Pharyngula

Boot camp

My eye is on a lovely little MacBook Pro for myself someday, but I have to say the news about Boot Camp, which allows the Mac to boot into Windows, wasn’t at all interesting to me. Now John Gruber explains why it’s good news.

I doubt that I’ll ever use it, though. Why would anyone want to swap Unix for a Microsoft anything?

Comments

  1. #1 Zarquon
    April 7, 2006

    But you get a chance to see this as well!

  2. #2 Xocolotl
    April 7, 2006

    Me. See, I would really like a Mac–but I’m a gamer, which means Windows. Now I can have all the things I like in a Mac, plus games (except for the whole “don’t have $2,000 laying around” issue). And by all accounts, it plays the newest Windows games really well. Best of both worlds

  3. #3 Jeremy
    April 7, 2006

    Xocoloti: I’m in the same boat. A Mac can do anything a PC can and a lot of things better… EXCEPT GAME. If I didn’t have Half-Life 2 to pick up and play when I’m bored, I don’t know what I’d do.

    It sucks bad for me because I’m an amateur videographer and a fully loaded Mac with Final Cut Pro would be a damn nice thing to have. Editing video on a PC is empty compared to doing it on a Mac.

  4. #4 Andrew Bolton
    April 7, 2006

    Hm.
    Back in 1984, the Mac was supposed to consign archaic cobbled-together junk like unix to the dustbin of history forever, and good riddance. Back in the nineties, Mac fans derided windows for just being a graphical shell on top of a text based OS. And now what are apple selling instead of Macs? unix with a mass of eye candy on top. Maybe I’m just too old too see what this is supposed to be progress.
    It’s only because Windows is so poor that such an ancient bodge as unix can still look usable in this day and age.
    And I’ve got both a Mac and a PC on my desk. And all my servers run Linux. Horses for courses.

  5. #5 Gareth
    April 7, 2006

    My first PC was a Mac Plus, and it was love, lerrrrve. I got a MacBottom 40MB hard disk and people whistled at my extravagance. I bought a second (floppy) disk drive to end switching fever. I did everything, and would have done anything, for the smile my beige box gave me every time she booted. Today the magic is gone, they are all boxes, devoid of personality. The only magic now is where they can take you.

  6. #6 Brian
    April 7, 2006

    Why swap unix for microsoft anything? Games are one reason, but not mine. In my case there could be tools I need for work that are Microsoft only. Granted I could simply use a 2nd PC but that doesn’t really do it for me – I use a laptop so I can work anywhere.

  7. #7 Jonathan Badger
    April 7, 2006

    And now what are apple selling instead of Macs? unix with a mass of eye candy on top. Maybe I’m just too old too see what this is supposed to be progress.

    Maybe you loved the crashes that happened nearly daily under traditional MacOS (Particularly in the System 7 to 9 era)? It was just awful — less stable than Windows even. Being Unix based is really the only way for any system to be stable.

  8. #8 Stoic
    April 7, 2006

    PZ, for a man dedicated to rationalism, you sure embrace your Mac fanaticism well.

  9. #9 Andrew Bolton
    April 7, 2006

    well… ok. A few points. back when I was an Apple Engineer, it was System 6, which almost never crashed. Those were the days! The IIci and the SE30 were the real thing.
    The original Mac system was simple, easy, and intuitive. unix is the antithesis of this, and always has been. It’s a shame Apple couldn’t go forward with something even more foolproof. Still, OSX is by far the nicest attempt to make the power of unix usable – other than AU/X which had a proper Mac interface, with the trashcan where it should be.
    But what I’d really really like is to be able to run OS/X on cheap PC hardware, not to run Windows on overpriced Apple hardware. OS/X on generic Intel boxes would put Apple head to head with Microsoft, and create real competition. But then Apple would never want to make a profit, or anything uncool like that. Sigh.

  10. #10 Nomen Nescio
    April 7, 2006

    of course, the main reason this is cool is all about a more Unixy Unix. šŸ˜‰

  11. #11 Graculus
    April 7, 2006

    A Mac can do anything a PC can and a lot of things better…

    Well, I can think of one thing that Macs do a lot better than PCs.. empty your wallet. But as someone who is IT on a mixed network I have not had any urge to convert to Mac. Familiarity breeds indifference.

  12. #12 eggrott
    April 7, 2006

    Why would I want to buy frpm Apple something which GRUB can do for free?

  13. #13 Mark Paris
    April 7, 2006

    Computer choice is one of those things like car choice: it’s virtually all emotional, and for some reason, some people get very emotional. I personally think Windows is now fairly close to Mac OS X in terms of useability, but there are some very irritating glitches running some other MS applications under Windows. That problem is all about bloat.

    I think the new Parallels software might be even better than Bootcamp, if it’s not vaporware. It is supposed to allow running a close-to-native-speed Windows window on a Mac booted in OS X. In either case, it will almost certainly push me into buying a new laptop. My only concern with an Intel chip is that now I have to swap bytes with the large files I work with, the ones that were written properly — big ended.

    As for why — same as others have said. There are some Win-only applications where I work.

  14. #14 Mark Paris
    April 7, 2006

    First, eggrot, bootcamp is free. So, at this point, is the Parallels software. Second, are you saying GRUB will allow me to run Windows on an Intel Mac? Odd that I never heard that before.

  15. #15 Barry
    April 7, 2006

    “I doubt that I’ll ever use it, though. Why would anyone want to swap Unix for a Microsoft anything?”

    In my case, statistical software, which I can buy at an academic discount – Windows or Mac only, but not Unix. The software that I use lags a couple of versions behind, on a Mac. I’m hoping that the use of Unix and Windows on Macs will produce a better environment, given time.

  16. #16 rrt
    April 7, 2006

    I’m in the same boat with the other gamers here: A Mac is still not friendly to most PC games.

    Now, ironically, I was just starting to consider migrating myself away from PC gaming, despite being a hardcore PC (and early Apple!) gamer for twenty years +. It breaks my heart to consider doing so, but the outrageous price of modern graphics accelerators, plus the need for general system upgrades, plus the degrading PC gaming market (at least in the genres I love) have been the driving force.

    But in light of the most recent projections of $600-$700 price points for the PS3, nevermind the $60 titles… I may just stay PC for a good while yet. I will not purchase a $600 Playstation.

  17. #17 John C. Randolph
    April 7, 2006

    The main reason for boot camp was to keep people from turning their macs into bricks by trying to follow the instructions that they could find on the web for installing Windows on their Macs. This was apparently a major problem for AppleCare.

    Beyond that, Boot Camp removes one of the standard canards that anti-Mac IT departments trot out to veto their users’ Mac purchases. That alone could be worth thousands of additional sales every month into businesses.

    -jcr

  18. #18 JoeB
    April 7, 2006

    Mark Paris:

    the ones that were written properly — big ended.

    Here’s a nice little talk about Little vs. Big Endian:

    http://www.noveltheory.com/TechPapers/endian.asp

    I think that Little Endian, in the end, makes more sense.

  19. #19 wamba
    April 7, 2006

    This doesn’t have anything to do with Dr. Dino’s Creation Boot Camp, does it?

  20. #20 Spotted Quoll
    April 7, 2006

    “Those were the days! The IIci and the SE30 were the real thing.”

    Ahh, the SE30 running OS 6, I remember it well, and fondly. I am however also very happy with both my 1.25GHz eMac and OS X. They do everything I want, and haven’t blinked once in 2 years of heavy use.

  21. #21 bill thater
    April 7, 2006

    Why swap unix for microsoft anything? Games are one reason, but not mine. In my case there could be tools I need for work that are Microsoft only. Granted I could simply use a 2nd PC but that doesn’t really do it for me – I use a laptop so I can work anywhere.

    wine, xen, vmware.;-) all work fine and run games well. or so i’m told, i don’t game. but they do run my required windows apps well.

  22. #22 Karey
    April 7, 2006

    As a website developer, I need to see that the pages I make work well on all user platforms. Instead of getting a virtual OS or doing everything on multiple computers, this will be a nice change. Personally my hope with this is that pc users will buy this, start actually using the apple side for a change, and kill off their reliance on windows. Then everything I design wouldn’t be such a hassle trying to make it look nice for the 85% of users out there still using IE.

  23. #23 thixotropic
    April 7, 2006

    bootcamp is exciting because it would allow me to run GIS programs such as ArcView on my Mac! I’m sick and tired as a scientist of having to own a crappy PC just to run a single program that is not available for OSX, mainly because it relies heavily on Microsoft’s VB for its components. So hooray! now if only i can get a grant for a new Intel Mac…

  24. #24 Mark Paris
    April 7, 2006

    JoeB, I was mostly trying to be funny. I really don’t care how my computer stores numbers any more than I care which side of the refrigerator the compressor is on. My only problem is that the data I use are written on a bid-endian machine and my current Mac and the previous SG that I used can read them with no problems. Now I have to rewrite the program to swap bytes. Not that big a deal, I know; I even did it once before, but so long ago that I have lost and forgotten it. The real problem is that the data are packed and now I have to think about packets of information that start and stop in the middle of bytes. It’s just a problem that I wanted to put off for a while – like two or three years.

  25. #25 Rheinhard
    April 7, 2006

    I’m in a similar boat to thixotropic: I work on software for space systems and a widely used analysis and visualization tool in this field, Satellite Toolkit (STK) from Analytical Graphics, currently runs only on Windows (ironically it was originally developed under Unix, but shifted to Windows only after version 4 some years back). I keep agitiating for an Apple native version, but until then the idea that I could run STK on a dual boot Mac is very appealing.

    I think the Boot Camp concept will appeal to 3 groups of people: (1) people who have until now wanted to use a Mac but couldn’t switch entirely because of that one crucial legacy Windows-only app they need, (2) gamers who want to use things like Apple’s iLife suite but still play the latest game that is still Windows-only, and (3) general users who are curious about the Mac but nervous about transitioning from their familiar Windows interface and common Office programs.

    Especially for group (3), this is a good idea because they will be able to be gradually exposed to the Mac interface and wade in slowly, but over time will see that “you know, this just makes more sense, and come to think of it, I haven’t gotten a single virus on the OS X side of this machine yet!” And gradually the machine will be booted into Windows less and less often.

  26. #26 DouglasG
    April 7, 2006

    Familiarity breeds indifference.

    My thoughts exactly!

  27. #27 PZ Myers
    April 7, 2006

    Yes, and that’s Gruber’s point: there’s a whole bunch of people for whom this will add a lot of value. I’m just saying I’m not one of them—I’m not a hardcore gamer, there’s already a wealth of software that runs on Mac/Unix for biology, and I’m not the casual user who is unaware of the great stuff of Mac OS X.

  28. #28 Nomen Nescio
    April 7, 2006

    if that “parallels” package works even vaguely like VMWare on the PC/Linux side does, definitely go with that over multibooting. (for anything except games, which would be too slow.)

    frankly, i’m amazed to hear that the Mac side of things seems to have lacked a good virtualization package up until now. VMWare is a godsend to this atheist linux geek; i’d not be able to do my job without it. get Parallels, Mac users, and if it’s any good at all you’ll soon wonder how you lived without it.

  29. #29 Dave S
    April 7, 2006

    If you really want OSX rather than other (superior) Unix-like OSs you could get a lighter sleeker laptop (e.g. core duo Thinkpad X60) than the MacBook Pro and put OSX on it using the MAXXUS patches, and get better battery time without (a) the Mac Tax and (b) the mainboard and other hardware problems the intel macbooks have.

  30. #30 Pato von Pato
    April 7, 2006

    Apparently the professor is not into religion, unless it comes to operating systems, in which case he’s as much of a raving, passionate lunatic as Jerry Falwell.

  31. #31 Interrobang
    April 7, 2006

    I’m another one of these Intel-only people, because Windows is an occupational hazard when you’re a technical writer, since nearly all software development is for Windows (naturally, since it has, what, an 85% market share?). What I’d really like to see is what another poster upthread suggested: OSX that runs on the PC architecture, so that those of us who want to dual-boot don’t have to pay Apple’s hardware prices to do it. I would be thrilled to have a Windows/Linux/OSX triple-boot machine; I could write documentation for any project that way, and it’d be a huge strategic advantage.

  32. #32 Lettuce
    April 7, 2006

    Echoing Graculus…

    The PC manufacturers certainly know the value of what they sell.

    And if you really want one of the vastly inferior other desktop *nix OSs, you can use their vastly inferior products.

    It’s just a tool, after all.

    That’s why Apple’s going out of business, and has been for thirty years.

  33. #33 PZ Myers
    April 7, 2006

    Apparently the professor is not into religion, unless it comes to operating systems, in which case he’s as much of a raving, passionate lunatic as Jerry Falwell.

    This must be true. I’m such a raving, passionate lunatic that I look at my post and I don’t even see the raving and the passion and the lunacy and the hey humm glavin.

  34. #34 bmurray
    April 7, 2006

    Because “Spore” will never run under OS X.

  35. I doubt that I’ll ever use it, though. Why would anyone want to swap Unix for a Microsoft anything?

    That’s what Linux and BSD users have been saying for years. Nice of you Mac-heads to catch up. šŸ™‚

  36. #36 Roy S
    April 7, 2006

    Being Unix based is really the only way for any system to be stable.

    That’s not a law of nature at all; although I admit the data seems to support it. My theory is that anyone competent enough to write a stable OS is also competent enough and wise enough to write a Unix-compatible interface for it, regardless of whatever differences may be under the hood.

    wine, xen, vmware.;-) all work fine and run games well. or so i’m told,

    Nope. Xen and VMWare are too slow for any recent games, and there may be no way to fix that until these new virtualization/”hypervisor” CPU features become standard. Wine runs some games (Deus Ex, hooray!) better than Windows and can’t even install others, and in my experience if you want to play recent games you’ll find more of the latter than the former.

  37. #37 JoeB
    April 7, 2006

    Mark Paris:

    I know, I just like computer concepts. That and Little vs. Big causes hassles for me at school, interfacing with the Unix servers vs. my own Linux system. I have to run all my data files through an Endian conversion tool, as well.

  38. #38 rrt
    April 7, 2006

    Sooo…what can we do to make PZ a hardcore gamer? =) Yes, yes, I know, the hardcore academic + blogger life leaves little room for breathing, let alone the joys of a really fine adventure game or 4X or RPG. Sigh. Grim Fandango, how I miss you so…

  39. #39 Ktesibios
    April 7, 2006

    The only reason I own a Wintel computer is that the circuit analysis, PC layout and drafting software I use is written to run under Windows. Gaming and office dweebery don’t interest me at all- MS can have those markets and I don’t care.

    My experience of OSX for the other applications I have for a computer- ‘net surfing, writing and audio recording/editing (Apple owns that market, BTW), is very positive.

    When it’s possible to run my circuit sims on a Mac at native-like speeds, I won’t have any reason to continue putting up with Windows.

  40. #40 Barry
    April 7, 2006

    Mark Paris: “JoeB, I was mostly trying to be funny. I really don’t care how my computer stores numbers any more than I care which side of the refrigerator the compressor is on. My only problem is that the data I use are written on a bid-endian machine and my current Mac and the previous SG that I used can read them with no problems. Now I have to rewrite the program to swap bytes. Not that big a deal, I know; I even did it once before, but so long ago that I have lost and forgotten it. The real problem is that the data are packed and now I have to think about packets of information that start and stop in the middle of bytes. It’s just a problem that I wanted to put off for a while – like two or three years.”

    Mark, if this is a significant problem in many areas, then there’ll probably be a number of programs written to do this. Keep your eyes open and your network alerted.

  41. #41 Bob Munck
    April 7, 2006

    I still say that Multics was and is a vast improvement on all of its successors. This despite the fact that the last Multics machine was powered down in October 2000.

  42. #42 Nomen Nescio
    April 7, 2006

    Mark, if this is a significant problem in many areas, then there’ll probably be a number of programs written to do this. Keep your eyes open and your network alerted.

    or ask a smug unix weenie about dd(1). endianness conflicts were an old, solved problem twenty years ago. šŸ˜‰

  43. #43 linnen
    April 7, 2006

    I hate to be the Gloomy Gus here, but the first dual OS virus has been found. It is only a “proof of concept” model, but still a milestone.

    PS. Actually, being a Gloomy Gus is rather enjoyable.

  44. #44 Graculus
    April 7, 2006

    Sooo…what can we do to make PZ a hardcore gamer? =)

    Rome: Total War

  45. #45 darukaru
    April 7, 2006

    If you really want OSX rather than other (superior) Unix-like OSs you could get a lighter sleeker laptop (e.g. core duo Thinkpad X60) than the MacBook Pro and put OSX on it using the MAXXUS patches, and get better battery time without (a) the Mac Tax and (b) the mainboard and other hardware problems the intel macbooks have.

    Yeah, and all you have to do is break the law to do it!

    By the way, the revision D MBPs are shipping and from what I hear, the vast majority of the hardware bugs (which were mostly noise-related anyway) are now fixed.

  46. #46 Stuart
    April 8, 2006

    Being Unix based is really the only way for any system to be stable.

    Somebody has obviously never heard of a little OS called VMS. Let me just say: there are people that had clusters built using VMS on VAX systems, way back when they were the bee’s knees. They have migrated those clusters from VAX to Alpha. They have migrated those clusters from Alpha to Itanium. And they have done so without having to bring down the application running on the cluster. Over twenty years (and counting) of uptime (possibly marred by power outages.)

    Now that is stability of a kind that Unix can only dream of.

  47. #47 madbard
    April 8, 2006

    Random thoughts: I use everything (Windows, Linux, Mac) on my work desk, but my heart and my home desk belongs to Apple. Although I think a lot of the great human interface stuff has gone by the wayside since the transition to OSX. The Mac SE/30 was the ultimate in “computer as appliance”.

    Anyone actually leveraging the BSD/Unixy internals of Mac OSX in the scientific realm? A lot of the open-source Unix development has transitioned to releasing Mac OS X versions.

    I’m a little disappointed that after all the hype of AltiVec, it is apparently being dropped (unless the next round of PowerPC type chips continues into the Xserve line or something). But if the new Intel chips can do it better, faster, cooler, then I’m all for it.

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