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

  • ravaneli - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I meant the 64-b version of Ubuntu will not install on my RAID0. And even if it did, does Ubuntu support SLI? Reply
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    What raid controller are you using? And yes nvidia supports sli in linux. Reply
  • ravaneli - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    The motherboard controller, not sure what it is. Gigabyte EP45T UD3LR.

    Do I need to download and install anything in Ubuntu to enable SLI? Like NVidia driver for Ubuntu?
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    Using the on-board fake raid controller? Reply
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    Tell you what, send me an email and I can get you in information your looking for. Reply
  • ravaneli - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I tried to look up your email but failed. How do u send an email to a member?

    ANyway, you are correct. Using the on board Intel raid controller.

    I can't install XP without the Intel driver on a floppy too. Is there a similar trick for Ubuntu?

    My email is veskovasilev @ yahoo or gmail
  • ChristopherRice - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I know your using ubuntu, however arch has an awesome wiki on this. I'm sure some other ubuntu users can grab your specific wiki on installing over fake raid. However below is the link for archlinux fake raid. To be honest you should use software raid rather then fake raid. Although for this article I did use fakeraid to stay true to the setup.">
  • ravaneli - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I looked at that and got really scared. If I have to assign a probability to me doing all of this right, it would be below 5%.

    This is what I don't like in Linux. It is still quite user unfriendly. If you just browse the web and don't need anything other that the programs (good list) it comes with, then it is fine. But any kind if adjustment to a different purpose is a nightmare if you are not a programmer.

    Anyway, I thank you sincerely for your help! I will be building a new machine soon, and will use SSD instead of RAID0 for speed, and I will make the dual boot there.
  • stmok - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    At least the author is a fellow Arch Linux user! ;)

    As for the feedback around here, its the same thing over and over again. (As with other tech websites).

    (1) Most open source devs don't care for mainstream consumers. The software they wrote is made for their needs...They're happy to share it with everyone, and allow modifications/improvements using a community model.

    So trying to threaten them with comments like "Linux will never attain Windows marketshare" is pretty much an empty one. They'll just ignore you.

    (2) ...Nor do they care for desktop marketshare. Why would they care if its not their business to begin with? Apple and Microsoft are businesses; desktop marketshare means a lot to them. Its their core and they build services/apps around it.

    (3) Its "desktop" distro developers like Canonical (Ubuntu), etc that care about the mainstream user's needs. The overall goal of such organizations is to eventually use Linux as a platform for commercial applications sold via online store. (I'm not sure that would work well, as this approach has failed in the past).

    (4) Using ONE distro (like Ubuntu) is NOT representative of ALL Linux. To really appreciate Linux; you'd have to delve into distros like Debian, Arch, Gentoo, Sidux, etc. The reason being, no one distro is made EXACTLY the same.


    Arch Linux is a rolling release distro: You get regular updates instead of specific distro version releases. Its main advantage is that changes are gradual over time.

    Ubuntu is a point release distro: Its fixed at releasing specific versions of applications. Changes here, are encountered as distinct "bump ups". You'll often end up formating/installing a new release than upgrading because new versions of components can cause weird issues.

    (5) Linux will never be for the mainstream user, so get it out of your heads...And it shouldn't bother. That's not its strength.

    Linux's real strength is in servers (infrastructure), super computers (clusters), purpose specific systems/workstations, embedded devices, and enthusiasts who prefer what Linux offers and are willing to go through the learning curve.

    If you're just a computer user who's doesn't want to endure any learning curve and just want to use a computer; don't bother with Linux. Its best if you shift responsibility to a third party like Microsoft or Apple by paying for their solutions.

    Linux brings responsibility to the user. Some folks make not like that, so it really won't work for them.

    As for games? Buy a console. :)
  • haplo602 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Amen to that ... finaly a comment worth reading ... Reply

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