17 Comments

Summary:

First let’s make it clear that I’m not a secret agent or have any knowledge of upcoming announcements. Yesterday’s release of Boot Camp reminded me of a speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them […]

First let’s make it clear that I’m not a secret agent or have any knowledge of upcoming announcements. Yesterday’s release of Boot Camp reminded me of a speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

I’m going to trust this is the case as I peer into my iSnow Globe (yes, that’s Apple part number M9179LL/A) despite the warning. Boot Camp means Apple went ahead and made MacWindows possible for the masses for hundreds of reasons that are all really pointing to customer demand. Many of you said, “Gee whiz this is great, but how about running Windows inside OS X instead of rebooting”.

This is where Tiger ends and Leopard picks up. Jobs is a smarter, wiser man these days. He knows virtualization is the real solution, as I imagine many at Apple around him do. It is a huge pain to have to reboot constantly, and then you have to deal with the differences between the two OS’s and files they create, etcetera, etcetera. Look at this from the view of AppleCare tech support.

Ring…Ring. “Hello, thank you for calling Apple Support. How can I help?”
“Hi, I dragged that little blue globe in Safari onto my (insert folder name) and now Windows won’t go to that website. I used Boot Camp, so what’s the deal?”

Ring…Ring. “Hello, (fill in the rest)”
“Hi, I set up Boot Camp and when I go into Mac OS X and try to copy/paste it doesn’t work. How come my computer’s clipboard doesn’t work going from Windows and back?”

You can go on about how the systems are different and the tech might even suggest calling Microsoft on it, but of course the reality is a scenario like this has or will happen soon. So virtualization should handle things like the situations above. We are starting to see the full impact of the Intel switch and Jobs didn’t tell the whole story – only the major points. One minor point is this virtualization of Windows, and who knows even other OS’s, though I doubt it. From Apple’s perspective there isn’t an advantage to Linux virtualization since the tools from that OS are fairly available for Mac OS X and run natively. Couple that with the even smaller share Linux holds and it’s users are generally geeky you can see that there isn’t much motivation to support it officially.

Take a look at WINE, which has the right idea but really doesn’t have the political pull with Microsoft to make it happen. WINE is working on bringing Windows API’s to Linux by writing new code (versus just getting them from Microsoft), which is a huge task I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It seems easier and makes more sense to have Windows sitting on another partition, and have Mac OS X simply run the Windows program and add a layer that can call those API’s as needed. Boot Camp is just the smoke before the fire, and I’m glad to bring the marshmallow, chocolate bar, and graham crackers along.

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  1. Bridget Samuels Thursday, April 6, 2006

    That might just be the smartest thing I’ve read about this whole Boot Camp deal. Personally dual-booting isn’t what I’m after; I’d be much more likely to use virtualization or even better, true emulation, Rosetta-style.

  2. Try Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta for Mac OS X on Intel.
    http://www.parallels.com/en/download/mac/
    And here’s a video showing how fast it is.

  3. Bridget Samuels Thursday, April 6, 2006

    Thanks for the link, Willi– looks amazing! After how slow VirtualPC and Q were, I didn’t hold out much hope for Parallels.

  4. I shared this same opinion with several colleagues yesterday. I mean, Leopard itself is at least six months away, and this is already solved. I think there’s more, but we won’t see it til WWDC.

    In the meantime, files can be easily shared (although this doesn’t solve copy/paste issues) via an iDisk or a USB drive (thumbdrive or external drive).

  5. If you want the application to just use a windows api layer to run the windows apps that will require some overhead in osx just to keep it ready, otherwise apps will load (and probably run) slow as hell.

    Personally I’d rather just reboot into windows, do my gaming (about the only thing windows is useful for these days) and be done with it. I dont want windows’ ugly interfaces and whatnot causing a bunch of pain in the neck in osx. Not to mention that there are malware and viruses specific to windows apps out there (ie, Norton, IE, MSN, etc) that I wouldn’t want to even be a possibility. Why would steve want you to be able to run windows apps when you can just get the much nicer, newer, better supported cocoa versions for (comparatively to windows software) pennies? This newer/better/etc software would be osx native, not subject to windows rudimentary windowing api’s and not subject to the windows apps’ security/etc flaws.

    Of course, what I’d REALLY rather do is just have windows not be around to begin with. But sometimes it’s unavoidable :)

  6. Dual booting makes sense if you believe folks will start to favor your OS over the other as time goes on. For switchers. For those that actually need Windows programs to work and have already been sold on OSX Virtualization sounds better.

    Either way a 1-2 punch seems well planned. Especially with a year or so before Vista comes out.

  7. I am not sure that virtualization is “the real solution”. For some situations it will be. Like testing web sites in IE or doing some little task in some PC only application your company makes you use. Dual booting is still going to need to be an option though. There are some things that you are not going to want to do while running two operating systems and all their associated processes. Gaming for one (which is 95% of the reason I want to be able to run Windows on a Mac). 3D modeling is another thing that many users will want to do under Windows (lets face it, besides Maya we don’t really have many industry standard 3D apps on Mac, and now that Maya had been purchased by the makers of 3D Studio Max who knows if there will still be a Mac version in the future).

    What I really don’t want to see is some kind of WINE layer similar to Classic for running Windows apps under Mac OS X. I would rather keep Windows in a window where it belongs. It would be great though to be able to dual boot and run Windows in a window from the same install. This would give you maximum flexibility.

  8. “I would rather keep Windows in a window where it belongs. It would be great though to be able to dual boot and run Windows in a window from the same install. This would give you maximum flexibility.”

    My point is exactly that. I used virtualization more as a buzz word than a literal. I would like both too, since it’s often the case with Virtual PC breaking that you’re left wondering if it was Windows or VPC that was the culprit.

  9. As a Mac user it would be nice to run Windows from within OSX. For a Window user this is not workable. They don’t want to start OSX to get their XP software up and running. They just want a iMac or Macbook which starts up with Windows. No hassle…

  10. Just as one of the previous commenters said I think this Boot Camp dual boot will pull more switchers to Apple. You don’t buy an Apple if you don’t want an Apple. If you compare OSX with XP I think anyone will finally stick to OSX. People often are not used to working with OSX and mostly do rely on their PC for their work. So this might just be the final treshold-lowering step from Apple to get people to go Mac.

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