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CrossOver Brings QuickTime Movies to Linux: Part 1
Pages: 1, 2

A closer look at CrossOver

The best way to install CrossOver is to follow the prompts for the default package. By doing so, you will obtain the necessary Linux libraries for the second phase: the installation of the Windows version of QuickTime.



If you've ever installed QuickTime on Windows, you know that it's a very easy process. It's exactly the same process on Linux (via CrossOver) because you're using the actual licensed Windows installer. That's all there is to it.

Screenshot--click for full-size view.
QuickTime running standalone using the player. (click for full-size view).

I'll talk more about performance in part two, but I do want to give you a basic feel for the system resources this product demands. According to CodeWeavers, because CrossOver is not an emulator (per se), there shouldn't be the typical sluggish playback issues often experienced with virtual machines. In other words, the movies should play the way they do on their native platforms because the code is executing directly to the processor.

That being said, we did notice some lag on older machines that adversely affect QuickTime's performance via CrossOver. We're still testing, but preliminary results indicate that the Wine / CrossOver / QuickTime combination requires as much CPU horsepower as you can muster.

Different results with different browsers

CrossOver also behaves better with certain browsers than others.

Performance is best in Netscape. You can expect generally good playback using the Konqueror browser if you use version 2.1.1 or newer. During CrossOver beta-testing, some Konqueror users reported a good experience while others had some problems.

The situation is similar with the Mozilla browser, especially with version 0.8 and earlier. If you want to use CrossOver with Mozilla, make sure you have a current build of the browser. Even so, some testers reported plug-in crashing. In all instances, however, the browser is protected even if the plug-in does crash.

CrossOver does not work at all with the 1.0 version of Opera.

Screenshot--click for full-size view.
QuickTime running under Mozilla via CrossOver (click for full-size view).

The CodeWeavers development team states that CrossOver will soon work on Konqueror and Mozilla as well as it does on Netscape. Future Opera compatibility is less clear at the moment, but CodeWeavers is interested in working with them to provide compatibility up the road.

Mixed licensing

The CrossOver package is a licensing hodge-podge. The Wine libraries that are the foundation of CrossOver are similar to the X11 License. CrossOver does have two proprietary components built on top of the Wine libraries: the installer and the Linux Netscape browser plug-in. CodeWeavers President Jeremy White argues that their hybrid licensing approach is reasonable and doesn't inhibit the use or the evolution of the software.

Pricing

CodeWeavers has packaged all the components and made them available as a download for USD$20 or on a CD that can be purchased for $29. The package includes the necessary Wine libraries, CrossOver components, and the QuickTime installer.

What's next?

In part two I'll discuss CrossOver performance in a variety of situations plus take a look at how many standard QuickTime functions are actually enabled in this Linux package.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.


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