Apple Developer Conference: Leopard, VMWare, Parallels: Page 3

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Keynote favorites VMWare and Parallels both had WWDC-timed announcements. From VMWare, beta 4 of its Fusion for Mac product. I'll play with it more later, but it seems to be working nicely. The Bootcamp Vista support works, and they have their own Coherence feature, although I've not played with that yet. Fusion does have Direct X 8.1 support, but I've nothing at the moment to test that with, since the game I wanted to test, Neverwinter Nights 2, requires Direct X 9 to work.

Parallels had a new product announcement, Parallels 3, with Vista Bootcamp support/Direct X support. It then had a very quick update to deal with a rather annoying lockup caused by Apple's Bootcamp 1.3 drivers. The update is the 4128 build, so that's the one you want if you're working with Parallels. Alas, contrary to what I had hoped, Parallels doesn't support Direct X 9 yet either, so no Neverwinter Nights 2 for me there either. During the WWDC, Parallels also announced their Parallels Server for Mac OS X product. This is designed to run on Xserves, under Mac OS X Server, and allow you to run multiple instances of Windows Server or various Unix servers on Apple server hardware and OS's. This does not allow you to run multiple instances of Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server, but you can use an Xserve to host Windows Server instances, for example. The version I saw was still in alpha form, and Parallels will be starting a beta program soon, so we'll be able to start getting real data on how well it works.

However, for me, the biggest announcement was from a new company, Aqua Connect. They have the first iteration of a product that I have wanted on Mac OS X, literally, since Mac OS X came out, and that is a terminal server.

This is potentially huge, as while the current version is based on VNC, and therefore has more than a bit of overhead, Renee Mehrian, CEO of Aqua Connect told me that they are working on a version based on RDP (the protocol that things like Windows Terminal Server and Citrix use), which has a much lighter overhead than VNC, and better client support. If they can pull this off, especially with decent 2-D and 3-D video support, this could sell Macs and software to a lot of people who only need/want one application.

Want to use Keynote instead of PowerPoint? Instead of buying separate Macs for everyone, you buy an Xserve or two, an Aqua Connect license, and a truckload of iWork licenses. Then use the RDP client for your platform (and they are everywhere), log into the server, and commence to Keynoting. Now the RDP version isn't out, isn't announced, but Renee told me Aqua Connect knows they really need that to get the product to where they want it to be, so that down the line, you can have load balancing, session balancing, etc. For those of you who've never lived the Citrix or Terminal Server life, it's a very nice way to manage your desktops, and give people access to applications they might not otherwise be able to run. For me, it's how I can run my Active Directory network from my Macbook Pro. I'm also going to look into getting the VNC-based product for now, because it's simply too useful to wait on, and honestly, I really want Aqua Connect to succeed.

So it was an interesting WWDC, even though there's always tons I can't talk about. This is one of the few where the biggest news wasn't really from Apple. That's not necessarily bad, although for the folks in the pony crowd, I feel your pain.

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