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Parallels Desktop for OS X Reviewed 300

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the virtualization-hot-emulation-not dept.
phaedo00 writes "Ars Technica has put up a great review of the first full release of Parallels' virtualization software for OS X, Parallels Desktop 1.0. From the article: 'Move over emulation, virtualization is in and it's hotter than two Jessica Albas wresting the devil himself in a pit of molten steel. It's no contest, virtualization has it all: multiple operating systems running on the same machine at nearly the full speed of the host's processor with each system seamlessly networking with the next. Add to that the fact that it's cheaper than getting a new machine and you have the guaranteed latest craze. Not even the Hula Hoop can stop this one.'"
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Parallels Desktop for OS X Reviewed

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  • 10+ years later... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LinuxGeek (6139) * <djand@nc.gmail@com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @03:52PM (#15693290)
    The promise of the HURD microkernel with OS 'personalities' is coming to our desktops in a slightly updated fashion. But I still love the idea as long as my Linux and Windows can run beside each other and behave, it makes development much nicer.
  • by davevt5 (30696) * on Monday July 10, 2006 @03:54PM (#15693309) Homepage Journal

    Here's a reprint from my Slashdot journal [slashdot.org]

    Last night I crashed my brand new Macbook Pro. I didn't think that was supposed to happen! All I was doing was:
    • surfing the web
    • listening to iTunes
    • installing the Opera browser
    • installing Windows XP in Parallels

    Yes, I am joking. Parallels is awesome. The claims of "near native performance" are indeed correct - in my experience. Parallels is what allowed me to finally make the 'switch' because my office is tied heavily to Outlook (and Business Contact Manager and therefore SQL Server).

    Parallels works as advertised and is recommended from one slashdotter to another.

  • by jonbryce (703250) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:06PM (#15693391) Homepage
    Could you share the drive on the network and access it via Samba or whatever OSX uses?
  • by Cadallin (863437) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:07PM (#15693395)
    Like Baldur's Gate, or Icewind Dale, or Planescape (Any Bioware Infinity Engine Titles really). How do games of this nature run under Parallels? Is DirectX handled acceptably for everything other than 3D acceleration? If so, I'll probably have to speed up my plans to upgrade to an Intel based Mac. I'm a recent switcher, and this is the only thing that's been really hurting me. I use my Gamecube for new games, but to relive older titles it would be awesome if parallels would fill the gap.
  • by edflyerssn007 (897318) <ej,lennon&gmail,com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:15PM (#15693448) Homepage
    www.osx86project.org [osx86project.org].

    2005 called and wants their joke back.

    Seriously though, people have been doing it since the first verrsion of 10.4 x86 was released to developers.
    -Ed
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:17PM (#15693463) Homepage
    I do definitely think this is cool, but I think the next logical step... and I know this would be very tricky... would be to figure out how to run programs in the Parallels operating system in a sort of "rootless" windowed way. I guess this would be pretty much impossible without modifying the hosted operating system, but if it could be figured out, it would be fantastic. Imagine having Windows windows and Gnome windows running on top of OS X seemlessly, without seeing their respective desktop backgrounds.

    I suppose you could do this with X by using SSH into the hosted *nix system and running OSX's X server, but I don't see how it could be done with Windows...
  • by LinuxGeek (6139) * <djand@nc.gmail@com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:18PM (#15693476)
    Yeah, HURD was (is?) to be the collection of servers that run on top of mach, thus my mangled description. Virtualization is close to the original intent, and hopefully it will really take off when AMD introduces their Pacifica and intel has their equivalent. Both versions are due any time now, Yonah is supposed to be the first available.
  • by cmason (53054) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:23PM (#15693514) Homepage
    So, last time I looked parallels kept the windows partition in a file on the mac partition. It couldn't read native windows/NTFS partitions. Is this still true?

    As someone with an existing install of XP (Bootcamp), it seems like a shame to have to two copies of windows to be able to dual boot (primarily for games).

    -c

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:34PM (#15693605)
    I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but it would be nice if Boot Camp and Parallels could share the same Windows install.
  • Re:WOW! Factor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JohnWhitney (707445) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:43PM (#15693665)
    Parallels runs Ubuntu with no problems whatsoever. I use Ubuntu 6.06 on my MacBook Pro as my work development environment, and in general it is faster than my 2.6GHz desktop.

    I wish the X-server had better "change resolutions on the fly" capabilities (to handle going from full-screen to windowed mode), but I usually end up just displaying xterms from the Ubuntu virtual machine on my Mac OS X desktop anyway.
  • by thephotoman (791574) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:55PM (#15693748) Journal
    Actually, you can, quite easily. Configuring Samba is almost the same on OS X, save for the fact that the path to the conf file is a bit shorter (it's in /etc, not /etc/samba).

    Of course, I prefer using Bonjour in the guest instead of Samba, as it's just that much easier.
  • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday July 10, 2006 @04:56PM (#15693755)
    ... MacBook Pro BSODed twice while installing various software. XP itself was installed by Tekserve in NYC before receipt of the computer. OS X itself was dead stable, OTOH, so I guess it all balances out :)

    -b.

  • by klubar (591384) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:15PM (#15693883) Homepage
    I believed you could have done all of that without the Mac.... so tell me again what you got with the Mac.

    Surfing the web: check
    iTunes: check
    Installing Opera browser: check
    Installing Windows: check

    If you want a PC, just get a PC.
  • by Lactoso (853587) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:36PM (#15694012) Homepage
    I've used Parallels for a couple of months now (they just very recently left beta) and am very pleased with it. It's had (and continues to have some minor ones) its share of issues (USB support being the biggest), but this is really a tremendous product. It delivers on what MS Virtual PC promised - a fast, stable method of running Windows under OS X.

    Its potential for creating a dramatic increase in Mac converts should not be overlooked. To the point, I have a particular user (a CFO of a medium-sized manufacturing company) who spends most of her day working Excel spreadsheets, creating documents, emails and using a browser (webforms, webapps, browsing). It was a constant battle to keep her PC clean of virii and spyware. A perfect candidate for switching to a Mac, except for their base accounting system, which will only run in Windows. I got her a new Mac Mini Dlx, installed and configured Parallels with WinXP Pro and she could not be happier. She's running Mac:MS Office for Word, Entourage and Excel, uses Safari/FireFox for browsers (some of her sites won't behave on one or the other) and bounces into the other PCs on the network with COTVNC. And just a note to the non-consultant folks out there... It's always a very good thing to make the CFO happy.

    One of the things I like most about Parallels is their "don't let Windows out of the box" approach. Coupled with an (admittedly similar to MS VPC) easy to backup set of files, should anything go wonky with the Windows install, it's a 2 minute job to restore it completely.

    I can see this becoming a much more viable alternative to computer-savvy management level types.

  • by jmauro (32523) on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:42PM (#15694043)
    Tell that to HP [hp.com]. Their Project Dynamo [arstechnica.com] showed that in many cases running PA-RISC instructions emulated on on PA-RISC machine improved the performance of the program without changing how it was compiled. The emulated version can start to re-order code, change branching behavoir, etc as needed based on how the program is actually running (things like a JIT does on Java or .NET). So there is a place for Native to Native emulation; even if it seems silly.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:09PM (#15694221)
    How do you feel about pirating Mac OS X in order to do this? Or do you justify it by saying that you *would* buy it if Apple sold it, but they don't, so you have no choice? (And what if Apple's pricepoint for selling it on NON-Apple hardware was, say, $399? Would that be "too high", so you'd still have to pirate it?)

    What about Apple's Mac OS X license agreement, which specifically says it is only to be installed on Apple hardware? Appropriate that you should say "10.4.6". What, the Russian hackers that hack OS X for non-Apple hardware haven't gotten around to doing 10.4.7 yet? Are you comfortable running Mac OS X in an unsupported and un-updateable state with a modified kernel? Do you think Apple deserves any remuneration for the billions of dollars and countless manhours it's put into developing Mac OS X as a product?
  • by Hootenanny (966459) on Monday July 10, 2006 @06:20PM (#15694287)
    I installed Parallels on an Intel iMac recently. I created virtual machines with Ubuntu, Fedora Core, and FreeDOS (no reason, just because I can). All of them seem to work fine, except FreeDOS, but then in my experience DOS never worked well on my parents' Tandy either.

    I installed Windows XP today and everything seems just fine and peppy. The IT guy who installed it commented that the installation took less time than on some of the Dells he worked with. My favorite part is the backup mechanism - I now have a fresh, no-spyware installation of Windows XP with Matlab, SPSS, and Access all installed. All of my documents will be stored on a Mac hard disk by a shared folder. So I went to the Finder and made a copy of the disk image, and when I want to revert to a fresh image, all I do is delete the working hard drive, and rename "image copy" to "image" and I'm back as good as new. 8)

    I have one question for the forum - like many others, I wish there was native hardware acceleration. Wouldn't it be feasible by installing a Windows graphics driver that sends the hardware calls to Parallels, which then uses Mac native OpenGL to do hardware rendering? It doesn't seem that different from ordinary rendering in a window. This could be straightforward for PC OpenGL games, and for the DirectX games, perhaps the calls can be mapped to OpenGL functions. Perhaps with a speed penalty, but it should almost certainly be better than software rendering. You folks who know more about graphics rendering than I do - might this be possible?
  • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav&gmail,com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @09:14PM (#15695189) Journal
    "So? What did Apple expect? "

    If Steve Jobs has any brains (and he does, being a nutjob does not preclude being smart) he will be well aware that OS X x86 will be hacked and "pirated" and he will in fact be relying on this to happen. Anybody with a hint of a clue knows that Microsoft rose to market dominance on the coat tails of geeks who have long been in the habit of "illegally" copying MS's various OS offerings, spreading the word and creating a *huge* install base for Microsoft to the exclusion of almost all their competition.

    Steve Jobs knows that because he watched it happen.

    He also knows that for each geek who makes the switch from Windows to MacOS there will be 10 non geeks looking on (friends + family) saying "oooooohh, whasat perty thing on your screen, Can I get that too?"

    Of course a good percentage of the non geek "switchers" will also "pirate" the OS and put it on their existing machines but a lot won't too. This is because OSX *requires* at least an SSE2 capable CPU and if you want it to run even vaguely well you also need an reasonably equivalent video card to the ones used in the intel macs. There are many problems related to lack of proper video drivers in OSX, add to those a lack of ability to do any Auto Updates and all the other kludginess involved with running OSX on non Mac hardware and you can bet that most geeks will just say "sure you can" and point their relatives to www.apple.com for more info.

    Successfully hacking an OS onto hardware that its not intended for is the very definition of geek nirvana. Supporting Uncle Ted when he attempts the same is another thing entirely.

    I run OSX myself on my Athlon PC. Yes it is "pirated". I don't use it much though as I still prefer to boot into Ubuntu most of the time, I just have OSX installed "because I can" but I sure as hell wouldn't stick it on my sisters PC without expecting to get a phone call down the line along the lines of "my computer won't boot up anymore after I installed something. Do you think all my files are OK?"

    No siree bob. My credo is, "if you can't figure out how to find, download and install it and ultimately fix it yourself, then you shouldn't be running it at all".

    So, it's off to apple.com for you sis I'm afraid.
  • by Timbotronic (717458) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:25PM (#15695694)
    I'd be interested to see a few benchmarks on this one. eg. Photoshop transforms on Windows under Parallels vs the same on OS X Power PC binaries under Rosetta

    My best guess would be that the Windows version would be faster because despite the virtualisation layer, it's still an x86 binary. Might make for some painful choices until Adobe can complete their glacial move to universal binaries.
  • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @02:30AM (#15696192)
    Intel VT is codenamed vanderpool, here's a link [osx86project.org] to a pdf with a list of which processors have it. It's mainly the core duo's, and some of the pentium D and EE 9xx series. Core 2 Duo's will also support it.

    AMD's VT is codenamed pacifica, and as far as I know, no processors have actually launched with it yet, though it's due soon. I stand to be corrected on that point, all AMD's articles press releases say yet is 'due first half 2006'

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?

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