Most people who use Linux are familiar with the WINE program, which enables the use of Windows software on Linux without requiring Windows itself. WINE is still fairly immature. While it can run some applications, other applications can present a problem.
However, other programs exist that allow you to run more specialized applications. For example, CodeWeaver's CrossOver Office lets you run Windows business applications (such as Microsoft Office, Quicken, etc.) under Linux, and TransGaming's WineX allows you to play many popular Windows games under Linux.
CodeWeaver recently released CrossOver Office 2.1, which includes support for even more applications, most notably Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX and Flash MX. The ability to run these applications on Linux is a true benefit for professional Web developers, who often write Web applications on the Windows platform for deployment on Linux servers.
CrossOver Office is easy to install. You can download RPM packages or the Loki installer, which looks like a large bash script file. The Loki installer is the most portable option, enabling you to install CrossOver Office in a location of your choice and on any Linux distribution, including Debian and Slackware.
CrossOver Office is a commercial application, and it costs $59.95. However, you can download a 30-day trial version. When you download the Loki installer, start it by executing the following:
$ sh install-crossover-office-2.1.0.sh
This begins the installation program and allows you to choose the installation location or pick the existing location if you're upgrading.
Once the installation is complete, grab the installation CDs for the Windows applications you want to install, and use the easy-to-use configuration tool to launch the installation wizards for the respective programs.