Computerworld: Apple building the most flexible compatible computers on the planet

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Feb
25

By: switchtoamac at: 8:10 PM on February 25, 2007 | Comments (0)

Richard Hoffmann, in his Computerworld article titled, "Virtual realities: All the world on a Mac", provides an excellent overview of virtualization options on today's Macs.

Many Mac users today are using Macs to not only run OS X, Apple's operating system for Macs but they are also running Microsoft Windows.  Users have options, they can boot a Mac into into OS X, Windows, and Linux.  They can also use a virtualization solution to run multiple operating systems at the same time.  These features provide Mac owners unmatched flexibility as no other computer manufacturer can offer the value proposition put forth by the Macintosh line.

Key quotes from Hoffman's article:

"But when Apple converted its entire product line from PowerPC CPUs to the very same Intel chips used in Windows PCs, the world changed. Now that you don't need a complex software layer to emulate and translate every low-level instruction from one kind of CPU to the other, you can have a Mac that runs Windows at near-native speeds".

"In very short order after the first Intel-based Macs hit the streets, developers proved that Windows on Macs was more than just a theory -- it worked, and it was fast."

"But when Apple converted its entire product line from PowerPC CPUs to the very same Intel chips used in Windows PCs, the world changed. Now that you don't need a complex software layer to emulate and translate every low-level instruction from one kind of CPU to the other, you can have a Mac that runs Windows at near-native speeds -- at least in theory."

"In very short order after the first Intel-based Macs hit the streets, developers proved that Windows on Macs was more than just a theory -- it worked, and it was fast"

"Apple itself released the public beta of a dual-boot enabler, called Boot Camp. With very little fuss or trouble, Boot Camp allowed anyone to load and run Windows on an Intel Mac. The next version of Apple’s operating system, Leopard (Mac OS 10.5), will include the ability to run Windows built in."

"Boot Camp runs Windows operating systems (XP and Vista) and Windows-based applications, and it runs them fast and well and with excellent compatibility. In fact, early tests of Macs running Windows showed that Macs ran Windows apps faster than did many comparable Windows-only PCs. That’s a huge change from the old emulation days."

"Enter Parallels Desktop for Mac (originally Workstation for Mac), a true virtualizer. This allows users to run Windows within, well, a window on your Mac desktop. Parallels, unlike Boot Camp, can run just about any operating system you’d like, from MS-DOS to any flavor of Windows, Linux or Sun’s Solaris, at the very same time as you run your Mac apps."

"Recently, the stalwart of the virtualization world, VMware, released the beta of a virtualization product for Macs called Fusion."


Virtualization Overview
The article then goes into a more descriptive discussion of virtualization features and benefits.  In the final paragraph Hoffmann states that Macs are the most flexible computers on the market:

"So for now, you can run Windows virtual machines on a Mac but not Mac virtual machines on a Mac -- and certainly not Mac virtual machines on a PC. Although Apple may claim bragging rights for building the most flexible, compatible computers on the planet, pressure will be building fast for virtualization solutions to support running multiple copies of OS X on Macs."

This is a great article for anyone who is considering the switch, especially if you need the ability to run multiple operating systems on your computer.  You can read it in full here.

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