Friday, July 07, 2006

Evolution of Running Windows on Mac

This is Y.A.M.P. (Yet Another Mac Post) but please bear with me. :)

One of the reasons why people are not too keen on using Apple computers is its inability to run Windows or Windows-based programs.  In order to address this, there are a number of ways to make Windows *and* Windows-based applications on an Apple computer.  Here are a few:

Parallels Desktop for Mac

The oldest method was to emulate or virtualize Windows using, well, Windows Emulator programs like VirtualPC, Parallels, and the open-source "Project Q" which is based on Qemu.  Emulating Windows to run Windows-based programs is rather kludgy since Windows (and its programs) will not run full-speed when emulated (read: it runs really slow).  However, this is still a viable alternative if the programs are not too demanding.  Emulation is the only way to run Windows on a PowerPC-based Apple machines though it also runs perfectly on the newer Intel-based Apple computers.

Boot Camp Public Beta. Macs do Windows, too.

The advent of the Intel-based Apple computers opened up the possibility of running Windows natively on it.  The first attempt was by some real-life hackers who were seduced by the $12,000 bounty for releasing a method of dual-booting the Apple.  While the hack worked fine, a couple of weeks later, Apple themselves released "Boot Camp", a program that makes their computer dual-boot Windows officially with no work-arounds and hacks needed.  Once Boot Camp is installed, an Intel-based Apple computer can dual-boot both OS X and Windows.  Best of both worlds!

CodeWeaversCrossOver Mac

Then a couple of days ago, a company called CodeWeavers announced that they will be releasing a program called Crossover Mac.  Once released, this program (Crossover Mac) should be able to run Windows-based programs without having to emulate Windows nor re-booting to Windows.  This is, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of the Evolution I was talking about in the title.  Imagine working on OS X and you click on MS Outlook 2003 and MS Outlook will simply run seamlessly.  Codeweavers will also enable *some* games to run in Crossover Mac but their list is not  yet finalized.  What makes Crossover Mac remarkable is that unlike the other two methods enumerated above (Virtualization/Emulation & Dual Booting) which requires a Windows license, Crossover Mac *does not* and *will not* require a Windows license at all.

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verbosity said...

Won't the time needed to translate Windows' commands (example: draw pixel at 1020,656) into something the OS X understands slow things down? Or does this program go straight to the source, so to speak?

Berniej said...

That's why emulation/virtualization is, IMHO, the slowest among the options. However, according to tech pundits, the upcoming "Conroe" processor can support emulation/virtualization at the CPU level making it way faster than it is now.