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Win4Lin--For Those Who Can't Leave Microsoft Windows Behind - page 4

Bridging the Windows-Linux Gap

  • July 16, 2002
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Starting Win4Lin once I've got it installed is as easy as typing win &. It's been a while, but the first thing I do is set up Windows 98 to run in 1024x768 instead of 800x600. I'd forgotten how often this sucker had to reboot. Every little change makes me restart the Win4Lin session but it's much faster than a physical reboot.

I selected Virtual Networking so I have to set up this machine's networking before I can connect to the Internet or the other Windows boxes on my intranet. This turns out to be a nontrivial task unless you go to the web site and read the Win4Lin 4.0 Installation and Operations Guide, which is not included with the boxed set. Once again, it's really hard for me to imagine the average end user or Linux beginner getting through this without pulling their hair out unless they're wise enough to go to the web site right away for the documentation.

Even so, this Windows 98 session is fast. There's no feeling that I'm being bogged down by emulation. I start up a few of the default programs and there's no noticeable slowdown. But let's give this setup a real test. I haven't finished unpacking from my move so I have to go digging for Windows 98 software. There's an old home design package we had lying around called Super Home Suite, which installed perfectly fine (see Figure 4).

I then toss on and use a few other oldies but goodies. Everything goes great until I toss on an old antivirus program. Perhaps the changes made there were a bit too much.

Once it's installed, NeTraverse's Win4Lin works quite well in most ways. Setting up the Windows networking can be a bumpy ride but not if you go to the online manuals. My biggest concern is the installation process. I won't get into the pluses and minuses of altering the kernel, that's an entire side issue that in many ways boils down to personal preferences. But if this product is meant to let an end user transition easier to Linux, then it's going to need a much easier and more helpful installation process and guide.

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