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Parallels Beta Adds Boot Camp, Desktop 244

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-play-with dept.
Verunks writes "Parallels has released a new beta of its virtualization product for Mac OS X. This new release includes one major new feature, something Parallels calls Coherency: "Shows Windows applications as if they were Mac ones. Try it and enjoy best of both worlds truly at the same time. No more switching between Windows to Mac OS." Check out this Screenshot" More interesting to me is the Boot Camp support so you can have a single partition to run IE7 in Parallels to test compatibility of a website but reboot to play video games that need a little more juice.
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Parallels Beta Adds Boot Camp, Desktop

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:19PM (#17089714)
    The constant improvement that this product has seen in its short existence is astounding. When you consider that it costs only $80 and has no competition at this time, it almost seems like they're working too hard on it.

    If Parallels was publicly traded, I'd be buying up a lot of their stock. These features are too damned useful for Apple to not add to OS X at some point, and the best way would be for them to just whip out the checkbook and buy the company.
  • Re:Slowdowns? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MustardMan (52102) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:23PM (#17089748)
    Actually, with modern multi-core processors and oodles of RAM, virtualization kicks pretty much ass. When I run parallels in fullscreen mode on my macbook, you pretty much can't tell it's virtualized. It's more responsive than the dell desktop sitting in my office at work. The only thing you really notice is that the video card doesn't support hardware acceleration, so stuff like games suck. Then again, the video card in my macbook is pretty crappy, so even with 3d support they would suck =/
  • by silverdr (779097) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:40PM (#17089896)
    What do you call "non-native support for Linux"?! Apple laptops run linux _as natively as it goes_ for ages and this doesn't exclude the Intel based machines. I even could setup a triple-boot on an Intel based Mac (vs. all the dual-boots I had in the past). All running "natively" of course
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:42PM (#17089912) Journal
    I've installed it and it is very similar to Classic on PPC macs under OS X. As with OS 9 apps on OS X, a full copy of the operating system is running, but the windows are drawn directly to the desktop (or at least appear to, with some glitching at the moment). I have the Windows task bar running down the left hand side of my screen so it doesn't get in the way of my dock (at the bottom) and desktop icons (to the right). Running Windows with the classic theme looks better as the shaped edges of Windows apps leave a little triangle of the Windows desktop which looks a bit poor. Lighten up the theme and it works quite nicely on the OS X desktop.

    Apple really needs to buy Parallels or do something similar. It would make a huge difference to people moving from Windows to the Mac and eventually, Windows could go the same way as Classic MacOS has under OS X and just fade away. I don't think MS would be very pleased with this development though :-)
  • Re:Slowdowns? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cwaldrip (216578) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:44PM (#17089942)
    And, in addition to what MustardMan said, don't confuse virtualization with emulation.
  • by proxy318 (944196) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:48PM (#17089966)
    (Can you imagine IE 7 and IE6 as standalone programs on a KDE desktop?!)
    You can - http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/news/ [tatanka.com.br] It's in beta now, but it does support IE6 and IE7's rendering engine.
  • by oakgrove (845019) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @12:53PM (#17090008)
    Well, my solution may be a bit much for some people but, I bought one of those miniature cordless travel mice with the little usb stick that you plug in and just disassembled the little mouse to make it as small as possible (basically a circuit board and a couple of buttons) then just stuck it on my mac beside the trackpad just far enough to be out of the way but with the right and middle mouse buttons conveniently located to use when necessary.

    It's so small, it doesn't get in the way at all. I used the kind of adhesive that doesn't leave residue when you pull it off and you can keep sticking it on over and over. I don't know, works for me.

  • Windows activation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mccalli (323026) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:09PM (#17090172) Homepage
    I'm running this beta build right now - have been doing all day as I do the exciting task of catching up with my accounts (Quicken UK, Windows only). There's some graphical improvements to the interface - I like the better laid-out screen for picking the VM. There's still some interface no-nos (ok button on the left? Nope, shouldn't be the case on OS X) and I think the dock icon is trying just that bit too hard when it turns into a dancing egg timer as you save a machine's state, but overall things are better and things are fine.

    I upgraded from a previous install, which means I had a disk image of Windows installed rather than a real partition. What I'm wondering is how Windows would cope with being booted for real on MacBook Pro hardware one moment, then booted again in Parallels another moment. Surely that would kick Windows activation into life?

    Cheers,
    Ian
  • by ronanbear (924575) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:40PM (#17090542)
    This is really good for Parallels and will be important for the company in several ways.

    Obviously it is a big feature for users who might be interested in Boot Camp and Parallels. One license, keeping the same settings etc.

    The thing that will bring the real benefits to Parallels though are related to development. Working with Boot Camp means that Parallels can access the Boot Camp drivers for Windows that Apple writes. Every time Apple updates their hardware they'll update Boot Camp with new drivers. This will make it much easier for Parallels to keep up with new hardware.

    Boot Camp adds a driver for the touchpad that includes Apple's right click implementation. Suddenly it's in Parallels automagically. Apple ads a driver to operate the inbuilt iSight. Parallels can start using it too.

    Shared documents are potentially great. Apple should work with Parallels to ensure things like the iTunes library (and iTS purchased music) is available in the Windows partition.

    Apple have already said that they are not going to include virtualisation in Leopard because they are so happy with the performance of Parallels.

    If necessary they'd buy Parallels to ensure that development keeps going on. They might do it anyway to reduce the costs.

  • by Epicyon (777863) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:48PM (#17090624)
    This is the reason I would offer: As soon as a competitor's product to the one you're offering is available natively on the Mac, you'll lose customers. While I agree virtualization is now offering acceptable performance for many Windows-only applications, this virtualization does not integrate well with a Mac user's workflow. Once a native version is available, users will switch. And as Macs gain mind-share and market-share, if this competitive product has cross-platform support, the prospects grow slimmer for single-platform applications. Now I realize the difficulties in coding for multiple platforms, however there are cross platform frameworks available today to assist with just such endeavors. And while it's likely significant effort, depending on the vendor, it may be a strategic decision to rewrite an app so it's cross platform. As a point of reference, I'm currently involved in a project which has two major suppliers of a particular function. One has slightly more bells and whistles, the other is cross platform with support for Windows, Linux, and OS X. Both have similar market share, but the client selected the platform with cross platform support over the platform with a bit more functionality. Just something to think about.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:11PM (#17090850)
    Writing software that requires Parallels is still cutting out a large part of the market as you have to pay for Parallels AND Windows, and the extra resources a whole XP installation running requires puts more strain on a laptop which is already constrained for resources.

    I use parallels to run the things that Mac that I simply cannot any other way. When looking for software I look mac specific because it interacts better with other programs, and also makes use of many key underlying operating system features (like spell checking in text boxes)

    It's this last argument that is really important - going forward more and more really nice system resources are availiable to the user of any Cocoa program (or even plain Mac app). If you distribute a Windows app to sell to Mac users under Leopard they are not geing to be able to take advanatge of Time Machine. You could get some of these features with Vista but now you are talking about hundreds of doallrs extra to run your app on a Mac - and that leaves the market wide open for competition.
  • I don't get it... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Loco Moped (996883) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:57PM (#17091290)
    Shows Windows applications as if they were Mac ones. Try it and enjoy best of both worlds truly at the same time.

    Let me get this straight: First, I have to buy a copy of Windows, so that I can run Windows programs on my Mac?

    Isn't this like paying Rosie O'Donell for sex when you're already dating Halle Berry?
  • by P-Nuts (592605) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:11PM (#17091914)
    I really don't get why Apple won't just come out with a real, honest-to-goodness two-button laptop. None of this gimmicky stuff meant to keep it looking like a one-button setup while ever-so-awkwardly implementing a secondary click feature. Lack of a real two-button touchpad is the only reason at least two of my friends haven't yet bought Mac laptops, and I can only chalk this kind of reality-defying failure to address the market to direct veto from Jobs himself.

    I never even use the single button below the trackpad on a Macbook. I tap with one finger for left click, tap with two fingers for right click, and drag with two fingers for scroll. This method doesn't strike me as awkward at all (whereas holding down option while clicking the button is indeed awkward.)

  • by iphayd (170761) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:11PM (#17091916) Homepage Journal
    Because there are plenty of people like myself that recognize that the single button has kept carpel tunnel at bay, since I can vary where I click the button.

    I _love_ the two finger click on the MBP. It is an elegant solution to an inelegant problem.

    I don't know why they haven't implemented it in the AlBooks that support two finger scrolling, since it is obvious that they would support this as well.
  • by iphayd (170761) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:20PM (#17092008) Homepage Journal
    Your non-native app is going to show the native market that there is interest for Mac users for your product. A slew of new, native, products will come out that will start eroding your market share, as their products will advertise how much better it is to be a real Mac app.

    Finally, you will realize too late that your lack of actions allowed competitors to grow where they wouldn't had otherwise and jeopardize your business.
  • by wootest (694923) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:31PM (#17092086)
    The Objective-C-to-Java bridge is being abandoned because it really didn't make things easier for Java developers and because it was a pain in the ass to write code with for everyone and to maintain for Apple. (However, RubyCocoa will ship with the next version of Mac OS X because it's a lesser pain in the ass on all accounts.)

    You may know more people who have VPC or Parallels than not (I do too), but how sure are you that those people will be representative to the entire Mac market? To the market you want to aim your product at? (Unless it's "technologically competent user who has ever heard of Slashdot", fat chance.)

    There's also psychology in it. At its core, the people that are now switching to Macs are not switching *because you can run Windows on it*. They are switching *because you can run Mac OS X on it*; the ability to run Windows on it just pushed them over the edge because Mac OS X doesn't have a 90%+ market share. If they were indifferent to what software they preferred, they'd be using a different brand of computers, and run Windows, not Mac OS X.

    Most Mac users, even the ones propped up with VPC or Parallels (I plead guilty), ultimately want to run Mac-native software rather than Windows software. Parallels is life-support for existing software that people need to run, and even if it was free and shipped with all Macs and took up half the memory and disk space that it does today, it doesn't make Windows software into Mac software.

    You don't need to think that Mac software is superior to Windows software to concede that Mac software has an advantage over Windows software running in a Mac simply because it gets access to all system APIs to things like address books and keychains and hardware support and preferences, and because it looks like everything else you run. Windows software just think it's running on an isolated box and won't become aware of the Mac OS X side of your computer unless you as a user go to some length and the software itself supports it, at which point the developer will already need to make way in their timeplan and budget for Mac-specific testing.

    Still not convinced?

    1. Mac market share is currently surging. More people, not fewer, will arrive at the Mac platform in the next few years, and building a dedicated version (and almost no well-designed application will need to be rewritten entirely from scratch) is becoming more and more economically feasible.

    2. Would you want to bet your entire Mac user base on a competitor not releasing a native Mac version? Unless it's a turd, people will switch to that in a heartbeat. You will lose out months of sales as you rush a native product to market, or need to pull out of a market completely.
  • by LKM (227954) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @05:27PM (#17092528) Homepage

    There are four features I just love about this release (well, there are more, but these are my main favourites):

    1. You can use your BootCamp partition within Parallels (haven't tried it, dunno about any Activation issues).
    2. You can "liberate" the Windows windows and make it look like you were running Windows and Mac OS at the same time, on the same screen - which looks extremely weird (here's a screenshot [watashi.ch]). I guess you could even runn more than one instance of Windows (although I have not tried that!) and mix, say, IE7 and IE6 windows. One note: All windows from a given Windows instance are in one single layer, so bringing one to the foreground brings all of them to the foreground.
    3. You can use Mac OS keyboard commands in Windows (Cmd-C instead of Ctrl-C to copy, for example) - something which constantly bit me in the ass, as the Cmd-key used to call on the Windows key and open the Start menu. Cmd-L used to log you out (or something) when you want to focus the URL text field.
    4. Drag-And-Drop between Windows and Mac OS. You can drag Files from a Finder window into a Windows Explorer window. Works well with the "Coherency" feature - having Windows explorers and Finder windows side-by-side and copying between them is just incredible.

    All in all an utterly amazing update. I found this screencast [michaelverdi.com] showing some of the features.

  • by Anarchitect_in_oz (771448) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @05:31PM (#17092566)
    You know you could just write the app in one of the cross platform libraries or languages.
    I've heard good things about QT as an alternative for VB styles apps.
    I understand software like Sketchup is written in Ruby (maybe on rails) and the same code base is used for both Windows and Mac, just the GUI wrapper and compilling differ. Then again cocoa/ xcode can use a number languages, sure Obj-C is main one but that doesn't stop you using the majority of your existing C++ code base for the Mac version.

    Hey once you have the Mac app nailed then Linux isn't far off either. or go the other way Linux then Mac.

    To answer why write Mac native software have a look at software industry sales numbers.
    Mac users by good software and in numbers that suggest an installed base much higher than expected.
    Windows users buy Games, Office and highly specialised custom business databases.
  • by gidds (56397) <slashdot AT gidds DOT me DOT uk> on Sunday December 03, 2006 @06:47PM (#17093136) Homepage
    This worries me severely. It's one thing to allow people to run Windows apps with some hassle (e.g. dual booting, or within a 'Windows' OS X window). But it's quite another thing to run Windows apps as first-class citizens.

    After all, we know what happened to the last OS [wikipedia.org] which did this: by billing itself as "a better Windows than Windows", it signed its own death warrant. After all, who'd develop a native app when it runs Windows apps so well?

  • by MacDaffy (28231) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @08:37PM (#17094028)
    The last version of Parallels I tried had a limitation on the amount of memory you could devote to an application. This meant that the dictation software a customer of mine bought had to be installed in Boot Camp so that the application had all the resources it needed to run effectively. My recommendation is to get the most powerful processor, most memory, and largest drive you can afford (a PowerMac with dual drive would be ideal).
  • by potuncle (583651) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @08:53PM (#17094166)
    I wouldn't use Parallels for any professional-level CAD. Most CAD software uses the video card to render the display. Parallels does not provide accelerated graphics drivers that allow needed access to the video card, so any some-what complex designs will display very slowly. Booting into Boot Camp DOES provide native accelerated graphics card drivers.
  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday December 03, 2006 @09:01PM (#17094210) Homepage Journal
    So you have a bought and paid for copy of Windows and they've made you afraid to use it. Seems like there's a moral in there somewhere.

    Yeah, and the moral - for those of us who make our $ writing software for Windows - is to crack that activation shit. I bought it, I own it, back off me.

    Same damn installation too.

  • by Strolls (641018) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @10:28PM (#17094782)
    It's always nice to see 3rd parties fix the deficiencies inherent in OS X. Namely, that it isn't Windows.
    This might be posted by an AC & appear like flamebait, but it might be argued that OS X's only deficiency is that it isn't Windows.

    I find OS X to be the most perfect desktop o/s I've used, so for me its only failing is that it won't run Windows programs. I have customers that would love to run Macs - they'd have less hassles & spend less time & money on technical support issues. But they're bound inexorably to one or two bespoke or proprietary apps, only available on Windows. That's the facts of the matter for me - the deficiencies inherent in OS X are that it isn't Windows.

    Personally, I find this to be a pretty minor deficiency, but that's me - in particular I have a spare Windows PC around the place if I absolutely need to do something in Windows.

    The parent might be a troll (or he might not be), but he has given me food for thought.

    Stroller.

  • Win-OS/2 nostalgia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mouth of Sauron (196971) on Monday December 04, 2006 @12:05AM (#17095308)
    Everything old is new again. This reminds me a great deal of IBM's OS/2 Windows 3.1 emulation layer. You could run Windows applications in full screen, or in "windowed" mode. Also, you could specify that a Windows application ran in its own address space, or Windows applications could cooperatively multitask in a shared process space.

    I don't want to /. anyone else's pages with a deep link, so instead here is a hyperlink to a google image search on win-os/2 [google.com] to illustrate what I am talking about.

    Compare some of those images to the Parallels desktop, and you'll get my drift. Welcome to the early 90s!

    The comparison to OS/2 brings up another interesting question for the future of OS X. Ignoring the eerily similar name (OS 2, OS X, ha ha) how much incentive will there be for software publishers to write native OS X applications when emulation such as this exists? Back then you could get a copy of Lotus 123 for OS/2, but running Lotus 123 for Windows under win-OS/2 ran almost as well, with copy and paste support and object embedding, and etc. How many copys of 123 did Lotus sell for the OS/2 platform?

    Apple has a long history of supporting compatibility products. Users have had choices ranging from Orange PC cards to SoftWindows. However, these came with somewhat of a price or performance cost. If Windows emulation on OS X becomes ubiquitous, where does that leave OS X as an application platform?

    I like OS X a lot. There is an appeal for me to be able to run unix apps along side X11 apps along side OS X apps along side Windows apps. Does OS X not run the risk, however, of following OS/2, NextStep, and Be into obscurity by emulating itself out of existence? True, Apple is a hardware vendor, and they provide a vertical solution of hardware and software. Maybe OS X will survive where OS/2 did not.

    Full disclosure, I am writing this from Gentoo on a Macbook Pro.
  • by Steve Cowan (525271) on Monday December 04, 2006 @06:16PM (#17105330) Journal
    Obviously you don't use the Mac. The Mac has different ways of doing things. Sure you can write a Mac app that does things the Windows way, but Mac users just won't buy it.

    As a Mac user, I would not accept an app that had different keyboard shortcuts just because it is running under Windows virtualization. Any deviation from the consistent shortcuts across Mac apps is unacceptable. I don't like Windows-style toolbars. I don't like having to run a 'wizard' just to uninstall an app (and then trust it when it says it was removed). I don't like launching apps from the start menu or from desktop shortcuts. Believe it or not, I don't like apps that assume I have a 2-button mouse (even though I do, but I prefer to think of the right button as a quick way to get to frequently-used commands, but I don't like having options in that contextual menu that aren't available anywhere else). I don't like the look of the Windows GUI. I don't like Windows 'Save' dialog boxes that only let me save in tree view. I don't like browsing dialogs of any sort that default to 'list mode' (the one that has you scroll sideways).

    If your app has any of the above Win-nonsense I won't use it. And if it has some capability that my Mac software doesn't have, I may hold on to it, but only to do that one task. And even then I certainly won't pay for it. (I pirate much less than most people, but I don't pay for crappy apps or Win apps).

    That's why.

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