Free (as in beer) CodeWeavers CrossOver Linux and Mac

Try as you might to get away from Windows, you might think that you're stuck with using it because there's this one program that you have to use and you can't find anything on Linux or Mac OS that works for you. Well, you're in luck. CodeWeavers the company behind CrossOver Linux Pro and CrossOver Mac Pro is offering for today, October 28th, free downloads and registrations for these programs that will enable you to run many popular Windows programs, such as Quicken, Microsoft Office, and Photoshop CS2 on your favorite operating system.

This offer started as a pointed joke at George W. Bush's expense: the Great American Lame Duck Presidential Challenge. In the Challenge, which CodeWeavers launched in July, the company said it would provide its software for free in the unlikely event that under Bush's administration any of the following things happened: Return the stock market to it's 2008 high; Reduce the average price of a gallon of milk to $3.50; Create at least one net job in the U.S. this calendar year; Return the median home price to its Jan. 1, 2008 level; Bring Osama Bin-Laden to justice; or, and this one that actually happened, bring the average gasoline prices in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) to $2.79 a gallon.

As Jeremy White, president and CEO of CodeWeavers, explains, "I was filling my tank at Big Steve's Gas Palace in St. Paul, I had just finished my morning corn dog and 64-ounce Dr. Pepper when I looked at the pump and noticed gas was at $2.79. I screamed 'Woohoo,' then I yelled 'Oh, crap!' as I realized every American can now have my software for free. Kind of upsets my fourth quarter revenue projections..."

White admits this is not how he foresaw the Challenge unfolding. "I launched the campaign to inspire President Bush to make the most of his final days in office. Who knew that our Challenge would have this kind of impact on the country?" White said. "On the other hand, who knew that the economy would implode, causing oil demand to drop into the abyss and gas prices to plummet as well. Clearly, investigating Bear Stearns, AIG and those guys is misplaced -- CodeWeavers is responsible for this mess. So it's free software for all!"

Somehow, I don't think it really worked quite that way, but hey, free software is free software. To get a copy of CrossOver Mac Pro, Crossover Linux Pro, CrossOver Mac Games or CrossOver Linux Games, visit the company's Web site and download the software. You will, eventually, get a deal code that fully enables the software and gets you six-months of support as well.

I say 'eventually,' because right now the site is swamped. White says though that the company will send the registration code to users by e-mail over the next few days.

What you're getting for this is a program that makes the open-source project Wine an implementation of the Windows API (application program interface) on top of the Unix/Linux operating system family easy to use. Wine has more than 15 years of development behind it. In addition, CrossOver supports ActiveX, a Microsoft COM (component object mode) that's used on such Web pages and DirectX, a Microsoft multimedia API that's usually used in games.

What Wine isn't however, is easy to implement on your own. That's where CrossOver comes in. CrossOver makes it simple to install both the Wine framework and Windows programs on both Linux and Mac OS X.

Once installed, you can run many popular Windows applications and games. This isn't just what CrossOver claims, I've used CrossOver Linux for years and it works extremely well. In my own case, I often use Windows applications running on Linux thanks to CrossOver to work on Word 2003 documents, Excel 2003 spreadsheets, Internet Explorer 6-specific Web pages, and fairly complicated Quicken 2006 financial statements.

I also use it to play WoW (World of Warcraft) and, my own favorite game, Guild Wars. I'm a fairly serious player vs. player Guild Wars player and I can assure you that if Guild Wars, a 3D MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) didn't work well on Linux, I'd be running it on Windows.

How much do I like CrossOver? I pay my own money for it. How was I to know that gas would drop below $3 a gallon!?

CrossOver doesn't run everything, and it does have some quirks. That said, it does run most of the important Windows applications and, hey, today, you get the full version for free so you can try it out for yourself. Go for it! You've nothing to lose, and you might just find yourself able to give up your nasty Windows habit for good.

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