Running Windows apps under Linux

By Richard Sharpe, |  Operating Systems

Install the custom kernel. If you have not made any modifications to your kernel, you can use the supplied script. The Win4Lin installation supplies patched kernels for a number of popular distributions. However, if you have applied other patches to your Linux kernel, you will have to apply the Win4Lin kernel patches and rebuild your kernel.

Install Win4Lin. You should do that by running from your installation kit. If you are installing Win4Lin 2.0 or one of its betas, install the RPM. You must perform that step as root.

Install Windows on your system using the winsetup command. You must also perform that step as root.

Set up a personal copy of Windows 9x again, using the winsetup command. You must do that while logged in as the user who will use Win4Lin.

Once all that is done, you can run Windows by simply executing the win command. You will see a window that has Windows running in it. Of course, you will also have to install your Windows applications into the version of Windows running under Win4Lin.

During my testing, I installed Office 97 under Win4Lin and felt that the installation process was much faster than the same installation under VMware on the same system.

Win4Lin is commercial software that you can purchase from the Win4Lin homepage for $39.95, or $49.95 for the CD version.


VMware provides a very complete virtual machine environment that emulates an Intel x86-based computer, running under Linux as the host operating system (it also runs under Windows NT).

Since VMware emulates a PC, it comes complete with a BIOS, and you can change BIOS parameters in the same way as with a normal PC. The emulation is so complete that each virtual machine can have one or more virtual Ethernet devices for networking. Networking is discussed in more detail below.

You can download VMware from the company's Website either as a compressed TAR archive or as an RPM. If you have downloaded the RPM, installation is a two-step process.

First install the RPM, using your favorite rpm command:

rpm -ivh VMware-2.0.2-621_i386.rpm

Don't worry if your numbers are slightly different, as you may have downloaded a more up-to-date version.

Second, configure VMware to run on your system, using the command. I will discuss that step in more detail below because you will also need it if you install from a compressed TAR archive, and if you change your kernel.

If you install from the compressed TAR archive, the steps are:

Extract the contents of the TAR archive:

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