Update 10/28: Welcome, Digg fans. CodeWeavers' site is getting crunched under the massive demand for the free versions of CrossOver, so there is now a minimal site at down.codeweavers.com that will accept your email address; you will be mailed your registration code in the next couple of days.
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Three months ago, CodeWeavers CEO Jeremy White offered a challenge to another CEO -- the nation's chief executive, George W. Bush. If the president achieved one of White's six "Lame Duck" goals during the twilight of his 2nd term, White would make Windows-API enabler & WINE GUI CrossOver free to customers for one day. Some considered White's proposal a great motivational tool for GWB; others found it smug, partisan and kind of a goofy way to promote the company's products, but in any event none of his six challenges seemed to be on the path to achievement, so that's where the story should have ended. CrossOver is a fine way to run Windows apps on your Mac, but as a force for political change, not so much.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to January 20th: due to global economic conditions and through no fault of the president, the price of crude oil dropped precipitously and the cost of gasoline moved in parallel... bringing the average price per gallon in Minneapolis down to the target $2.79 level called for in White's goal #1. Can anyone say "Taco?"
The Star-Tribune is reporting that White is planning to follow through on his pledge: on Tuesday 10/28, all CodeWeavers products (CrossOver Mac, Linux & Games) will be freely downloadable. One license per customer, and
we assume that the free licenses will be for the standard versions of the apps. Update: Word from CodeWeavers execs is that the free license will be for a download-only flavor of the Pro version (!), including the Games optimized build and the option to share a Windows 'bottle' among multiple users on the same machine. You will have to choose either the Mac or Linux product for your free copy (and I'm looking forward to the stats on that split once the dust settles). Pro licenses are eligible for support/update renewals after one year for $35.
You might argue with White's politics or his promotional instincts, but you can't argue with free software. CrossOver Mac normally retails for $40 and requires an Intel machine running either Tiger or Leopard.
Update 2: A number of commenters have pointed out that the original challenge rules said the giveaway day would be on the first of the month following the goal, meaning Nov. 1 instead of Oct. 28. CodeWeavers' press release confirms that the giveaway day will be 10/28 and not 11/1. The giveaway runs from midnight to midnight CST.