“Forget Boot Camp. Booting Windows on Apple hardware is an interesting sleight of hand, but this is different. What CodeWeavers is offering is the ability to actually run Windows applications from within Mac OS X. CodeWeavers’ commercial product, CrossOver Office, is based on the open-source Wine project — technology that has made it possible to run many Windows applications on Linux systems for almost ten years. By early next month, it will do the same for Mac OS X with CrossOver Mac,” Neil McAllister writes for Computerworld.
“Earlier Macs could run Windows software only with the help of Virtual PC, a Microsoft product that completely emulates the x86 platform environment on Apple’s PowerPC hardware. Wine works differently. Because it runs on Intel hardware it doesn’t have to virtualise the environment the way Virtual PC does — which means it doesn’t have Virtual PC’s overhead. Instead, Wine merely offers a custom implementation of the Windows APIs that translate Windows system calls into native ones. From the application’s point of view, Wine makes the underlying OS look like Windows,” McAllister writes.
“This is an incredible piece of engineering, representing years of hard work on the part of the Wine developers. And, believe me, there’s no love lost between Microsoft and the Wine project. Microsoft no more wants Wine to work on the Mac OS than it wanted it to work on Linux,” McAllister writes. “That’s the real shame of it. Although it’s great that Mac owners will soon be able to work with Microsoft Access databases and lay plans with Microsoft Project without having to install a full-blown copy of Windows, I can’t imagine a worse scenario than having to use a translation layer to run Microsoft’s proprietary software on Apple’s proprietary OS. CrossOver Office outperforms Virtual PC and allows users to forego the cost of a Windows licence. In other respects, however, it’s a step down, if you look at it from an open source perspective.”
Full article here.
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