Hows that work? I hear you ask. Surely people use the Mac OS because theyve made a choice not to use Windows or a Linux distro. And surely people who have fallen under the spell of the Mac shun Windows like the plague. Not so. Apple has realized that there are a growing number of Mac users who still want to be able to dip into the Windows ecosystem every so often.
Apple must have known this for some time. Parallels for the Mac is a fantastic application that gained a considerable amount of popularity among Mac users. Parallels is the ultimate virtualization tool available and it beats VMware Workstation for Windows hands down. The latest version of Parallels (version 3) makes Workstation seem utterly primitive. The success of Parallels showed that Mac users wanted to be able to leverage the Windows platform.
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Enter Apple with Boot Camp. Boot Camp isnt a virtualization application in that it allows you to run Mac OS X and Windows simultaneously; its basically a fancy boot manager that allows you to install Windows alongside the Mac OS. But if you only want to dip into Windows every so often, its fine, especially given the price ($0). Boot Camp allows people who have chosen the road less traveled to still dabble in the Windows ecosystem every now and again whether that be for the reassurance of a familiar environment, gaming or a key piece of software that they dont want to give up or replace. Boot Camp allowed people to have their cake and eat it.
Boot Camp became an overnight hit.
But theres a catch. Boot Camp is beta software and it will expire later this month when Leopard is released. While users will still be able to boot into their Windows install, they wont be able to make any changes to the partition or create a new one.
Boot Camp wont be offered as a free download for existing Mac OS X users (even though we know it works just fine), and knowing Apple itll be darn hard to tweak the software to work on earlier versions of OS X. The only way that youll be able to get your hands on a full version of Boot Camp will be to buy Leopard. If your Mac wont take the new OS or you cant afford to pay for the upgrade tough. Go to the nearest Apple store as quickly as possible and upgrade.
The Boot Camp pre-release program isnt so much a beta test as an elaborate preview program designed to get Mac OS X users hooked on the product so that Apple can yank the rug from under them when Leopard comes out. In a way, Apple is counting on Microsofts dominance in the OS market to sell Leopard. Ironic, really, considering that Apple labels Windows as buggy and a security risk. I guess where theres a profit to be made, its OK to sell out. In the corporate world theres no such thing as a free lunch and Boot Camp is no exception.
Next page: An alternative to Boot Camp