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Side by side in harmony 3 April, 2007

Posted by Adam in Blogroll.

For a while now I’ve harboured a secret desire, a wish to see two great protagonists live harmoniously side by side, and this week I can proudly announce I have seen the dawn of my dearest wish!

Windows XP running on an Apple Mac OSX – at the same time?!? Yes, it’s true. Thanks to the truly superb Parrallels application – for no more than a few pounds and a copy of Windows XP Home Edition (legit I might add) a Virtual Machine version of the MS Behemoth runs at break-neck speed with no obvious lag or hit on either OS. Of course there is bound to be a penalty somewhere down the line by sharing processor power and RAM, but I can happily report that for everyday activities such as running MS Office, surfing the net, updating accounts software etc there is absolutely no sign of a drop off in speed on either platform.

Of course the faster the Mac the better the experience. My experiment features an iMac 20 with 2gb of Ram and a fairly hefty processor – and I would imagine anything less than that spec is going to start to creak. With the addition of a second monitor attached to the Mac with the WinXP VM expanded to full screen you can blissfully fool yourself into thinking you have two separate machines running – and miracle of miracles – with Parellels you simply move your mouse from one monitor to the other to control that OS – no need for fancy key combinations, or to close one while moving to the other – truly majestic coding!!

 So, here’s the plan. The WinXP VM will be used to run my office apps while the Mac will be used for creative work (which it truly is the platform of choice for). If needs be – for example to work with a PC font that doesn’t exist on the Mac – I will just crack open the PC equivalent of the app in question (for example Fireworks). I have duel licenses for our creative applications so it’s not a problem.

At the moment I leave my PC running on the network and drag work files and documents across the network (blisteringly fast I have to say – gone are the days I remember back in the early nineties of waiting ten minutes to drag a five megabyte file from one machine to the other!). However, I think the next phase in my master plan will be to get a fast external drive and use that to store work files. The advantage of this is that either OS can have access to the files and the whole box can be unplugged and taken off-site for security at the end of a working day.

I wonder if I can run Linux, Mac OSX, and Win Vista all on one machine at the same time – hmmm…?



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