Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Crossover Mac

Earlier this month I downloaded an evaluation version of Crossover Mac from Codeweavers. This is a commercially supported version of WINE for Intel Macs. WINE is a reverse engineered implementation of the Win32 APIs, which allows you to run some Windows applications on a Mac or other *NIX box without having a copy of Windows installed.

Although I have Parallels Desktop, the idea of being able to run a few Windows apps on Rohan without having to actually fire up XP was attractive. For example, I sometimes need to access web sites which require Internet Explorer for full functionality. Starting XP just to do that is clunky.

Crossover for Mac installs easily and the software installation wizard allows you to download and install IE6 SP1 with two or three mouse clicks. AAMOF, I am actually posting this using IE6 on Rohan. One thing I can do in Crossover that I cannot do in Parallels Desktop 2.5 (not the most current version, but the version I have) is paste text from an OS X application into a Windows application. E.g., a URL from TextWrangler into IE's address bar, or a URL from Firefox into the hyperlink box of Blogger's composer.

Crossover isn't perfect. It doesn't let me run any and all Windows applications. For example, I was able to install Sprint's Blackberry connection manager in Crossover but it does not detect my Blackberry when I connect it. Codeweavers maintains compatibility lists, which are worth consulting to see if it's worthwhile for you to try.

I currently have IE6, MS Project 2003, and Visio 2003 installed under Crossover. So far, so good. For someone with minimal Windows software needs it's worth a look. Codeweavers gives you a 30 day free trial, and if you decide that it does what you need, the cost is $39.95. Of note, any improvements the Codeweavers team makes to WINE make it back to the open source project, so by purchasing Crossover, you help WINE development.

1 comment:

Lawrence Teo said...

I had exactly the same situation where I needed to use IE on a Mac, and the idea of starting an XP VM to do that was just too much.

In my case I wanted to use Autotask, a web app that does CRM and service ticket tracking. It only works with IE.

I blogged about my experiences using CrossOver to do that. Just wanted to share. :)