OpenSolaris on Mac: Goodbye Parallels, Hello VMWare Fusion

Posted on August 29, 2007

Let me state that my feelings regarding EMC are unchanged. Worst storage product line ever, someone needs to tell the CLARiiON product team that this is the 21st century and get it into gear. What a horrible storage company. Anyway, now that thats out of the way….

The laptop debate has for the last couple years gone like this for me: “If you want a portable workstation, buy an Acer Ferrari. If you want to walk into a room and get on the wireless and download your pictures and not waste half a meeting trying to get your laptop setup properly just buy a Mac.” Personally I’m not a fan of the OS X interface, I’m an E on X sorta guy and thats how I work best, but I got tired of spending time configuring things and being embarrassed in front of an audience because I couldn’t make my stupid laptop do what it needed to. So I like the ease of the Mac but I still need Solaris. What to do.

BootCamp is a waste, imho. Sure, you can boot another OS on your Mac but the point of buying a Mac is to have all that easy to setup, easy to configure goodness at your fingertips. Rebooting back into OS X is a pain and a waste, so I don’t really care for BootCamp.

Parallels was a great option. Except… well, it wasn’t. I’ll admit I never got Solaris to install properly with it. Yes, I read all the blog entries out there and notes on getting it up but I never had the same luck. Most of the time it would install to about 14% and just hang forever, and no it wasn’t running out of disk space. Things were fine when Sun offered up pre-installed Parallels images, but I really want to test installs myself and in general the product was just lacking.

Enter VMWare Fusion. I always root for the underdog, I had no interest in trying VMWare on Mac, but hearing several rave reviews I decided to give it a shot. To my great surprise it’s a much better product. So much so that I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on using Parallels. I downloaded the OpenSolaris B70 ISO and booted it with VMWare Fusion and the install flew along. Perception or not, VMWare just feels faster in general. Within the hour I was logging into B70 and installing my standard software packages.

If your a VMWare/EMC hater like myself (I’m certain I’m not the only one) and you have a MacBook its definately worth the try. Besides, Parallels isn’t the underdog that we thought it was, as it was quietly bought by SWSoft (makers of Virtuozzo the ISP in a box responsible for most of the crappy service available today).

… on a related note, iWork ’08 and iLife ’08 are the first releases that really look worth the $80. In the past the improvements were only such that I’d wait untill I got a new Mac in a year or so… but this time I may go out and buy ’em. Of course, I really do have my eyes on the new iMac’s, but like I said, I don’t like OS X beyond the applications, so I think I’ll put the money toward a Sun Ultra40 or new whitebox instead.