Google Earth for linux?

I’ve mentioned Google Maps several times. *(Microsoft VirtualEarth recently jumped into competition)* Essentially you can browse, search and drag around road maps on the screen, or switch to a satellite view of an area, or even a hybrid mode where you can zoom, click and drag a satellite image with mapping super-imposed. Searches place objects on the map or satellite view with an arrow and “thought bubble” type description. There are even ways to find specific gps locations and to pick gps coordinates from the Google Maps.

What I’m typing about now though is Google Earth. Google bought a company called Keyhole that made all this imagery possible. Keyhole sold a small client that pulled the satellite data real time from the web and allows some neat pluses (better zoom levels), tilting of the map for a different angle view. Google has renamed the product Google Earth and a free version is available for Windows.

I am really hoping that Google will see enough interest for a Linux version of this. I’ve tried installing it under Transgaming Cedaga since it requires 3d acceleration. I’ve also tried it under Crossover Office, both of the above variations on the Wine project. It doesn’t install on either (if anyone has tips of getting it to install on either I’d love to hear.)

From what I see, it’s built with the QT toolkit which is supported under Linux. It’s also making use of OpenGL instead of DirectX, which would seem to make it portable. It even looks as though some of their more advanced ($$$) versions Google Earth Fusion are available for linux (SUSE specifically). I was pleased to see them release the Google Toolbar for Firefox not too long ago and that runs on any platforms Firefox runs on. I’m hoping that in the not too distant future we see a linux release of Google Earth?

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