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Welcome to Bizarro World: Parallels and VMware running Mac OS X on XP?

OK, the Parallels-dar was apparently down for refurbishment this weekend, since everyone else has this story already: CNN/Money has posted a column by David Fitzpatrick of Fortune that reveals some fascinating tidbits about virtualization in, and virtualization of, Mac OS X.

Fitzpatrick announced, apparently for the first time in public, that Parallels is the corporate child of server-side virtualization company SWsoft, makers of VM tool Virtuozzo and server management console Plesk. It's SWsoft's deep pockets that have been keeping the lights on during the cold Moscow winters (most of the Parallels dev team is located in Russia). Even more fascinating, Fitzpatrick quotes the chiefs of both SWsoft and VMware on another topic (emphasis mine):

VMware's CEO Diane Greene told me last week that her company's existing x86 desktop product is already being used by some to run Mac OS on computers from Dell, HP and others, though this is not intentional on VMware's part.

SWsoft's Beloussov says that this spring, Parallels will upgrade its software further, in a way that by coincidence will make it easier to run Mac OS on a non-Apple computer. He also insists that is not deliberate, but just a consequence of the nature of the technology, especially now that Intel builds virtualization technology into its chips.

Really truly? If this is happening, it's a very big deal. With the back-office expertise of both VMware and SWsoft, when Mac OS X (or, more likely, Mac OS X Server) becomes a virtualized player on server-class systems, it's going to shake things up quite a bit for Mac server admins. If any of you out there are already running Mac OS X under VMware on Windows... don't hide your light under a bushel, let us know about it.

Update 8 am ET: Several loyal night-shift readers have noted that a hacked version of OS X has been runnable under VMware for some time. I'm aware of this, but -- and no disrespect to the dedicated folks at insanelymac.com that are working to optimize the experience -- this situation is parallel (pun intended) to the XPonMac.com boot loader vs. Boot Camp. When a boxed copy of OS X runs under a standard install of VMware or Parallels, you've entered what I shudder to call the Hack-Free Zone; that's a place where the non-enthusiast community may take advantage of the capability, as happened with Boot Camp. Not to forget, OS X does not require serial number activation... so a Parallels image of OS X would be infinitely portable. That's not gonna last.

Thanks David!

[via Download Squad/Engadget]

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