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Windows Compatability on the Linux Desktop 626

Posted by michael
from the avoiding-temptation dept.
davecb writes "O'Reilly has been kind enough to publish one of my how-to articles, Windows Compatability for the Linux Desktop, about dealing with that 'one last annoying program than only runs on Windows'. The answer? Run it under Linux and win4lin, and never venture onto the Windows desktop at all. Especially don't run programs via dual-boot, which tempts you to stay and use all those other wonderful programs like Outlook...
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Windows Compatability on the Linux Desktop

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:02AM (#9449911)
    Why spend all that time developing a program that emulates Microsoft Windows products, when they could just devlop a better solution to the software they want to run? I mean, come on people, mIRC, Outlook, AIM, Comet Curson... they're not all that great to begin with.
    • I would be very happy if you can give me some pointers into developping a "Postbank" banking client (the web-based version doesn't cut it, since it can not handle mass automated payments). We have not figured out how to do anything like this yet. We need the program

      It is the one thing that keeps my rowing club from switching to Linux (actually, there is also the members (financial) administration, but we might find something for that)

      We have not figured out how to do anything like this yet. We need the
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:45AM (#9450524) Homepage
        One Word

        VMWARE

        It runs everything. It's a completely emulated computer. You install windows on the emulated computer and everything works perfectly. I even used this to make my scanner work under linux before drivers were available. The only thing that won't work is games, because emulating a good video card is just too hard.
    • by BokLM (550487) * <boklm@mars-attacks.org> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:24AM (#9450004) Homepage Journal
      I don't think they are talking about this kind of software.
      Some company release their software only for Windows, and if you really need this software and nothing exist to replace it, it can be a good solution before they release a Linux version (or someone else do).
      • by scorp888 (53723) <scorp888NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:54AM (#9450135)
        The reason people still use Outlook, is multiple.

        It syncs with most things, no lets rephrase that, most things sync with it. Phones, pda's etc, all will come with some way on syncing with outlook. Until all the Ximian's etc, can say the same, people will want to use Outlook. The other reason is group calendaring, there are alternatives to Exchange, but getting big corporates to move to them, is another matter. Getting small company's who already have a license for exchange 2000, to move to xxx product, which is going to cost them money, and can't be shown easily to offer real world benfits, is REALLY difficult.

        Same with Project, same with Visio, same with SolarWinds Engineers tool kit, now I'd love open source versions of these, especially the last (and no, nmap and mrtg don't quite do the same) then I can use FreeBSD or Linux 100% of the time.

        • by Red Alastor (742410) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @01:17PM (#9453954)
          I remind me of a conversation I had with a friend that illustrate the main reason people don't want to switch.

          Me - [explanation of what is FireFox and what are the benefits]
          Her - I don't want to download another program, IE do the job. And it's what everyone else is using !
          Me - Maybe, but your computer got many viruses. (PCCillin shows some viruses but don't want to remove them, probably because the license expired)
          Her - I didn't installed them myself.
          Me - No, but using IE is begging for someone to install them for you.
          Her - [angry face]
    • I mean, come on people, mIRC, Outlook, AIM, Comet Curson... they're not all that great to begin with.

      I'll give you Outlook and Comet Cursor - who wouldn't! - but mIRC and AIM are pretty decent applications.

      mIRC is one of the few bulwarks of Win32 shareware to still be going strong, and it's not by accident. As best I can tell, it's the most versatile and certainly the most popular and well-rooted IRC client in the Windows world, with ever improving features, scripting capabilities, etc. AIM, while propriet

      • by XeRXeS-TCN (788834) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:59AM (#9450344)
        "AIM, while proprietary, is free as in both beer and speech for the time being..."

        Without attempting to go off on a Stallman-esque rant, "proprietary" and "free as in speech" are contradictions in terms. The software *is* "free as in beer", but without the source code and permission to modify and redistribute it, it cannot be considered to be free software.

    • by iserlohn (49556) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:30AM (#9450034) Homepage
      I think the idea is that there are some programs that are really important for some people, and there are no alternatives in *nixland. If someone can switch over because those programs now work without booting into Windows, that mean one more full-time linux user.
      • Correct. The grandparent's suggestion "just devlop [sic] a better solution" (in Linux) is not always a trivial task. It may actually require thousands of man-hours for any program of some merit. On the other hand, it'd certainly be worth it for the benefit of the Open Source community to match a few of the Windows killer apps. (The Linux equivalents should be called "Windows-killer apps" ;-)

        I made the transition to Linux half a year ago, and haven't looked back. However, I've got this wonderful genealogy

    • One word : driver.
      Explain me how I could get a driver for this [01xray.com] under Linux while I already have one under OSX (there's also one for Windows).
      The more we'll go, the more we'll see that Linux is not Windows challenger as much as OSX is the challenger of the Linux+Windows pair.
      • by 13Echo (209846) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @09:14AM (#9451486) Homepage Journal
        The sad truth is that Linux is not taken seriously for audio work at the moment, even though the ALSA system is quite excellent and the latency of 1.x is lower than both Windows and OSX.

        You won't find a driver for that hardware, since it uses a special inteface and special software that is closed source. Yamaha has no interest in writing that software for Linux.

        On the other hand, it's such an obscure device, it's not really a priority for most people. Windows and OSX are the best solutions for people like you, that need specialized support for music hardware and software (for the time being).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      sorry?

      please name me a GUI based (GTK or qt) ftp client that I can use under Linux.

      Nothing (not gFTP, not Kasablanca, not anything!) even remotely touches the open source delights of Filezilla.

      Its killer apps like that that keep me under Windows.

      (that and the need for decent A/V editing, which I have found to be non-existant under most non Windows/Mac OSes).

      dgr
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because people have massive amounts of special purpose or inhouse developed applications that will never get enough developers intrested to spontaniously develope them for Linux.

      Wine makes win32 apps almost cross-platform. You can develope windows applications while never even touching a windows box as a developer nowadays.

      You can write it, compile it, and test it inside linux and have a good chance that it will run just fine in any Windows version.

      This way a orginization can develope applications that
    • by JOstrow (730908) <jostrow@x13designs.com> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:03AM (#9450165) Homepage
      Well, first, it takes less time to write an emulator than a Linux version of every Windows program somebody would want to use.

      Since there are so many Windows-emulation applications available, it appears that a demand is present. Remember, this is for a 'linux desktop.' Your average 'linux desktop' user probably isn't savvy enough to research OSS alternatives... or program their own version.

      To be quite honest, some Windows applications outdo their open-source counterparts. People will use what works best for them, and who can argue against doing that?
  • by Granos (746051) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:05AM (#9449925)
    Run it under Linux and win4lin, and never venture onto the Windows desktop at all.

    Except, like, every time you run a windows application through win4lin. win4lin is just a virtual machine! You still need to install an authentic copy of Microsoft Windows on your machine. Although there is a big usability difference, there is not philisophical difference, as the summary seems to imply.
    • by ninjaz (1202) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:41AM (#9450093)
      Although there is a big usability difference, there is not philisophical difference, as the summary seems to imply.
      There is a philosophical difference, but it's "Part-time Linux User vs. Full-time Linux User who runs a Windows program" (contrast "stick it to Microsoft vs. give money to Microsoft" which you appear to be getting at).

      Also, over the long-term, being a Linux user who runs a Windows program does tend toward sticking it to Microsoft. Spending full-time in the Linux user environment with one nagging dependency is a clearer path to ultimate independence from Windows-based software; As a full-time Linux user, the itch is to get rid of that Windows dependency. As a dual boot user, the tendency is to stay in the currently booted environment until you want something in the other environment enough to close everything and reboot.

      Not to mention the practical benefits of spending as little time as possible in a breeding ground for viruses and other malware... or the network effect of the existence of more full-time Linux users, (some of whom happen to run a program under win4lin). :-)

      • As a dual boot user, the tendency is to stay in the currently booted environment until you want something in the other environment enough to close everything and reboot.

        Yeah, but just because I was playing a game a few minutes ago and that's why I'm posting from Windows doesn't mean. . .ummmmmmmm, so, what about those Mets?

        KFG
  • Linux is great for being productive, but when you want to DL some trivial game and waste hours upon hours... You just can't beat a windows machine for that...

    And I hate MS...
  • all those wonderful programs like Outlook And then you get to round out the full Windows experience, with all those wonderful Outlook viruses!
    I'm NEVER tempted to use Outlook. I always use internet mail or Thunderbird [mozilla.org].
    • Re:Outlook? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zelbinion (442226)
      Some of us don't have that luxury. Outlook and Office are STILL the main things keeping me on Windows. Oh, just use thunderbird, or some such thing... Well, I'd love to, but the company I work for uses Exchange. Oh, well just use Evolution or Kontact! Tried both. While I was able to get them to connect to our servers and send and receive mail, the addressing needs serious work. There's something like 80,000 employees in the company -- adding these one by one into Kontact's address book, or Evolution's
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are two problems with paths, both of which can interfere with running Windows programs this way. The first is that running programs from Windows can involve directories with spaces in their names.

    The solution for this problem is to find the DOS name that corresponds to the directory you want to use. DOS does not allow spaces in names, so you can use DOS directory names in win commands.

    OK, so now I expect you all to stop writing Microsoft as Micros~1

  • Wine or Qemu (Score:5, Informative)

    by djcapelis (587616) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:10AM (#9449945) Homepage
    I've been playing around with several different solutions for this. Personally I have no need for any of them except when coding microcontrollers at my robotic's competition once a year or so, in which case I just use some makefiles that act as the interface and run the compiler with wine for me. It worked totally fine.

    Other than wine however, QEmu (http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/) is a nice speed driven emulator that will do full on emulation of a system. It recently became able to emulate a system well enough to install and use all versions of windows up through XP. Quite a neat thing actually. It's much faster than boches, which I've also tried, and it has a fairly complete feature set. (Though obviously is for a slightly different purpose than boches, as boches is being mostly used as an operating system development tool now.)

    Wine, WineX and Crossover all also work for even faster results but of course don't emulate the entire system. The apps integrate better of course though, due to the fact that wine will go ahead and put it on your desktop for you so you don't have to know the difference.
    • Re:Wine or Qemu (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ron_ivi (607351)
      Other than wine however, QEmu (http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/) is a nice speed driven emulator that will do full on emulation of a system.

      I second the thought that QEmu's entire-system-emulation is a great approach. I'm no expert, but it gives me some feeling of being better "sandboxed" so rogue applications don't escape from the emulated system.

      But perhaps the coolest, this Fabrice Bellard guy who wrote QEmu is the same guy behind the ffmpeg [bellard.free.fr] library and the TinyCC C compiler, his own emacs clon

    • by ignavus (213578)

      It's much faster than boches

      Well, the French will do anything to criticise the Germans. Except compliment the British. Or the Americans.

      But I never thought of benchmarking a CPU emulator against the Boches (or "Gerry" as we prefer to call him). Perhaps they meant that Zuse computer.

      Ah, ze CPU run fast, but ze Boches run faster wiz ze French armee after zem, n'est pas?

  • Too much CLI! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Matrix2110 (190829) * on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:11AM (#9449948) Journal
    Nice article, I have installed and run Linux a few times so I have a feel for it. (Redhat and Mandrake, I loved Mandrake!) The very steps you articulate are so over my head even though you seem to be creating a rosetta stone for others to follow.

    Give me DoomIII on Linux and I might switch now.

    Give you guys about three years and Microsoft is going to feel the pain to the point they are going to be forced to offer concessions.

    I think that day is coming sooner than we think.

    • Re:Too much CLI! (Score:3, Informative)

      by kormoc (122955)

      Give me DoomIII on Linux and I might switch now


      Welp, given that ID software has released their games on linux for years now (quake 3, etc) and that they have said there will be a linux version of doom III shipping in the same box as the windows version, might as well switch then :P

      Also might I say, ut2004 is beautiful in linux. (native, just like ut 2003 and ut)
    • Give you guys about three years and Microsoft is going to feel the pain to the point they are going to be forced to offer concessions.

      I think that day is coming sooner than we think.


      I've heard people say that for the last ten years or so. I'll believe it when I see it. I hope you're right though.

  • VS.NET (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blair16 (683764) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:12AM (#9449958)
    I'm not trying to start a big flame war here but my killer Windows app is Visual Studio.NET 2003. If Microsoft put half as much work into their OS as there is in Visual Studio the computer usability world would be a much better place. And if there was a Linux app that had comparable features I would switch over completely in a second (even if I had to pay for it).
    • Re:VS.NET (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FueledByRamen (581784)
      The latest version of Visual Studio that I have is 6.0, but I still think you're right. MS puts a lot of thought and work into their dev tools, and it really shows; it is unfortunate that they can't get that same level of quality across all of their software!

      On a side note, have you checked out XCode on a recent Mac? I've used that, too, and it is a very nice environment to work in.
    • Re:VS.NET (Score:2, Funny)

      by BenjyD (316700)
      Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!
    • KDevelop is much better than anyone ever gives it credit for.

    • Re:VS.NET (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shird (566377) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:13AM (#9450200) Homepage Journal
      Couldn't agree more. Im often ammused at people who seem to think vi and grep etc is all they need for programming. And are too stubborn to look at anything else. Pretty much 100% of the time these people have never tried VS, and it shows.

      Perhaps if they did, they might just realise how much their productivity increases. Being able to use tab completion, seeing all members of a class/struct as you type, little wavy lines under invalid variables (with addins), being able to just place a breakpoint anywhere in their code as they are typing etc etc etc the list is pretty much endless, the little things that they are continuing to add are so minor it is clear they are nearing perfection.

      And when debugging, you can drag the current execution spot up a few lines, change some code, then let it run over the spot again without re-compiling or restarting the process! Thats fuckin unbelievable.

      The development tools under windows blow everything else out of the water. Coupled with some cool other tools from compuware etc, and youve got yourself an environment that is very highly unlikely to be replicated under a free OS simply due to the time and effort and research and money required to build such a thing.
      • Re:VS.NET (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Seahawk (70898) <tts@i m a g e.dk> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:22AM (#9450427)
        The development tools under windows blow everything else out of the water.

        Which other IDE's have you used?

        I use VS.NET here at my fulltime work. Its fine - but unstable at times.

        I use Eclipse at home and at a parttime job. Its rock solid, but a bit slow at times.

        So I dont really think that VS.NET is so great compared to other IDE's.

        But do tell me the great upside to VS.NET - that I cant have in Eclipse and KDevelop.
      • by Baki (72515)
        JBuilder and Eclipse.

        There are numerous other IDE's for other languages for Linux as well.

      • Re:VS.NET (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GamerGeek (179002) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @07:39AM (#9450742)
        Just about everything you've listed is available from Eclipse. Eclipse is free and runs under Linux, most of the time it's faster then it's windows counterpart. I'm almost sure it's compiled natively on Linux using GCJ.

        That being said, V.S. DOES have the niftiest GUI designed I've ever seen. I was very disappointed that I liked it so much. The "anchoring" of widgets so that you don't have to write window resizing code it great. I love Java, but getting GUI stuff to come out exactly the way you want, even with a GUI editor, can be a pain.

        I was never impressed with any version of visual studio until .NET. :( I'm so less 133t now.
      • Re:VS.NET (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pHDNgell (410691)
        Im often ammused at people who seem to think vi and grep etc is all they need for programming. And are too stubborn to look at anything else. Pretty much 100% of the time these people have never tried VS, and it shows.

        Oddly enough, I tend to be one of those guys who annoys people around the office who show me some crazy new feature in some cool IDE they're trying to learn, and I show them how I've been doing it in vim.

        Tab completion? I tried it, but I much prefer ^P and ^N for forward and backwards sear
  • by hetta (414084)
    Back when I first installed linux (dual boot) I hardly ever booted into it, and thus didn't learn all that much about it.

    Half a year or so down the road I read an article on one or the other linux sites that said "just switch to it for a few months". So I did. I did get win4lin for that last program (omnipro for me). KMail is very very good, konqueror is just great (gotta love the file preview), the GIMP is excellent, the scanners work (and the colors with vuescan are even better than those I got from phot
    • First I'm going to say I understand COMPLETELY how stupid this may sound, and in reality IS. But please show some patience and try not to mod me into oblivion.
      I've seen suse boxes at local computer stores several times and they always look low grade to me, like buying a music cd with an obviously injet on paper insert.
      Now one shouldn't judge a book by it's cover and all. But joe sixpack will quite often do just that.
      I was just wondering if suse wouldn't do alot better with a snazzier box.
      The r
  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:13AM (#9449966)
    Especially don't run programs via dual-boot, which tempts you to stay and use all those other wonderful programs like Outlook

    Because we know linux users must only use linux. Nothing else!
  • check your spelling (Score:4, Informative)

    by chrispy666 (519278) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:17AM (#9449982)
    It is spelt "compatibility" for crying out loud !

    And it is repeated both in the article AND in the slashdot title. Unacceptable...

    Where the hell did this weird "compatability" mistake come from anyway ? I see it more and more everywhere, even in important reports and it's driving me crazy.
    • I think it's down to an unfortunate use of logical (but incorrect) assumption.

      The problem lies with the misspellings compatable/compatability that do seem to make sense as is it an "ability".
      It's one of the drawbacks of the English language that some wors fly in the face of logic and their misspellings make more sense than the true ones.

      Possibly also down to pronunciation-drift. A common pronunciation (especially here in the UK) is compatable. The problem with this is that people will write it as they

    • by mrjb (547783)
      ... to something like +5, informitive.
    • "referer" (Score:3, Funny)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613)
      Where the hell did this weird "compatability" mistake come from anyway ?

      I blame the loosers who spend all their time masterbating instead of reading teh dictionary.
  • Outlook (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If Linux had a sync option with iPaq PDAs i wold go with Linux. Please cant i have this.
    • Re:Outlook (Score:3, Informative)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286) *
      If Linux had a sync option with iPaq PDAs i wold go with Linux.

      Only one that I know of: SynCE. Here ya go. [freshmeat.net]

      It's no where near the set-and-forgetting of MS ActiveSynch, requires a raft of odd dependencies, but worth a try. Has conduits for the Outlook-esque Evolution as well.

  • by Advocadus Diaboli (323784) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:18AM (#9449990)
    The table of equivalents [linuxshop.ru] lists a lot of open source solutions for almost every program that you can get for Windows. So if someone wants to switch to Open Source he should have a look at it.

    And yes, Linux is ready for the desktop. I switched my own firm PC to Debian/testing last October and I use it for the daily work stuff without any problems. Even being a small island in a Windows-focussed infrastructure doesn't give much trouble.

    The trick is not to try to be a 100% compatible to Windows. No, I rather prefer to be compatible to open standards and so I'm sharing my documents not in *.DOC files but in *.PDF and originally they are written with LaTeX. You can't convince a bean counter that switching makes sense if you just want to do the things the same way like before, because then nobody sees some "added value". If you do things different and even more successful then people start to think about the why...

  • Dual Boot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    > Especially don't run programs via dual-boot,
    > which tempts you to stay and use all those
    > other wonderful programs like Outlook...

    Hmm, some years back I installed Linux to perform one task. But a couple of days later I started to use Linux for the other things as well and a couple of months later windows was gone with the wipe.

    cb
  • win4lin is good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 12357bd (686909) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:36AM (#9450065)

    Win4lin does its job quite well.
    Having a non trivial amount of old 16 windows code, win4lin allows you to keep all those old aps that will not be ported in the near future, while living in the Linux world.
    It's not 'perfect' (It needs a patched kernel), but works fine and without problems.

  • I like linux but.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:40AM (#9450092)
    WINE can do Winzip perfectly, but it's the games and the ease of use that keep me on windows.

    With Windows at least all my hardware is detected. Sure it doesn't perform the greatest under bloated XP, but it works... which is better than it not working at all under linux (and by the time it gets supported it's several years down the track)

    Windows installs things really easily. Linux on the other hand can be a total NIGHTMARE when it comes to installation... I must admit that some installs on linux are a dream.... just a shell script does the job. As for having to compile source code for most of the other stuff???? you need to have a good distro or you will spend a whole day compiling something... only to have some library missing or the code breaking and not working for some inexplicable reason. Then Fedora won't let me install the KDE development packages due to some bug there. Heck I just compiled a 2.6.7 kernel today and some modules barfed on install to the point where I had no modules.dep file to mkinitrd with! I still don't understand why!

    On security fronts Linux wins HANDS DOWN. Windows forces you to buy stuff from Symantec, when a free IPTABLES script from the net can do the same job on Linux for free. And linux viruses are almost non-existant.

    The day when Linux takes over the desktop can't come soon enough... but at the moment its capabilities are pretty limited to being an alternate email/internet/office/server replacement... but not much else.

    WINE is getting better but it's still jagged in places. Still pretty unusable for me. It gets some business Windows apps going, but as Linux apps get better to replace them, I hope WINE will eventually be used as a front end just for old windows games.

    Sure linux is free.... but that doesn't help someone like me who shelled out on Windows only because Linux and WINE isn't really there yet.
    • by Pidder (736678)
      I'll burn karma for this but... Windows XP is not bloated compared to your average Linux distribution. The amount of extra programs and utilities you get when you do a default install in say debian or red hat tops that of XP. Sure, you can choose not to install any of them but the same rings true for XP.
  • Warcraft? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EricKoh (669058)
    Anyone got any luck running warcraft on linux? I suspect it could be done under VMWare etc but what about the performance? Please enlighten.. warcraft is impt to me :D
  • Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:48AM (#9450116)
    This still doesn't fix the problem of games under linux, unless someone's managed to port DirectX 9 and hardware-accelerated drivers for the major graphics cards...
  • second thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tacocat (527354) <tallison1@twmi.C ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:03AM (#9450167)

    My first post instinct was to ask why anyone would bother trying to get anything that's buggy windows to run on anything Linux. But then I read the second post.. and the third... and so on...

    There is a lot of software out there that doesn't run on linux natively that only runs on windows.

    But you have to keep in mind why Microsoft killed Netscape and tried to kill Java. The desktop application environment is being replaced by the webtop application environment and there isn't anything they can do about it.

    So, if there is some project/application that you want to run under Linux that only runs in Windows, don't rewrite it first to run under Linux as in Gnome or KDE, but write it to run under Apache plus whatever you need. It might be more appropriate to run it under web pages.

    Good examples of these are anything to do with corporate financials, email, or planning/scheduling. Bad examples of this are going to be anything that isn't really shared, like Instant Messages, IRC, or other personal user specific applications.

  • by DeadBeef (15) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:11AM (#9450192) Homepage
    The solution that I introduced to the company I work for a few years ago was to run an old box with Windows 2000 Server on it as a terminal server. We had a guy running VMWare and putting up with trying to get it to work again with every kernel update and this eliminated all the hassle.

    I'm sure there are commercial terminal services clients for Linux, but we run rdesktop [rdesktop.org]. Since we started using it rdesktop has included support for RDP5 which supports 16 bit colour, so with a Windows 2003 server ( we have upgraded ) you get a reasonably nice looking windows desktop. Audio seems to go mostly too, not that its needed for a couple of minutes worth of checking some html renders in IE or talking someone through how to setup outlook express.

    If a windows only accounts package or similar is keeping you from running Linux on your desktop this could be a good solution, the only negative is possibly the Windows server licensing is a bit steep for some situations.
  • Win4Lin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EnglishTim (9662) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:56AM (#9450330)
    Win4Lin is pretty spiffy, but it only works with programs that will run on windows 98 and only require 128Mb of memory...
  • wrong question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phooka.de (302970) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:11AM (#9450384)
    "...Especially don't run programs via dual-boot, which tempts you to stay and use all those other wonderful programs like Outlook..."

    If running linux and windows in parallel tempts you to stay on windows and not use linux, then by all means - use windows.

    You should use the OS you like best. If the parrallel installation does not tempt you to use more linux then either there's (still) something wrong with linux on the desktop or windows is in fact (still) the better desktop OS - at least for you. And you're who should matter to you.

    Stick to windows.

  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:18AM (#9450415)
    When any of my friends starts talking about which operating system to use, I go through this chain of reasoning (well, two questions) with them:

    1. Is there an application that you just have to have that runs on one operating system?

    If yes, you have no choice. Change your life or live with it.

    2. Do you want to just use the computer or want to fool around with the internals?

    If you just want to use it as a tool, go out and buy something from Apple. Yes, they are more expensive at first, but they last longer (unless you have a dual USB iBook, of course), are trivial to use, don't get viruses, look great, and you can always run Linux on them if you change your mind. The only drawback is the lack of a good, free office package: OpenOffice.org for OS X just isn't there yet, and it looks like we're going to have to wait at least a year. Apple should have addressed this problem earlier.

    If you want to play around with the computer for its own sake, you want Linux. If you are buying a computer from scratch, still buy an Apple, because the hardware is great. Then, install either Gentoo [gentoo.org] or Yellow Dog [yellowdoglinux.com]. If you have a computer sitting around, just install Gentoo. You will learn all kinds of stuff, and the system will work like greased lightning.

    Notice there is only one case where you might get Windows: If there is an application that you really, really need and that only runs with Windows. The chance of that is getting pretty small for normal people -- I have had lots of fun point out that OpenOffice.org can export directly to PDF whereas MS Office can't. And Firefox and Thunderbird are better already than anything that Microsoft or Apple can offer. In about a year...

  • Better migration (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:31AM (#9450459) Homepage
    I think that a better way to migrate from Windows to Linux would be to start using open source apps that run on both for your everyday chores while still using windows. Once you are comfortable using those tools, switching the OS won't be such a scary process. It's much easier to switch one app at a time then to switch everything all at once.
  • Regarding Project... (Score:4, Informative)

    by oujirou (726570) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:33AM (#9450466)
    Actually, I believe it should have been stated before, but I'll repeat myself from an earlier posting some time ago.

    The new Crossover Office does really run Microsoft Project and does this flawlessly. I wish it could run Rational Rose as well, but since we weren't able to force the poor emu-layer to do so, we decided to evaluate Borland Together which is cross-platform by nature. Up until now, it manages just fine and even better, since it integrates with StarTeam really smoothly.
  • by thebdj (768618) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @07:05AM (#9450605) Journal
    Two computers? One Linux, One Windows. Don't start me on WINE and all this stuff. I KNOW. I was using Linux only for about a year but there is one simple point that cannot be ignored, if you still play games you still need windows. It is better to have two machines, less rebooting back and forth and you can always remote X into the linux one or KVM or whatever you choice would be. I recommend two computers for all homes...especially when you play enough games to make it matter.

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