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Ubuntu Linux Authors: Elizabeth White, Don MacVittie, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Virtualization Magazine, Ubuntu Linux Journal

Virtualization: Article

Product Review — Running Windows on Linux

Bridging the gap

I prefer to run my virtual machines in full screen mode and both products support this. VMware has a full screen button on the toolbar and a Crtl-Alt to return. Win4Lin relies on the built-in capabilities of either KDE or GNOME (and presumably other window managers) to make any window go full screen without borders. In KDE this is achieved by setting your guest Windows screen resolution to the same resolution as your host desktop, and then right-clicking on the Win4Lin window title bar and selecting Advanced -> Full Screen. A quick Alt-F3 will bring up the same window menu to shut off Full Screen mode.

Both products work noticeably faster and smoother when running in full screen mode.

Final Words
While both products behaved as advertised, I had a better feeling about Win4Lin at the end of test. The lukewarm reception I got from VMware left me feeling that if I ever needed support, I might be left hanging. Despite the fact that VMware performed faster, Win4Lin certainly performed fast enough for me. Also, through no fault of its own, VMware is probably overkill for your average desktop GNU/Linux user. If we desktop users need to use Windows at all, likely a single instance will do. Lastly, money talks. Since it's likely that a single Windows instance will do, the $89 Win4Lin Pro price tag is a lot easier to swallow than the $189 tag on VMware.

I'm fascinated by the potential that virtualization unleashes and I'll be watching these two products carefully in the future.

Products/Mentions

Win4Lin Pro version 2.7
URL: www.win4lin.com
Cost: $89US downloadable

VMware Workstation 5.5.1
URL: www.VMware.com
Cost: $189US downloadable

Transgaming's Cedega
URL: www.transgaming.com
Cost: Subscription-based starting at $5US/month

CrossOver Office Standard
URL: www.codeweavers.com
Cost: $39.95US

Audacity Audio Editor
URL: www.audacity.sourceforge.net

The JaK Attack! Podcast
URL: www.thepurplepodcaster.com/thejakattack

More Stories By Jon Watson

Jon Watson is a Canadian GNU/Linux enthusiast. After producing 30 episodes of the GNU/Linux User show, Jon and Kelly Penguin Girl now produce the weekly JaK Attack! podcast (http://www.thepurplepodcaster.com/thejakattack). Jon has had articles on podcasting with FLOSS tools published in The Linux Journal (April '06), Linux Magazine (May '06), and Sitepoint (May '06). When not podcasting, he can be found blogging on b5 Media's New Linux User blog (http://www.newlinuxuser.com) or his own personal blog, Tales from the Motherboard (http://www.jonwatson.ca).

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