Are People Too Hard on Apple? (Part 2)


Continue from yesterday’s article

The ability to run Windows applications on the Macintosh is not new. There had been:

  • Microsoft’s “VirtualPC for Mac”, formerly owned by Comnetix
  • “Q”, a CoCoa port of the OpenSource project “QEMU
  • Darwine” project, a port of the WINE OpenSource project [Updated 2006]OpenDarwine project closed.

Apple and others have made the possibility of running Windows applications/executables much easier and much much faster on the Macintosh.

Most of these solutions have their respective merits, but none so far has been as elegant and quick as the “dual boot” solution; except “Q”. Apple’s “dual boot” solution, code name, “Boot Camp” will be included in Apple’s up coming Mac OS X upgrade (v10.5, aka “Leopard”), with this software and firmware technologies, Apple has again demonstrated the “Apple Way” of doing things.

Despite the fact that Apple made a point of not supporting the Windows environment on the Macintosh, they do make it extremely easy to create the necessary partition for installing Windows XP on the Macintel. They even included the feature of not requiring any lost of existing data after partitioning; something that has not been done before on the Macintosh. To the spirit of the “Apple Way” of doing things, Apple provided a simple and intuitive “Mac Way” to specify the sizes of the respective partitions, plus also provided an easy and intuitive way for users to get back to the Mac OS boot from within the Windows XP environment and vice versa.

Boot Camp is just the tip of the iceberg for Apple’s virtualization strategy. Their next step is to take advantage of the virtualization technology within the Intel processors to allow Windows applications/executables to run within their respective Mac OS window in the Mac OS environment, without requiring the user to reboot each time they want to change to applications of a different operating system. For the matter of fact these applications can potentially from any operating systems (ie. Linux, BeOS, UNIX, etc.).

This sort of virtualization is what the “WINEand “Darwine OpenSource projects aim to accomplish. At the moment the Darwine project requires any Windows applications wanting to run on Mac OS to be recompiled with the Darwine library. Apple’s goal will not require any recompilation.

With Boot Camp and future virtualization developments, the barrier of switching to the Macintosh platform had been lowered substantially. Macintosh is now most ideal for individuals who are forced to use the Windows platform at work, while not wanting to deal with the trouble of managing Windows on their personal computer. This is also the ideal moment for corporates to readdress the subsidization of personal computers for their employees for both business and personal uses. Eliminating the ownership of personal computers all together at the corporate level.

I can’t believe how long this article is getting. I will continue part 3 tomorrow…

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