Parallels Revisited

For the last few days I’ve been fighting with Microsoft VSTS to get my source code checked in. Whenever I try to get latest changes to my VMware shared folder, it always fails with error 1359. Just for fun, I tried using the virtual C drive instead of my Mac OS X home directory and it had no problem, so I figured it had a problem with VMware’s shared folders.

At that point I decided to try a Windows VM in Parallels instead of VMware, mapping my home directory as a shared folder. The result was only slightly different: I got error 50 instead of 1359. It looks like VSTS has a problem with any virtual shared folders. However, Parallels caused lots of problems for me. It locked up my machine completely after about 10 minutes forcing me to reboot. It also kills QuickSilver’s hot key. I ended up going back to VMware which doesn’t slow my machine down and doesn’t affect anything else. I’m still frustrated with VSTS and still unable to check in my code.

VMware vs. Parallels

I need to run several Windows applications for work (Outlook, Visual Studio Team Server, and a custom database application), so I’ve been using Parallels Desktop since the first beta. Their Windows support is excellent and the new Coherence feature makes the experience of running Windows on a Mac almost seamless. However, I also need to run Linux for a few projects and Parallels isn’t nearly as good for running Linux.

My big annoyance with Parallels is their lack of Linux tools, which means it captures the mouse in the VM window until you release it, and the clock doesn’t remain properly synchronized. It’s only been getting worse and the latest Ubuntu beta won’t even boot in Parallels.

I’ve tried all 3 VMware Fusion betas and I’m starting to like it more than Parallels. Their Linux support is excellent – I now have Ubuntu 7.04 running beautifully in VMware. I haven’t been able to successfully convert my Windows VM to VMware or I would switch completely. It’s too much of a pain to install a fresh Windows XP system and set it up with all of the software & remote network settings. I also miss Parallel’s Coherence feature. On the other hand VMware seems to use less resources so it has less of an impact on other applications.

Several other blogs also prefer VMware. I’ll most likely switch when the final version is released.

Getting disgusted with Parallels

I’ve been using Parallels Desktop since the first public release. Although their Windows support gets better with each release – I love coherence mode in the recent betas, their Linux support remains abysmal. They still don’t have Parallels Tools for Linux, which keeps the virtual machine’s clock synchronized and lets you move the mouse in and out of the VM window freely. Furthermore, when you create a Linux VM, they don’t even have an option for Ubuntu, the most popular Linux distribution. Instead I have to use either Debian or Other Linux.

I tried the VMWare beta and found that it works beautifully for Linux. They even have VMWare tools for Linux. Unfortunately there’s no coherence mode, so it isn’t as nice for running Windows.

CrossOver Mac Beta

I tried the CrossOver Mac beta and I found it to be pretty bad. It really isn’t much better than the original WINE beta I tried a few months ago. I gave up and deleted it after installing & trying IE6.

CrossOver has a built-in installer for supported Windows applications, including Internet Explorer 6 SP1. I was able to install IE successfully with the installer, but running it was another matter. IE didn’t appear in the Program menu, couldn’t be launched from the program list, and wasn’t in the ~/CrossOver applications folder. I finally found it in ~/Library/Application Support/CrossOver and was able to launch it from the Finder.

When I finally ran IE, it wouldn’t even fully load the default MSN home page and it ran a lot slower than it does under Parallels. Note that CrossOver is still beta, so it’s possible that these problems can be fixed in the release version. I’m still sticking with Parallels, though.

I returned my DTK

I finally returned my Developer Transition Kit, which should have been returned to Apple a few months ago. Due to several mixups (Apple originally shipped it to the office and they shipped it to me) and probably a few people dropping the ball, it was sitting here since I got the iMac in January. All it took was one email to Apple DTS & they gave me the information I needed to ship it back.

Is Windows Vista Ready? 'No. God, no.'

Via Slashdot: Paul Thurrott answers the question that some IT folks are asking: ‘Is Windows Vista Ready?’ His answer is not only no, but ‘No. God, no. Today’s Windows Vista builds are a study in frustration, and trust me, I use the darn thing day in and day out, and I’ve seen what happens when you subject yourself to it wholeheartedly. I think I’ve mentioned the phrase ‘I could hear the screams’ on the SuperSite before.’ He also addresses the more important question, ‘When Will Microsoft figure out what’s important?’ and to Paul, like most IT pros, its not about when the next OS will be released, it is about having the OS work.

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