Crossover Mac beta starts

For those of you with Intel Macs, a need to run Windows-requiring software, and a disgust for having Windows actually running on your Mac, this might be your lucky day. CodeWeavers has announced the beta of their Crossover software for the Mac. What is it?

This goes one step further than virtualization and actually allows Windows code to run on your Macintosh without emulation and without Windows. It is a commercialized version of WINE (which stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator) that runs on the Macintosh. Instead of being an emulator, Wine (and thus Crossover) is a publicly-available implementation of many of the libraries that ship standard with Windows. Thus, any program that doesn't use things other than those libraries will run "just fine" under Crossover.

Since there are inherent limitations to this implementation, not every piece of software will work. To that end, the folks at CodeWeavers have decided to put up a Truth in Advertising page about their experience with Crossover for the Mac.

I've downloaded it, but not yet given it a try. However, there's one big caveat that I have about WINE-based products in comparison to products like Parallels, which is that they are usually (again, I haven't run it yet) given free run of the system, which means that if you run a buggy windows program, you could be potentially opening yourself up to malicious mischief, much more so than the environment that Parallels runs in (where you're likely to destroy the virtual machine, but not the real one).

As I get a chance to try it out, I'll see what the deal really is, but if any of you get there first, please add a comment or two.