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Tue, 24 Jan 2006
Dual Booting an Intel Mac - Are you insane?

I'm really surprised by the furor over dual (or even triple booting) Intel Macs. It's perfectly legitimate to want to run some Windows or Linux (or OpenBSD, or GNU Hurd, or L4 or Plan9) on your Intel based Macintosh. It's just that rebooting into a different operating system is so 20th century. The only explanation I can think of is that people are forgetting about technologies like VMWare, VirtualPC, Xen, and Bochs. When I used an Intel box regularly (not that long ago), I had triple boot. It was a nightmare. Managing all the different partition types, figuring out how to layout the partitions so they could boot, and so on. That was bad enough. But rebooting?!

I think we've all become brain damaged by how bad computers are today, to the point that rebooting a machine to get access to a few Windows or Linux apps sounds like a good idea. In my normal working configuration, the machine has been running for weeks. I have tons of applications open, I have tons of windows open and spatially arranged. That represents a week (or more) worth of working context. There's no way I want to destroy all of that just so I can run Microsoft Money (the only Windows app we still use -- besides a tax program) to update my financial information from online.

Fortunately, I don't think we'll have to do that. Some number of the virtualization systems that I mentioned above will come to market, and then we'll be able to run those other OS's and their apps in virtualized processes that are accessible from the OS X desktop environment. Now that would actually be a productivity increase. The only reason I can think of for dual booting would be to play Windows games, and I don't have the time to do that.

[00:26] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 15 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

For CPU intensive stuff, things like VMWare or VirutalPC do pretty well, but it's in virtualized I/O that you really get pounded.

Something like Xen
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen coupled with the Intel VT instructions seems most promising.  This hinges in the availability of VT in the Core Duos, which is somewhat in doubt, at least for the current steppings.
Posted by Ted Leung at Thu Feb 9 22:47:05 2006


I really don't think I have anything backwards... I was reacting to your post specifically, and the many others on the web who are "dual boot bashing." I acknowledge that there are indeed many more people excitedly pursuing dual boot, but there is a also a surprisingly large number of people who seem to be in your camp.  I don't want to antagonize anymore than my first post (it reads a little harsh now that I look back at it).  So I will try to lay out my reasoning in a constructive (hopefully non-troll-like) way.   

First of all, the title of your original post was, "Dual Booting an Intel Mac - Are you insane?" 

Your second paragraph starts, "I think we've all become <b>brain damaged<b /> by how bad computers are today, to the point that rebooting a machine to get access to a <b>few<b /> Windows or Linux apps sounds like a good idea."  You go on to describe how <b>you<b /> specifically work with computers and how the only use for dual booting that <b>you<b /> can think of is for playing games, which you don't have time for anyway.

I simply feel your argument is presumptuous and closed minded because it suggests that your way of working with computers is the only logical way, and that any other way is "brain damaged" and "insane." 

As far as discussions on the web at large, as I said above, you are not the only one who is "dual boot bashing" out there.  I acknowledge your point that there is indeed quite a bit of talk on the other side (and the contest with $11K+ prize), but my post was a reaction to the plentiful amount "bashing" that is going on as well.

By the way, there is also a virtualization contest (smaller prize), and obviously a lot of talk going into straight-up emulation.
Posted by
anon_jones at Wed Feb 22 11:52:11 2006

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