Looking back at virtual machines on Macs

Software

My virtual machine applications
My Applications folder is one full beast!

Since I first picked up my first copies of Connectix Virtual PC for my Blueberry iMac DV I’ve been awestruck by the elegance of virtual machines and have had a ridiculous amount of fun tinkering with operating systems and software I probably would not have otherwise been able to use. Some like FreeBSD have even "graduated" and become primary operating systems on machines I use, others like DOS and earlier versions of Windows get to stick around for bouts of electronic nostalgia.

Given I’ve been so busy with other projects and studying I thought the long Easter weekend would be a great time to look into some lesser known virtual machine programs for Mac: Q and VirtualBox. I’ll be posting my full reviews in the next day or so, but suffice to say they both fill their intended rolls amazingly well and could give the commercial Mac virtualisation solutions a run for their money. They’re free and open source, so you can download them and give them a shot right now!

For the sake of completeness, I talked about Parallels Desktop a lot back in 2006 when I was first messing around with FreeBSD on my then-new Intel MacBook Pro, then switched to VMware Fusion in 2007 because of it’s superior support for Unix-like clients. It’s kind of fun to look back at those posts for me, at the time I thought such experimentation was fun but essentially pointless; I had no idea how much I was actually learning.

If you love tinkering with obscure and/or old operating systems, it’s a great time to be alive! Now all I need is time…

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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