When Linux Apps
Don't Cut It|
Using CrossOver Linux, we were able to get Steam
running. Only a few games worked, but Steam, man... Steam!
Sometimes, there just isnít a Linux alternative to the Windows
application that you need. When you need to fire up InDesign or
Microsoft Project, youíve got two optionsóyou can try to trick your app
into running in Linux using WINE or CrossOver Linux, or you can install
a fully functional version of Windows inside a virtual machine by using
WINE (free, www.winehq.com),
which stands for WINE Is Not an Emulator, serves as a wrapper for
typical Windows function calls. When a Windows app makes a call, WINE
converts that request into a Linux-compatible format. It works
reasonably well for apps it supports, but if your app isnít fully
supported, you could have problems. CrossOver Linux ($40,
www.codeweavers.com) is a supercharged version of WINE with support for
more apps. Still, it has its own problems with many common apps, and it
Parallels ($50, www.parallels.com)
certainly isnít free either, but thereís a substantial difference.
Parallels lets you run Windows (and any apps you need) inside a virtual
machine. You donít even have to reboot to run Windows applications. The
hitch is that youíll need a licensed version of Windows to keep things
nice and legalóif you switch all your rigs to Linux, youíll have plenty
of licenses to spare! Parallels delivers full compatibility with
virtually every Windows app, but it does require managing a full
Windows install inside the VM.
Games have always been and still are the Achillesí heel of
Linux. There are two ways to play games on Linux: Play a limited number
Linux games or emulate Windows using Transgamingís Cedega subscription
service, which supports high-profile titles like World of Warcraft and
Battlefield 2 but lacks support for many newer titles. For the games it
supports, it works. However, we noticed significant performance hits as
well as serious image-quality degradation. For our money, it makes more
sense to boot back to Windows to play games. We didnít shell out big
bucks for a GeForce 8800 GTX to get our game on at 1280x1024 in DirectX
8 mode in Linux.
the Boot Menu
In order to change the default OS your machine boots,
need to edit a text file. Be careful though, any missteps here could
render your PC unbootable!
Youíve installed Ubuntu, but you donít want it to be the
in the boot loader. Thatís not unusual. To set your Windows install as
the default, open a terminal and type sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst.
Look for the default entryóit should read 0. To determine what the new
default should be, count the number of title lines from the start of
the file to the title line for Windows, starting with zero. Title lines
that begin with a # donít count! If your Windows install is on the
fourth title line, youíll set the default to 3. Save the file, and the
next time you reboot, your machine will automatically start Windows.
Antivirus and Antispyware Applications?
It would be foolish to claim that any operating system is
secure against spyware and viruses (weíre looking at you, Apple), but
it is actually safe to run an Ubuntu install without any kind of
malware-fighting utilities running in the background. However, you do
need to pay attention to the updates. Itís a good idea to get in the
habit of updating whenever Ubuntu prompts you to install any kind of
security update. As a general rule, it takes just a second or two, and
it will save you a huge hassle in the long term.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea how to get started
Linux. When you encounter technical problems, start with Google. Type
the exact text of the error message you receive, along with the version
of Linux youíre using (in your case, Feisty should be enough). Usually,
youíll find your answer on the first page or two of results. If you
donít, check the Ubuntu forums
and donít hesitate to politely request help if your searches are
fruitless. We also have a great Linux board filled with knowledgeable,
helpful people at the Maximum
Be prepared for an occasional disaster, but also be prepared to learn
and have a lot of fun. Becoming an expert at a new operating system
isnít an overnight process, but if you take the time to master the
penguin, you will be rewarded!
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Last Updated Friday, May 11 2007 @ 01:42 PM EDT