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


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  • rainyday - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    in my opinion linux is not yet ready for mass market use.

    linux still has inferior file management to windows. still no native file icon support in executable, icon association is annoying too. explorer is still superior than natilus/thunar in feature and presentation/interface.

    uninstalling and upgrading programs in linux is still annoying and complicated. there are many ways to install a program (synaptic, rpm/deb, tarball, bin, subversion etc) and at least some of them are still annoying. these are pretty big issue for gaming.

    file sharing and networking can still be unnecessarily complicated and there is still no user friendly driver installation procedure like windows.

    devices in linux still work at generic mode, but windows users are used to having drivers tailors to their hardwares with all features enabled and usually have better presentation and interface.

    in my opinion linux can be used as windows alternative only in computers having routine and specific duties. like checking counters at shopping malls, in cyber-cafes, children's school class room etc.

  • boltronics - Sunday, May 09, 2010 - link

    > linux still has inferior file management to windows.
    Dreaming. Spoken like a real Windows user who has no understanding of anything else. Why are you in the "Linux" section?

    > still no native file icon support in executable,
    Thanks for the laugh. Funniest thing I've read all day. :)

    > explorer is still superior than natilus
    That's funny too (and I don't just mean your incorrect spelling). Last I checked, Explorer didn't support tabs. Nautilus also includes built-in support for all kinds of protocols too, such as SFTP. I can't think of a single way Nautilus loses to Windows Explorer.

    > uninstalling and upgrading programs in linux is still annoying and complicated.
    What? Learn the package manager GUI and never worry about installing or removing again too hard for you? Give me a break. You think manually installing from a CD or manually searching a website for an installer in Windows is easier? Windows doesn't even have a single consistent installation procedure - every program requires different steps and uses a different wizard. And how do you update those Windows programs? You open every single program and run the "Check for Updates" option or visit all the websites you downloaded the programs from to see if there's something new? No thanks - I've got more interesting things to spend my time on.

    On the off chance I actually wanted to compile a program on GNU/Linux that wasn't in a package management system, it's almost always configure, make, make install. I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to do it under Windows. I'm pretty sure it would involve manually installing a compiler... and if you don't compile code under Windows, why would you mention installing software by compiling it under GNU/Linux?

    > file sharing and networking can still be unnecessarily complicated
    That has been the exact opposite of my experience.

    > and there is still no user friendly driver installation procedure like windows.
    That's because it is just so rare to ever need to install a driver. Drivers should be included as a module that came with your kernel, and as such should work automatically. The only main exceptions are ATI and nVidia proprietary graphics card drivers which are required for running some proprietary games, and even here a growing number of distributions have these available for installation through your package management system. Generally, you won't ever need to do a thing. As such, GNU/Linux clearly dominates in this area too.

    > devices in linux still work at generic mode, but windows users are used to having drivers tailors to
    > their hardwares with all features enabled and usually have better presentation and interface.
    When it comes to ease of use, consistency is more important than having some unique interface. eg, I can tweak the settings of any installed printer using the CUPS web interface, and can also do this in the same way on basically any modern distribution. On Windows you likely have a different utility to change settings for every printer. How is that a benefit to the end user? It's just confusing and annoying. Unnecessary clutter.

    As you might imagine, I fully disagree with your opinion. After all, I'm typing this in Firefox on GNU/Linux.
  • Headfoot - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Linux is only free if your time has no value. Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Drop the GNU. Let Microsoft incorporate DirectX with copyright protections.
    Not rocket science.
  • marraco - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I have lots of games from before Windows XP, like some tomb raiders, and need for speed 4.

    They no more run on windows. No support. No compatibility. (and don't even try to run a game with a 16 bit installer on a 64 bit windows).

    At that older times, nI never had a top video card to run them on all his full glory, and I was somewat disapointed. I just wish to run NFS4 with full antialiasing, and on his full glory.

    I hope they run on Linux. That way linux can add more games that windows.
  • shangshang - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    while you're at it, why not go back further to make DOS games run under linux too, that way even more games will run under linux.

  • Penti - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    Lol already done, but DOXBox/Dosemu works in windows too. Reply
  • Gonemad - Monday, November 08, 2010 - link

    In fact, reading through the Dosbox "boot" and readme's you stumble on a lot of things seen in a Linux boot, suggesting the thing was first released to Linux, than ported BACK to Windows, which adds to the irony.

    Windows doesn´t support DOS games, but Linux does. How absurd.

    Some games even play better on Dosbox than on native DOS, because of the 640kB memory thingy that was a real pain in the neck back then.
  • Schugy - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    In theory wine/cedega has to be slower but as long as it is playable it is ok.

    Other competition is free Intel Linux graphics driver vs. Intel Windows graphics driver or AMD Catalyst Windows vs Catalyst Linux vs open Radeon or Radeon HD driver.

    This article was rather disappointing
  • flywheeldk - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    This article is utter B.S. - unless you do another article focusing on running native Linux games on Windows - then it would just be completely pointless.


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