That said, using Boot Camp to run Windows on Macs provides unmatched bare-metal performance and has the additional advantage of being free not including the cost of the Windows licenses. So for both speed and cost, Boot Camp is the baseline. CodeWeavers released the first version of CrossOver Mac in early , providing a Windows compatibility layer based on the Wine open-source project. Basically, CrossOver Mac is a commercial version of Wine with a variety of enhancements and end-user support.
In short, you can run some Windows apps with CrossOver Mac without having to have a copy of Windows installed.
The catch and you knew there had to be one is that CrossOver Mac does not support all Windows programs, and those it does support are not always supported perfectly. CodeWeavers shoots for supporting as many of the most popular Windows programs as possible, and it currently supports nearly 15, It maintains an online inventory of programs that have been tested and either do or do not work or work with bugs or workarounds , with a five-star system for ranking compatibility.
But of course there are a lot more than 15, Windows programs. For those programs that do work, however, performance can be very reasonable, especially on faster machines. This means that if you have a relatively small and defined set of Windows programs that you need to run on Macs, CrossOver Mac might be a good fit, but researching the compatibility database and doing thorough hands-on testing prior to implementation are essential.
CodeWeavers conveniently provides a day free trial to allow time for testing before deciding whether to commit to a purchase. Once running, the Windows app appears on the Mac desktop without the surrounding interface or overhead of the full Windows operating system. Pricing for CrossOver Mac depends on several options: The standard one-year subscription is periodically substantially discounted, so watching for discounts or negotiating for volume licensing can provide cost savings.
The next version, CrossOver Mac 17, is due to be released this autumn and will be built on Wine 2. VirtualBox is the odd duck in this list, in a way. And it has some of the pros and cons of each. VirtualBox can do almost anything the commercial products can do, and the price for the core package is right. It has an extensive list of supported operating systems and enthusiastic online forums.
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It feels the most Mac-like. Installation of a new VM is easy and quick. A nice touch aimed at cross-platform developers is support for Modern. IE test environments. Other developer-focused features include a network simulation module that can model degraded or minimal network connectivity scenarios within a VM. Computing Reluctant to give your email address away?
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