BusinessWeek: ‘The dawn of era of the multi-personality Mac is upon us’

“Boot Camp forces you to reboot to get Windows on your Mac. When you want to switch over to Windows, you need to restart and hold down the option key to select your Windows partition as the startup disk. Imagine, if you will, a machine that allows you switch back and forth between Mac OS X and Windows without the hassle of rebooting? That’s what a company called Parallels says can be yours. The Herndon (Va.)-based outfit launched a new software product for Beta testing a day after Boot Camp’s release. Yes, it’s an emulator. But it’s a little different from versions like VirtualPC. It’s called Parallels Workstation, and a trial version is available for the Mac,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “Let’s say you’re a Mac user who happens to need regular access to various versions of Windows — and maybe IBM’s (IBM) old operating system OS/2, or Red Hat Linux. Apple’s machines use some pretty powerful Intel chips that have some cool computing tricks baked in. One of those is virtualization, which allows a computer to run more than one operating system at once, rather than one at a time.”

“Emulation on the old PowerPC-based Macs was often painfully slow, because it required emulating an x86 chip like those from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). You can’t do that and expect comparable performance. But now that Macs run some of the best chips Intel has to offer, the arduous task of creating a simulated x86 computing environment is no longer a problem. Throw in virtualization, and you can set up a situation where you have two displays, one running Mac OS X, and one running Windows XP, or Windows 95 or Red Hat Linux, or whatever you need. And when you want to step out of the emulated environment back to the Mac, you can put it on pause so it doesn’t slow anything else down,” Hesseldahl writes.

“Parallels promises to run almost every version of Windows you’ve ever heard of, plus MS-DOS — but also several versions of Linux, including Red Hat, SUSE, Fedora and Mandriva, FreeBSD, Sun Microsystems’ Solaris 9 and 10, and even OS/2, and its successor eComStation. If you’re inclined to switch to a Mac but you’ve had reticence about abandoning applications that only work in Windows (or whatever platform you’re accustomed to), take heart. The dawn of era of the multi-personality Mac is upon us,” Hesseldahl writes.

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Video of Parallels running Windows XP on Mac OS X – April 07, 2006
Parallels releases first virtualization solution for Intel-powered Apple Intel-based Macs – April 06, 2006
Parallels to intro virtualization software for Intel-based Macs – April 04, 2006


  1. Unfortunately, from what I understand your “Winblows partition” can get infected with all the usual nasties but it shouldn’t affect the Mac partition. Hence, the need for the full version of Boot Camp to (hopefully) use virtualization. However, virtualization doesn’t allow for 3-D graphics and hence leaves out all the high end graphics. Decisions, decisions, Apple, time to make ’em!

  2. Meh, Maybe Virtual PC was better, in that people could use Windows if they had to, but the speed was very slow. Now it’s simply native — it will require more incentives for people to drop windows like a bad habit.

  3. Now all they need is a second keyboard and second mouse, both tied to the alternate OS. That would REALLY be 2 computers for the price of one. (One for the smart guy and one for the… know.)

  4. Apple may be working the kinks of Windows on Apple in this Public Beta. With Apple’s legendary ‘ease of use’ it’s a possibility that in OS 10.5 switching between the two will be much like Exposé works now. It’s a thought anyway…

  5. When you want to switch over to Windows, you need to restart and hold down the option key to select your Windows partition as the startup disk.

    Uh, no it doesn’t. Boot Camp adds the Windows partition to your “Startup Disk” pane in System Preferences. Select this, click “Restart” and you’re in Windows. Boot Camp also adds a “Startup Disk” item to the Windows Control Panel. Open this, click the folder with the blue “X”, click “Restart”, and voila, you’re back in OSX.

    No tricky booting necessary.

  6. Don’t think for one second that Apple won’t be baking this same virtualization technology in with Leopard 10.5.

    To be announced by Sir Jobs at the WWDC.

    Just watch.

    And THEN watch Parallels go out of business, unfortunately. Why do you think they pushed their beta out the door so soon after Boot Camp was announced?

    And THEN watch DELL shares drop like a led zeppelin and Apple struggle to keep up with demand for their amazing hardware.

    DELL can’t/won’t ever run OS X…thank goodness.

  7. It is pretty obvious that Boot Camp was not a slapped together app that Apple decided to throw together just recently. The multi OS plan has been on the road map for years and Apple made the decision that the time was ripe to let the next cat out of the bag. Boot Camp is just a taste. I have no doubt that Leopard will support full fast system switching or some form of seamless virtualization. Parrallels has been forced by Boot Camp to announce it’s product early ’cause they see the writing on the wall. As soon as Leopard is introduced their product won’t have a place in the Mac market because it will already be integrated into the OSX system.

  8. I’ve gone twenty years without having to use windows. Why in the world would I now? There’s nothing I can’t do on my Mac that would encourage me to use Windows.

    I’m really starting to wonder if all of this pro-windows mania on these sites isn’t actually the work of trolls.

    The moment a Mac user condones using Windows, the pc world knows he’s this close to crossing to the dark side of windows.

  9. I’ve never bought a Microsoft product and don’t plan to. I am however, a huge Macintosh fanatic and although I know the Mac can be all things to people…these people don’t necessarily know this. Boot Camp (and intrinsic Leopard support) is yet another successful way Apple is making it easier for us all to sell Apple to our friends and family.

    It’s not about endorsing Windows as it is eliminating the lame excuses that people rehash because they heard it from someone else.

  10. Read the supersite review.. it’s hilariuos.. Paul complains that the dual boot solution is not ‘side by side’ uhhh… and then goes on to suggest virtualization alternative.. but..those are slower.. obviously..

    Face it.. this is perfect… other than switching to windows.. this is the perfect solution for the gamer

  11. “this is the perfect solution for the gamer”

    That’s not necessarily true. You are making the assumption that all games gamers want to play run under Windows XP. There’s a lot of older games which will not run under XP. Thief 1 and 2 come to mind as examples. I keep a self-built 98SE box around for a library of older games – which are still enjoyed.

    I’m much more excited by the solution offered by Parallels. Near full speed virtualization of multiple OS’s is the way to go.

    I predict Apple is heading down the Virtualization path and the release of Boot Camp is a very important and significant first step.

    Bravo to Apple.


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