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Wine Software

CodeWeavers Release Server Version Of CrossOver 209

Jeremy White writes: CodeWeavers has just launched the Server Edition of CrossOver Office. Server Edition provides Windows applications like Microsoft Office to thin clients and previously unreachable platforms like Solaris/SPARC. It's designed to compete directly with Citrix and Windows Terminal Server solutions, primarily on price (watch that TCO drop, baby). The most delicious irony will come when we release a Windows client, and we start serving Windows applications to a Windows desktop through a Linux server.""
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CodeWeavers Release Server Version Of CrossOver

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  • CodeWeavers, yeah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Noodleroni ( 537889 ) <tuckerm@@@noodleroni...com> on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:19AM (#4862192) Homepage
    CodeWeavers makes some neat stuff. I've even got my boss to want to try out the server version when it came out. The only problem is that it doesn't support QuickBooks, which is a critical function where I work. :-( We'll see what happens.
    • It's on the way... I've a business which is looking to replace windows desktops with GNU/Linux thin clients in small businesses. Quickbooks has been a sticker... I'm very glad that server crossover is out. I've been waiting for this for months!
    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:29AM (#4862288)
      According to this [desktoplinux.com] and discussion seen lately on the mailing lists, it seems QuickBooks support is fairly close now. Let's hope so shall we?
  • Irony? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The most delicious irony will come when we release a Windows client, and we start serving Windows applications to a Windows desktop through a Linux server.""

    The irony is that you are spending all kinds of time to develop an aplication that merely goes through additional potential points of failure to accomplish, well, nothing of substance. I hope you don't count this as a win...
    • Re:Irony? (Score:3, Informative)

      The irony is that you are spending all kinds of time to develop an aplication that merely goes through additional potential points of failure to accomplish, well, nothing of substance. I hope you don't count this as a win...

      I think you missed the point. Because the Office licenses are per-machine, rather than per-user (as far as I know), 1 license of Office can be used to serve hundreds of clients with a fast enough machine. It's a pretty big loophole in their licensing, but due to the lack of multi-desktop remoting in Windows I guess they never thought any body would figure out how to exploit it.

      • Re:Irony? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rmadmin ( 532701 )
        Yeah, wait for the next 'Security Patch' to have the updated EULA. Microsoft will probably be changing their licensing very quickly. Which turns it around again and makes it useless. =)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:31AM (#4862298)
        Because the Office licenses are per-machine, rather than per-user (as far as I know), 1 license of Office can be used to serve hundreds of clients with a fast enough machine. It's a pretty big loophole in their licensing, but due to the lack of multi-desktop remoting in Windows I guess they never thought any body would figure out how to exploit it.

        Try doing some basic research [microsoft.com]:

        If you don't want to click the link, here you go:

        Note: Every device that connects to a terminal server will need to be properly licensed for its own terminal server usage, in addition to being licensed appropriately to use other applications and servers. Use terminal servers to centrally manage and support the deployment of Office suites in your organization. Dedicate a license for Office for every computer on which you plan to use Office. Examples of computers that might run Office on a terminal server include Windows-based workstations, Macintoshes, and UNIX workstations. The terminal servers themselves do not require Office licenses, unless someone sitting at the console will be running Office.
        • Microsoft licenses its desktop application products on a per-computer basis. Per-computer licensing means a valid license must be obtained for each "device" (please see the device definition later in this document) that "runs" (please see the run definition later in this document) the product.

          Hmmm. Interesting - they don't seem to define "terminal server" anywhere, and the document appears to assume that you'd use Windows Terminal Services, rather than simply exporting an X display (which doesn't actually involve a terminal server at any point, client and server are reversed in X).

          You're probably right though, their definition of "device" and "run" seems fairly watertight, but IANAL etc.

          • Oh, just thought of something else. CrossOver Office despite the name can run more than Office. Microsoft may well have the terminal server situation locked down, but what about other apps?

            Well, I'm not going to condone that. It'd be a rather not nice way of avoiding licensing fees. I guess this is most useful for the usual reasons application servers are useful, ie central control, "instant upgrades" etc.

          • they don't seem to define "terminal server" anywhere

            Which means that a court will define it in a way that most closely preserves the spirit of the agreement.

            and the document appears to assume that you'd use Windows Terminal Services, rather than simply exporting an X display (which doesn't actually involve a terminal server at any point, client and server are reversed in X).

            A "terminal server" under the agreement would probably include any computer that exports an X display.

            Nothing you read on Slashdot is legal advice. Use Slashdot only as a tool for getting a rough feel for other users' experience in similar situations; discuss details with your attorney.

          • Basically, are you willing to try to defend that sort of technicality in a court of law? I wouldn't advise it, but IANAL :)

            Anyhow, the big advantage this brings isn't the savings in licensing costs on Office, but rather the licensing costs for Windows itself. Furthermore, it makes it possible to have an office running on thin client linux systems and still be able to use MS Office if that is a necessity. This allows for centralized management and all the benefits that brings.

          • Practically this is helpful in cases where you're running a Linux desktop in a corporate environment.

            MyCorp purchases site licenses, which means I get to use Word, though I rarely do on my Linux or Sun box, since it's slow and the user interface aggravates me. But sometimes I can't avoid it, someone sends me a ".doc" attachment in an email. OpenOffice works for most purposes as a valid Word clone, but not in every single instance.

            If CodeWeavers can put Office over the network at a reasonable level of interactivity, then there's less reasons to be tied exclusively to Windows desktops in a typical corporation.

            After all, what people typically need is a tolerable means for viewing and editing .doc files.

            Whether Windows sits underneath ought to be irrelevant.

        • by Strog ( 129969 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:01AM (#4862553) Homepage Journal
          Licensing Microsoft Office in a Windows Terminal Server Environment

          Mostly talking about Microsoft's terminal licensing here. Read the EULA for Office and you will see a license only allows you to use it one at a time so you still will need to buy a bunch of licenses.

          We used to run network installs of Word, Excel, etc. on 3.11 diskless workstations. The license was set up for concurrent use if you installed it this way. We had x number of licenses and some 3rd party software that would popup a box when x+1 copy tried to run. It would ask if you wanted to wait or send a message to one of the users currently in it and listed the current users.

          I believe there has been some rewording since the 16bit days. Anyone have current EULA info?
        • by EllisDees ( 268037 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @12:05PM (#4863091)
          From the top of the page you posted:

          "This document addresses the most commonly asked questions about licensing Microsoft® Office in a Windows terminal server environment."

          Terminal server [microsoft.com] refers to a specific microsoft technology. It is doubtful that using a non-microsoft technology would invoke these restrictions at all. Besides, you could always use an earlier version of office that didn't contain the above license restrictions.
        • That stuff only applies if you license the software. Why would you? Why not just buy a single legal copy, and then take the terms offered by copyright law, instead of making deal with Microsoft for worse terms?

          We're not talking about the GPL here; Microsoft EULAs don't give you anything of value. Just decline the offer.

          • You can't buy a single legal copy. Part of the EULA says that if you don't accept the terms, you should return it for a refund (not that they'll give it to you; remember Windows Refund Day). Of course, it's Microsoft's decision to only license their software.

            If they wanted to make an EULA-less copy, that would be a decision on their end. However, they don't. It's theirs, and they can do whatever they want.

        • Examples of computers that might run Office on a terminal server include Windows-based workstations, Macintoshes, and UNIX workstations.

          Say what? Can someone who knows more than I do explain how Unix workstations can run Office (Aside from Sun's PCi card, which is effectively a separate PC anyway?)

        • by blakestah ( 91866 ) <blakestah@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @03:42PM (#4865293) Homepage
          Note. Using Crossover is not a Windows Terminal Server environment. At all. Windows Terminal Server is a specifically defined product.

          You do not need any license to connect a PC to a linux X server. There is a great deal of ambiguity as to whether the current licensing would require one office license for each concurrent user, or one for each piece of hardware that will display it. The version of office is ALWAYS run on the linux machine, it is just displayed and captures mouse/keyboard input from elsewhere.

          Now, device is defined by Microsoft to mean anyplace it will contact any piece of hardware, but it is non-trivial to draw the line. Does a diskless client require a license ? How about if multiple people use wireless keyboards, monitors, and mice, but run it off the same machine ? Is then each wireless device required to have a license? Or just each combination (keyboard, mouse, monitor)? Or is the whole wireless net that all talks to one machine considered under one license?

          Now, how is a thin linux client different from a wireless keyboard/monitor/mouse combination?

          I think it would be fairly easy to convince a judge that per device licensing in a networked environment is completely ambiguous, whereas concurrent user licenses are straightforward.
      • Re:Irony? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by r_j_prahad ( 309298 )
        Before anybody jumps in to defend Microsoft, this was exactly the same approach Microsoft used several years ago to mop the floor with Novell. Just put an NT box in front of a Netware server, and you only have to pay Novell for one user license.

        Given the history of this tactic, it seems amazing that Microsoft would leave the same loophole in their own EULA.
      • Re:Irony? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:55AM (#4863006) Homepage Journal
        As of the last several M$ seminars I attended, they told us that Office was indeed now licensed per warm body, and sometimes PLUS a lic. per networked machine. (At least, as best the M$ rep could explain it. It's so damn convoluted that he confused himself while making the attempt. Boiled down to trying to collect *both* per seat and per user license money.)

        The examples were: If you have one machine used by one secretary, that's one license, but if the machine is accessable AT ALL by anyone else (even if they don't actually use it), you need a lic. for each and every such person. If you have one home machine with two users, you're required to have two licenses. (Yeah, like that's going to happen.)

        Needless to say this got much growling from the audience.

    • Re:Irony? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pVoid ( 607584 )
      I hope you don't count this as a win

      I must agree with parent, to refute grandparent that this is not a win for the *NIX community. (no pun intended)

      But, I just want to add that cross platform interoperation, regardless of between where and where, is *always* A Good Thing for the whole world of computing.

  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@@@email...com> on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:21AM (#4862214)
    First off, do they allow this sort of distribution? If so, what sort of a license does one buy?

    Of course, the cynic in me would enquire as to how long people think it will be before they explicitly forbid this sort of thing.

    • by Idaho ( 12907 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:28AM (#4862283)
      First off, do they allow this sort of distribution? If so, what sort of a license does one buy?

      Of course, the cynic in me would enquire as to how long people think it will be before they explicitly forbid this sort of thing.


      look here [codeweavers.com] to get at least some answers to questions like this.

      Let me quote some of it:

      Q: Can Microsoft prevent CodeWeaver's customers from running Microsoft applications on Linux?

      A: No. Microsoft's end-user licenses do not preclude operating their applications under other operating systems. Were Microsoft to attempt to prohibit such usage, by requiring that Microsoft products be run only on the Windows OS, they would be in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Sherman Act precludes making the usage of a non-monopoly product dependent on the purchase of a monopoly product. Microsoft has been convicted of monopolist practices under the Sherman Act regarding their operating systems. As a result, they cannot legally make Microsoft Office dependent on having a Windows OS license.

      Q: Can Microsoft sue CodeWeaver's customers for using Wine?

      A: Not if you license Wine from CodeWeavers. One of the protections you receive as a customer of CodeWeavers is that you are licensing Wine from us. We warrant that the product you are buying from us is legal. If it isn't, the term of your license agreement with us says that we are responsible for its legality, not you.

      So, they have found a very nice way to circumvent this problem - if Microsoft might find a way to make this illegal afterall (companies could be scared this might happen), they specifically tell you in their agreement that THEY will take the blame, not you.

      Ofcourse, this means Crossover would go out of business, but that would happen anyway if MS finds a way to outlaw their software. At least it takes away the reason 'I can't buy this because I fear it might give me legal trouble'.
      • But aren't Windows and Office both monopoly products?

        I realize that it shouldn't matter, and it becomes an issue of monopoly maintenance rather than monopoly extension. But it may leave weasel-room. (Hopefully only enough weasel-room to fit in a clue-by-four aimed at their collective head.)

        Oh, IANAL.
      • DMCA? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sterno ( 16320 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:56AM (#4862509) Homepage
        Here's an unplesant thought of how they could make it illegal. In the next release of Office, make it dependent on some sort of DRM technology in the Windows operating system. If they did this:

        1) Because that is security related, Microsoft could keep the knowledge of how this interface would work under the exceptions outlined in their settlement.

        2) If Codeweavers was to reverse engineer it, Microsoft could claim that their implementation was circumventing an access control and take them to court under the DMCA. Moreover, since Codeweavers actually sells these products, they could actually be brought up on criminal charges.

        Number two might make for an interesting court battle, assuming codeweavers has the resources to fight it.
        • Here's an unplesant thought of how they could make it illegal. In the next release of Office, make it dependent on some sort of DRM technology in the Windows operating system.

          The DMCA expressly allows reverse engineering for the porpoise of interoperability.
        • 2) If Codeweavers was to reverse engineer it, Microsoft could claim that their implementation was circumventing an access control and take them to court under the DMCA. Moreover, since Codeweavers actually sells these products, they could actually be brought up on criminal charges.

          So get somebody in Hungary to do it. Any non american in fact.

          Would CodeWeavers get sued? I don't think so, because it's to do with interoperability, not circumvention. They are trying to faithfully recreate the Office XP product activation stuff for instance.

      • With Palladium, they could make the Office code dependent both on the hardware element (on the server) and on the signed, authenticated software for it to be running on.

        They could charge exhorbitant fees for full "security" auditing of software before signing it so that Office et. al. can run on it ("We have to protect the security of these key applications.").

        This would require Codeweavers to pay up for each distro that they support, paying MS to audit the security of the product. And they in theory would require new audits for each revision. Hell, they could charge separate fees for different build options.

      • Is there a state or government law that permits software to be licenced ? if not, then all licences are non-valid. The government should make an official body that validates software licences, otherwise I own the product I purchase.
        And since licences are not signed by the buyer, the buyer has no legal obligation to obey them.
    • If MS ever tries to prevent people from running their office software on any other OS than MS's own windows OS, the monopoly charges will explode.

      MS itself knows that to prevent this would be suicide, and would only lend credibility to the idead that one company should not be in control of both the OS software and the office applications.

      -Adam

    • First off, do they allow this sort of distribution? If so, what sort of a license does one buy?

      The way I'm reading it is that the software is running (and therefore distrubuted) ONLY on the server. The clients simply are thin display programs that do not actually run any of the software themselves.

      Did I miss something here?
    • Doesn't Office require a license for every instance? It would be hard to save that much money going this route...
    • Microsoft does not allow concurrent licensing of its Office Product no matter how you are running.

      Therefore, if you have 100 devices (not users) in your office, be they full blown PCs or thin clients, and at some point each one of them will have a user running Office on it, then you need a license for Office. It doesn't matter if only 2 devices are running Office at any given moment. It matters how many devices ultimately have used Office.

      What Codeweavers allows is concurrent licensing. Which means that if you only have 2 devices using Office via Codeweavers at any given time, you only need 2 licenses of Codeweavers. If 25 devices are using it at the same time, you need 25. But you still need 100 licenses of MS Office itself.

      Microsofts lack of concurrent licensing is a REAL drag.

      The solution that Codweavers is trying to replace is Windows 2000 + Client Access Licenses + Terminal Server Client Access Licenses + Citrix Concurrent Licenses+Office Licenses per device. For 100 devices, but only 25 concurrent, the costs are roughly: 1000+3000+10000+3500+42500= 60000.

      Codeweavers offers Codeweavers Server + 25 Concurrent Licenses + Offices Licenses per device. Or: 1195+1185+42500= 44880.

      The savings are not insignificant, but not all that great. Especially when you consider that Codeweavers only runs a limited subset of Win32 applications, and not 100% on any. The Windows + Citrix solution runs all applications that could be run on a regular Windows 2000 desktop. Much more versatile.

      That said, if you are seeking to move off of Microsoft products Codeweavers is providing a valuable intermediate step in that transition.
    • The beauty of this approach is that the application software (MS Office) only needs to be installed on one computer. There is no point in trying to get the volume discount associated with a site license (volume discount for qty 1?). Thus, you don't need to buy licenses at all -- just buy a single copy of the software from a retail store and don't open the box until after your vendor has accepted your payment. No EULA, no weird restrictions, just copyright.
  • Win4Lin and VMWare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqrammi ( 535861 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:22AM (#4862222)
    Aren't Win4Lin and VMWare both already serving up Windows applications (or at least full blown Windows desktops) from a Linux server? Win4Lin has worked nicely for me for quite some time. Sqram! (sqrammi.com)
    • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:31AM (#4862304) Homepage Journal
      No. They are serving up Windows apps from a Linux workstation.

      There's a big difference. This is meant for an office network where multiple people will be running apps like Word simultaneously from the same server.
    • Yeah, but with those you need a desktop in a window (as far as I'm aware). With Wine it'd appear in a window assuming a rootless X server just like any other program.

      In fact, other than the fact that all the text/labels/menus etc would be antialiased, I don't think you'd be able to tell it was running remotely on a Linux server at all.

      Oh, except clippy wouldn't work. Rejoice! I can see the headlines now - Clippy dies in wave of corporate cost cutting.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's a little bit different. VMWare is hardware virtualization, each instance of VMWare running is another virtual machine. Citrix, or Microsoft Terminal Services give us a desktop session off of one machine (not a virtualized/emulated hardware system for each session). Think if PCAnywhere or VNC didn't take control of the physical console, and it's kinda the same idea. I suppose you could try and spawn a new VMWare sessions running VNC everytime someone tried to connect to the server, but this wouldn't be nearly as efficent
    • The big difference is that VMWare & Win4Lin emulate the entire machine, and hence need a larger server.

      The CodeWeavers solution looks like it simply runs the Windows executable, and can keep the resource usage much smaller. This in turn allows many more applications to run on a standard server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:23AM (#4862234)
    is usually quickly followed by BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA and "we have you now, mr. bond!"
  • Confused (Score:5, Funny)

    by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:27AM (#4862269) Homepage
    So we've got non-free software built on top of free software in order to serve up non-free software from a company that wishes to destroy free software.

    I'm so confused. Can't they all just wear black hats or white hats so I know which ones are the bad guys and which are the good guys?
    • Re:Confused (Score:3, Funny)

      by imr ( 106517 )
      Just wait till you find out a picture of kkk men, and you will be even more confused.
    • There aren't good or bad guys. And in the same way, there isn't Good or Bad software. It's all shades.

      So in that respect, you shouldn't be happy cause the GI Joes won, but rather because you have new found choice. A more granular choice than having a dual boot system, or VMWare running, or just having no choice at all and being on a single platform all the time.

    • Re:Confused (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Soko ( 17987 )
      You don't know a Trojan Badger^H^H^H^H^H Horse when you see one, do you?

      This will make it easier to get Linux into MSFT only shops, since it is in the guise of a Citrix Server. Once in the door, it should prove to be a good business descision, which means the PHBs will start to see Linux in a positive light. It's all about getting inside the walls of Fort Redmond, and then letting the troops out to fight.

      Get it?

      Soko
  • I used to work in a hospital that deployed several old P-75 computers that couldn't hack an Office install. Instead, they used Word, Excel, and PowerPoint viewers. I can just imagine the productivity they would gain be being able to use full-blown versions of the software on these old dinosaurs instead of the viewers. A very tasty thought indeed!
  • by u-235-sentinel ( 594077 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:27AM (#4862274) Homepage Journal
    I've been using crossover office for a month and already love it!

    Basically I was not allowed to pop/imap into the exchange 5.5 server and have been running vmware with win2k/office. vmware is great however running win2k under linux was terribly slow. Now I simply run outlook under linux/crossover and life is good. Outlook under Linux is VERY fast!

    I strongly recommend their products. I'll be keeping an eye on them in the future.
  • by craenor ( 623901 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:30AM (#4862296) Homepage
    I thought this had something to do with John Edward..like maybe if I ran this, my server would channel my old Commodore 64.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:33AM (#4862315)
    The most delicious irony will come when we release a Windows client, and we start serving Windows applications to a Windows desktop through a Linux server.

    Right there... irony. The correct spelling is soul-crushing lawsuit.
  • by smoser ( 4385 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:34AM (#4862328)
    I read the release, how is this different from just doing remote X and using wine?

    Ie, couldn't Solaris users always ssh/telnet to a linux machine configured to use wine and run an app with the display set back to the thinclient or ssh-X forwarding?

    I know I've done this linux->linux.

    someone enlighten me?
    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:47AM (#4862436)
      Yeah, that's basically how it works. CodeWeavers build on top of it to provide easy management etc, and also it's normally easier to get applications working on their stuff as they have app specific hacks, friendlier setup tools and so on.

      If you wanted, you could set this up using only WineHQ builds and some shell scripts - as is often the way, it comes down to time vs money.

  • by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:45AM (#4862408)
    The press release does not go into detail about the terminal server features of the new Cross-Over Server. Does it use it's own transport mechanism, or is it relying on X-11?

    I suspect that it is using the X-11 approach and this will NOT impact the likes of Citrix. Citrix provides a great deal of functionality beyond simple terminal services. The management tools and the ability to publish applications are unrivaled and any administrator who has used them is not going to easily part with them. But, perhaps the biggest distinction is that Citrix uses a TINY amount of bandwidth when compared to X-11 or VNC. Whereas Citrix ICA protocol can work very nicely at 20Kbps VNC can easily use a couple of hundred Kbps and X-11 can go over 10Mbps for even basic applications.

    Sure a Citrix implementation costs a fortune, mostly due to the fact that Microsoft requires three different licenses including a Windows license, a Terminal Server license and then Terminal Server CALs. It's damn expensive but, companies that really need that kind of functionality can easily afford it and once it's in, they won't part with it.
    • Citrix is not a particularly fast product. However, much of that can be put down to server power, which it eats alive. Have you ever seen TightVNC? not exactly as fast as Citrix (they don't have the Win source to hack) but it still works well enough to run most things (including both Windows and X). As for X, you seem to have forgotten that it was designed when most people weren't even directly on the 10Mbps LANs, and I have seen four thin-clients on the other side of a 64K LAN bridge working quite nicely.
    • right now this might compete on the ultra-low end (i.e. places that could never have afforded Citrix system pricing anyway.)

      crossover office costs about $1000 for a server license, plus about $40-$47 per user (not including Office licenses.) not bad, considering that to do a Citrix implementation you need:

      • Citrix base server license pack
      • per concurrent user citrix user license
      • NON CONCURRENT windows 2000 TSCAL per connecting device (this one gets lots of people and it's enforced by the server)
      • windows 2000 server license
      • office license per user
      • somewhat savvy citrix geek to install it all and make sure your other apps work in a multi user environment. but the average biz would probably need a linux geek to setup crossover anyway, so it's sort of a wash on this point.
      but for all that, a Citrix setup gets you pretty good print support (what happens when Joe User hits the print button while on crossover office?), low bandwidth ICA protocol, client drive mapping, client com port/parallel port mapping, and for extra bucks per user, pretty slick load balancing.

      places that skip the citrix bit and go with bare w2k terminal services (not recommended if you have the means) might want to look at this instead, since bare 2k term servers have most of the same problems.

      • what happens when Joe User hits the print button while on crossover office?

        Uh, a piece of paper comes out of the printer? Or a bunch of pieces, depending on how long the document is.

        -Brent
    • the biggest distinction is that Citrix uses a TINY amount of bandwidth when compared to X-11 or VNC. Whereas Citrix ICA protocol can work very nicely at 20Kbps VNC can easily use a couple of hundred Kbps and X-11 can go over 10Mbps for even basic applications.

      Indeed X is a bandwidth hog, but I am not sure about the 10mbs your are talking about, this seems way to much to me.Anyway there is LBX (Low Bandwidth X) which uses compression and caching through a proxy, it's said to be competitive with ICA in the bandwidth field : http://www.paulandlesley.org/faqs/LBX-HOWTO.html
      • Well sorry, after some googling, it appears that LBX is largly outdated, and didn't achieve the performances it's conceptors were hoping. This brief paper of Keith packard explains why : http://www.xfree86.org/~keithp/talks/lbxpost/paper .html
    • The management tools and the ability to publish applications are unrivaled

      I have come across a VNC distribution that allows single-applications to be published.

      Citrix uses a TINY amount of bandwidth when compared to X-11 or VNC.

      Not so. I know I have had TightVNC operating nearly as bandwidth-effeciently as Citrix. Supposedly RealVNC has even better compression with less CPU usage, but I haven't yet tried it.

      The trick is only that you need to do some trial and error to figure out which VNC settings work the best, while Citrix doesn't give you any choices. RealVNC claims to automatically adjust the settings for your connection, but, again, I haven't yet tried it out; it may still require some adjustments.
  • Congrats ???? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:54AM (#4862502)
    Although I fully appreciate the technical value of thier achievments I fail to see how this lowers my TCO ???? I'll still need to pay MS for the Office Licences and since most MS customers are under volume or site agreemensts this doesn't appear to be any cheaper that running a normal Terminal Server.

    Why continue to chase Microsofts tail when better solutions could be developed that dont involve thier products at all.

    I am not flaming ... but I think the Linux community (of which I am a proud member) can be a little blinded by thier technical prowess and forget that some of us have to justify the costs to our bosses. If its not a CLEARLY a cheaper solution, then no sale.

    Congrats none the less ...
  • Cool...but, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rindeee ( 530084 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:02AM (#4862563)
    I will happily continue using SuSE 8.1 running Crossover Office (or just WINE) + TightVNC. I have used it in place of Windows 2000 Terminal Services in two production projects thus far and the customers love it. Don't get me wrong, I like what they have done with server edition as I believe it will appeal to the "enterprise" class customers who feel that money spent equals money well spent. Kudos to the guys at CodeWeavers. Crossover Office is spectacular.

    ER
  • The GREAT thing about citrix-metaframe is the bandwidth utilization. At my last company we had over 20 clients connecting over a 128k line running apps from a server a state away, and you couldn't really tell it was remote.

    I think they intercept the windows GUI functions at a lower API than something like pcanywhere.

    Does this match the speed? If it's using XWindows, probably not.
    • Other way around, AFAIK. Instead of transmitting the changes to the screen pixel by pixel (though compressed), they intercept the Windows GUI functions at a higher level to get the changes in a more abstract form. Think transfer "draw this rectangle at x,y with width w,h" instead of transferring every damn pixel that change. This is essentially what X does as well, except that the X protocol can be quite bandwidth hungry with modern apps unless you run an app in between to do compression and caching of data.
      • yup.. that's what I meant ... low-level, high-level mixup, silly me.

        And I think it my even have been better than that... I think it may have been more like, "Draw a listbox at x,y with width w,h with these items in it", because you saw VERY little network traffic after a dialog was shown. But I have no idea how it actually worked.
  • by brycenut ( 456384 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:08AM (#4862621)
    OK, the difference between using Wine & Codeweavers product is that you're getting a customized version of Wine that specifically WILL run MS Office products. I've played with regular wine, through many incarnations and versions, and never had any real success getting MS Office apps to run. OTOH, I have had great success with Codeweavers workstation product.


    This product is used to serve up (via X) MS Office apps to multiple clients, as has been possible for years using a Windows Server and running MS Office over the network, a standard procedure in many companies. This makes it easy to upgrade, apply service packs, etc, as all you have to do is update 1 copy on the server, rather than all users copies on their workstations.


    This product executes the Office app under wine on x86 Linux, and sends it to any given X server. Presumably, you could run a Win32 PC X server and run MS Office from an x86 Linux server to a Windows desktop, although, this would obviously be somewhat counterproductive.


    Since wine only runs on Linux (and FreeBSD, to some extent) on x86 processors, as mentioned in FAQ #3 [winehq.org] on the wine development site, this means that users of Solaris, LinuxPPC, sparc Linux, and other commercial UNIX users were left out in the cold as far as being able to run MS Office. Now, however, you simply need to set up a server with this product, install MS Office, and then setup accounts, etc. Users can simply run the program, and Word, et. al. will appear as a regular window on their X desktop.


    PS. The level of what works/what doesn't varies a little among the Office family; Word & Excel are best, PPT/Access don't run as well, the last I checked. IE & Outlook are supposed to be great. (at least as great as said products can be :))

  • This seems idiotic to me. Interesting endevour.. But what is the purpose? You still have to pay for licenses of office. Now you have to setup all this shit so people can run windows apps on linux "thin clients" ... What does a copy of win98 cost? And a PC to run it and Windows? Is this solution saving you money? Time? It's seems like a very complicated way to open Word documents. rw
    • More to the point what is the cost of maintaining a building full of Windows PCs? X terminals have no moving parts and when they break you send a monkey to replace the defective unit in the trash and replace it with a new X terminal. Instead of sending a computer technician (with years of experience mucking around in the registry) to fix a broken PC you send a janitor. Want to upgrade to a new version of your Office suite. Instead of spending a month walking around with CDs in hand you simply pop your CD in the server and 25 minutes later you are done.

      With thin clients you end up with precisely one machine to administer. The Crossover client allows you to have a single server that serves up both Linux applications, but also critical Windows applications like MS Word. Such a beast would be perfect for organizations looking at switching over to Linux-based thin clients over the long term, as it would allow their users to access both Linux and Windows applications easily.

  • From a quick read this is what I understand.

    You have a beefy linux server and various x-windows box in your office.

    You install your _legal_ MS office on your Linux server using codeweavers software.

    Then your x-windows boxes can connect to your linux server to get an office window.

    So do you need a license of office for ever current user. Or would one license feed 10/100/1000 people?

    Thanks.

  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:31AM (#4862840) Journal
    Hmm, maybe this could bring down TCO?

    Since Citrix is commonly used in conjunction with Windows clients to run remote programs, this program being Microsoft Office on some occasions, replacing Citrix with a cheaper solution and replacing the Windows clients with Linux (free), you can (duh) save money.

    Lets look at a simple setup, where you have a Citrix (the XP edition, not the MetaFrame 1.8, which has a much higher intitial cost but is cheaper to add licenses too - $4,900 for the English, Win2k in fact) server providing access to Office 2000 to the type of crap systems you see on secretary workstations and library consoles around the nation: a Windows 95/98 machine with 64 megs of RAM and a 2.4 gig hard drive. A Citrix "starter" (5 licenses) runs you about $1900 bucks. The Office license is like $300-$400. The Windows client is dirt cheap or "paid for", but will still find a way to consume tech support time somehow. Oh, don't forget the cost of the Windows or Unix license for the server itself.

    On the other hand, the CrossOver Office server is $1,195. With a Linux workstation and a Linux server, you dump the cost of the Microsoft licenses and can make the workstation into a true, no hassle thin client. You can then expand this equation: A 25 user licenses + Citrix runs you $5800-$8000, depending on the version. CrossOver Office would be $2,380 with 25 user licenses.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Lets see,

      The talk here is comparing the solution to Citrix, Microsoft RDP (terminal server) is a better comparison as it has similar network charastics to X11.

      To compare for 25 users the costs are,

      Microsoft + Citrix $15,700
      Microsoft $11,000
      Linux + Crossover $10,000

      The main cost is Office for all solutions: $7500, although for the Citrix solution $4800 is hefty as well.

      The Microsoft RDP protocol is marginally better than X11 according to general consensus. However it is not really supported for Dial-up use (No personal experience with X over dialup). The Citrix protocol (ICA) is very efficient and will work over a v.90 modem (atleast for Real video ;)

      CrossOver office will be marginally cheaper than the RDP solution and will support the service packs, but it needs modification to do so (Currently supports SP3 for Office 2K.)

      Conclusion:

      If you need dialup connectivity, you fork out for Citrix. Period. Otherwise, the diffrence between the Microsoft and Cross solutions are negligable from a cost standpoint.

      If you use no Microsoft OS on the clients you can save $2500 more (at $100/client), and if you point your MS clients at your Cross server you can add $500 for X clients (about $20/ client). Additionally, if you buy a "official server" Linux you will add a few hundred more.

      In either case, you could just get old ICA or X terminals (no moving parts) for $70/each and skip allmost all client maintance costs.

      Costs: (from CDW)

      Office:
      25x$300= 7500 for office licenses (each machine that is going to "use locally or remotely" will need a license)Since Cross does not support Access, I am using the standard version.

      Microsoft Adv server 25/licenses $3400
      Metaframe Xps +5 license $1500
      20 more Citrix licenses $3300

      Total ~= $7500 for Office + $8200 MS+Citrix

      Cross over office:

      $1200 for the server software
      $1200 for the 25 user license pack
      $7500 for office

      This solution allows you to save nearly $6000 versus Citrix, but only $1000 vs RDP.
  • Its actually a useful tool.

    It ill allow you to run windows applications ( and of course X apps too ) on lower power machines that could not normally handle this.

    All the power is on the server.

    This is the whole concept/beauty of client/server type setups, Reducing the resource requirements of the clients. Plus you get centralized management and support.

    While its true you will still need application licenses, you do save the cost of terminal server.

    Of course it wont beat ICA for its tiny footprint and bandwidth savings, but in the proper environment this will still do wonders. Assuming of course, that the apps you need will work properly under Wine..

  • by RandyF ( 588707 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @12:33PM (#4863364) Journal

    The ideal is to kick out all M$ proprietary licenses and go with strictly OSS applications. The reality is that most corporations cannot stomach the instant switchover. Sure, OpenOffice (and others) do a pretty good job of pulling up office docs. The're just not perfect, especially on a heavily scripted M$ environment. So, what's the answer?

    Bring out Linux desktops that can run the native Linux apps and connect to the Crossover Server to get to the old proprietary apps. This puts Linux on the desktop immediately but allows them to go through the slow migration that is necessary to keep their businesses in operation!

    Idealism takes time. The only way to be a true idealist is to first be a pragmatist. Patients and good innovation will win the day!

  • I understand they took WINE and added some stuff so that it would run MS Office better. Was the stuff they added specific to MS Office or generic enhancements?

    Does someone know where a list of apps is that will run better on their software than on WINE?

    • www.codeweavers.com maybe? They list a few other explicitly supported products like Lotus Notes, Quicken, Internet Explorer, Visio and Outlook. They have a partial listing of other packages, as well as a list of those known not to work and some packages listed as unknown.
  • If your client can run X, then this is already do-able. I run Lotus Notes under Wine, along with a few other windows apps. As long as Wine is configured to allow the Window Manager to manage Wine application windows ("Managed=yes" in ~/.wine/config), the application can be exported using standard X procedures (either ssh -x, or set DISPLAY, xhost, etc).
    So, I ssh -x into my "server" which has WINE and Lotus Notes from my FreeBSD box running XFree86-4, and export my Lotus Notes interface with no problems.

    What does CodeWeavers offer that this setup does not?

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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