Friday, November 6, 2009

Parallels 5 vs. VMware Fusion 3

So I have tried both of these virtualization solutions for MacOS Snow Leopard and the winner is... VMware by a landslide. Not because of performance. VMware's performance is acceptable for my purposes but I can definitely tell that I'm running in a virtualized environment. But, rather, because VMware WORKS, and Parallels doesn't. That's the bottom line. I can go into more detail, but I'm just too frustrated with Parallels right now and would use language not appropriate for polite conversation. Having Parallels crash my computer *TWICE*, and lock up three different times, simply does not make me happy.

I am saddened to say this, because I've owned Parallels since version 2.0, but this is it. This is the end. They are not getting any more money from me. Each new release of Parallels they promise that they got it right this time. Each time, they break things badly -- for example, in Parallels 4, one of my mapping programs ended up going BLAMMO unless I turned off mouse pointer acceleration in the Windows control panel, and then the Parallels device driver simply refused to display any mouse pointer at all. Meanwhile VMware Fusion 3 is a rock solid product. It might be slightly slower than Parallels on some benchmarks (hard to tell, I could never keep Parallels running long enough to run the benchmarks I was wanting to run), but it *works*, and the integration between Windows and MacOS Snow Leopard is quite good, no problems with cut-and-paste or sharing files between Windows and MacOS or anything like that. The competition between VMware and Parallels is over, and Parallels is done. Finished. Kaput. They had first mover advantage, and like Netscape with web browsers, simply failed to execute.

Which reminds me of the time that my manager was the guy who ran Netscape's development process into the dirt. Needless to say the common Linux fanboy notion that Microsoft ran Netscape out of business is utter nonsense -- Netscape's browser technology disintegrated without any help from Microsoft at all. Their technology simply disintegrated under the weight of too many idiotic false deadlines and hacks, and the manager who did that then did the same thing for my then-employer's development process. But that's another ugly tale that tends to evoke unwise language so I'll do something a bit more abstract about deadlines and why they're both useful and, in some cases, toxic.


Numbers from Windows Experience quickie benchmark:

  • VMware 3:
    • Processor: 5.9
    • Memory: 3.9
    • Graphics: 2.9
    • Gaming graphics: 3.4
    • Primary hard disk: 6.3
  • Parallels 5:
    • Processor: 4.5
    • Memory: 3.9
    • Graphics: 2.9
    • Gaming graphics: 4.1
    • Primary hard disk: 5.9
Parallels has somewhat better 3D performance, somewhat poorer performance on processor and hard drive tests, same as VMware elsewhere. Parallels is probably better if you want to play games, but that's why Boot Camp was invented...

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