I’ve been running VMWare Fusion on my MacBook Pro since I got it. Last week I finally got round to installing a Windows XP Professional virtual machine. The virtual machine runs beautifully and feels as though I’m running it natively such is it’s responsiveness. Almost as soon as I had the VM installed and running I immediately installed Windows Liver Writer lol. But then I noticed the Unity Icon, what this basically does is minimise the VM Window and allow you to run applications inside the VM directly on your Mac Desktop, here’s my desktop running Windows Liver Writer, Paint and a Windows Command Prompt (click to enlarge):
What makes this truly wonderful is that I can place windows applications directly into the dock in order to launch the applications. Here’s the neat bit, even if the VM isn’t running when I try to launch and app, Fusion starts up the VM and switches into Unity automatically.
I’ve been playing around with testing some changes to the user interface for our Project Cenote research prototype. Unfortunatly the new IE7 update was rolled across all the machines at work and it means I cant test to see how the changes I’m playing with look or even work in IE6. Anyway I tried to look around to see if it was at all possible to have both version of the browser running on a single machine – and thats when I came across an interesting article by Jennifer Kyrnin entitled How to install two version of IE( IE6 and IE7) on One Machine.
I was a little disappointed though I guess I was kind of hoping for a solution that didnt involve creating a Virtual Machine. The article does tell you exactly how to get two versions of IE working on the One Machine, however the only way to get it to work is to use run a Virtual PC running an instance of Windows XP that has IE6 installed in it. That way your native PC has IE7 and you can flick to your VPC to test pages with IE6. Its an excellent little tutorial and well worth a read if you need to get around the problem. I prefer VMWare over VPC and I guess I’ll get our wonderful support team to set up a VMImage running WinXP for me without the IE7 patch but still ….
I do get a bit frustrated at the fact that I cant simply choose to install IE7 without loosing the ability to use IE6 … but that would probably mean that Microsoft would have to seperate their browser from the OS – of which its still seamingly an integral part.
Oh well its a good thing that IE isn’t the only browser out there … did I mention how much I really, really like Firefox! It’s totally free, you can run more than one version on a single machine, and its still much better rounded and far more extensible than IE.
At Talis we’ve been doing a lot of work using vmware, I routinely run a Fedora Core 5 image for developing code in, which works wonderfully well on the dell laptop I have which has virtualisation support and lots of memory 😉 I also have Red Hat, KNOPPIX and SUSE VM machine for trying out other things.
One of my colleagues, Rob Styles, introduced me to thoughtpolice.co.uk, who have provided VM Images of many popular distros, this lowers the barrier hugely since I dont have to worry about installing a distro from scratch which can be time consuming. I use this site regularly and recommend that anyone who might be thinking of setting up a virtual machine running a linux distro to check here before installing from scratch.