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#132183 05/23/05 08:48 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 176
P
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I've heard that there are programs that you can eithe run windows programs or windows itself in Linux. I'm looking for one that's relatively cheap or free that works on Xandros Linux. I'm still new to linux, and I'd like to run some windows apps/games in linux. Any suggestions?

#132184 05/24/05 04:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 93
J
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I've just implemented six such computers in our department, and it can work almost like magic.

VMWare Workstation 5.0 is very good at this and it costs $189.

There is an opensource alternative, called Bochs, which can be downloaded and compiled for free, provided you feel happy around the shell-based tools like make. It was not a simple configuration job and installation the last time I installed Bochs 2.0 on my Sun box -- I ended up needing to comment out quite a bit of the code in the C programs themselves. The advantage of Bochs is that it is truly platform-independent; it can run a Windows guest system upon Linux, Solaris, Macintosh and so on. The drawback is the performance penalty: it makes a pretty rapid dual G5 mac chug along like a PentiumII when I did some performance tests. I keep a copy going on eniac, my Sun machine, purely because I still love WordPefect for DOS, and it runs like a dream.

The alternative to a virtual machine approach is offered by the API map-and-wrap type programs like Wine. The name is an endlessly looping (not recursive!) acronym which denotes Wine Is Not an Emulator. This directly hooks the calls to the Win32 API made by applications into the equivalent Posix-style system calls in Unix. Some people claim this approach offers better performance than virtual machines, but they can never produce convincing numbers that prove it. I have an interesting-for-geeks theory as to why this is, if you are interested in chapter-and-verse let me know [Linked Image]

One thing is for certain and that is that a Wine-style approach offers levels of Windows compatibility that approach 90%. A virtual machine running a real copy of Windows on top of linux offers a higher success rate.

There are always a few apps that install drivers or other low-level modules which are unsupported either by the underlying linux kernel or else by the VM itself; in my case I was bitten by no VMWare support for a nasty cheap SCSI card which was one of the many horrible things that came with my old HP scanjet scanner. No major trouble in the end, because I plugged the scanner into an elderly Macintosh that was not much used and stuck it on the network. Everything Just Works on a Mac, so that was a happy ending, but it underlines the point that emulators or vitualization will not always provide a solution.

Nor do most games run well in emulation, but for ordinary business applications, a platform shifter gives a platform that is as good or better than a native system.

#132185 05/24/05 09:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
T
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Although wine has the annoying problem of supporting almost every shoot-em-up game that kiddies love to play for hours on end, and the program you want to runs falls into that 10% class of quirky doesn't-work-so-good under wine apps. Wine is still a great bet, but for my long term strategy, I try to find linux apps that do what I need and then "make the switch" when possible

#132186 05/25/05 10:16 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 56
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I must admit that the home PC was a lot easier to convert to Linux than my work PC is looking to be.
The main problem being Autocad which I use heaps and which does not support Linux. I have yet to try Wine on this, but it would not surprise me if it didn't run properly. Has anyone else had any experience with this?

I note Jools is singing the praises of VMware. At $US189 it is a little too expensive for me, and it appears to be a tool for system administrators and software developers rather than for the home hacker. Nice, though, if you can afford it.


Mark aka Paulus
#132187 05/26/05 09:16 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
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I can't make any warranties, but this South African dude seems to have had a good experience with autocad & wine, although his version is the one before Autocad2000, I believe. The article is at: http://www.architectafrica.com/bin0/news200411111_wine.html

#132188 05/27/05 01:46 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 93
J
Member
Hey ther Paulsgnome.

I justify the price of VMWare to myself by comparing it with the cost of having to buy an extra computer. Compared with that it looks pretty convincing.

But for a similar package (ie a virtual machine, rather than an API mapper), only not at $189, there is the open-source http://bochs.sourceforge.net

I've managed to compile that one on Linux, MacOSX, Solaris and HP/HX so far, and its performance has been getting better and better since version 2.0. But if you want support for certain hardware on non-Intel hardware then you need to be prepared to hack the C around a bit. (I can give you a couple of hints if you are interested in this because I did so to get it going on Solaris for the ultrasparc and I took a page of notes at the time in case it needed to be done again)

(edited to overcome a premature Save [Linked Image])


[This message has been edited by jooles (edited 05-27-2005).]


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