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So You Want To Run Windows 2000 and Windows XP Apps On Linux?

Win4Lin Out From Under Windows 98 Bondage

NeTraverse, which has had more avatars in its long and windy career than your average Hindu deity and currently peddles a WINE-free way to run Windows programs on Linux called Win4Lin, has, by the grace of an asset acquisition, become Win4Lin Inc.

The company has also released Win4Lin Pro, a product that promises to make this corporate incarnation a lot more comfortable than some recent ones.

See, Win4Lin Pro can run Windows 2000 and Windows XP apps on Linux, releasing the company from the Win 98 prison it's been in.

Being able to run 2000 and XP apps gives the firm a shot at getting adopted internally at Novell and IBM, whose CEO has sworn a mighty oath to turn over all IBM desktops to Linux but has been confounded by the lack of Linux applications while at the same time outlawing any WINE-based solutions.

Win4Lin president and CEO Jim Curtin, who was NeTraverse's president and CEO too, claims the new Pro model removes the barriers to adoption.

Win4Lin's answer to the Windows-WINE conundrum is simply to run Windows on Linux, not exactly a religiously orthodox solution, but effective. There are no rewrites, no format problems, no spotty functionality.

The Windows programs run in a high-performance virtual computing environment and the user doesn't have the hassles of Windows insecurity.

Pro runs as a Linux process, sharing the Linux memory and file system without yielding control to the Windows guest operating system. It limits the impact of a Windows system failure or security flaw to the virtual sandbox in which the application is running so Windows malfunctions don't cause system-wide failures.

Rather than restructure the company, NeTraverse's lead investor bought its assets and turn the company into Win4Lin, Curtain said, debt-free with money in the bank and the expectation of more. Win4Lin anticipates closing a new financing round towards the end of March. Curtain declined to say where the money was coming from or how much it might be, but he figures it can be used as a staging platform for getting Linux on the desktop - the corporate desktop since the corporates are the ones with the Windows licenses.

Win4Lin is also promising to have a Terminal Server version for thin clients out by early April to take on the likes of Citrix. It will run on a Linux server, a place Citrix can't go as long as it's bound at the hip to Microsoft.

Pro is going for an introductory price of $99.95 until the end of March. Shipments have begun.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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