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Jewish World Review
Nov. 5, 2009
/ 19 Mar-Cheshvan 5770
A puzzling compatibility idea
So there I was, looking at Quicken 2009, the Windows version, on my Mac, and
something seemed off. In fact, a fair amount seemed off.
For one, it seemed a bit pokey. I could understand that, since I was using CrossOver
Mac Professional, a $69.95 application built on top of the Unix-and-Linux-based WINE
non-emulator, which allows you to install and boot a Windows program on an Apple,
Inc. Macintosh computer without having a copy of Microsoft Windows loaded.
Why would anyone want to do that, with a world of very good Mac applications out
there? Well, one of the applications that's not out there for Mac, these days at
least, is Quicken, and there are legions of folks who have relied on the Intuit
product for their personal and/or home business finances. Instead of switching to a
Mac-created application, or because their bookkeeper/accountant/tax professional
prefers stuff done in Quicken, having a way to run the program might be a help.
Or perhaps you're a gamer. The "Professional" edition of CrossOver Mac
includes "CrossOverGames," allowing you to play "World of Warcraft" or
"EVE Online" or "Half-Life" to your heart's content, again, on a Mac
without loading Windows. And while Mac OS X allows you to "dual boot" an
Intel-based Mac with either the Apple or Microsoft OS, you still have to buy a copy
of Windows, and when booting in Windows mode, you lose your Mac functionality.
"Virtual machine" software such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels can provide
so-called "dual boot" functionality, running both OS X and Windows side-by-side,
but the programs can squeeze memory if you don't have a lot installed.
I tested CrossOver Mac Professional not because of a burning desire to play "Grand
Theft Auto 2" (and, yes, I know there's "GTA4" out now), but to get into
this emulation-that's-not-emulation thing a bit deeper. As noted here over the
past two weeks, there's a growing interest in Linux as an alternative desktop
operating system; some users like the no-cost aspect of versions such as Debian and
Ubuntu, and look at CrossOver's underlying WINE software as a way to bring some
Windows apps over. Since Mac OS X and Linux both have the Unix operating system at
their core, I figured that CrossOver Mac Professional would be sufficiently similar
to a Linux-style emulator that I could judge the whole process. (Linux defenders may
dissent, of course.)
Installing CrossOver Mac Professional was rather easy, as was installing Quicken
2009. The Quicken install procedure was similar to that under a real copy of
Microsoft Windows: everything fell into place quite nicely. Until start-up.
My big beef is that the fonts and screen layout of Quicken 2009 under CrossOver
seemed very basic, as if the normal fonts weren't available, and pale imitations
were in their place. Everything just looked "off," and that made the program
Then I toddled over to the CodeWeavers Web site (www.codeweavers.com) and found the
news: Quicken 2009 Premier, the version I used, rates a "Bronze" level of
compatibility: "The Bronze is awarded to applications that install and run, and
that can accomplish some portion of their fundamental mission. However, Bronze
applications generally have enough bugs that we recommend … customers use them
with caution. … don't be surprised if there are some bumps along the way," is
the way the Web site described it.
The firm says future versions of CrossOver should bring compatibility up to a
"Silver" level, which means an application that would " install and run well
enough to be usable," but still with a bug or two that would keep it from
"flawless," or "Gold" level performance.
So, it seems this whole Utopian vision of running applications independent of an
operating system might have a few miles to go. But at least there's a roadmap, and
people working towards a useful goal.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2009, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com
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