Run Microsoft Office on Linux

In an interesting twist on the normal efforts to port office suites to

Linux, CrossOver Office allows you to install and run Microsoft office

products on Linux.

Rather than duplicating the functionality in MS Office and supporting

Microsoft's ever-changing file formats (as many Linux office suites do),

you can run the real thing on Intel systems running Linux. That's the

theory anyway.

The reality is pretty good, but not perfect. Available from CodeWeavers

(http://www.codeweavers.com/products/office), CrossOver Office supports

Microsoft Office 97 and 2000 applications on Linux, specifically

Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as Lotus Notes

from IBM.

The CrossOver Office product costs $54.95 US, a relatively small amount

for an easily installed real MS Office suite on Linux. Of course, you

also need a real MS Office distribution, such as a CD-ROM, to install.

CrossOver Office's main purpose it to ease the installation and set up,

and CodeWeavers have done a good job. Once installed, CrossOver Office

sets up icons to run the Microsoft applications from the GNOME or KDE

desktop environments. The CrossOver Office wizards also set up

associations for the MS Office file types for your email client, such as

Netscape.

CrossOver Office is built on top of WINE (http://www.winehq.com), a

platform to run Windows applications on Linux for Intel. You can use

WINE alone, which comes with most Linux distributions, to run Office

applications so you never really have to purchase products like

CrossOver Office. However, CrossOver Office does make the whole task of

setting things up much easier. And for the small price, this is

certainly worth it.

Furthermore, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the CrossOver Office

truth-in-advertising page at

http://www.codeweavers.com/products/office/the_real_dirt.php. This page

lists the product's limitations and describes real-world uses. I find

this type of disclosure very refreshing and it makes me feel much more

confident about purchasing products from CodeWeavers. Read this page to

decide whether this product will work for you.

This story, "Run Microsoft Office on Linux" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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