In the previous part we reviewed CrossOver's functionality, and looked at how to install and manage applications with CrossOver. Read Part 2 here
While there is a large number of applications which run on Wine and CrossOver now, it is important to note that the application may not be as stable as it would be if run on Windows, and might exhibit bugs which are due to Wine, and not the application itself. Each and every feature of the application might not work properly as more effort is put into solving issues in commonly used functions of popular applications. If your work is heavily dependent on some esoteric functionality or application you may not be able to run your application for a long time.
We tested how well common applications such as Internet Explorer, Photoshop, and Office work on CrossOver. We also decided to test Tally, since it is a popular application in India. For Tally we paid special care to how easy it was to install and how well it ran after installation.
The Codeweavers community is filled with people busy trying out different applications, getting them to install, and seeing how well they work. Our tests are instead focused on seeing how easy it is to install, and run these applications, and if there are any UI. performance or stability issues which immediately hamper the experience. Links to the application's page on the Codeweavers compatibility database are provided as well. Applications which failed to even run are not included in here, and for applications which needed some tweaking before running, we have noted what it took to get the application running.
All tests were run in an openSUSE 11.2 Virtual Machine with 1GB RAM.
On the next page: Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer still suffers a pretty high usage thanks to being bundled with one of the most popular operating systems of all time. For a web-developer using Linux, testing on Internet Explorer 6 is as such quite important.
Since Internet Explorer 6 is a supported application, installing it is a piece of cake. The application is included in the list of application in the CrossOver Software Installer. The CrossOver Software Installer wizard is also configured with its download location so the Software Installer automatically download it and all it's dependencies and then proceed to install them. The IE6 installer runs smoothly and downloads and installs IE6 in just a few minutes.
Once again, being a supported application, Internet Explorer 6 was guaranteed to run; I was surprised however, by how well it ran. The browser did not seem to have any visible UI glitches, and we were able to browse websites at pretty much the speed expected from this antiquated browser.
The browser's performance itself is impressive as well. The browser runs at near native speed under Wine. However the stability does suffer a bit, and the browser is suitable only to be used for testing websites, and not a Linux browser replacement.
On the next page: Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 8
Being the latest version of Internet Explorer, testing a website on IE8 is quite essential. Internet Explorer 7 ran on CrossOver as well, with pretty much the same characteristics as IE8.
While Internet Explorer is not among the list of supported applications, in CrossOver 9, it is one of the community supported applications, and thus supports the easy installation wizard method used by CrossOver. The wizard will install Internet explorer 8 into a new bottle along with the required fonts and runtimes automatically.
Right when we launch the UI, we can see that there are glitches. The menu-bar and the tool bar have quite visible disfigurements, which come to the point of disrupting usage. The browser itself works fine though, and for someone using Internet Explorer 8 purely for testing websites it will get the job done.
As with Internet Explorer 6, the performance does not suffer much, wile the lack of stability can be quite bothersome. The application crashed numerous times, sometimes while performing as small a task as creating a new tab.
On the next page: Tally 9
Tally 9 is not a supported application in CrossOver, and in fact has no information available at all at the C4 database. We decided to give it a shot anyway.
As the application is not supported, it does not have a simple installation mechanism. Fortunately, the application install worked quite fine and just a few seconds we had a default install of Tally in a fresh bottle. The application launch itself wasn't as smooth, and as I tried using the program, it started complaining about the lack of ODBC DLLs on the system. This was the obvious sign of a missing component.
I then installed MDAC 2.8 SP1 (Microsoft Data Access Components) which includes the DLLs that Tally was missing. I also installed the core fonts package for good measure.
It is impossible to fully test an application such as Tally in a short period of time, especially when it is not an application you are familiar with, however superficially at least it seemed to be running. To truly test this application it will require using it for extended periods of time for its intended purpose.
While working with the application, I was unable to discover any obvious visible flaws which would hamper usage. The application performed quite well, and did not crash even once during my tests. This is not to say it works perfectly on CrossOver though. Tally uses quite a few shortcuts which are already used by KDE (for example Alt F2, Alt F1 etc). This means that for those shifting to Linux, the will either need to adjust KDE shortcuts, or will need to use on screen buttons to navigate some of the options. Only a Tally user will be able to judge the impact of this on their speed and output.
On the next page: Photoshop CS2
Adobe Photoshop CS2
CS2 is the latest supported version of Adobe Photoshop in CrossOver. As such it enjoys a presence in the Software Wizard, enabling you to install the application with ease.
There is little to say about the installation process except that it worked flawlessly, and the application installed within a few minutes.
Photoshop CS2 might be an ageing application nearly 5 years old, however it is still a complicated beast. Yet the application manages to run to an impressive extent on CrossOver. While we did not encounter any bugs while working with on it, it is sure to show a few bugs when stressed a bit, hence its bronze rating.
The application did not seem to suffer for any visual bugs -- which for an application such as Photoshop, which deals with visual content are far more important. The performance of the application was god for the most part, however the application interface did become choppy from time to time, for short periods. Applying filters and performing operations on an image of around 10MP did not seem to be any slower that an equivalent Windows system.
On the next page: Office 2007
CrossOver till just a few versions ago, used to be dedicated to running Mictrosoft Office on Linux, and was infact called CrossOver Office. Quite expectedly it is adept at running Microsoft Office versions, and supports even the latest Office 2007.
The Software Installer once again comes to the rescue here, and installs necessary components such as core fonts, MSXML, dotNET 1.1 etc. The installer supports launching the application setup straight from the setup CD.
Office 2007 once again runs surprisingly well, however not all applications run as well as the main applications, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook.
On launching Word 2007, I was surprised to find myself greeted by the familiar blue interface which had no visual glitches at all! The applications works quite well, to the extent that you might not notice it is running on Linux at all.
Excel and Powerpoint too work very well with CrossOver, and perform stably. Due to teh breadth of features these files have, it is impossible to test then under all conditions, however, I was able to open quite a few office files (some with complicated formatting) without problems. The applications performed well too.
Outlook 2007 -- while it might perform and render well -- has one big flaw. It is unable to make SSL connections which make it useless for email providers such as GMail. A workaround is available for this issue, however it may be much too tedious for a new user.
Unfortunately, some of the other applications do not perform as well. Publisher was unstable to the point of unusability; it kept crashing when I tried creating a new document from a template. It finally appeared to start when loading a blank template, only to crash a few seconds later.