Before looking into the options to find a way to run Windows based software on Linux, don’t forget to check the official website of the software for a Linux compatible version. Because everyday more and more applications are becoming compatible with Linux. Recently even Microsoft has joined the league and released Microsoft Code and Microsoft SQL Server for Linux.
If you still could not find the software you required, you will require a workaround to get your favorite Windows application installed on Linux. Depending on which Windows software you want to run, following are different ways to get it running on Linux OS.
Virtual Machine –
A virtual machine will allow you to run complete Windows Operating system inside a Linux OS. Virtual machines provide a safe and easy way to run any Windows software over Linux. There are freely available virtual machines for Linux such as –
- Cisco VirtualBox (free)
- VMware Workstation Player (free for personal use)
However remember that Windows Operating System is not free and will require you to have a valid license for its activation.
Wine is a framework which allows installing and running of Windows applications on Linux environment. Wine provides set of Windows APIs over Linux OS. However not all application are fully compatible. You can check Wine AppDB here and see if your favorite application is compatible with Wine or not.
Wine provides ratings to applications based on their compatibility over Linux. So Platinum rating is for applications which can be installed and used over Linux flawlessly, Gold is when application can be run flawlessly but with special configurations, Silver rating is for applications which may have some minor issues however no major problem will occur, Bronze and Garbage are last two ratings, where Garbage which means application can not be installed or used with Wine.
Wine is majorly focused on making Games compatible with Linux however you can find most of productivity applications also, such as MS Office, Photoshop, Installing Wine is very easy.
You can find and install Wine from Software Center on Ubuntu or Software Manager on Mint. After installation of Wine, you will need to configure it for the first time use. You can get option to ‘Configure Wine’ from Start menu. It will ask you to install few required packages, just keep clicking on Install buttons.
PlayOnLinux is a free software which makes installing Windows software on Linux effortless and it also ensures smooth integration with Wine. It uses Wine to run the application, so you can consider it more like a package manager which makes it easier to find your favorite Windows Application and install it.
You can install PlayOnLinux using Software Manager or from command line –
sudo apt-get install playonlinux
You can get the latest version directly from the download page also.
Cloud Based Applications –
A majority of the Windows based applications have got either their web version available or their alternate web applications available. We can use any modern browsers on Linux to run these web apps. Such as you can access Microsoft Office Online or Photoshop Express.