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Run Windows apps on OS X (without Windows) 8 September, 2006

Posted by Jay Ball in software.
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Since the introduction of Intel-powered Macs, there have been a number of developments promising the ability to run Windows on a Mac. Typically this has either been through a dual-boot approach such as Apple’s own Boot Camp or the run within OS X virtual machine approach of Parallels Desktop.

Now software company Codeweavers, however, is promising the ability to run Windows applications within OS X but without requiring a copy of the Windows OS. The product is CrossOver Mac and looks very interesting.

From the website:

CrossOver Mac allows you to install your favorite Windows applications and games on Mac OS X. CrossOver includes an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing Windows software simple and fast. Once installed, your application integrates seamlessly in OS X. Just click and run your application directly from the OS X Finder. Clicking a Windows file or document — including email attachments — will launch the appropriate Windows program, allowing you to work on the files. Best of all, you do it all easily and affordably, without needing a Microsoft operating system license.

The software is in beta at the moment and you must have an Intel-powered Mac (dammit!). Codeweavers are offering a free time-limited version for users to play with. Initial reports indicate that for the most part it works OK (well enough for a beta anyway).

If this approach delivers on promise it will be a boon for those who prefer OS X but need to run Windows-only apps such as Microsoft Project. It also holds out the vision of a time where applications and operating systems are largely independent (this is already there in many open source programs).

Of course the real long term question will not be whether to choose OS X, Windows or Linux but whether to go for a hardware-based OS or a web-based one. But that’s for another post.

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