Netzwerk Systemberatung Administration
Regardless of how fast, stable, and geek-chic desktop GNU/Linux has become, we still live in a Windows world. Many vendors, either through lack of vision or funding, will produce only a Windows version of their software or drivers. If you're a gadget geek like me, you likely end up in the same old quandary of "I want that gadget, but it only has Windows drivers." If you're even more like me, you'll elect not to take the high road and search for ways to run that bad boy on your desktop GNU/Linux box.
There are a handful of products that will enable Windows applications to run on GNU/Linux, all with varying degrees of success. Regardless of which products are on the market, they'll fall into two categories: those that require you to have a licensed copy of Windows, and those that don't. Win4Lin and VMware fit into the first category, which I affectionately call "virtual machine-type" applications. The second category is where products like Wine, CrossOver Office, and Cedega fall. These products don't require Windows, rather they attempt to fool Windows applications into thinking they're running on Windows by performing varying types of tricks at the binary level. I call this class of application "windows emulators" (quite wrongly, I admit).
It only seems fair to compare apples to apples and so this article is a comparison of the two virtual machine-type applications Win4Lin 2.7 and VMware Workstation 5.5.1. The test emphasizes desktop GNU/Linux and the test platform is a suitably powerful Dell Inspiron 1000 laptop with 512MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, a 2.2GHz processor running Kubuntu "Breezy Badger" 5.10 with kernel 2.6.12-10-386.
Version 2 of Ravi's Mind Map of Linux distributions.
You may download the high resolution PNG format of the mind map file here (File size: 206 KB).