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…