Commercial Software

A growing number of commercially available tools let you work with anything from Microsoft Office to your Windows games under Linux. Mind you, ultimately, the Linux user’s goal is to not have to use any of these extra program layers — but in the meantime, it’s nice not to be inconvenienced. I’ve reviewed, or at least used, every one of these products (often more than once over the years), so I’m not just going by their Web sites.

Many of these vendors offer server, as well as desktop, products. I’m focusing on the desktop. For more about their server products, check out their Web sites.


CodeWeavers ( provides an excellent product that I use from time to time: CrossOver Office — don’t let the name fool you, CrossOver supports games now as well. This program allows you to use Microsoft Office (along with a growing number of office applications) directly under Linux. It also comes with a hefty number of plug-ins (see Figure 15-1) that you might miss when it comes to Web surfing. It’s a bit jarring to run Microsoft Word and Windows Media Player under Linux at first — because there’s no native (without special software) way to do this otherwise — but it’s certainly handy. You can even use iTunes through CrossOver Office!

Figure 15-1. The CrossOver Office Install Software dialog box.

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