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Hijinks Ensue

Dear Lazyweb

What's the current PC virtualisation software of choice for x86 OSX?

ETA: I was going to try the demo version of Parallels but I couldn't find a spare copy of Windows anywhere in the office, so I decided to try Darwine instead, which runs Windows apps natively by simulating the Win32 ABI. It's poorly documented and a bit of a hassle to install, but it did allow me to successfully run my "problem" application.


My colleagues seem to have settled on Parallels.
Cool, I'll give it a try.
While Parallels gets high marks, VMware's Fusion has a lot of interesting features and seems better on multi-procesor systems.
Interesting, I'll take a look.

I hadn't realised VMWare Server is now available for free. Way back in the mists of time I used an early beta version of VMWare for Linux kernel development on a dual 150Mhz Pentium Pro.
I use VMWare Server on either Debian or Ubuntu, and it's quite successful... and you can disconnect the UI from the VM now, which means that you can leave it running and don't have to have it cluttering up your desktop, which is nice. I've never used it on OSX, though.



I use Parallels to very good effect - it *is* a MacBook Pro tho with 2G RAM and I understand on smaller RAM machines it struggles a bit. Win2k is excellent under it, and although XP occasionally has problems (mostly slowing down because of disk accesses, so.. XP) it's perfectly usable and I find testing websites in IE7 on it to be fine. The network bridging thing also allows me to keep it in my sandbox for testing projects. HTH. Joel.x

Re: Parallels

Parallels sounds good, and the price isn't bad either. I'll be running it on a dual 1.66Ghz Mac Mini with 2GB RAM, and I don't need to do anything too processor intensive.


OSX Virtualisations

It's about running Windows programs on a Mac. Darwine lets you run Windows programs (almost) directly, via a bit of translation magic that pretends to be Windows. Parallels, VMWare, Qemu, etc. are programs that can simulate an entire virtual PC inside your Mac, which you can then install Windows or any other PC operating system on. Darwine has the advantage that it's faster, uses less memory, is better integrated, and best of all is totally free. The problem is that it's only pretending to be Windows and imperfectly at that, so programs often don't work quite right or fail to run altogether. Parallels etc. are able to run an actual copy of Windows so almost any Windows software will run perfectly under them, but they run slower than a real PC would on the same hardware, use lots of memory, look like you're remotely accessing a separate PC as opposed to running software locally, and you have to buy a copy of Windows to run on them. Swings and roundabouts.

PC virtualisation software is great for developing stuff because you can set up several different virtual test machines running different operating systems and carry them around on your laptop. They also usually have a feature called rollback which means it keeps track of what's changed on the virtual disk and you can tell it to go back to the state it was in before you broke it. It can also be used to run several virtual servers that are kept isolated from each other for security and administration reasons on a single physical server (I'm thinking of doing this myself to eliminate one of my office servers and cut my power consumption at work).