There are certain things in my line of work that are much easier to do under Windows. Nevertheless, for the last 5 years I've been a staunch Linux user and supporter, to the point where I've gone for several months at a time without running anything Microsoft on my hardware. I haven't bought any Microsoft software outright since before the year 2000, and though I realize that I'm just a drop in the ocean, I get a certain satisfaction from not supporting that business. I really want to continue to thumb my nose at the Evil Empire. I really, really do. However...
I need to start using Visio. Dia is barely a substitute, and will probably never be as robust. The time I waste clunking around in Dia is worth far more than the cost of a software license or three. I understand that Visio 2000 *might* run under Wine, but Wine has proved to me time and again that it can only run notepad reliably. Besides, I really need to read and write the latest Visio document format, Visio 2003, and there's not even a mention of that version in the Wine App DB or on CrossOver Office's website.
So now I'm thinking about Windows running Visio inside VMware on Linux. In keeping with my desire to not buy anything Microsoft if at all possible, I'm eying the laptop I purchased from my former boss. It has XP Pro already installed on it, along with Office and Visio 2003. Naturally, I shrank the Windows partition and dual-booted it with Fedora Core 4 as soon as I brought it home back in March. I want to convert that old Windows partition into a VMware image, but it's proving more technically difficult than I expected.
It seems I have four options:
1. Forget about it for a while and continue to use Dia instead.
2. Buy new copies of XP Pro and Visio 2003 so I can install them in a fresh VMware image.
3. Continue banging my head trying to convert the laptop physical image into a VMware one.
4. Run XP as the host OS on the laptop and install Linux as a VMware image.
Of these, number 4 is by far the least appealing. I spent a lot of time getting my laptop fully working with FC4 (yes, EVERYTHING, including wireless, bluetooth, suspend to memory, and hibernate to disk), and I truly believe it is more secure than Windows can ever be. I'm being upstaged by others who use Visio to make diagrams, so 1 is only an option for a limited time before there's real damage to my career. That leaves 2 and 3, and though I feel that I am morally entitled to continue using the licenses I already paid for when I bought the laptop, option 3 is a very deep rat hole which has already used up an entire Sunday.
I'm about to break down and buy new copies of XP Pro and Visio 2003, but I really don't want to. I'd love to hear any other suggestions about how I might approach this.