Most desktop applications today were originally designed for Microsoft Windows. If users who are accustomed to these applications can use them under Linux, it can help them make the transition from Windows to Linux. And the more people you get on Linux, the sooner vendors will create native Linux versions of their applications.
If your users need their Microsoft-based applications, there are five basic options:
Look to the application vendor; they may have "ported" their application to Linux.
Consider virtual machines, as they support Microsoft Windows inside Linux.
Try to install the application in Linux with the help of the Wine libraries.
Install the application directly within Linux using CrossOver Office.
Configure TransGaming's Cedega, which supports Microsoft games within Linux.
Some of these options require proprietary software and may not be available for free. Cost and licenses vary.
As the popularity of desktop Linux grows, more vendors will port their applications. What they develop for Microsoft and possibly Apple will be ported directly to Linux. If you're fortunate, the vendor has already created a Linux version (a.k.a. port) of the Microsoft-based application. Start your search at the vendor's web site. Proceed to the web page for downloads or operating systems. You may find Linux in the same list as other operating systems such as Mac OS, Sun Solaris, and Microsoft Windows.
There are many excellent Linux applications ...