Just as I finished installing the Apple Boot Camp Beta on my 20″ Intel iMac I heard about a new virtualization solution to run Wormware or Linux as a Guest OS inside OS X.
Parallels Workstation already has been making virtual environments for PC hardware, so the main task that faced them was to develop a OS X Host program. Currently they have a time-limited beta for download. See the site here.
Boot Camp is great, and probably the best solution if you absolutely need all of the raw power of your computer for games and the like.
Virtualization is a better solution if you just want to occasionally run some Windows program and you can take a small performance hit, but you don’t want to quit OS X.
Boot Camp is an either or solution, one OS at a time. Virtualization is running two operating systems at the same time, often with one running in a window as a program in the Host OS.
I downloaded Parallels Workstation 2.1 Beta 3 for OS X and had Windows XP installed as a Guest OS in about an hour. But because of the draconian activation policies of Microsoft I could not activate it.
So within the next hour I installed Windows 2000 Professional with Service Pack 1. After also installing the provided tools that include drivers for Windows I had a great, very fast Windows installation that I can use for the handful of Windows graphics programs I might still want to use.
I’m using this Win2K under OS X installation right next to a Dull Computers workstation that has a 2.6GHz P4. My iMac has the 2.0GHz Core Duo. I’m allowing the Guest OS to use 496mb RAM on my iMac, the Dull Computer has 512mb.
Performing ordinary tasks like opening folders in My Computer or starting the same program (Paint Shop Pro version 9), the virtualized Win2K on my iMac seems faster than the native Win2K on the Dull.
I think that Parallels Workstation is currently the best choice if you want to run the occasional Windows program but you prefer not to reboot your Mac.