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.