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Codeweavers Releases Crossover Office

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the getting-it-all-together-now dept.

Linux Business 296

rleyton writes "Codeweavers have just announced Crossover Office, a Wine derivitive which allows MS-Office 97 & 2000 products as well as Lotus Notes to run without a Windows OS License. If it's as cool as the Crossover plugin product, then it could mean a significant step forward in Wine's progress." NewsForge got hold of a final beta copy a couple of days ago and has a Crossover Office review up already, and DesktopLinux.com has one too. This looks pretty cool, yes. Now if a PHB tells you can't run Linux, because you need Office - tell him you'll save money by not needing a Windows license, and call still use Office.

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Fist Sport (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234499)

Yet more piracy. These Linux child molestors sicken me.

Fuck Safe Sex (-1)

Original AIDS Monkey (315494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234511)

That shit is for faggots only. If you've never shot your load up into a girl's Fallopian tubes, you're still a virgin in my book. Fucking a girl while wearing a condom is no better than jerking off into a sock.

Wow (1)

MADCOWbeserk (515545) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234533)

Codeweavers rocks. Seriously this is a killer app for wine. If this works, than maybe Lindows won't be vapor.

Re:Wow (2)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234914)

Codeweavers rocks. Seriously this is a killer app for wine. If this works, than maybe Lindows won't be vapor.

No doubt! I really wanted to kick Windows to the curb, but really got attached to Trillian [trillian.cc] for IM (yeah, Gaim, Gaim, but My friends use Trillian and we use SecureIM to plot our world domination)

I bought Crossover PLugin 1.1.0 and bang - Quicktime, Trillina, RealOne, etc, etc. VERY cool. Best $25 I ever spent on software.

Granted, wine likes to suck up my CPU cycles, but hopefully the success of Crossover xxxx will help improve that.

Keep up the great work guys!

I don't need it, but I sure am glad to see it. (4, Insightful)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234555)

Bias report: I am a registered (bought and paid for) licensee of the Crossover plugin. Love watching Quicktime and even tolerate Windows Media Player. I am pleased to see these folks doggedly banging away at WINE and, concurrently, identifying specific market niches that can help them bring in a few dollars.

I'm not likely to buy this one because I don't need MS Office and $55 will buy some things I do want or need...
however...

Boy, do I hope this works as well as the plugin.
Office is a major stumbling block for many people (not that it should be, just is).

More to the point: If they can run Office well enough to be worth the trouble, how much more software is just around the bend?

The reasons to resist are melting, my pretty, melting, melting...

Dean (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234645)

Can't wait to see the same insipid post over on LinuxToday. Get the copy-paste ready, you jackball.

Well I'll be damned (2, Informative)

kypper (446750) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234560)

This might keep linux in the running for a good long time; Office keeps most of the corporate world from using it.

Re:Well I'll be damned (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234825)

I have to use exchange, its our standard groupware at work. Looks like I can run outlook at full speed now, not vmware. (My laptop is slow)

But heres the Rub, I would of migrated before XP, but after Cleartype, this great anti-aliasing is just too pleasing on the eyes all day.

Anyone know if Anti-aliasing is supported with the cross-over plugin?

Re:Well I'll be damned (3, Interesting)

Archie Steel (539670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234947)

Probably not. I have anti-aliasing on my Linux desktop (which looks incredible thanks to the Xft hack - much better than anything I've seen on Windows so far) but I don't see any anti-aliasing on Crossover Plugin when I start it. From what I can tell, Windows and Linux handle fonts in a completely different manner.

Perhaps it is possible to write an AA plugin for Crosssover, though...that would be sweet (even though it still won't look as good as my hacked gdkxft fonts...)

I'm still going to buy this, mind you. StarOffice is great, but sometimes I just need total compatibility (and also it loads faster).

Re:Well I'll be damned (2)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234950)

You might also try Ximian's Connector and Evolution for a more native type setup.

Re:Well I'll be damned (1, Informative)

christopherjs (456957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235007)

Anyone know if Anti-aliasing is supported with the cross-over plugin?

According to CodeWeavers plug-in change log [codeweavers.com] , they added truetype anti-aliasing support in 1.1.0. I've tried the demo version so far and the fonts are not anti-aliased in my system, though maybe the demo has that disabled (doubtful) or you need to do some tweaking to enable it (probably).
(And yes, my X server does support Xrender.)

So let me get this straight... (3, Flamebait)

throx (42621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234570)

You save around $50 for not having your OEM license on Windows (assuming you don't have the Windows license already if you are supposed to be running Office), pay $55 extra for the Crossover Office thingy and you are somehow saving money?

Yeah - that's gonna fly just great with my boss.

Re:So let me get this straight... (2)

kypper (446750) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234622)

Well, perhaps it will save him in a few years when Microsoft DEMANDS that he/she upgrade to the newest OS based on the EULA.

Re:So let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

throx (42621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234802)

I'm interested in this OEM EULA that requires the end user to upgrade in a few years, or even gives MS the power to demand the end user do anything. Can you drop me a URL with that clause please?

Re:So let me get this straight... (4, Interesting)

kypper (446750) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234930)

I don't have that much time, but:
"Despite these facts of life, Microsoft has decided to introduce a new licensing scheme that forces organisations to upgrade products according to rigid timescales or pay higher prices."

http://www.vnunet.com/Features/1127149

Re:So let me get this straight... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234652)

Codeweavers offers volume licensing. The price drops below $50 when you purchase 25 or more licenses, which would be the case for a large company converting to Linux.

There are also the other advantages (security, stability) over Windows that Linux offers.

mod parent up! (2)

tempest303 (259600) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234670)

the parent post is an AC, so it's at "0" but s/he's got an excellet point. Moderators: please mod up!

Re:So let me get this straight... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234685)

What kind of discount can we get if we order 100 million [beyond-the-illusion.com] copies?

love & kisses,
the CIA

sorry for the crappy link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234837)

If you can deliver in kilo gram quantities [levity.com] , approximately what is the population of China?

love & light,
the CIA

Re:So let me get this straight... (4, Insightful)

throx (42621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234848)

If I was a large company converting to Linux, the initial step wouldn't be forking out an extra $50 or so for each machine to get the Codeweavers plugin. Your first step would be to shift office environments to one that is cross platform and moving all your file formats to that product.

Oh, and FYI, the price of Windows drops as well with large orders. In essence you save no money at all even if you can manage to get PCs without Windows licenses.

Touting "security" and "stability" and then running MS Office on top of a hacked up Wine implementation really smacks of hypocrasy to me. I'd be willing to bet that MS Office + Windows is a lot more stable than MS Office + Codeweavers + Linux.

In the end, I can see the need for maybe one copy of the Codeweavers Office product to be put on a box somewhere that people can run X Servers from and convert any incoming Office documents to whatever native format they are using. The "buy it for each desktop" argument just makes no sense.

Re:So let me get this straight... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3235009)

While I mostly agree with you, there is one silver bullet you're missing...

Even though Office on Wine is likely to be less stable than Office on Windows, Office on Wine will have a much harder time crashing more than the application when it goes down. ie., Office on Wine may crash the application more, but it should crash the OS much less.

Tough call (3, Interesting)

JMZero (449047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234874)

If Office was indeed the last app a business needed to move to Linux (and I think that's fairly common), support via Crossover may well be just what the doctor ordered. However, I don't think it's likely the decision will come down to the price of Crossover.

There are also the other advantages (security, stability) over Windows that Linux offers.

I'd like to see a comparison of stability between, say, "Office 2000 running on Windows 2000" and "Office 2000 running on Crossover on (whatever)". I don't know if it would turn out the way you think (despite Linux being more stable in general).

I don't know how much play Linux advocates are getting out of security issues right now. I think you'll need to see another big (ie. well covered by regular news channels) security breach or two before security really becomes a factor in migration again.

The other consideration is future. Many businesses spend much more than $55/desktop to keep current with the latest version of Office. Is Crossover going to work for the next version? Only MS (well, depending on how courts move) really knows the answer to that.

Who knows, maybe MS will just start selling Office for Linux. Could happen...

.

Re:Tough call (3, Insightful)

grahamm (8844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234992)

One difference is that an errant Windows app can, and does, hang the whole system whereas errant Linux apps rarely crash or hang the system (X maybe but not the whole system.)

Re:Tough call (1)

Matrim9 (558092) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235045)

Errant Windows apps in 2k or XP rarely hang the whole system... From an office standpoint, is it really better to have X lockup [and lose everything you were working on] than rebooting the whole machine? Is there any real difference if all of your business apps are in X?

Re:Tough call (4, Insightful)

Archie Steel (539670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235036)

I'd like to see a comparison of stability between, say, "Office 2000 running on Windows 2000" and "Office 2000 running on Crossover on (whatever)". I don't know if it would turn out the way you think (despite Linux being more stable in general).

I'll tell you about it when I try it out...but you shouldn't just assume that it's going to be less stable than running it on Windows (that shows a definite bias). Codeweavers have done a great job with Crossover Plugin - I have yet to have either Quicktime or Windows Media Player crash on me. Not once.

The other consideration is future. Many businesses spend much more than $55/desktop to keep current with the latest version of Office. Is Crossover going to work for the next version?

That's an interesting question, though. Why do businesses need to buy new versions of Office? Do their needs change that much? What about "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" The problem is that such an approach isn't ideal for keeping Microsoft's revenue stream at a regular level, so MS has developed an elaborate swindle: they put out new version of Office that are almost compatible with preceding ones, but add new features that aren't essential. They could very well implement these new features as plugins, but they don't, therefore forcing people to get the new version. Now, if other people want to be 100% compatible, they'll have to upgrade too, and so on. To me, Office 2000 is more than enough for a company. The Linux/Crossover/Office solution seems like a good way for a business to get out of the Microsoft trap...Anyway, I'll try it tonight and see.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234758)

Windows costs $100 even for OEM licenses. Crossover costs $55 RETAIL. I'm sure you can get it for about $20 if you buy it in quantity.

Till MS changes the license (3, Interesting)

nuggz (69912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234573)

Well this will last until Office integratees with windows. Or they change their license to require that you ONLY run MS Office on MS Windows, to fufil DRM requirements.

Re:Till MS changes the license (3, Interesting)

joneshenry (9497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234744)

From what I vaguely recall all Microsoft EULAs for Windows products already have clauses restricting their use to properly licensed copies of Windows. This also applies to their DLLs. We'll just have to see whether Microsoft can or will be able to strictly enforce this.

Counter action (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235030)

I totally agree on both counts. Steve Ballmer has already stated that every Windows app will eventually be re-written to run in the .NET framework. And I certainly don't trust that .NET will be forever platform independant. In fact they only submitted a small portion to the standards committee. So support for the Win32 api will eventually be a moot point.

And your second point takes the words right out of my mouth as I was reading the article. I think as soon as the monopoly trials are over they will have enough wiggle room to put a requirement into the license for Office that it must run on Windows.

I'm sure they are in MS's sights (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234576)

Can you smell a lawsuit?

I find it ironic to be a staunch anti-windows advocate and then fire up Office 2000

It's quite a nice technology though!

Re:I'm sure they are in MS's sights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234785)

What does Office have to do with windows? There's no arguing that it's the best wordprocessing/whatever package currently available.

MS Won't Like This (1)

mr.nicholas (219881) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234580)

So I wonder: how long before there is a programmer vs. programmer race? No doubt MS will produces patches that break Crossover by accident.


I see a MS vs. Samba and AOL vs. Trillian game already starting.

Re:MS Won't Like This (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234667)

You mean like IE5.5 SP2 broke Netscape style plugins?

Except.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234585)

If it's as cool as the Crossover plugin product, then it could mean a significant step forward in Wine's progress.

This would be true, except that the crossover plugin is a commercial product, thus the Wine project itself will not benefit from this product. If it was something like Nautilus, where the code was added to the overall project, then I would agree.

Re:Except.. (5, Informative)

HeUnique (187) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234637)

ALL the wine modifications which were introduced with crossover plugin were submitted back to the wine tree

Re:Except.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234777)

So what's the point of buying the plugin?

Using it (3, Informative)

riggwelter (84180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234601)

I'm using it (well, testing it - you never know, the company might go for it)

I have to say it works really well, even Access seemed to work for me (although CodeWeavers say on their site it doesn't)

It was a bit wierd having access to the company's shared calendar after using Evolution for the year that I've worked here.

I don't think I'll use it full-time, but it will be useful occasionally, and I'm sure other people who have to have M$ Office will find it invaluable.

Re:Using it (1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234719)

I think that part-time use of MS-Office by Linux desktop users will be the primary market of software like this for some time.

As an existing Windows user, this is not a good reason to switch. When buying new systems, the MS OEM license is about $50, so not much reason to switch.

But if you want/need to run MS occasionally, this is a good thing.

In the long term, the rules change. Windows XP is much too restrictive in licensing policies, and a Wine based solution makes much more sense in the long run. But it won't happen in the large until the WINE based solutions have fewer problems than those coming from Redmond.

Re:Using it (1)

e5z8652 (528912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234725)

Thanks for the tip about Access. Word and Excel 97/2000 have lots of compatible programs (OpenOffice.org, StarOffice, Gnumeric, etc., etc.)

Access is the one application I have trouble working with while using Linux, and is the one application that *all* of my day to day data needs are kept on. Access is sitting at just about the right balance point between ease of use and available power for small business use - Linux doesn't have a competitor.

Now if they can just duplicate that g$%#*mn IIS "Windows Authentication" so I can access my company intranet web sites with a Linux box...

M$ is gonna be pissed! (3, Interesting)

CaptainPhong (83963) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234610)

Of course, it's an obvious point that this will really piss off Microsoft, and they may have some legal ground to kick around on. They may be able to say, for example, that such software facilitates piracy and allows people to weasel out of the Windows license requirement in their Office (or whichever) license agreement.

OTOH, maybe the Justice Department might find that requiring a MS Windows installation when it is unecessary on a technological level is some sort of reverse bundling (i.e. forcing users to buy a copy of Windows, even though it is technically possible to use Office without it). Explotation of their (near) monopoly on office suites to sell more copies of Windows!

Re:M$ is gonna be pissed! (4, Insightful)

HeUnique (187) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234715)

Legal case for what? for allowing you to use Office 2000 under Linux without Windows? it's YOU that signs that EULA, not codeweavers.

Do you see MS start chasing after thousands of customers who will buy this? I hardly think so. Its better for MS since you still need to have Office 97 or 2000...

Re:M$ is gonna be pissed! (5, Funny)

Sir Tristam (139543) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234995)

Legal case for what? for allowing you to use Office 2000 under Linux without Windows? it's YOU that signs that EULA, not codeweavers. Do you see MS start chasing after thousands of customers who will buy this?
Yeah, Microsoft going after Codeweavers for writing this would be kind of like, say, some organization going after an individual who had written code that would allow for DVDs to be played under Linux. We all know they's go after the people doing the playing, instead.

Chris Beckenbach

Poor point (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3235027)

Most companies don't chase after infringers. They go after the enablers. It's called contributory infringement, and it's what the DMCA is all about.

Kind of like criminal conspiracy to catch mobsters, who never really did anything wrong.

Re:M$ is gonna be pissed! (2, Insightful)

IDIIAMOTS (553790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234781)

Erm... Why would Microsoft be upset by this? If the user has paid for their copy of Office they still get their money. If it's being pirated, then it's no different than if it was pirated on the Windows box.

Sure they'll lose out on some converts for whom the only block for going to Linux was Office. However, Microsoft does gain a new platform on which their software runs and which they don't have to officially support.

Re:M$ is gonna be pissed! (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234970)

Duh, Microsoft is as interested in control as money. Office users leaking to non-Windows platforms will not site well with them.

Re:M$ is gonna be pissed! (2, Informative)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234786)

The Windows Media Player EULA already forbids using it without owning a Windows license. Of course, it also refers to WMP as "OS components". Still, it's not that big a stretch to think they'll change the Office EULA to one that requires the software to only be run on Windows itself.

Re:M$ is gonna be pissed! (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234907)

Im really tired of the old saying

Linux = piracy

If someone was badmouthing M$, M$ Would step up with lawyers and lawsuits. Where is the people defending Linux?

Correction to DesktopLinux.com review link... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234620)

...the very excellent review of CrossOver Office at DesktopLinux.com article actually begins here [desktoplinux.com] .

Or you dont have to pay for it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234625)

As announced on the WineHQ-DEVEL list (why he's posting it there i have no idea):
> Since it's LGPL, the Wine code to do that will be coming
> back to Wine shortly. Please give us a bit of time;

so you DONT have to pay for it, considering codeweavers didn't do much of the work for it (Lindows did alot of the installer/font/etc stuff) WHY would you pay for it?.. Just use wine.

Re:Or you dont have to pay for it.. - sorta (2)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234953)

Sorta...

I've been watching the wine lists for a while now, and I believe Notes does NOT work reliably with the current wine releases. You can apply an unofficial patch to make it work, but it's unofficial because it doesn't conform to Wine's programming guidelines (IIRC).

So you can't easily get it for free, but yes, it's possible.

Another example is Installshield. Crossover works wonderfully, but the code is a hack, and won't be accepted as-is into the Wine tree.

By buying Codeweavers products (I have Crossover myself), you're buying the "end result". While sticking with the 'Official' Wine releases gives you the "correct" code (which you may need to hack to get your apps working, then it's no longer 'correct').

CodeWeavers is bringing the reality of Windows apps on Linux, while WineHQ brings structure and discipline to the codebase.

Visio (0, Offtopic)

SPiKe (19306) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234653)

All I really want is Visio. Does anyone know if it works with Crossover Office?

Re:Visio (3)

HeUnique (187) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234728)

Not running at the moment. Will run soon I guess (check Codeweavers web site)

You pathetic wretch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234734)

Real men use troff, just like Knuth intended!
Or at least LaTex.

Sheesh, if those mouthbreathers spent their time on useful pursuits rather than re-inventing the wheel, we'd have moon cities and flying cars by now.

Re:Visio (1)

skuenzli (169327) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234862)

I know this doesn't answer your question, but you might try Dia [lysator.liu.se] . It has a GIMP-style (frameless, is it?) drawing editor. I have found I prefer it to Visio for things like UML (which I think they have done a fabulous job with -- better than ArgoUML IMO). I haven't used it for things other than UML, so I won't talk about those.

Regards,
Stephen

Re:Visio (1)

SPiKe (19306) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234993)

I desire Visio for all the little icons that represent vendor equipment, which PHB's I encounter on consulting job love.

Re:Visio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3235008)

Why was this moded offtopic. Isn't Visio a MS Product now? It is integrated into most MS poducts, from SQL 2k to Word and is even considered, by them, to be a development tool.

idiot moderators

--Slow down cowboy is REALLY annoying, I have to type sigs by hand to slow down, really annoying, been 20 seconds yet?!?!?!?

Codeweaver Strikes again!! (1)

richie123 (180501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234657)

I Think Codeweaver really are the one small company that could propell linux onto the desktop.
They have found a great way to to make money, (hey I want it), while at the same time contributing to open source software, and making Linux more and more viable on the desktop all the time.

Office for Linux on Corporate world? (2, Interesting)

doubtless (267357) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234661)

It is not likely that any companies who do not want to run Linux on desktop is going to run it cos now Office can be run on Linux. They use Windows to have the support from MS (interesting, but true), that is also the reason they buy DELL and HP but not just any cheaper beige box. They want to be able to have a number to call when Office on Windows has a problem.

Really, a PC's life in the corporate world is perhaps 3 years. $2000 compared to the productivity lost by the employee whose salary is at least 40 times more than the PC in that same 3 year span is just not worth it.

They just don't want to take the chance. It's a pity.

Just installed it (1)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234688)

Just installed it.. works REALLY well..
Even IE 5 works well.. even with flash..
I bought the Crossover plugin awhile back.. so they're running a deal for about $15 or so off the regular price..

Codeweavers are really doing some incredible work with the wine project.

ChiefArcher

does this work on FreeBSD? (1)

MrDingDong (192786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234692)

Does anyone know if this works on any of the *BSD unices?

I bought it anyway, even though I don't run MS Office that much, just to support these guys. This is really good work. But it's probably a good idea to buy it before MS shuts them down.

*BSD IS DYING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234740)

Didnt you know? Gawd, you are sore excuse for a geek.

Re:does this work on FreeBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234797)

Christ, Microsoft has wet dreams about people like you. Buying software just to support a company. heh.

Why would MS be pissed? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234717)

They get there application running on other platforms in direct competition with SO OO and all the other OS suites without lifting a finger.

Tell me again why I would support MS by running Office on my linux box?

Why the timeline? (2, Interesting)

Kope (11702) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234723)

Here's what I can't figure out: Office 2000 will run on Win95. That means that to make Office 2000 (or damn near any other product out there that runs on the windows tree) all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old.

One of the great claims of the OSS movement is how RAPID OSS programs are developed. Yet WINE, which is one of the larger OSS efforts out there, can not achieve this seemingly meager goal year after year.

Indeed, the only thing that seems to have kept WINE anywhere close to being on-target is the support of private companies who contribute their code back to the WINE tree. Some of these companies,like Codeweavers are decidedly on the OSS bandwagon. But others, like Corel aren't (though they did play nice with OSS, to their credit).

In the meantime, closed source efforts to port similarly complex API's succeed in much less time with far higher quality results (VM Ware anyone!).

Can someone explain how the failure of a project to hit a stationary target (the Win95 API has not changed though implimentation bugs may have) after such a lengthy period of time is anything but a proof by counter example of the grandiose claims of how much better OSS is for just this sort of development?

Re:Why the timeline? (5, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234834)

Interesting point, but you neglect to recognize the fact that Office is written by MS. Most every non-MS written app that can run in Win95 I've been able to get to work in wine with not much of a headache. DirectX is a little shaky still, but aside from that...

The thing about MS applications is that they have full access to the APIs, even features that may not have been documented for some reason or another. It is hard for a project like wine to create a environment when there might be API calls to functions that aren't documented outside of MS. All this said, I have never tried Office 2000 under wine, (don't have it) but Office 97 seems to work under wine...

I would say wine is an exceptionally successful project considering the scope of the problem they have decided to address.

Re:Why the timeline? (2)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234839)

I'm not on the wine project or anything but my understanding is that they are attempting to support a pseudo-documented api bugs and all.

That is a lot harder than writing a new system. Emulating a PC is probably on the whole, is also simpler than M$ APIs. (VM ware)

Secondly there probably is a smaller demographic that works on/knows about M$ products and *Nix.

Third, they are grafting two OSs which are quite different together. One would always have to make accomidations for the way one works. This must be a headache.

Hats off to the wine people! Running Office is quite a feat.

Cheers,
-b

Re:Why the timeline? (2)

Nadir (805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234843)

Absurd as it may seem, but Vmware is much much simpler than Wine. It just virtualizes some of the hardware, but it runs the unmodified Windows kernel and native DLLs.
Wine, instead, strives to implement all of the Windows API as faithfully as possibile, and that includes the undocumented stuff.
So I would not define the effort meager...

Re:Why the timeline? (3, Interesting)

cjpez (148000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234865)

I think the basic problem is that of time. If you're hired by a company to work on a piece of software, it's not a problem to spent 40+ hours a week doing nothing but working away at the software. Whereas if you have just volunteers, they'd probably very willingly spend 40+ hours a week if they could, but eventually they've gotta go to an actual job and get paid so they can eat.

Now just because you're working for a company doesn't mean that you can't be doing OSS development, and I think that OSS development is still a much more "productive" way to develop software, because in addition to the employees you've got working on the software, you'll cultivate a base of external coders who are excited about the project and care about it, too.

For people NOT on a company payroll to develop software, I think OSS is really the only way to go. Would Wine be doing any better if the volunteers decided to close the source and keep it to themselves? I suspect it'd be much further "behind" than it is right now (although I'm sure the Wine developers would object to the word "behind" there; sorry guys).

It's not the development model that's holding the software back; it's the available time to do it in. (How's that for a bold statement? <g>)

Re:Why the timeline? (3, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234893)

One thing to note about VMWare is that it could care less about the Windows API, it is just providing an x86 box on top of x86, passing native calls when possible, so it can happen to run windows.

Wine is in no way analogous to vmware except in how end-users tend to use it. VMWare can't be used, for example, to port a windows app to native code (ala winelib).

A comparable project to vmware is plex86 (www.plex86.org). Though it lacks the spit and polish of VMWare, they have had less time to develop and have made great progress in their relatively short life.

Re:Why the timeline? (5, Interesting)

Chang (2714) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234900)

> all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old

This is absolutely false. The very act of installing Office 2000 on Win95 extends the Win32 API. When you install, you not only get Windows Installer added to the system, you also get updated version of DLL's installed under your WINDOWS directory.

What kind of Application installs OS updates without informing the user or giving you a choice?

Perhaps you never noticed why mouse scroll wheels started working in all sorts of dialogs and whatnot even if you never installed Intellimouse? The answer is that Microsoft applications routinely extend the OS and API.

Lastly, the WINE team has never said their target is to emulate the Original Win95 API. Even if they had done that, they would be dependant on the new DLL files, the same as Win95 is today.

Re:Why the timeline? (2, Insightful)

joe_fish (6037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234902)

VMWare has a very different job to wine. "All" vmware has to do is to emulate the pc bios and associated hardware. There is a OSS project that has demonstrated the ability to do the same thing (although it is not up to wmware yet)

On the other had wine has to emulate the huge bloted windows API. Several orders of magnitude more complex than the pc bios.

I think where open source is better than closed source it is in finding developers that *care*. However if what you need is hundreds of developers to hack on an API - money talks. Hence wine struggles.

Re:Why the timeline? (3, Redundant)

Da Schmiz (300867) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234934)

all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old.
Yeah, that's all. Unfortunately, Windows95 was one of the most klugdy, messed-up, weird, undocumented OSs of all time. (Exceeded only by successive versions of Windows, such as Win98 and WinME.)

You can bet that Microsoft hasn't been helping the WINE coders any, by supplying decent documentation for instance. Reverse engineering something as complex as Windows is no mean feat. And programs like Office and IE 4+ essentially patch the OS when they're installed, by inserting DLLs and other code deep into the system. Running WinHelloWorld.exe is one thing; running IExplore.exe is something entirely different.

Think back: how many times did Microsoft have to push back the release date of Windows 95? And they're Microsoft, for goodness sake, the guys with a gazillion programmers chained to desks in the subterranian levels of Big Bill's Zoo of Death(tm). I think WINE is making decent progress as it is.

Of course, I wouldn't complain if they got the job done sooner rather than later...

(VM Ware anyone!).
Nope. VMWare only implements the BIOS and a framework to proxy between Windows and the PCI, IDE, etc. busses. VMWare doesn't emulate Windows, it runs Windows. No mean feat, either, but it's a totally different approach.

Re:Why the timeline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234936)

All VMware has to do is pretend to be a pc ( and parts are passed off to the actuall hardware to worry about), The Windows API is by far a more complex system of interactions than pretending to be a cpu, memory, hard drive, network card, etc.

VMware is a great application, and I'm not trying to imply that it's a trivial program to write. ( but many parts have been duplicated quickly in the plex86 project) If VMware had tried to do what WINE did, I doubt they would be any better off than where WINE is today.

Re:Why the timeline? (3, Informative)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234946)

Here's what I can't figure out: Office 2000 will run on Win95. That means that to make Office 2000 (or damn near any other product out there that runs on the windows tree) all that needs to be done is support an API that is now almost 7 years old.

-1 (Malinformed)

Sure, it's easy to say how writing an API should take less than 7 years, and easy to say that the Wine Project [winehq.com] is failing by missing that target, but it's a moving target. The API changes, and when reverse engineering an API, there are multiple right answers for the limited tests they have the resources to do.

Say a program uses APIs 1-50, but only 25% of them. In order to make that program work, you only need 50 APIs 25% done. Not too bad. And, maybe your solution doesn't collide with other variables too badly. Now, when you take that up to 50%, you might start to get some collisions, realize that, while a certain program functioned using an API before, it was based on two assumptions that were both wrong and happened to cancel each other out.

It's 7 years old (and being extended with every release). It's undocumented (at last check Microsoft denied there were undocumented API features, but the Wine project happened to be documenting them on the way through their implementation).

It's not easy to hit an invisible moving target.

Re:Why the timeline? (1)

psamuels (64397) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235038)

Can someone explain how the failure of a project to hit a stationary target (the Win95 API has not changed though implimentation bugs may have) after such a lengthy period of time is anything but a proof by counter example of the grandiose claims of how much better OSS is for just this sort of development?

There could be a lot of reasons. (I am not intimately familiar with the Wine project, so this is largely speculation.) One popular theory is that Wine is spread too thin. Its original target was 16-bit Windows. After Win95 came out, they started working on the Win32 API as well. When NT became popular with NT 3.51, there were two variants on the Win32 API, both of which were worked on. This situation has only gotten worse, as Wine attempts to be able to account for the quirks in all the various Win32 releases (you can select at runtime which flavor of Windows you want to "be"), which is a lot. Point being, the target is not stationary. The Wine developers did not want to concentrate on getting just Windows 95 right while ignoring other Win32 variants - if they had done that, they may well have painted themselves into a corner and made it nearly impossible to move on to the WinNT line when the time came. The two architectures are quite different and have some very different requirements. (Note that not even Microsoft has attempted to support both lines in one OS release - no version of NT runs every Win95 app.)

Add to that the complexity of the Win32 API. Not only do you have several variations on it, but it's a really complex API to begin with. In Unix, you sometimes have system calls that take three or four parameters, one of which is a structure pointer. In Win32, it is not uncommon for a call to take eight parameters, six of which are structure pointers. I'm not a Windows developer, but from people who have really studied it ... well, I've heard it called functional, but never elegant.

Then there are the design decisions. Wine runs as a regular user-space process under the X Window System. Thus they are having to map the fairly low-level Win32 API onto a higher-level X11 API. Efficiently, mind. One implementation decision was to build an entire debugger (I think it is a sort of Win16/Win32/Wine-aware variant of gdb) which is an application unto itself. I imagine the debugger paid for itself in development time, but still. Another decision was to offer two separate window management cases - you can either use your native X11 window manager to manage Wine windows, or you can use a built-in Wine window manager. Which they had to write - yet another application unto itself.

Which brings us to the "paradigm emulations", shall we say. Back to window management - it works quite differently in X11 and in Windows (in X, the window manager handles your window decorations like borders - in Windows, the application does.) The threading model in Win32 is completely different from, and much more complex than, the one in POSIX. It has to be emulated on a much higher level than just translating one function name to another. (I think they ended up rolling their own threads library based on the Linux clone() primitive.) Process creation - also completely different, a spawn model and a fork model. The Windows IPC mechanisms and memory architecture - same story. (Note: architectures, plural. This gets back to the Win9x vs WinNT thing - in Win9x the virtual memory system is much simpler and stupider than in NT/Unix, and some applications rely on this fact, so that has to be emulated as well.) And speaking of IPC, in Windows this largely revolves around an object model, COM/DCOM, which has no real analog in Unix (no, CORBA doesn't count, it's not a standard feature), so the whole OLE/COM/DCOM architecture had to be built up from scratch.

It all comes down to - they're not just implementing an API, they're implementing an OS. Multiple semi-compatible OSes, actually. I can only be surprised that they've done as well as they have.

Very cool, but it won't take off (2)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234726)

I really don't think a lot of people will want to run MS-Office on Linux, given the existence of StarOffice and OpenOffice.

This is very cool as a technology demenstration though. If big apps like Office run under Wine, it's a good sign for the little applications. It's no longer basic productivity tools that keep people from switching to Linux, it's the fact that you can't go into a store and pick up a tax program, or a spelling game for your toddler, and be confident it will work.

Re:Very cool, but it won't take off (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235002)

I think your missing the big picture, that if wine works for office, soon you may be able to go into a store and pick up a tax program and just install it. Now I know this has been a pie in the sky wine dream for years now, but as of late we have real progress.
Also for people who use any Office suite a lot, being able to run MS Office is great, SO and OO just don't offer 100% compatiblity, which many people need. I also think you vastly under estimate the number of people who won't even consider linux because of lack of MS Office.

Encouraging but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234729)

Read the review. It sounds like Office is even more unstable
on Linux than it is on Windows. For this to fly it has
to be as unstable, or if possible, more stable. Though seeing
a rock solid windows application would be sort of eerie, like
being in an alternative dimension or something.

Still, the review is of a release candidate, not the final
version. Hopefully they'll get it to be as unstable on
Linux as it is on Windows, or maybe even more stable. If
so, that will be the shot heard round the OS world. At
best this is just the hammer being cocked.

Re:Encouraging but... (2)

mccalli (323026) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234895)

Read the review. It sounds like Office is even more unstable on Linux than it is on Windows.

I have read the review. It says no such thing.

What is says is that Office under 'ordinary' WINE, ie. not the plug-in, proved more unstable than under Windows.

Cheers,
Ian

Deathmatch (1)

NinjaGaidenIIIcuts (568607) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234730)

Two options: Codeweaver or this [slashdot.org] . Slashdot's too suite apps friendly for today, heh?

Interesting times (3, Interesting)

Pac (9516) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234735)

I think Microsoft is sure to notice this one. We can only guess what their answer will be. A change in Office EULA forbidding use in Operating Systems other than the one the software is for, Windows or MacOS (but they probably can't change this for products already bought)? A cease and desist letter from their lawyers to CodeWeavers, quoting DMCA, EULAs, the Bible, the British Common Law and The Road Ahead? A cry for help to Congress to add a clause outlawing Linux, *BSD and any free OS in existence or to be developed to some law, any law, being currently discussed? Or just a "business as usual" attitude, a new marketing campaign pitching Office to Linux users?

On the other hand, judging by the test (they used RC1, not 1.0), this software still have some way to go before it can be said to be ready. But it is already a huge step forward. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Explorer running correctly under Linux are a huge incentive for corporations willing to move their desktops to Linux. Once there, moving people to Star/OpenOffice or even the recent gobe will be just a matter of corporate policy and time for the bean counters to add up the license savings of the switch out of Windows and the license savings to be gained by switching out of Office.

Re:Interesting times (2)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234997)

Why whould they change their EULA? Office is an additional sale. Since most PC's already have a version of Windows, M$ already made a double profit.

Also, tying their product to the OS would look like bundling. The dont need any more DOJ lawsuits.

And this reduces dependence on Bill how? (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234761)

While this product is probably useful to the geek Linux lover who also needs to use Office, I fail to see how this is going to make corporate users switch over to Linux. I also fail to see how this is reducing the need for Microsoft software.

Yeah, sure, you're getting rid of the Windows license...a savings of $50 or so in the OEM world. But you're still giving money to Uncle Bill for Office itself...and even in an OEM atmosphere I bet Office is a damned sight more than $50.

Making cute nick-nacks that will run Microsoft's office suite on another OS doesn't reduce Microsoft's grip on the desktop what so ever. Only a native office suite that is not purchased from Microsoft will make that difference on Microsoft's bottom line.

Re:And this reduces dependence on Bill how? (1)

grahamm (8844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234824)

It also removes the requirement to dual boot in order to run office.

Re:And this reduces dependence on Bill how? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3235019)


Easy one.

You're completely missing the boat
by imagining that the whole point of Linux is
to save $50 on a Windows license.

Microsoft's whole empire is built on
forcing people to buy MS by making
their software work poorly with everything else.

This way people can't buy best-of-breed
products or - since MS owns the playing field -
write their own apps to surpass those of MS.

Decoupling MS products from each other and
migrating to an open playing field would
rejuvinate the whole industry.

1+1 = 0+1 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3235035)


Why, no, it doesn't.

Why you think that Windows+Office isn't
a bigger share for MS than Office alone, I
can't imagine.

Re:And this reduces dependence on Bill how? (3, Insightful)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 12 years ago | (#3235044)

I fail to see how this is going to make corporate users switch over to Linux. I also fail to see how this is reducing the need for Microsoft software.

Office is _THE_KILLER_APP_ for Windows. Email, surfing, and most everything else has options on multiple platforms. I would dare say Office for the Mac is a huge reason Apple is growing outside the multimedia developers.

People can try to guess the word formats, but they never seem to be quite right (same goes for any other word processor importing and exporting formats for that matter). If the app runs well under Linux or Mac, that knocks over a huge wall.

Really opening the office formats would really hit Bill hard - Office tends to carry much of the company's revinue. This just makes the OS not matter (as much). You think companies get to pay the OEM price? Bah ha ha ha.... They usually pay that, then again when they image it, and then again (yearly) with a "enterprise agreement". The imaging "tax" changed some time last year, but it does add up - more than $50..

Site Licenses (1)

khyron664 (311649) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234792)

There's a major problem I see with things like this. Most large companies have site wide licenses for MS products. This allows them to install Office or Windows on as many machines as they like with no licensing problems. Seeing as how this product (and the Crossover Plugin) require the MS products, all this does is add cost to the IT department. I say this because I'm trying to get our soon to be windows boxes converted to Linux boxes (or atleast with a Linux partition), and all options to ensure 100% compatibility increase costs. OpenOffice is a great product, but it's word filter doesn't work 100% and that's what is needed. 100% compatibility. My companies reliance on windows is a whole other issue.

Khyron

ironiv (1)

m0RpHeus (122706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234800)

It's kinda ironic.. a few articles back we have an Office XP killer and now we have a version of Crossover that would run office.

Being able to run M$ Office under Linux is fine, but I defintely like native apps that would offer almost 100% compatible import/export filters for M$ Office files.

Re:ironiv (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234855)

What a fucking idiotic sig. In 8th grade still, eh?

Format your fucking name properly, get a real sig, or go the fuck away. Jacknut.

Gotta love this quote (2)

Da Schmiz (300867) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234812)

Outlook Express didn't work for me or for Hetz, and Norb didn't even want to mess with it. "Maybe on a system I didn't need, but NOT on a mission critical environment," he says.
<grin>

Now if only they can just get Office to integrate with Evolution and Mozilla (or, better yet, Galeon)...

4 seconds (1)

Isle (95215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234819)

Did anyone read the part that started word started in only 3-4 seconds?

If only kword could start in twice that time, but it doesnt. :(

Useless shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234840)

Own the crossover plugin. 2 easy to break slow and in many cases inadequate. It can though be setup to use Office and Notes.
For Office tools etc. I need RELIABILITY, something the wine based 'emulators' does not and will never provide.
Linux is a must, Windows a nice 2 have and for that Win4Lin WORKS!!! and it never lets me down - apart from that it support ALL other apps I need (including CAD). I paid 40$ for that package when it came out. Netraverse still let me upgrade to ver 3 without any additional costs - now that's what I call good service for a Linux killer app.

I may switch back to a linux desktop full time (2, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234849)

Now I've converted a bunch of people to linux over the years, and ran linux as my main desktop for several years. But about a year ago I had to switch to Win2k. Why? Because of Office, or more specifically Outlook. I need full compatability and OWA(web access) does not always cut it. I also need to be able to send and receive word and excel docs EXACTLY as they come to me. There are no native linux products which do this perfectly. There are always formatting issues etc etc. Now with this plugin I have the potential to switch back for what I consider to be a minor cost. Considering my distro is free $50 is not much to pay. So in conclusion I'm very excited and looking forward goes back to linux full time.
BTW one thing to keep in mind is that if they can get Office running other apps like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Autocad etc can't be far behind. Yes native is better, but native is not coming anytime soon from companies like Adobe. So I say full steam ahead for wine.

Don't want it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3234860)

If I could choose between a world where only geeks ran GNU/Linux and the rest used windows, but noone used Office, everyone used free file formats, or a world where everyone ran GNU/Linux but all non-geeks used Office with .doc and the other fucking OLE-stream-formats, I'd easily choose the former.

I hate hate hate hate Office, Microsoft is using that to lock people in a hell of a lot more than they are using windows.

Unless it has... (2, Funny)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234933)

...the paperclip, I'm not buying it. ;^)

Of course, I'm not buying it anyway. [Insert standard "no reason to further the .doc monopoly" statements here.]

They must not read Slashdot. (1)

JonWan (456212) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234958)

Linux is toast on the desktop. [slashdot.org] But I do hope this works well enough for the people that have to use MS-Office and like Linux to not have to re-boot as often. It looks like those uptimes might get a little higher. I haven't purchased or used any MS products on my computer since 1995 so it won't do me much good.

Photoshop (1)

jmathijs (37172) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234966)

Office is nice, but OpenOffice will do fine. What I need is Photoshop. Any ideas when that will work?

Post Useful Reviews please (2, Interesting)

Kruemelmo (21012) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234998)

Folks,

it would be really useful if people would post reviews. Some short ones have been posted, but "rocks as hell"... well.

Any power users out there? Are there problems with fonts as told in the review of the beta? Can you create Access databases? Do macros/VBA programs work? Does the menu editor work? Do images in tables print well from word? Spell check? Help? Does the mouse feel right? Clipboard? Can you embed excel tables? Do ODBC connections from Access databases work? ...

Thanks!

Good enough to develop win32 programs in Linux (2)

heroine (1220) | more than 12 years ago | (#3234999)

You're already better off writing for MFC using Codeweavers than using GTK or something right now. Support for win32 drivers in Linux is less than a year away and then you'll be better off writing win32 drivers than kernel modules. In the end the UNIX model will be used in embedded systems while the windows model will be used in desktop systems, with the only differentiating factor being the kernel.
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