02 January 2010

OSX + Windows hybrid systems

Apple has made it very easy for Windows people to "switch" to the Mac with its adoption of Intel CPUs a few years ago.

What people do when they switch though is not only buy a Mac because it's also a PC, they dump their Windows habits altogether and start computing on the Mac side only.

That's good for most of what computing is about nowadays: write a document, browse the web, exchange mails, listen to music, manage pictures and edit a little bit of video.

Now, for professionals, leaving Windows altogether is a totally different issue. The first problem is of course the fact that some of the applications they use may not have equivalents on the Mac side. We are all aware that neither Trados nor MemoQ come with a Mac version...

The other problem is that even if you're willing to dump your Windows software, you may have to pay new licensing fees for something equivalent on the Mac side... The new software may be better integrated to the Mac ecology, but since you're still used to your Windows ways, it may take some time before you manage to be as productive with your new environment...

On the positive side, using Windows inside Mac with a virtualization software is doubleplusgood because:
1) Windows is less likely to infect your whole system since it runs in a closed box
2) It is also less likely to be an annoyance because when there is a problem, it is always possible to go back to a previous "snapshot" of its state.

There, you have tamed the Windows beast by putting it in a Mac box...

But working in such a hybrid environment comes with its set of problems: keyboard shortcuts that are not similar in Windows and Mac, technology that works better in "straight" environments (printing, back up etc)...

This is not to say that most of the existing virtualization packages have not solved most of those issues, but rather that you are bound to find glitches sometimes. Et voilĂ  ! If you belong to the hybrid category of professionals who want to get a Mac but can't leave Windows right away then Karin Adamczyk's list is for you !

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MacSwitch/

The list is a place where a number of "people who have there before" will explain to you all the subtleties of using your Windows environment on your Mac. Karin's experience has proved very useful on other lists and I'm sure you'll find the place comfortable.