Crossover Offers Google Chrome on Linux

Sep 16, 2008

U.S. company Codeweavers today offers a special Google Chrome version of their CrossOver runtime environment for free download, giving Linux and Mac users the opportunity to test the search engine vendor’s new browser.

The makers of CrossOver Chromium designate their product as a “proof-of-concept” version. Codeweavers CEO Jeremy White describes the aim of the release as, “The message is very simply this: if you are a Windows software vendor, and you want to get your product into new markets, you should pay attention to Wine.” How this PR effort benefits the Wine Open Source implementation is that Wine is also the foundation of Codeweavers’ commercial versions of CrossOver, hence its business model. Accordingly, CrossOver Chromium releases just days after the corresponding Wine 1.1.4 update.

Codeweavers has long been on the lookout for just the software to “showcase the power of Wine,” as White puts it. The highly responsive Google Chrome seemed to come along at just the right time. It seemed to fulfill all requirements as being readily available and understandable, albeit usable only on Windows. According to White, “on Thursday, September 4th, I called a company Fire Drill… By Friday, we had a first working build.” For White, the speed at which the programming for the new Google browser occurred was all in a day’s work: “In many cases Wine is faster and more economical than doing a native port.” At the same time, he cautions that the product is still in its early stages, much like Google Chrome is in its own beta. “Nevertheless,” he emphasizes, “it is as fully functional as the Windows beta, and we think that sends an important message.”

The Codeweavers website meanwhile suggests that rather than use Google Chrome as the standard browser at this time, to wait for a subsequent version. The Linux and Mac versions can be downloaded for free from the website. The commercial versions of CrossOver for Linux and Mac are available with support and update services starting at $37 a year.

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