Wine Projects: Which Vintage?

Now that we have a basic understanding of Wine, we can dig into Cedega and Crossover Games a bit. The two major goals behind Cedega and Crossover Games are to offer additional game support and a friendlier user interface than what is currently implemented in Wine. That being said these projects have taken two different approaches to the solution.

Since version 2.1, Cedega has been patching and developing their code without using the public Wine source tree. This is mainly due to the license change that occurred with Wine back in 2002 from MIT to LGPL. Under LGPL Cedega would have been forced to publish all their source code for free. The result is that parts of Cedega are open source, but the GUI, Copyright Protection, texture compression, and other parts are closed source. The GUI and Copyright Protection (SecureRom and SafeDisk) is what most people really want, but there are other benefits to paying. First, you get a nice package that won't require compiling on your part - these are available for most Linux distros. If they don't have a package available, you can still get a precompiled binary. Purchasing Cedega also gives you the ability to vote on what games to support in future releases, potentially getting your personal favorite to work sooner rather than later.

Cedega will cost $25 for a 6 month subscription or $45 for one year. If you just want the free version, you lose out on the GUI and you're also going to need to try and get the project to compile on your own. That will entail finding and setting the correct flags for your distro, and in many cases you'll also need to find a patch to make it work.

Crossover Games uses the current Wine source tree and employs Wine developers to handle part of their proprietary code. Crossover Games also contributes code to the Wine project as per the LGPL license. This means more of the Crossover source code is available, but paying still provides a better experience - otherwise you're going to have to deal with the same compiling/patching issues as Cedega.

Crossover is available for Mac OS or Linux, with the Linux version costing $40 per year. (A $70 Professional version gets you enhanced features that are mostly useful for corporations and multi-user environments - nothing you need for gaming under Linux.) The free version of Crossover will provide users with some of the GUI, but the final result is still less desirable than the pay-for version. Honestly, if you're going out and buying $50 (or even $10) games and you really want to play them under Linux, you'll save yourself some headaches by just ponying up for the full version of the software. Of course, at that point you're almost half-way to the purchase of a licensed copy of Windows (though you'd still have to deal with the hassle of dual booting).

One of the key features Wine is missing is relative to Cedega/Crossover is an easy to use GUI. Wine does install shortcuts on your Linux desktop, but when it comes to managing your different Wine environments there isn't really anything available. As far as the free versions of Cedega/Crossover, you get a somewhat functional watered down version of Crossover/Cedega, but I have never had great results with the CVS versions. You might as well pay the couple of bucks to get the full version along with all the bells and whistles.

Users new to Linux will likely prefer Cedega/Crossover Games over Wine due to the interface and easy implementation of the application. Both of these projects also support different games than your standard Wine install. As far as game compatibility, the three projects use similar rating schemes. Wine and Crossover both use medals: Gold means it should install and run pretty much as you would expect; Silver means it will install and run well enough to be "usable", but you'll likely encounter some bugs or performance issues; and Bronze is for games that can install and at least partially run, but frequent bugs/crashes are likely. Wine also adds a Platinum rating, which is for games that install and run flawlessly - Gold Wine games may require a special configuration. For Cedega, the ratings are broken down into Cedega Certified (Platinum/Gold), Checkmark (Silver), and Exclamation Point (Bronze). There are of course plenty of other games that are unrated, as well as games that are known not to work.

Despite the ratings, it's possible to have a very different experience than what you would expect. A bronze game may work fine for you, or a gold game may have problems. Hardware and drivers play a role, sure, but other times you're just left with some head scratching. Of course, if you're already running Linux and intend to give any of the Wine projects a shot, you likely are familiar with the process of searching wikis and forums, a skill which can save a lot of time.

Index The Test Setup


View All Comments

  • ficarra1002 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Most people don't use Linux because it's free. They get it because its better. You may think its too much work, but that's you. Reply
  • stoggy - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    Yea those linux gui server utils are great they make it really easy. then its worth the trouble.

    why did you even read the article if its not worth the bother?

    why do i use linux for a desktop? Because windows cant do what linux can do, period. Even worse is when Windows makes me do what linux does for me.
  • zerobug - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    Very good move from Anand, hiring a Linux expert for a better coverage on what's going on in the OSS arena. I welcome this initiative. The present article was a good choice and I'll be checking often for what's following. Good luck and a happy new year to the team and all their readers. Reply
  • ReviveR - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    Comparison is quite unfair, but Linux doesn't actually have to win Windows to become a gaming platform.

    Just today I connected my N900 to TV and played some Star Control 2. It worked really well as cheap console replacement.

    It probably also has more processing power (CPU & GPU) than Nintendo DS or PSP. You can connect it to PC, use some bluetooth based controller like Wiimote etc. I think that when Maemo starts gaining some speed it could be a very nice Linux based gaming platform also.

    If you think how successful Wii has been and then consider that something like N900 can handle bigger resolutions than Wii, offer all the development advantages of Linux etc... The tech is there, all it would need is users realising the possibilities.
  • minime - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    I'd like to see more real-life server test (incl. Linux [based] solutions). Something like "Which software stack/solution is able to serve the most users (while being practical meaning, incl. security)" (use-case: webserver, database, java, etc.).

    Then the other way around, keywords: AMD, Intel, PCI-E SSD vs. SATA SSD, GPGPU, etc.
  • ChristopherRice - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    In the future, I'd like to do some server articles for sure. Reply
  • minime - Sunday, January 03, 2010 - link

    Cool, thanks! I do believe this is something a lot of readers would like to see and would differentiate from the ordinary IT-blog/news-sauce Reply
  • jediknight - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    I'd be interested in seeing what performance would be like using a VM. Or Is performance so poor as to not even be worth attempting? Reply
  • FluffyTapeworm - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    It would be interesting to see how well running windows + games under vmplayer, virtualbox, etc stacks up. I assume it's likely to be less efficient, but it might still be useful for many older games. Reply
  • vol7ron - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    This article didn't really introduce anything new. All it says is that some people have found a way to manipulate Linux using Wine/etc to play some games.

    That sounds no better than someone issuing a keygen to use an application. Of course, the legalities are better, but you get the point: to only be able to play SOME games at a considerable performance impact does not make this option enticing if you already have Windows.

    All it says is: if you're a Linux user and you want nice gameplay, we recommend you dual boot, as always, because the games you probably really want to play, won't be worth the effort.

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