Parallels Desktop for Mac goes final; simultaneously run Mac OS, Windows, Linux on Intel-powered Mac

Parallels today announced that its Desktop for Mac virtualization software is available for purchase for $79.99, following the conclusion of a Beta program that generated more than 100,000 testers from 71 countries and has resulted in the current stable, high-performance version.

As a special incentive to new customers, the company will make the product available for $49.99 for 30 days following today’s announcement.

Parallels Desktop is the first solution for Intel processor-based Macs that enables users to run Windows XP – or any other operating system – simultaneously in isolated “virtual machines” directly on a Mac OS X desktop, giving them the ability to use Windows programs at the same time as their favorite Mac applications. This is different from Apple’s recently announced “Boot Camp” dual boot solution, in which users must work in either Windows XP or Mac OS X, and completely shut down one to access the other.

“Parallels Desktop enables Mac users to access Windows programs without giving up the functionality, power and usability of their Mac OS X desktops,” said Nick Dobrovolskiy, CEO of Parallels, in the press release. “We’ve broken through the barrier that previously kept Mac and Windows from effectively working together side-by-side, simultaneously, on one computer.”

Parallels near-native performance and rock-solid stability is driven by its hypervisor-powered virtualization engine, and full support for Intel Virtualization Technology, which is included in all new Mac Mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro computers.

“Using Intel’s Early Access Program, Parallels has innovatively used Intel Virtualization Technology on Intel dual-core processors, to empower the Apple community with the ability to drive productivity and flexibility via its powerful virtualization solution,” said Melissa Laird, general manager of Intel’s Global Developer Relations Division, in the release.

Important Features in Parallels Desktop for Mac:
• Run any version of Windows at the same time as Mac OS X at near-native speeds, without having to dual-boot or shut down their Mac desktop.
• Users can also run Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, or MS-DOS programs alongside Mac OS X applications.
• Safely share files and “cut and paste” data between Windows and Mac OS X programs.
• Expand a virtual machine to full-screen size on a primary display, or export and expand it on a secondary display.
• Reduce Windows 2000, 2003 and XP virtual machine hard drive size by 50 percent or more with Parallels Compressor technology. This tool, which retails for $179, is included free with each copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac.

In addition to its Mac product, the company offers Parallels Workstation for Windows and Linux powered machines. These versions are available for purchase at the same low price of $49.99 per license. The company is also developing server virtualization solutions. Parallels Server, due in mid-2006, is targeted at small- and medium-size businesses looking to maximize hardware resources and curb information technology (IT) costs. Parallels Enterprise Server is a high-end server virtualization solution designed to help large enterprises effectively virtualize and manage their significant server resources.

More info here.

Ina Fried reports for ZDNet, “A potential challenge for the start-up is that Apple may decide to offer, in addition to Boot Camp, a feature that acts more like Parallels in allowing Windows programs to run within the Mac OS. There has been speculation that Leopard might have such abilities. Parallels marketing manager Ben Rudolph said Parallels can’t spend its time worrying about what others might do. ‘All we do is virtualisation,’ he said. ‘Apple has got hundreds of different products. I believe we are going to have a faster, better solution regardless of what happens.'”

Full article here.

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36 Comments

  1. My only problem with Parallels is that I have not been able to get printer sharing to work either via the network method or by the USB method. But it’s probably a Windows problem as it does not include my printer in its list of supported devices and I am unable to install the drivers successfully. It looks like a Catch 22 situation: Windows cannot complete the driver installation because it cannot detect the device and it cannot detect the device because it does not have the drivers.

  2. I have had a lot of faith and excitement about Parallels. Just this week, I installed the RC2 release of it and tried installing a copy of Windows 95 for a switcher on his new MacBook 2 GHz. I know, very old and antiquated, but he only needs to run a single Windows program and it is non-graphical at that… and 95 is the only legal version I have a copy of.

    So, I booted up the Parallels virtual machine, and there was a very MS-DOS looking prompt, but every time it starts up, it just informs me that “no startup disk is available, press Enter to continue” or words close to that. It has captured the CD from OS X, as it disappeared from the desktop as Parallels was reading it. I have all the IDE stuff set up as per the manual. Technically there is no reason it shouldn’t be working. I’ve tried inserting the CD after I boot Parallels, changing the boot order to CD-ROM, Hard Drive, Floppy (nonexistent), etc. No luck.

    Has anyone tried this or have any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated, as my precious switcher friend is a little worried.

  3. BriAnimations:

    Graphics card support is near impossible using this technology, VMWare has been on the market for Linux/Windows for 5 years or more and doesn’t have it.

    Parallels is awesome, don’t knock it for not doing something its not designed to do.

  4. Unfortunatly

    I think Apple will have to take charge of this new virtualization technology in order to chart it’s course more along with Apple’s overall plans.

    Sure Parallels was able to act faster, but Apple has the ability to do a bit more to make this a seemless and integrated process under Mac OS X/EFI.

    I personally would like the option to run Windows and Linux programs under Mac OS X without the hassle of launching or seeing a virtual machine of those OS’s. I also would like full performance if possible.

    For others who need to see the “OS” itself, perhaps something like a fast “OS” switching would be more useful and for that a EFI based approach will be needed.

    Oh, you don’t know about EFI and Trusted Computing?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

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