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CrossOver Office: Cutting to the Quicken

Mixing Windows, Linux, and Metaphors

August 29, 2002

There is a phenomenon in most societies that causes people to resist change. Call it the love of status quo, call it social inertia, call it conservatism--the label makes little difference on the symptomatic outcome.

Which is this: introduce a new idea and unless you get a certain threshold number of participants in that idea who believe in it as if they were the ones who came up with that idea in the first place, then that idea is always going to be slow in getting up off the ground. It may even die altogether.

This is most assuredly not the case with Linux and its adoption by the IT community. Through its own strengths and virtues, Linux has quietly, slowly, built up enough momentum of its own. It has become a roaring freight train in the server and clustered server arenas, and now some of its energy is trickling to the consumer level, the desktop.

Many have argued that Linux on the desktop is not such a sure thing. Even pro-Linux advocates are fairly conservative about the prospects of consumer-level adoption. And the anti-Linux crowd? Well, the hits just keep on coming.

"Linux is too hard to learn." With GNOME 2 and KDE 3 running? Please, those environments are about as user-friendly as they come. And don't get me started on all the other cool window managers out there.

"Linux is too hard to install." That argument is so 1990s. Current Linux distros are no harder to install than Windows--in many cases even simpler.

"Linux does not have the right applications." Then you aren't looking hard enough. OpenOffice.org, and its cousin StarOffice, is every bit as useful as any office suite put out for Windows. KOffice, AbiWord, Mozilla, Evolution... solid products all.

But I cannot be quite so cavalier about that last statement. While there are excellent applications out there for Linux, that old bugaboo of intertia rears its ugly head even for me from time to time. There are certain applications out there that require, at least for me, a Windows or Mac be located in the house somewhere:

  • Intuit Quicken
  • Intuit TurboTax
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • FAA Flight Training/Exam Software

These four applications are the reason I have a Windows machine sitting off to the side of my desk, only powered up for the once or twice-a-week occasion I might need them. Linux has (very satisfactorily) taken care of my other needs.

While I am an admitted geek, I have heard it stated by several sources that one of the biggest obstacles preventing so-called "normal" people from switching to Linux is the lack of small-business accounting software, such as Quicken. I could point to GNUCash, but let's face it--Quicken is wildly popular amongst the SOHO set as well as the home users who just want to balance their checkbooks every month. Quicken, it seems, has the intertia.

And this has been noticed by more than just the humble pundits--Codeweavers, Inc. took serious note of Quicken's popularity as well, and was apparently convinced of it since they have now added support for Quicken in the latest release of CrossOver Office 1.2.0.

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