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Win4Lin--For Those Who Can't Leave Microsoft Windows Behind - page 3

Bridging the Windows-Linux Gap

  • July 16, 2002
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

I've got the boxed edition here so I've got a handy paper manual to work with. Since this is a graphical application with a graphical installer, I start up GNOME and pop the CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive. Once I've got the CD-ROM mounted I type /mnt/cdrom/win4lin-install, and up pops the initial installation dialog (Figure 1).

The installer checks to see if I've got a previous version of Win4Lin on my system but I don't. It then checks to see if my installation routine is up to date, and after that gives me the usual fun of reading the license agreement and then entering in the nice, long license code.

There's a privacy policy included with the online registration component, which is good to see. Even better, though, is that the installer looks at your system to see what version of Linux you're using, and can give you suggestions on how to improve your chances of the installation working. I don't get the most severe warning "You do not appear to be using a standard kernel." Unfortunately I do get one that results in seeing "Click Finish to exit the installer."

I look at the Help again and there's nothing about my particular kernel message. I go to the web site and dig around, and in their Support section I go to Find An Answer. My search attempts bring up nothing. I go through all of the answers and see there's only one item in there for version 4.0, so the problem is perhaps that few people have asked questions yet! So I go and look at 3.0 questions and there's nothing particularly useful there either.

Sure, there are other things I might usually do first, but I'm reviewing this from an end user's point of view. Since I can't find the help I need elsewhere, I start digging around a bit more. In the subdirectory and on the documents page at the NeTraverse site, there's a kernel-patching document, and the message mentioned patching, so I take a look there. In the end, my conclusion on the issue of kernel patching is it's hard for me to imagine most new Linux users being able to get through this process.

I finally find a Win4Lin-enabled kernel that I can download specifically for Red Hat 7.3 by digging through their web site, as I figure that most end users would rather replace the whole kernel than deal with the patching. The kernel RPM installed smoothly for its designated distribution, though it was a bit odd to have to reboot a Linux box to continue with a software installationthe kernel is the operating system, after all, and the only way to use two kernels is to multi-boot.

When I reboot, there's a Win4Lin option in GRUB. I select this option, and proceed to the second stage of installation, where all of the Windows 98 files are put into place. This part goes much more smoothly. Soon, I'm in stage three, where I run the routine to set up a personal account to run properly with Windows 98 in Win4Lin (see Figure 2). This is the long part, but that's fine.

Stage three also passes easily. Now I've finally got Windows 98 running on my Linux box, using Win4Lin (see Figure 3).

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