CrossOver Office 5.0
The user guide for CrossOver Office is distributed as HTML files on disk suitable for off-line reading. The documentation is clear and easy to read, with helpful screenshots. It covers an exhaustive range of issues from installing CrossOver Office and Windows applications, to more advanced topics, such as the configuration of Windows emulation options.
The troubleshooting section was a little confusing, with a long cluttered list of frequently asked questions. The FAQ does cover a wide range of questions, and we recommend reading it for handy tips. We give CrossOver Office a thumbs up for documentation.
CrossOver Office installed and ran without a hitch on SUSE, Ubuntu and Slackware Linux. The list of supported distributions currently includes:
Red Hat 9
Fedora Core 4
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 3 and 4
Novell Linux Desktop
Given the reasonable range of modern distributions supported and that CrossOver Office worked very well even on unsupported distributions we tried, we give CrossOver Office a thumbs up for compatibility.
Support for the standalone editions is available in two levels. CrossOver Office Standard includes six months of Level 3 support. This level of support includes fixes for installation issues and only the most grievous problems with supported applications on tested distributions: “...you should not expect a rapid or complete response to any but the most serious problems.”
CrossOver Office Professional includes 12 months of Level 2 support. This level of support promises problem resolution for any problem found within any supported application. Any Level 2 problem will be triaged and logged. Problems encountered on non-tested distributions will be considered.
The archives of the support ticketing system used by all levels of support can be found on the CodeWeavers' Web site and can be accessed by unregistered users, allowing all users of the software to search the database to find solutions to their problems. For lesser support levels, CodeWeavers provides a medium-volume mailing list and an IRC channel.
We went to the IRC channel to find support for various minor problems we encountered. The person who helped us was courteous and friendly and very well informed. We give CrossOver Office a thumbs up for support.
How We Tested
We tested by installing CrossOver Office on three machines. Waste is a Pentium 4 1.7GHz with 512MB memory running Ubuntu, and Holly is a Pentium III 700MHz with 256MB of memory running SUSE. To check how CrossOver Office installs on unsupported distributions, we also tried running various applications on Hal, a 2.4GHz with 1,024MB of memory and Slackware Linux.
We installed Internet Explorer, Apple's iTunes music player, Adobe Photoshop 7.0 and Microsoft Office 2000 on both machines. To test the stability of these applications, we performed a range of fairly standard tasks with them—playing MP3s from disk and streamed from music shares on a Macintosh with iTunes, touching up photographs with Adobe Photoshop, using Internet Explorer for Webmail and on-line banking and opening and editing various Word and Excel files with MS Office.
Microsoft Office, Photoshop and IE performed well on Waste and tolerably on Holly. Given Waste's modest specifications, as compared to even the cheapest of new machines today, we think this is pretty reasonable. Even running natively under Windows, Photoshop 7 isn't terribly fast on a Pentium III. The applications were not completely stable and crashed a few times during testing. All applications suffered from occasional rendering glitches.
iTunes and QuickTime required considerably more CPU power, and Holly's 700MHz was simply not up to the task. Audio crackled and was jerky, and video completely refused to play. Even on Waste, iTunes was unbearably slow to use and respond to user interaction. No amount of coaxing could convince it to play music smoothly. We tried various suggestions from support without success.
Due to some issues with stability and drastic problems with multimedia over multiple distributions, we give CrossOver Office a flat hand for capability.