It’s been a while since I took a look at three Virtual Machine packages for the Macintosh, and all three have moved on from the previous versions. Parallels has recently seen a step to version 4, VMware Fusion is now on version 2 and so is Virtualbox. With the release of Parallels came claims of big speed improvements so it’s time to try all three again and see if one has edged ahead of the pack.
To start I decided to try a simple task. Most users will likely be installing Windows (Vista was used here) in their VM, so the first tests are how long does it take, how many steps are involved and how good are the default options chosen for you. Read more…
I posted a while back on the various Antivirus apps available for the Mac. Anyone interested in an update should have a look at the article on Macworld that looks at the threat and makes some interesting points. And don’t forget that Windows running in a virtual machine (using VMware, Parallels or the free Virtualbox) is still Windows so needs protection.
One of the comments left after the article raised a good point, why hasn’t there been a major security breach of Mac OS X? Now that the Mac’s market share is growing there would be a lot of publicity for whoever writes the first widespread security threat, so where is it? is this luck, or is Apple doing something right?
Two updates to report today in the Macintosh VM market. First, VMware Fusion 2.0 sees the release of RC1. Lots of bug fixes in the update, as well as the addition of McAfee VirusScan Plus for Windows. I tried this yesterday and found it easy to install from a menubar option. This is a sensible addition given the risks attached to accessing the internet on an unprotected Windows machine. Other improvements include Spanish and Italian language support, Unity 2 and multiple snapshots. Full details at the Vmware web site.
The other update is Virtualbox, which has today seen the release of version 2. Again, a lot of updates which are listed at the Virtualbox web site. I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, so it’s next on the install list. It’s nice to see the free option progressing well along with the comercial offerings, and I’m wondering how long it will be before Parallels has a big announcent.
A while back I compared the three biggest Virtualisation products for the Mac. Parallels, VMware Fusion and VirtualBox are all impressive products that performed equally, and I used the free Virtualbox for my occasional Windows needs. Parallels was part of the recent MacUpdate bundle which I bought, so I’ve been using that most recently. It’s been running well and seems more responsive than the previous versions I tried.
The reason for this recap is that VMware Fusion 2 beta 1 has been released, and adds some interesting new features. Multi display support will please some users, even if support for eight monitors is very niche. Importing Parallels and Virtual PC machines is a useful if late addition. DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2 is perhaps the most interesting, and I’m wondering how well this will work on my hackintosh. Perhaps the biggest improvement is that version 2 allows any printer attached to your Mac to be used direct from Windows without installing drivers.
Also new is an updated version 1.6 of Virtualbox. It’s now out of beta, although there are a few things still not supported:
Currently, we are aware of the following restrictions:
• No support for Host Interface Networking
• No support for Internal Networking
• No support for audio input
• No support for VT-x/AMD-V (rarely required)
• No support for raw disk access
• The numlock emulation isn’t implemented yet
• The VirtualBox kernel extension is currently accessible from all user accounts
Note that we are planning to address all known issues.
Things are certainly moving on in the Mac virtualisation market, so I’ll be trying all three products again this week with some updated results to follow.
In previous posts I compared VMware Fusion and Innotek Virtualbox, and looked at how both of these running Windows XP measured up to native apps on my hackintosh. To complete the testing of the big three Virtual Machine packages I have run the same tests on Parallels. Read more…
In the first part of my testing of VMware Fusion and Innotek Virtualbox I looked at boot time and geekbench scores. Since Geekbench had issues on VMware (and I still haven’t got to the bottom of that) I have moved onto real world tests. I used the Adobe Photoshop CS3 trial and VLC for the testing. I’m fairly certain everyone has heard of Photoshop, and VLC is an open source media player for a wide range of operating systems. Read more…
I recently discovered Virtualbox, a free virtual machine client for Windows, Mac and Linux. I’ve had a chance to start some basic benchmarking of Virtualbox, so here are the results compared to VMware fusion. As a reminder, I’m running Mac OS 10.5.2 on a Core 2 Quad @3Ghz with 2Gb ram and a 500Mb Samsung HD501LJ hard drive.
The first test was boot time. Both apps were the only ones running on the Mac, with 512Mb memory allocated and one virtual processor. Windows XP Pro was the guest operating system, freshly installed with nothing extra but a virus checker added and all the latest Windows software updates. Time was measured from clicking the start button for the Virtual Machine to the appearance of the Windows desktop taskbar. VMware took 21 seconds, Virtualbox took 17 seconds. Fairly close, but impressive for the free Virtualbox to knock a few seconds off the commercial VMware. Read more…
I’ve been toying with VMware Fusion and Parallels for a while now trying to make up my mind which one to settle on, and the decision just got a lot easier. Innotek’s Virtualbox is another X86 virtualiser, with the big distinction of being free. Innotek have just been aquired by Sun Microsystems, so it looks like there won’t be any shortage of funding. I’ve been playing with the latest Beta 3 for OS X hosts, and for a beta product it’s pretty smooth. There are virtual machine additions just like VMware and Parallels so you can freely move the mouse cursor out of the window, and dynamic window resizing is supported. An impressive list of supported guest operating systems including all flavours of Windows from the past 18 years, OS2, Linux 2.2,2.4 and 2.6 kernels, BSD’s, Netware and Solaris. One of the things I wasn’t expecting was support for hiding the windows desktop so only application windows and the taskbar show. It’s called seamless mode in Virtualbox, and operates in the same way as Parallels Coherence and VMware’s unity.
This is looking like an impressive product for all my virtualisation needs, so if testing continues as smoothly as it has so far I won’t be needing anything else. Next up is some benchmarking using geekbench so I will post again when I have the results.