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April 24, 2006

Virtualizaton on OS X with Parallels

As a person who's required to have a copy of Linux readily available for site development and database stuff at work I was glad to see some folks offering tools to run virtual machines on OS X.

I've done this with VMWare on Windows, but there's nothing yet for Mac. Yes, there's the dual boot thing, but I need to be able to use my Mac OS for everything except running a development environment.

You might also suggest I have a server somewhere that I can access with SSH, but I'm not always on a good connection and don't want to have a machine exposed somewhere that reveals what's going on with our development. Yes, I'm convinced that having a virtual OS is the right way to do web-based UI development.

So I grabbed a beta copy of the newly available Parallels Workstation for OS X, which will allow me to install a wide variety of operating systems inside OS X.

So far it looks pretty good. I've got Linux installed and am grabbing the source tree. Two problems I've noticed so far:

  1. If I suspend OS X the virtual machine crashes. There is a suspend mode to control the machine, which I should try out next time I need to close things down on my laptop.
  2. You are required to specify a network device before boot, and it must be one of the physical devices on the machine. There is no internal network.

At $39 (discounted $10 for pre-order) it's a much cheaper alternative to a VMWare license. Of course there is no VMWare for OS X yet so it's kind of a moot point.

Update: I filed a complaint with Parallels about not having NAT and got a response saying it's currently in development. I hope it's available soon.

Posted by mike at April 24, 2006 7:39 PM