Running Windows programs on Apple Mac without Windows

“A company called CodeWeavers is using an open-source technology called Wine to allow some Windows programs to run under Mac OS X,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News.

Fried reports, “CodeWeavers is in early testing with CrossOver Office for Mac now and plans to release a final version of the software in July or August.”

“White said CrossOver Office has one big advantage over those other options: Using it doesn’t require the purchase of a copy of Windows. However, it also has significant downsides. Its focus is on application compatibility, not device drivers, so things like printers don’t work with the Windows applications,” Fried reports. “Also, Wine is a compatibility layer, not a true emulator, so it works with only some Windows programs.”

“While many Windows programs may work with the Mac version of CrossOver Office, CodeWeavers will support only a handful. These will likely include Microsoft Project, Microsoft Outlook and the Windows-only game ‘Half-Life 2,’ White said,” Fried reports.

“White said he has some hope that, despite the competition, Mac users will prove less tightfisted than Linux users. Many of these have been reluctant to pay for the CrossOver product, when the technology is also available free in the open-source world. ‘Parting with money is just not part of the Linux way,’ White said. Plus, there are a lot of Mac users out there. ‘There are far more Mac users than there are Linux, at least in North America on the desktop,’ White said.”

Full article with links and more here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft would have a cow (they’d finally “deliver Longhorn” – literally) if this Windows apps without Windows really worked for a wide range of applications. If Apple themselves ever did anything like this in a future Mac OS X, the OS war to end all OS wars would erupt, but it’d be difficult to imagine how Apple do anything but win in spectacular fashion.

Some say that Apple have to have an Office replacement prepped, tested, and ready to go. Maybe virtualization is the way to go; it works well enough (you can always boot straight into Windows when you need top speed) and it’ll take share from Microsoft through millions of tiny bites. Why provoke the bloated behemoth by dropping a Wine-soaked hydrogen bomb directly on Redmond when you can accomplish the same thing over time with millions of smaller virtualized explosions? Unless, you don’t fear retaliation because your OS can already run existing versions of Office for Mac and the Windows version of their Office suite, of course.

Remember: Microsoft is shackled to “backwards compatibility.” They can’t change things very much or very quickly. Older versions of Office that are still in use in millions and millions of businesses and homes must be able to open documents produced by the latest version of Office or they’ll lose their competitive advantage.

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Related articles:
Patent hints Apple may incorporate Intel’s ‘unified desktop interface’ in Mac OS X Leopard – June 22, 2006
RUMOR: Apple Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to ship January 2007 and feature collaborative documents – June 08, 2006
RUMOR: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to feature virtualization, ‘living interface elements’ and more – May 30, 2006
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to feature ‘resolution independence?’ – May 21, 2006
Mac OS X Leopard to give Apple huge head-start on hypervised OS? – May 18, 2006
Apple ready to take back market share; may debut Windows virtualization in Mac OS X Leopard – April 21, 2006
Apple’s Boot Camp is first step towards Mac OS X Leopard’s inevitable support for virtualization – April 11, 2006
RUMOR: Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to include VMWare-like ‘Chameleon’ virtualization software – March 24, 2006
Will future Intel-based Apple Macs offer multiple OS worlds via virtualization? – November 16, 2005
Mac OS X Leopard to contain ‘Red Box’ for natively running Windows applications? – June 23, 2005
Intel’s built-in virtualization tech could be one way to run Windows on Intel-based Apple Macs – June 16, 2005


  1. I just wish Apple would finally release a spreadsheet program with iWork.

    They had to have signed a deal with the devil (Mafiasoft) to get them to continue making Office for the Mac. That is the only explanation I can think of as to why they haven’t released the long-awaited “Numbers”.

  2. i think apple have been working on something similar, and will release (free) updates in order to use certain unavailable on mac apps, that would make sense and not make a dent in mac app sales. think about it

  3. Actually there are far more Mac users than LINUX. OS X is the most successful distribution of a UNIX -Like system in history.

    I take issue with the “tight-fisted” comment. We’re less tight fisted all right, if the product is good.

  4. I used Crossover Office for several years on Linux when it first came out – it worked great, even back then. I haven’t tried a modern version, but their supported application list has grown substantially from 2002.

    The article is misleading in stating that printers “don’t work”, this is false. Clearly Windows hardware drivers won’t work, but the Linux or OS X printing systems can print from the Windows app just fine.

  5. In spite of negative reaction from MDN and many posters here, my prediction of doom from viruses and other malicious invaders that plague the Windows world is proving correct.

    This is another step down the road to ruin for anyone who makes their Mac Windows capable.

    Also, MDN, why are you guys so late in reporting the many problems with the heaters known as Intel MacBooks?

    Only when the Macintosh world, including its foremost booster MDN, demand true superior Apple quality will we get it.

  6. Paranoid? Here’s reality:

    Soon, because of the novelty of running Windows on a Mac, Apple will start releasing ‘security fixes’ galore, clogging up my machine when I don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em, and hate being dragged into a Windows driven environment that I never asked for!


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