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As a long-time computer user I’ve worked extensively with many different platforms and operating systems. On the day-job side of things desktops were inevitably windows based in order to support mundane documentation, presentations, etc. It was easy enough to console out to a linux box, after all.

For my personal systems I gravitated towards Linux and once the Intel Macs came out made the switch to OSX. I won’t go into the details here, but as many who have experienced this I felt like I should have made the change far earlier. Change is difficult. People often stay with an inferior and frustrating solution to avoid disrupting their environment.

Once I discovered Parallels the windows desktops became a thing of the past. No more converting files. No saving visio diagrams as .xsd to open in Graffle on the Mac. I had a seamless way to work in both worlds. Intel + Mac + Parallels + Windows = Bliss. Sed, grep, awk, and oh my! On the mac shell! (Ok, enough said..)

Enter the newcomer (in terms of Mac, anyway) VMware with their Fusion product. I skipped the free Beta and snickered at their YouTube videos. The nifty drop-shadows around windows and 3d support for games aren’t a compelling reason. Why should I bother? The Fusion teams official top 10 list doesn’t offer anything ground-breaking, either.

The answer is two-fold. As any true computer addict, err, enthusiast I’m intensely curious about new things. The hype over Fusion and VMware’s extensive engineering arm being able to displace a well established player in the field. And the fact that I’m eying one of the new iMacs to replace my desktop at home. Windows will be a necessity and so the opportunity to try Fusion in a non-invasive way has presented itself.

Before starting I’ve decided on a short list of assumptions and criteria:

  1. I like parallels. I like the cohesive feature and with a few exceptions everything else. I’m also not a parallels power user. I use windows when I need it and typically as a last resort.
  2. The exceptions and nit-picky things I don’t like about Parallels in order of annoyance factor:
    1. When my mac switches from wired to wireless networking Parallels often doesn’t seem to get it. I have to reboot in order to use the net within windows.
    2. Windows sessions that resume from hibernate seem slow to resume and slightly broken afterwards. I’ve learned to completely shut down my vm and start it fresh each time I use it.
    3. The cohesive feature is slick – but rough around the edges. The fragments of windows that painstakingly redraw on some minimize or start menu actions is painful.
    4. Parallels seems CPU intensive and has caused strange issues (mostly resolved) with my host not being able to go to sleep. Running to another building without your charger only to find your laptop dead is @!#!.
    5. Switching between O/S running (I have an Ubuntu VM along with windows.) seems kludgy at best. It should be much easier to start and manage multiple environments.
  3. If I’m going to make the switch to Fusion on a new system it should address all of the above. If I’m going to actually change to Parallels it will need to provide a seamless upgrade path. That is, importing or being able to simply boot my parallels VM’s. Worse then changing software is the thought of having to locate my XP cd/product key and go through a windows installation.

Let’s see how things go. I’ll post an update once I’ve concluded my trial-run with fusion. (I’ll have talked my wife into letting me buy a new iMac as well ☺ )