Until very recently, this sort of thing was just a daydream:
But now, thanks to Parallels and Virtue, it’s possible to turn your Intel Mac into a multi-OS environment within which you can flit from OS X to Windows to Linux or pretty much anything else that takes your fancy, with a simple keystroke.
Don’t be fooled by appearances. In this video clip, it looks as though the user is leaving OS X completely when using Ubuntu Dapper and Windows XP. In reality, both of them are running inside Parallels, which is running on OS X. The visual effects that make each new OS swoosh in from one side are simply that - visual effects. Apple’s own Boot Camp solution is different; it lets you boot into different operating systems. Under Parallels, the “guest” systems are running inside their own virtual machines alongside the “host” OS, Mac OS X.
In the video above, we’re shown each OS doing some basics, running a browser and perhaps one other app; it would be interesting to see just how far you can push the CPU before it falls over.
But that doesn’t make this demonstration any less impressive. For people working in one OS and wishing to test something in another, or simply use a single Windows app in an otherwise Mac-oriented workflow (hello, Lotus Notes users!), a setup like this looks pretty compelling.
Note also that Parallels is still a Release Candidate, so you should be prepared for unexpected behavior, crashes and so on. Be backed up, people.