Windows on Mac: BootCamp vs Parallels Desktop
How to run the 'other' operating system...
Review Almost as soon as Intel-based Macs were available to buy, clever coders were trying to figure out how to run Windows XP on them. Mac OS X not good enough for you, guys? Well, in some cases no, it's not. Mac OS X may be the better product - discuss... - but Windows has access to far more software applications and hardware toys that the Apple operating system does. From gamers to software developers to business users, there are solid reasons why a Mac user might want to run the 'other' operating system.
And not just Windows XP. Running Linux has always been an option, thanks to the sterling work of LinuxPPC coders stretching back more than ten years, but now Mac users have the chance to sample some of the more modern alternatives running on x86 CPUs, like Ubuntu. Then there are the leftfield options like OS/2 and, a personal favourite, the BeOS, now defunct as a commercial product but available as the Intel-only Zeta.
But there's a basic question that needs to be answered before we can all enjoy tinkering with alternative operating systems on or Macs: how is this duality to be achieved? Both Windows and Mac OS X access hardware resources in different ways, so there's no way literally to turn a Mac into a PC. You can't format the hard drive and install Windows on top of it. There have been hacks to make this possible and to allow an Intel-based Mac to play host two both Mac OS X and Windows, and they've been followed up by more commercial tools. This month, Apple updated its offering, BootCamp, while a small company called Parallels released the final version of its own Windows-on-Mac tool...
Next page: Parallels Desktop for Mac 1.0
Sharing of Files?
Something I've been wondering for a while.. is it possible to share files (eg: Outlook mailbox, my documents, favourites, etc) across both operating systems?
What are the issues around such sharing of content? compatibility problems?
Being new to Mac, I dont know how shareable content is with Windows machines, and this is definitely somethign that is important to me should i make the switch to Mac (somethign i'm seriously considering now that i can still use Windows for development work.. i dont think you can get MS Visual Studio for Mac... or can u?)
Missing the Point
I really don't think the author of this article really understands the power of Parallels. As an IT specialist I routinely run multiple virtual machines simultaneously on my MacBook Pro. I've simulated/built LANs, compiled applications and tested on indiviual virtual machines or in groups of up to 4 simultaneously.
Yes host only networking is the default, but multiple host only machines can talk to each other when hosted on the same physical hardware. This is incredibly useful. I run a workstation dedicated to windows for things at work that OSX can't yet do, like run old crappy dos and win32 applications from the network (Darwine and Crossover are up and coming, but not there yet for me), and that one is set to "bridged". With bridged networking, the virtual machine appears to the outside as its own unique computer. And, yes, mulitple bridged machines can be run on the same physical hardware, visible to each other and the world.
As for boot camp, give me a UNIX kernel like OSX and parallels on top of it instead, for everything, anyday, always. The ONLY time I can foresee a need for bootcamp is for games, when 3D matters, and when a port isn't available yet for OSX natively. Given time, I see 3D added to Parallels as well. For now, the few games I care to play have been ported to OSX already. Ditto on high end graphics and video products.
As far as performance goes, think snappy. It is "near native", nothing at all like the Virtual PC days. The fact that the author discounts due to the fact 3D video isn't available has missed the boat entirely in my opinion. These macintel machines offer the best of everything when configured with Parallels desktop and sufficient RAM, and they are reasonably priced as well for the flexibility, performance, and security you get. I've stopped using my other PCs, Linux, BSD, and XP. I have access to as many as I want for free. The experience is that good.
Repair disk permissions
Quote from the article: "Reports from folk who've tried it already suggest that it's a good idea to verify your hard drive and repair file-access permissions before running BootCamp."
Of course they did. It's part of the Mac Voodoo, that. Anyone who wants to appear knowledgeable but has no clear idea of what they're talking about will recommend one or more of: repair permissions; clearing PRAM; installing software updaters via the combo rather than incremental package. It certainly wouldn't help in this situation and almost never does at any other time, but it's part and parcel of The Mac Experience ;-)