine (and similar) are good and all, but more often than not, the application won't perform as it should (performance or otherwise), if at all, with very few exceptions. I see no point in using them on the long run (again, depending how much you need Windows).

So that is the solution. MS Windows. However, if dual-booting is a problem for you, you will need to choose the OS that you can do most of your important tasks with and leave the other things you can't do alone. In my case, I had to chose MS Windows. I've a few other old boxes with Linux but at the end of the day, I can do everything I need, professionally or hobby-like, in Windows.

And there is no way that we will get more support from manufactures while our market share is so small. But who knows what can happen in the near future
Old 01-26-2008, 07:04 AM   #3
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...and one other solution is VMware Server (you install VMware Server in Linux, install Windows in VMware Server, install Windows applications in Windows) -- see Note, too, that you can install multiple operating systems in VMware Server; e.g., Win98, XP, a Linux distribution (so they will not interfere with one another or your "main" Linux installation) and you can snapshot the virtual machine so when (not if, it is Windows) Windows blows up you can simply restore it from the snapshot.

Can't hurt, might help...
Old 01-26-2008, 07:22 AM   #4
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It is sad, but un this world you cannot completely dump Windows. On-line banking, testing HTML in IE, some games, some administrative applications only run in Windows, an ancient 16-bit electronic design package. I have never liked Wine, and sometimes it doesn't work.

I have VMware installed on one computer, and I use Windows just for those tasks I cannot do in Linux. It is not difficult to develop a strong preference for Linux, so staying away from the virtual Windows is not really difficult.

I am using 3 or 4 machines for regular work, and my wife uses another one, but I have only ONE virtual windows installed, and I use clients on the other ones. So essentially, you can do with a shared Windows installation. Does that help?

Old 01-26-2008, 07:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MikeyCarter View Post
Why can't things just work!
Indeed.....I think every hi-tech gadget should do exactly what every customer imagined it would do before they bought it!!!...

Seriously, anyone trying to make money selling anything needs to understand their market and make business decisions. Printers are a good example:
HP: Agressively and pro-actively making sure their products work on Linux
Epson: Not as good as HP, but at least they provide support to developers.
Canon: Last I checked, basically ignoring Linux.

So, if you want a printer that works well with Linux, get an HP or Epson.

If you want good support of Windows SW, then get Windows.

My choice: Linux-only, unless there is absolutely no other option. I accept "good enough" in applications if it allows me to stay out of Windows. Time spent in Windows now less than 1%.
Old 01-26-2008, 10:44 AM   #6
Registered: Feb 2003
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Just to add to my original comment. I run vmware-server with a Win98, Win2k, and WinXP installs. (Last too being licensed to the company I work for)

The only thing I used them for is the 1 peace of software at work which is win only and I use it to load my Garmin maps/firmware (done one a year maybe). The last thing I will use it for is Browser testing, which I perfer to use for anyways

I'm running pure Linux for everything. If I want to play windows games... I typically go to the xbox.

The issue I have, is no perfect solution... just degrees of better.

Dual boot takes care of compatibility but then you need the HD room since you can't dynamically allocate space, unless you run your linux under FAT32. Not to mention the ~2GB requirement just to get Win2K up and running. (or the fact some older games don't run on Win2k, so you end up with a Triple Boot)

VMWare/Qemu you can dynamically allocate space, however it has compatibility/performance issues when trying to run games. (Not to mention again the space requirements) It's also not easy to deploy across multiple machines. Ie my Dad needs to run AutoCad LT so I have him setup with WinME. My Mom want's to play wheel of fortunate (Win98?). By the time I'm done I'd need to build 20 or so independent virtual machine. Not to mention the licensing.

Crossover has a nice interface, easy to install and easy to build custom rpm's for each user requirements. Biggest drawback is they are about 1 year behind in latest wine development thus only compatible with limited software. (I use this for most of my win apps)

Wine has no interface. Well very little. Deployment is a bear as it doesn't have the layout like Crossover. Can be done but must be done manually. Wine also has a lot of compatibility issues.

Cedega really pisses me off. It plays a lot of the windows games and sometimes better than windows does. However, I pay ~$5 Canadian a month, and the only two games I've ever got working are Dune 2000 and Majesty. The other 30 don't. Seems all the games I like to play all use common dlls, which cedega hasn't finished yet. I have to say Cedega's interface is really impressive. But it's deployment is like wine. All has to be done manually. had the right idea too bad they went under.

Something that would be cool for Game vendors would be linux live-cd tech. Build the demo or game to run from a Linux CD. That way we get linux support and they get disk which are plug and play and don't have to worry about win compatibility. (ie win98 or win2k) I know I'm dreaming...
Old 01-26-2008, 12:04 PM   #7
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If you look around a little there is pretty good Linux support for Garmin. There are even setups to download/convert USGS maps and load them onto the GPS.
Old 01-26-2008, 04:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lazlow View Post

If you look around a little there is pretty good Linux support for Garmin. There are even setups to download/convert USGS maps and load them onto the GPS.
Oh I know... that's why I only use M$ to upload fireware and maps. The Mapsource supports the Canada auto routing. No linux software supports that yet. (Yet being the key word)

I'm just waiting for it.


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