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Real World Linux Showcases New Products, Strategies

TransGaming Technologies Launches New Face: Aclerex

  • May 1, 2003
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Here in Toronto, the first Real World Linux conference is in full swing despite the overblown threat of SARS. Some speakers have canceled, and some of the exhibitors pulled out due to no-go orders from their companies, but attendance was still good and many of the major players are here.

The focus here is Linux in business. It's a smaller show than what in New York City or San Francisco, but that doesn't mean that nothing interesting is happening. There are a number of product launches, particularly from Canadian companies, and some European vendors that are stretching into the North American market.

Ontario-based TransGaming Technologies (www.transgaming.com) is using this event to launch a new face for their company. While TransGaming's focus is providing an environment for playing Windows games on Linux boxes, a number of their subscribers began attempting to run home and business applications under TransGaming's WineX. These users discovered that the programs ran under the gaming environment, or almost ran, and so TransGaming began receiving queries for helping various companies--including some from the Fortune 2000 set--to bring the Windows applications they can't leave behind into the Linux world.

Aclerex (www.aclerex.com) doesn't necessarily rewrite the applications from the ground up. If the source code is available, then this makes their job easier, but they don't require it. As TransGaming, they had to implement key Windows APIs, such as DCOM and RPC. With these two issues already solved, TransGaming is well on its way toward being able to port many Windows packages quickly and easily.

When it came time to do their first major project, a port of The Sims, it took only eight weeks, with the longest part of the project being the DRM (Digital Rights Management)--copy protection aspect. It only took such a short time on the first project because Gavriel State, TransGaming's and Aclerex's founder, was the principal force behind the last push within Corel to port its Office applications to Linux.

Some might worry about the legal aspects of reverse engineering to port the applications, but this isn't actually an issue. APIs are published standards, so no reverse engineering is required. In fact, a number of the programs Acelerx's clients want to have ported are their own custom code: software that the company can't leave behind when leaving the Windows world.

Acelerex isn't marketing products to end users. The porting issue is far too complex, with too many variables, to offer a package that could satisfy everyone's needs. Instead, they're simply sitting back and letting those who need to have Windows software brought into the Linux world come to them. This model serves the needs of those companies who say, I'd like to move to Linux, but...

As Sue Menard, Director of Strategy & Enterprise Planning, puts it, "We've solved the 'but.'"

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