Wine and Crossover


Wine* has been around forever, and is the major compatibility layer for when you want to run a Windows program on your Linux, Unix or Mac desktop. It’s not perfect, but consider that Valve built their Proton layer on it to be able to run Windows games on the Steam Deck, their Linux-powered flagship console.

It’s a translation layer, not a virtual machine, so you don’t have to boot up an entire Windows VM inside your host system (or dual-boot) just to run one application, and you don’t have an entire emulated system taking up memory and processor power.

For Steam games it’s usually better to run the native Steam client and let it run the game through Proton.

CrossOver is a commercial packaging of Wine by CodeWeavers. I’ve found it worth paying for for two main reasons:

  • Install tools. In addition to Linux, they have installers for Mac and ChromeOS. And they have tools to make it easier to install and manage the applications.
  • They work on the upstream Wine project, so it’s one way to pay for Wine development.

Apps I’ve Used

  • NotePad++. I usually use Linux-native editors, but sometimes it’s easier to fire up N++ and use one feature it has instead of chaining together several features in another editor.
  • EditPad Pro. Another text editor with some nice features that weren’t in any of the Linux-native editors I was using at the time.
  • Internet Explorer, back in the day, to test website compatibility. The browser itself was kinda flaky, but all I needed was to test against the engine.
  • Probably more Steam games than I can remember!

App compatibility databases: