June 12, 2002

Crossover Office 1.1 runs MS Office better than before

- by Tina Gasperson -
Codeweaversreleased a bug fix version of Crossover Office Tuesday, announcing
official support for all Western language versions of Office 2000 and 97 (except
for Access) and IBM's Lotus Notes. We tried it out and found it works as
Codeweavers claims it should.
Codeweavers has always been up front about the limitations of Crossover Office
and its sister application, Crossover Plugin. The company is still ironing out a
few wrinkles, but the improvements over 1.0 are huge, including an Outlook
that operates the way it is supposed to (we'll let you decide whether that's
good or bad). Codeweavers has even introduced an added security measure to
Outlook: a script which prevents it from opening applications on its own. We had
no troubles whatsoever opening and running Outlook, from setting up POP3 and
IMAP accounts, to connecting to mail servers and downloading mail, to operating
the calendaring and journaling systems.

Word and Excel also worked as expected, rendering and printing fonts accurately.
Codeweavers apparently has licensed the Apple patents for TrueType fonts,
stating that "Windows fonts appear as cleanly
and crisply in CrossOver as they do in Windows."
Powerpoint let us whip up a quick slideshow, and while we didn't go so far as to
test it online, we did run it on our PC with success, including animations,
which were mostly smooth but a little stilted at times.

Codeweavers hints at the possibility of other applications working under
Crossover Office, which is a good thing. Because, try as we might, we just can't
imagine a "Linux person" (whatever that is) seeing Crossover Office as it is
now as much more than a novelty (after all, why not just use StarOffice or OpenOffice if you have it) -- unless you consider that with the Outlook capabilities
of Crossover Office, you have an easy way to connect to a Microsoft Exchange
server built right in to your Linux desktop. Sure, there are Linux solutions for
getting busy with an Exchange server, like the Ximian Connector, which goes for
about $69 for an individual license. But for users who already have a
copy of Office 97 or 2000 laying around, why not just kick down another $55 to
get Crossover Office?

We tried a few "renegade" apps out to see how well they'd work with Crossover

WinZip evaluation version: downloaded and installed using Internet Explorer.
Works just as it is supposed to, although finding the executable and running it
again was a tiny bit more difficult because Crossover Office didn't put an icon
or menu item in for this application. But not impossible; just open a terminal,
find your "fake_windows" directory, locate the executable, and type
/home/your_home/cxoffice/bin/wine winzip32.exe. (Disclaimer: this
only works if you have actually downloaded and installed the WinZip program.) I
actually unzipped and installed the freeware version of NoteTab with WinZip.

NoteTab Freeware version: downloaded using Internet Explorer, unzipped and
installed using WinZip evaluation version for Windows. The program installed as
it should, and the application loads correctly. However, it is unusable in
Crossover Office because it doesn't display files at all, neither does it allow
creation of new files.

Jasc's PaintShop Pro "try and buy" version: downloaded using Netscape, installed
using Crossover's install utility. The program installs fine but has
problems once it is running. The weirdness seemed a little different each time,
but the end result was always the same: the dreaded Wine application "poof." I even ran
"killall wineloader" which has worked in the past, but PaintShop Pro still
didn't want to hang around.

ScanSoft PaperPort Viewer 7.0: downloaded using Netscape, installed using
Crossover's install utility. I stumbled upon this utility when a friend of mine
sent me some image files with the mysterious ".max" file extension. I googled it
and happily found that ScanSoft is handing out viewers for the proprietary image
files it creates with its scanner software. "What a great way to test
Crossover," I thought. But alas, even though my hopes were high after
successfully opening the viewer and loading the image files, I was disappointed
because I was greeted with only a black square where the pictures should have

Crossover Office's inability to run some of these program correctly shouldn't
be taken as derogatory. Codeweaver admits that it is still a work in progress,
and only promises that the basics, MS Office 2000/97 and Lotus Notes, will run.
But as I mentioned earlier, unless you have to have Outlook, or you just
enjoy finding Windows applications to install and run on your Linux
system, you'll do just as well with StarOffice and a recent version of Mozilla,
Netscape, Konqueror, or the like.


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