It’s been big news for the last couple of weeks. Macs can now dual boot between OS X and Windows. This is a powerful feature for some, and a passing fad to others. Some could even care less. What would bring everyone together? What if your Mac could run Windows apps seamlessly along side OS X apps?
This sort of OS integration seems to be the holy grail of the Mac vs. PC wars. Why bicker over which platform is better when one machine could run Mac and PC software simultaneously? We might not be there yet, but a report posted yesterday on MacOSXRumors.com indicates that Apple is working on what is referred to as a “Virtualization Server“.
The idea is that OS X Server would run the Virtualization Server. That server would allow OS X Server to run virtual copies of alternative operating systems such as Windows, or flavors of Linux. Mac OS X client machines would then logon to the server and have access to its virtual environments. Does that sound like VMWare? It sounds similar to Citrix to me, tough Citrix is limited to just running Windows.
In any case, this seems like the next logical step for anyone wanting to run Windows apps natively on a Mac. With the speed of current computers and modern networking, it is conceivable that people could run so-called “thin clients” over a network with little or no indication that the software is not running on their own desktop.
What would this mean to the average home user? Probably very little. The Mac power-user might appreciate being able to easily run obscure Windows based apps right from the comfort of their Mac. But even then, they would need to have another machine running OS X Server and the Virtualization Server just to have access. Not practical.
What would this mean to the corporate users? This is where the product would really shine. Businesses could, in theory, run their Windows based accounting system on a Mac server. Then Mac clients could connect to that server over the network and access the Windows software. This would give Apple an even more powerful foothold in the corporate market. And, think about education. The client server integration seems idea for computer school computer labs. Students could access Mac systems during one class period. The next class could work with Linux, and the following class might need to suffer with Windows!
Granted, all of this is just a rumor. But I have heard rumors for the last year indicating that Apple is working on a solution that would allow Windows applications to run seamlessly on the OS X desktop. Much like the days of Classic OS 9, users could switch between software on either platform. That would seem to be the future. Perhaps the Virtualization Server is the next step in achieving this.
Checkout MacOSXRumor’s post regarding the rumor and stay tuned for more news as it develops.