Virtualisation continued

Just to prove it works, here’s a screenshot of Ubuntu running in a VM window on my Intel Mac:

Parallels Workstation

This is using Parallels Workstation, which is still definitely beta, but shows lots of promise. I hope they make their money quickly, though, because it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple included this functionality in the next release of their OS.

There are a benefits of this over BootCamp besides not having to reboot. One is that the disk image is just a file, and you can clone it and move it around – so you can run your virtual machine from an external hard drive, for example. Also, it can be substantially smaller – you have to set aside 10G or so for BootCamp, while my 4GB ‘disk’ for the virtual Ubuntu installation is actually less than 3GB on the disk – presumably because the disk isn’t full and it does clever things with compressing sparse images.

I did a slightly more interesting experiment with this, too – see the Ndiyo blog for more info.


That’s pretty cool. How’s the performance? VMware on my Thinkpad is okay generally with a suitable amount of memory, but occasionally it’ll hit treacle mode.

As an aside, I note that VMware claim that they’ve got a port to Mac OS X working:

Exciting stuff.

Hmmm. Your comments processor has borked that URL by removing the underscores šŸ™

You can try here instead:

Sorry about the underscores, Dougal – that was the Markdown plugin getting a little too clever for itself. I haven’t been using it so have disabled it now.

A hint in case it’s handy for anyone else trying this:
When I ran Ubuntu, it tried to use a 1280×1024 resolution under X, which was a bit large for my screen, and attempts to lower the resolution by conventional methods didn’t work. The trick was to add ‘vga=0x0317’ to the kernel boot line in grub and to remove all references to “1280×1024” from xorg.conf. I then got a nice 1024×768 mode, a good size for a VM, which I’m using to type this!

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