If you own a Mac or Linux PC, chances are you need a way to run at least one Windows application. If that's the case, you basically have three main options:
Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages, as illustrated below:
|Feature||Dual-Booting||Virtual Machine Solutions||CrossOver|
|Can run Windows applications without rebooting||By definition, no.|
|Can run Windows applications without Windows OS||No.||No.|
|Price||$119.99 for Windows 10 Home
$199.99 for Windows 10 Pro
|$79.99 for Parallels,
plus cost of Windows OS.
and no Windows OS.
|Runs all Windows applications||No. Some applications which require video or hardware drivers may not run.||No. Wine runs some Windows applications well, some so-so, and some not at all.|
|Runs Windows applications at native speed||No. VMs impose performance penalties.||
Apps run as if natively, but performance may vary.
If you decide to go the Wine route, then you have another choice to make. Wine is an open-source technology, and can be downloaded for free from WineHQ.org. Or, you can purchase a commercialized, supported version of Wine from CodeWeavers. There are some important differences between the two, which are described below:
|Comes with one-click installation for Windows applications||No.|
|Comes with a graphical installer for Windows applications||No.|
|Comes with Bottles (portable virtual Windows environments)?||No.|
|Seamlessly integrates with your desktop environment||No.|
|Is consistently tested against a supported application set||No. Whether a given application will work can vary from build to build.|
|Comes with product support||The volunteers on the public forums do their best, but...|
|Price||$0, and a lot of your time||$39.95 - $59.95|
Which solution is right for you depends on your budget, technical savviness, and pain threshold. Individuals with technical skills may prefer the free route. Many business users, though, find a packaged, tested solution more productive and economical. If you value stability and superior integration, then CrossOver is a better fit for you.
If you do choose to purchase CrossOver, you can feel good knowing that you've indirectly supported the Wine Project. Every improvement we make to Wine goes back to the Wine Project, which makes the computing world more open and compatible for everyone.