This article is from the Frequently Asked Questions for Linux, the Free/Open Source UNIX-like operating system kernel that runs on many modern computer systems. Maintained by David C. Merrill with numerous contributions by others. (v1.0).
A: If you need to run MS Windows programs, the safest bet is to dual-boot Windows and Linux. LILO, the Linux boot loader, can boot one of several operating systems from a menu. Booting Windows is obviously the most reliable way to run all your Windows programs. See the LILO documentation for details on dual booting. Also, LOADLIN.EXE (a DOS program to load a Linux, or other OS, kernel is one way to make Linux co-exist with DOS. LOADLIN.EXE is particularly handy when you want to install Linux on a 3rd or 4th drive on a system (or when you're adding a SCSI drive to a system with an existing IDE).
In these cases, it is common for LILO's boot loader to be unable to find or load the kernel on the "other" drive. So you just create a C:LINUX directory (or whatever), put LOADLIN.EXE in it with a copy of your kernel, and use that.
LOADLIN.EXE is a VCPI compliant program. Win95 will want to "shutdown into DOS mode," to run it (as it would with certain other DOS protected-mode programs).
Earlier versions of LOADLIN.EXE sometimes required a package called REALBIOS.COM, which required a boot procedure on an (almost) blank floppy to map the interrupt vectors (prior to the loading of any software drivers). (Current versions don't seem to ship with it, and don't seem to need it).
A: WINE (WINE Is Not an Emulator), is a reimplementation of Windows APIs for Linux and Unix. WINE is a great project with huge potential, but it is still not ready for general distribution. The WINE team is still working toward a 1.0 release. However, it is already capable of running many Windows programs. If you want to contribute to its development, look for the status reports in the news:comp.emulators.ms-windows.wine newsgroup.
There is also a FAQ, compiled by P. David Gardner, at ftp://metalab.unc.edu/ pub/Linux/docs/faqs/Wine-FAQ/.
A: A proprietary program called VMWare is also available to let you run Windows under a Linux "host" operating system. See the company's website at http://www.vmware.com.
A: Another package that will help is Win4Lin, a proprietary package. Win4Lin also allows you to run many Windows programs under *NIX.
Here is how one user reports on Win4Lin:
I just finished installing it on a new installation of Mandrake 8.1 and I have found it to be very satisfactory. It only cost $49 (received a special offer after registering at their website for information). I installed it in just a very few minutes, and it now allows me to run all of the Windows applications programs I have been used to using for a long time (Pagemaker, Lview, Paint Shop Pro, Explorer etc.) in a window on one of my Linux KDE desktop screens ... concurrently with all of my Linux tools. --Josef Lowder