Wil Limoges checks out a cheaper option to run Windows applications on Macs. If you don't need a full-fledged virtual environment, WinOnX might work for you.
WinOnX 1.31 is an application that you can purchase at the Mac App Store ($4.99) that is intended to run Windows applications on the Mac. WinOnX is built on top of Wine and, for those of you who are not familiar with Wine, it's an open source application designed originally to run Windows applications in Linux environments. It’s been around for quite a while and was eventually ported to the Mac. I’ve also had the opportunity to use Wine in other various forms such as CodeWeaver's CrossOver application with mixed results.WinOnX attempts to make the process of installing and running Windows applications very easy by providing a drag-and-drop interface and keeping your applications organized in one clean window. As far as the design of the App, I was pleased with its simplicity and ease of use. The environment is well organized and offers few options to getting some of the complex settings out of the way that often make other Wine applications and installations difficult to use. I attempted to install several Windows applications to see how far Wine has come since I’ve last used it and, as expected, had mixed results. Many of the applications that I use are browsers and there is very limited support for the most important one, Internet Explorer. Though WinOnX was able to run IE6, 7, and 8, it was unstable and at times would crash, while IE9 wouldn’t run at all. I did, however, have some luck running an older version of Google Chrome only after scouring the Internet for previous versions.
If there are a few Windows applications that you are interested in running but don’t want to pay the cost of something like VMWare Fusion or Parallels, this may not be a bad option. I would first suggest that you take a trip over to the WinOnX website where you can search for the applications that you would like to run and see whether they are considered compatible or not before buying. As time passes, the Wine project continues to get better, but by no means is it a replacement for a solid virtual environment. If you would like to know more about the Wine project you can visit WineHQ to learn more.