It’s exciting

redhatlogo.jpgYesterday, I installed Windows XP on two Intel Macs using Apple’s Boot Camp. Today, I used the Beta release of Parallels Workstation to install Windows XP and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 on an Intel iMac.

Boot Camp makes installing Windows XP on a Mac as simple as can be imagined. (If installing an OS could ever really be called simple.) Parallels Workstation is definitely more techie-oriented: a novice would quickly give up, I think. But it does work. Some key shortcomings of the Parallels solution:

1) No sound (yet).
2) Full-screen mode doesn’t work (yet).
3) No support for USB (yet).
4) Networking support is more primitive – it looks like you can use Ethernet or Wireless, but not both.
5) No support for CD or DVD burning
6) No mounting of actual volumes – only drive images are supported.
7) Graphics performance is less than when booted directly into WinXP.

Several of these limitations are supposed to be addressed before the final (non-beta) release.

But the advantages are nice, too:
1) No need to reboot just to run one Windows app.
2) Support for Windows 3.1 through Windows 2003 Server.
3) Support for multiple flavors of Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, etc.
4) The drive image for the virtual machine can be anywhere – on an existing partition or on a FireWire or USB drive. The Boot Camp solution can only boot Windows XP from a partition on the primary internal drive.

An appealing option would be a way to use the same Windows XP partition to either boot directly into XP, or to boot a VM. This way you could get top performance when you needed it, or maximum convienence when in OS X. You can do that now by using both Boot Camp and Parallels, but you have to maintain two seperate Windows installations: one on an actual drive partition, and one in a virtual drive image. Double the disk space and double the work!

One the other hand, since the VM and the actual hardware look like two different pieces of hardware to Windows, it might be problematic to use the same OS image for both modes. Other operating systems might not have these issues, though.

But these are exciting and interesting times to work with Macs – new possibilities seem to appear every day.

It’s exciting

Boot Camp shenanigans

Windows logoApple’s new Boot Camp Assistant pulls a neat trick: if you have a single Mac OS X partition on your startup drive – it allows you to non-destructively repartition it and add a partition to install Windows XP.

But what if you’ve already partitioned your drive? Boot Camp Assistant refuses to run and tells you you must have a single partition. Do you really need to reformat to play with Apple’s new toy?


I’ve since installed XP on a MacBook Pro that had already been set up with three partitions without having to repartition. Here’s how I did it:

1) Started up the MacBook Pro in Target Disk Mode.
2) Connected it via FireWire to an Intel iMac.
3) Used Disk Utility (on the Intel iMac) to reformat one of the unused partitions as FAT32
4) Unmounted the MacBook Pro and shut it down
5) Booted the MacBook Pro and held down the option key, and inserted the XP install CD.
6) The XP install CD showed up in the boot picker; I selected it and booted from it.
7) Installed XP as normal.

I imagine that steps 1 and 2 could be replaced with booting from the OS X install CD – the key is that you can’t reformat a partition to a different disk format on the startup disk when you are booted from it, since the entire disk must be unmounted. I haven’t tested this theory (yet).

Boot Camp shenanigans

Universal AppleScript applets

appletI hadn’t seen this documented anywhere else, and just stumbled across it… I wanted to update several AppleScript applets that were PowerPC applications into Univeral binaries.

Note I’m talking about the sort of AppleScript applications that one builds with Script Editor and saving the script as an application – not AppleScript Studio apps.

When you save an AppleScript in Script Editor, there are several options in the File Format menu. If you choose “application”, you’ll get a PowerPC-only app. However, if you choose “application bundle”, you’ll get a Universal app.

So open your AppleScript apps in Script Editor, and resave them as “application bundles” and you are set!

Universal AppleScript applets

NetBoot for Intel

With OS X 10.4.4 server and later, Apple has made NetBoot architecture-aware. NetBoot images support either PowerPC or Intel. (I can hope that with 10.5, it will be possible to create Universal images as well.)

You can set a default image for each architecture type, so all your Macs can still boot from your desired image when holding down the N key.

Here’s how it looks in Server Admin:

NetBoot Images

You’ll need either Apple’s System Image Utility version 10.4.4 or later, or Mike Bombich’s NetRestore 3.1.1 to create your Intel NetInstall/NetRestore images. Then move them to the server and select them using Server Admin, and you should be good to go!

NetBoot for Intel

It’s alive!

Intel Core DuoJust got my Intel Mac to NetBoot from a NetRestore volume. Just like the boot selector you see when starting up with the Option key held down has been visually updated, so has the flashing globe icon you see when starting up with the N key held down (to initiate a NetBoot).

I imagine the FireWire icon you see when starting up in Target Disk Mode has changed as well; I’ll look at that after the disk restore is complete.

(EDIT) Yup. That icon is different as well – large and white with a gray background that matches the desktop.

It’s alive!

Imaging struggles

I’ve started on the task of building a NetRestore set and image for the Intel Macs. I used Disk Utility to create a new image of the boot drive. After the normal incredibly long process, it failed with an “error 49168”. So, I tried again. Same error.

I remembered that I had had this same issue the last time I built restore images on PPC Macs (when the new PowerBook G4s were released last fall) – I flailed about and eventually got it to work, but I never knew exactly what I had done that fixed it.

So, like last time, I Googled for “Disk Utility error 49168” and this time hit gold. In this thread, “ScottRussell2” found that it was NAV that was causing the error by having the audacity to scan the image while Disk Utility was creating it.

So, I killed NAV and attempted to create the image again. Success!

Imaging struggles

Intel iMac stuff

A couple of observations I hadn’t seen reported elsewhere…

When you start up in single-user mode, the screen has an initial low-res look very reminiscent of a PC starting up. After a few seconds, it switches to a higher-res ASCII screen indistinguishable from the PowerPC Macs when booting in single-user mode. A guess is that the initial part is actually EFI at work.

The boot selector that comes up when starting up with the Option key held down has had a visual makeover on the Intel Macs. No longer looking like the OS 9 throwback seen on PowerPC Macs, the next boot selector has high-res drive icons and a more OS X look.

Intel iMac stuff