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How can I run Windows applications in Ubuntu?

I want to download and begin using Ubuntu Linux on my PC, but the only thing I'm considering is if I'll be able to run my Windows applications especially the CAD apps such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, and Atlantis Studio on it.

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marked as duplicate by Eliah Kagan, Christopher Kyle Horton, jokerdino, Jorge Castro, Mitch Sep 4 '12 at 7:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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If you really need your CAD applications for professional use I'd consider leaving Windows on a small partition of your computer so you can switch back when you need to. –  Daniel Sep 4 '12 at 0:19

5 Answers 5

If you really need your CAD applications for professional use the easiest solution for you would probably be leaving Windows on a small partition of your computer so you can switch back when you need to.

However there are alternatives in linux.

  1. There are some open source CAD programs available from ubuntu software center so I'd advise you to try ubuntu from a usb stick first and check out the applications and see if they'll do for you.

  2. Another possibility would be using wine.
    It is a compatibility layer for Windows (not a full emulator though!) that provides the necesarry filesystem and .dlls to run certain applications.
    Before blindly relying on wine I'd look here ( http://appdb.winehq.org/ ) to see if the applications you want to use are documented to work with wine and your current ubuntu version.

    But because CAD applications might demand 3D graphics capabilities you should also make sure that your graphics card is well supported by the drivers available for linux.

Hope this helps you considering your options

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You can run Windows applications on Ubuntu primarily via Wine. You can check how compatible certain applications are with Wine by visiting the AppDB section of the WineHQ site and checking out ratings by software version.

Here are the ratings for the autoCAD software you have listed, for example: http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=86

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Another option would be to install Windows into VirtualBox or similar app. Then you could run Windows inside of Linux.

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If your looking for CAD programs you can attempt to run them under wine. I can't speak specifically to how those programs you speak of will run under WINE and I tend to try and avoid it because I prefer native applications.

If you are willing to try different Linux based applications I would check out this link which gives a good list

http://www.techdrivein.com/2011/08/8-best-cad-apps-for-linux.html

Wine applications will usually work pretty well in Linux once you get them setup maybe with something like Crossover or PlayOnLinux, but you will always have a better experience with native applications and you will be able to put some of the money you would spend on the more expensive Windows applications to make the Open Linux version better to your specific needs by paying a developer or the creators of the application themselves and improving the community that uses them in the process.

I've also heard you can do a lot of things with Blender.

Hope this helps.

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If you working with these applications for a living, then you are better of without Ubuntu as your computer's main Operating System. There are quite a number of alternatives that others have suggested, and I will attempt to review them from my point of view:

  • Installing them via wine is VERY BAD advice. Yes, you read it correctly. Especially when you work professionally with these applications. Wine is a compatibility layer for windows Portable Executable file format. It is a nice try in implementation and a great idea for a piece of software, but there are a bazillion possible issues that could cause your application to crash, or not being able to work at all. Compatibility is not something that is guaranteed (despite what the folks there are attempting to make you believe via appdb) and I have heard and seen with my eyes countless times where one piece of windows software run perfectly on one computer via wine, and it had multiple issues, on another, exactly same computer with the same specs and the same OS version, both clean installs.

TL.DR: Do NOT count on wine for professional work. Especially if you are not a software developer, hacker, computer enthusiast, or somehow have the time and energy required to face multiple compatibility issues your applications may have with wine

  • Dual boot: Dual boot is too, bad advice, especially if you are a novice, considering that so many things could go wrong that you might not have the energy or dedication to fix, that it may as well ruin your first experience with Linux. Bad partitioning schemes, misconfiguration of boot loader and others, are all issues you as a novice will most likely face. They are fixable, but they require great amounts of time and dedication to fix. Not to mention that failure to install Ubuntu properly on a dual boot setup could affect windows as well. If you decide to proceed with dual boot configuration nonetheless, please consider backing up your important windows files before attempting an installation.

TL.DR: Dual boot configuration is an option, but this too could cause some issues that might ruin your first experience with Ubuntu, and require some technical skills to fix. Unless you have someone to help you, or are sure of what you are doing, you are better off without it.

  • As others have already suggested, working with open source alternatives is a viable solution, if you proceed with replacing windows with Ubuntu. Before commiting to Ubuntu or Linux in general, I would research the kind of open source alternatives to make sure that their quality is on par with commercial software, or at least software you are already using. However you will have to take into account that you may have to invest time in learning to use those particular pieces of software.

TL.DR: You could work with open source alternatives, but make sure that they are of high quality, and that you can learn how to work with them efficiently.

  • Another solution that I think I read up in other people's solutions is installing Ubuntu in a Virtual machine hypervizor such as Virtualbox. This is 100% doable, even for a novice, but virtual machines suffer from a performance penalty due to hypervisor overhead, and considering that CAD software is the kind of software that could use as much processing power as it could get, in my honest opinion you could proceed with the opposite configuration.

  • Which is: install Ubuntu in a virtual machine, in your Windows computer, without making any changes to your computer. Sure there is some performance hits from running in a virtual machine, but it will be small enough that most likely you will not notice it. Apart from that, Virtual machines are disposable. You might mess badly in Ubuntu, and that would have 0 impact on your computer. You could just remove it, and reinstall the virtual machine. Or even better, you could take a snapshot of it, and go back to the snapshot if you mess up badly. Snapshots are a virtual machine hypervisor's feature, that allows the Hypervisor (the software that runs the virtual machines) to create a backup of the Virtual machine and it's configuration, including what was in the memory, the disks, the applications installed, at the time of usage, and use those snapshots to restore the virtual machine when needed. In layman's terms: consider it something like Windows' System restore, only 10 times more powerful.

TL.DR: In my honest opinion, installing Ubuntu in a virtual machine, without any changes in your computer is the safest (and by far easiest) approach. Software for this purpose like VirtualBox is well documented, and with a quick google search, you may even come up with tutorials regarding its usage. Here is a nice one I found for you.

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I like the detail in your answer, the only thing I don't get is the hostility towards dual-boot. With the 12.04 installer it is pretty hard to f**k something up without going into advanced partition management. In my opinion virtualbox is actually more likely to give you a miserable first experience because you can' t use the full cpu, ram and graphics power your computer has to offer. –  Daniel Sep 4 '12 at 15:12
    
@Daniel You will have to forgive me, but I will disagree with you on that. In my honest opinion, virtual box is times easier to configure than a physical machine is, at least for the newbie user. I will also have to disagree on the performance part. What you say reflects to the truth, but partly. You do get a performance hit, but it's only minor, and a user is not likely to face any performance issues if he is only doing basic usage of his system. He is not going to play games on Ubuntu VM, so GPU is out of the question. You could also allow the VM to use a lot of ram (up to a point) –  NlightNFotis Sep 4 '12 at 20:35

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