By Kevin E. Glosser
Over the past eight years, my reliance on Microsoft products has
dwindled greatly. The last "chain that binds me" is my fondness for
playing cutting edge games. Although some of these (mostly first person
shooters) have Linux ports, most require Windows to run.
Like many in our community, I rely on a dual boot scenario to solve
this problem. This is not necessary, however. There is an alternative.
And that alternative is using the commercial version of W.I.N.E. for gaming known as Cedega. Cedega,
previously known as W.I.N.E. X, allows you to install and run Windows
games in Linux.
Cedega is something I have looked into previously, it's not new to me.
I've come close to buying it a few times, but never done so. I'm not
sure if it was my disbelief in its claims or the monthly pricing plan
that kept me away; perhaps it was both. I'd love to believe it works. I
couldn't help but be skeptical, however.
The technical hurdles to overcome are steep. TransGaming, the makers of
Cedega, get NO help from Microsoft whatsoever. The main programming
interface for Windows games, Direct X, does not exist in Linux. Third
party libraries will likely have to be ported.
I don't even have to delve into all the possible issues Linux itself
brings to the equation. There are various desktop environments one might
run. There are even multiple projects of X Windows itself. What kind of
driver are you going to find installed? Did I mention people use
different versions of the kernel? It's easy to see why one might be a
Still, when Steve asked me if I wanted to review Cedega, I jumped at the
chance. I was excited to see if it was possible, Windows gaming in
Linux! Clearly the product must work to some extent, so discovering just
what extent that is will be a big part of this review. Can a customer
expect an "out of box" experience? Will "TransGamers", as they are
called, be required to be expert Linux users? Is it somewhere in
After putting Cedega through its paces, I discovered several things that
surprised me. Although I can not guarantee your experience with the
product will be identical, I can give you an idea of what to expect. To
accomplish this we'll test four popular programs and compare them to how
they run in Windows XP on the same hardware.