Boot Camp is smoke…

17 Comments

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.

17 Comments

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Thomas E Camargo

Ryan,

You make a very persuasive argument for the Mac and I may just consider one when they start using the Memron sometime after summer. Most of what makes someone like me want to stick with Windows is my huge learning investment, having been a Windows consultant for years. Thanks for your thoughful response.

Ryan

Thomas,

The reason it’s a ‘huge deal’ is because it’s good times for Mac users, I recently switched myself and it was a risk at first because I really didn’t know if I could live without a windows pc. Within a month I sold my windows box and haven’t looked back. Being able to run windows along side OSX makes sense because (as another post on this blog talks about) choice is a good thing. On a windows pc you’re basically stuck with the huge ugly mess that is microsofts often regurgitated code. When I’m in my c course at college and we’re supposed to submit an assignment using a windows header file, that’s good that I can do that without having to have a big nasty dell on my desk.

As you say: “If the Mac world is so great why can’t Mac users just live in it and avoid Windows completely since they have nothing good to say about it?”

I can avoid it completely, personally, but unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t always work like that, so it’s nice that I don’t have to feel stuck on my platform (like you do on windows). I can run OSX 99.99% of the time and that once a year I need windows I have it.

You dont have this problem since you only use windows, however I would wager that if you put aside your preconceptions (like I did 8 months ago) and used OSX you would likely enjoy it. Wouldn’t it then be nice to be able to run both OS’? I think so. I have friends in my program that drool over my shoulder now that I’ve shown them my powerbook and what OSX can do. There’s so many things about OSX and the integration with the hardware that just about anyone can appreciate that are far too many to get into here… my point is that it’s a nice os, I’ve used windows for almost 10 years and I can say it’s really nothing compared to OSX. I am QUITE ‘fulfilled’ with OSX. I’d be surprised if you used OSX for 6 months and then went back to straight windows xp and were still feeling ‘fulfilled’.

And lastly: “Yes, the Mac and OS X are more beautiful all the way around but a Ferrari doesn’t haul kids and groceries very well.”

I hate kids, first of all. Second, if I have a ferrari and kids then I likely am pretty well off. So what do i do? Forget the ferrari altogether? Hell no. I have some big ugly SUV in the garage I use for those annoying purposes and drive my ferrari around when I want to get some REAL work done :)

Thomas E Camargo

Why is it a huge deal when Mac users suddenly have access to Windows? Why is it Windows users like me couldn’t care less whether we get access to a Mac OS? Is one world maybe more complete than the other? If the Mac world is so great why can’t Mac users just live in it and avoid Windows completely since they have nothing good to say about it? And, if you write to me to tell me what an idiot I am for feeling fulfilled with Windows, why aren’t you fulfilled with OS X?

Yes, the Mac and OS X are more beautiful all the way around but a Ferrari doesn’t haul kids and groceries very well.

Maccampus

“Take a look at WINE, … is working on bringing Windows API’s to Linux by writing new code (versus just getting them from Microsoft), …. 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.”

Well Obvviously Wine has no choise , Microsoft will never sell them their source code. Ofcourse they could just install Windows on a partition & use a layer that can call the Windows API’s , but then we are talkink more like a “Classic” kind of emu-virtualization where the most of the OS is running but get’s hidden by the emu-virtualizer ( or could it be possible to have Mac OS X simply run the Windows program and add a layer that can call those API’s as needed without knowing (parts of) the source code of Windows)

“dual-booting isn’t what I’m after; I’d be much more likely to use virtualization or even better, true emulation, Rosetta-style”

Rosetta would be nice & you wont need windows installed for it, but since not knowing the Windows source code i think this is an inpossible solution.

But a Classic like solution seems reachable. installing Windows on a sepperate partition or even in a diskimage like MacOS.app (the father of Classic). This kind of virtualization will make use of the Windows OS but disables or hiding the filemanagement & gui of it & runs it’s applications through the OS X gui. ( i think also here the lack of the Windows source would be a dificulty , but there’s more chance to succeed since the Windows OS can be used)

On the other side when it’s installed on it’s own partition , dual booting will still be available, just like it is/was with Classic on Mac OS 9.2.x supporting Mac’s.

“After how slow VirtualPC and Q were, I didn’t hold out much hope for Parallels.”

Parallels seems nice , most resembling the approuch from VirtualPC & SoftWindows(RIP), the approuch we are all used too. Soon (we hope) VirtualPC will make use of the intel chip in the new Macs & no longer be an emulater but become a Virtualizer. Other known Mac emulators already are making changes in that direction, Wintel, GuestPC, iEmulator & Q-emu & Bochs all already make use of the existing x86 processor instead of emulating it.

So obviously VPC is on the loosing side atm, as for Q it’s a bit of an do-it-all, but Q-emu it’s mother project claims to make use of an existing x86 processor.

Herman

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.

damaded

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…

Todd Baur

“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.

Twist

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.

rjschwarz

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.

Ryan

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 :)

craig

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).

Bridget Samuels

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

Bridget Samuels

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.

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