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What is CrossOver Mac? How does CrossOver Mac compare to Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMWare Fusion?
First released in beta form on August 31, 2006, CodeWeavers CrossOver Mac makes it possible to run some Windows applications within MacOS X without installing Windows.
CodeWeavers explains that:
CrossOver Mac allows you to install many popular Windows applications and games on Mac OS X. CrossOver includes an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing Windows software simple and fast. Once installed, your application integrates seamlessly in OS X.
Just click and run your application directly from the OS X Finder. Clicking a Windows file or document -- including email attachments -- will launch the appropriate Windows program, allowing you to work on the files. Best of all, you do it all easily and affordably, without needing a Microsoft operating system license.
By comparison, Apple's Boot Camp makes it possible to install Windows on a separate partition and boot back and forth between MacOS X and Windows. Parallels Desktop for Mac, VMWare Fusion, and VirtualBox make it possible to run Windows -- or another operating system -- "inside" or "alongside" MacOS X.
The advantage of Boot Camp, with a copy of Windows installed, is that it supports effectively all Windows applications. Parallels Desktop for Mac, VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox, again with a copy of Windows installed, support the vast majority of applications.
With CrossOver Mac, however, particular applications may or may not work.
CodeWeavers is honest regarding the advantages and limitations of CrossOver Mac, and has posted an extremely reasonable "Truth in Advertising" guarantee you may wish to read regarding the company's real world experiences testing the program.
Ultimately, those interested in running a Windows application or two on an Intel-based Mac should be pleased to have a less expensive and potentially more convenient option.