ET OSX is a list of useful tools for the MacOS X, most of which live in the Applications folder on my startup drive. It started as a 'what's on my Mac' page on my personal site but quickly evolved into a blog of its own. I'm trying to focus most on of the tiny but useful utilities that sometimes save you lots of trouble and effort, and to omit for the most part the list of big guns, that one normally uses on a daily basis. The list serves two purposes, lets me easily answer 'how do I do this on the Mac' questions asked by other users, and helps me remember answers to the same questions myself.

Howto: Run Windows, Linux, DOS, FreeBSD on Intel Macs and MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger)

MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard) with its rumored built-in virtualization technology has been delayed until October, so what can you do if you want to run an alternative operating system on your Apple hardware? You have several options, each with its Pro's and Con's:

1. BootCamp Beta (Current version:1.2)
Officially Supports: Windows 2K, XP-SP2 and Vista
Pros: Fastest (in terms of hardware performance) option available. BootCamp is not, in fact a virtualization machine, but a bunch a patch of the EFI firmware that allows for the installation of other operating systems plus a bunch of hardware device drivers that Apple engineers developed to allow Windows to support specific hardware devices found on Macs with Intel processors. Supports Windows XP, Windows 2000 and several modifications of Vista.
Cons: Carefully read that small print - Boot Camp beta is a time limited demo of a feature of MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard), the focus on time limited. Users are not allowed to keep their installations beyond September 30th. Also, don't expect any form of support for that project.
Available for free from Apple as a time-limited beta.

2. Parallels Desktop for Mac
Description: The first available and somewhat most widely known virtualization solution for the Intel based Macs.
Officially Supports: Windows 3.1 to Vista, Various Linuxes, OS/2, FreeBSD, SunSolaris, MS-DOS. See complete list
Pros: Various unique features such as Transporter (ability to Migrate remote Win installation), Coherence Mode (transparent integration of Windows and MacOS X applications), support for Intel's x86 Virtualisation technology and a generally nice and friendly interface; Can use the BootCamp installation on another drive/partition;
Cons: Lack of 3d graphics hardware acceleration; steep price - 80 bucks + the license fee for the OS you're about to use (if applicable).
Available for $79.95 from

3. VMWare Fusion
Supports: widest possible range of OSes you can imagine
Description: VMWare is probably the most known name in virtualization for Windows and in general. Their products range from free to enterprise level and Datacenter products. VMWare Fusion is their first (AFAIK) product for the Mac, with a public beta currently available and a release date for version 1.0 set for Summer 2007.
Pros: Popular name in virtualization; Compatibility with other VMWare products - 350+ ready to use virtual appliances; Unique: 3D acceleration with (limited) DirectX 8.1 support; BootCamp compatibility;
Cons: Pricing is not available yet but it seems VMWare want to charge MacOS X users for something they are giving to Windows/Linux users for free.
Available as public beta from

4. CrossOver Mac
Detailed elsewhere on this site.
Pros:See Darwine below
Cons:Supports only Win98-compatible applications
Available for $59.95 from

5. Q [kju:]
Detailed elsewhere on this site.
Supports: Various free operating systems, several Linux flavors, several UNIX flavors, Microsoft Windows (95 till Vista)....
Pros: Free, Open Source. Great integration of different OSes; Tutorials; Exportable VMs (Export Guest PC to Flash Drive); VirtualPC Import; lots of x86-on-x86 hardware optimizations not available in QEMU.
Cons: Well...Beta stage of development?
Available for free from

6. Darwine - Windows macs on the Mac, without Windows
Dawrine is an open source Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) port for the MacOS X. The final goal for the project is to allow Darwin and MacOS X users to be able to run applications for Windows without the need for Windows itself.
Supports: Win32 Api compatible. Requires Apple's X11 implementation (available on every Mac's install DVD)
Pros: Cheap, easy way to run Windows apps, no need for Windows.
Cons:Early stage of development, Win Api only Windows 98 compatible
Available for free from

7. the list will probably grow....

Verdict: My current top favorite is Q [kju:] because of its FOSS philosophy, active development blog and nice documentation. Performance-wise you can't beat BootCamp, but if you go that way you'll probably have no choice but to upgrade to Leopard. VMWare Fusion seems the logical choice if you currently have lots of virtual machines on other platforms and want to be able to use them. Parallels Desktop offers the easiest interface for complete beginners... the choice is yours, but please... give the little guys a try before spending money on the big guns.

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