But what you don't see a lot of (or enough of) is what it's like to work with Parallels, and that's what I'm going to talk about here today.
Using Vista and Linux on a Mac, Part One
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I've been using Parallels for about a month on a MacBook Pro. From an IT point of view, it is leaps and bounds better than Boot Camp, Apple's dual-booting environment for Intel Macs. While Boot Camp forces you to stop work, completely change your OS context, then do more work and repeat those steps every time you need to switch OSes Parallels creates context.
What I mean is that, if I need to test something in an environment other than Mac OS X, say Windows Vista, XP, or some Linux distro, I don't have to stop what I'm doing. I just start up the appropriate VM and do my testing.
My Mac OS X workflow can continue with no more interruption than if I was working in Microsoft Word and needed to open Terminal to SSH into another machine. It takes the rather huge context switch and associated work interruptions that dual or multi-booting creates and reduces them to nothing more than switching applications.
This is, at least for me, a huge increase in productivity over Boot Camp. For example, I recently needed to see how IE7 plays with our sort of Web-based terminal emulator in both XP and Vista Business RC2. With Boot Camp, I could have done one task somewhat easily, but that would require two reboots, etc. The second one would pretty much mean a second computer.
With Parallels? Dead simple. Fire up the XP Virtual Machine, get IE 7 on it, then test. Pause the XP VM and save its current state, fire up the Vista VM, then test. If I were testing on a Mac Pro, I probably could have run both VMs at once. All the while, I'm taking notes in BBEdit and doing screen shots where needed.
Matching Parallels ease of us and productivity in Boot Camp simply isn't possible.
Another example: I created a VM for Ubuntu Linux. I installed the 6.0.X release. About a week later, the 6.1.X release came out, and I found the way to run the Ubuntu update manager to do an in-place upgrade. It may not be the safest way, but it's a testing environment. Envelope pushing and all that.
So, I start the upgrade. By quitting time (and more importantly, get-down-to-the-bus time), I'd finished the download, but not the actual install. Time to really test. I paused the VM, saved state, and went home. Next morning, while I'm working on other stuff, I fire up the VM where Id paused it, in mid-install. No problems. A little bit later, I had a fully functional Ubuntu 6.1.X VM, and I could commence to testing Open Office and Evolution in our environment.
Next page: 3D Hardware acceleration?