More of why BootCamp is a bad idea

As illustrated by my responses to our campus PackMUG mailing list:

Hey, I’m new to PackMUG, and relatively new to Mac.

Hi! welcome to the PackMUG!

[obligatoryWarning] Every last thing that follows, and anything that anyone responds to you on this subject is going to be complete conjecture and opinion. Don’t let anyone even begin to tell you otherwise. [/obligatoryWarning]

Judging from the emails, I’d say most of you know much more about computers and most certainly know much more about Mac than I do, so what I’m about to ask may seem like a dumb question.

There are no dumb questions. Only questions that lead to completely moronic answers.

This morning, I received the email about Apple’s Boot Camp software that would allow XP to run on a Mac.

Sigh. Yes. And it’s going to be any IT staff member’s worst nightmare come true. Except maybepossibly for the IT staff member themselves.

Dual-booting is terrible. It’s always been terrible. It will always be terrible. Apple tends to make the terrible palatable – but it doesn’t make it any less terrible. And I’m sure BootCamp will be much easier than the terrible boot loader/setup that Windows has, and a fair sight better than Lilo/Grub/BootLoaderWrittenByRandomScandavianLinuxGeek on Linux. But it’s still going to be terrible.

It’s hard enough for any one of us to keep one Operating System maintained, let alone two. Especially when you have to restart the whole system to get to the other one. Every time, let me repeat, EVERY time somebody has the bright idea that they want a dual-boot system, and they get it, one or the other operating system gets neglected. It never fails. Even the most pedantic – and I’m pretty pedantic, so I know of what I speak – manages to to neglect one or the other OS in a dual boot system.

What you really, really, really want is Virtualization You want to launch a little program, and volia! there’s your Windows OS and it’s programs and things – to run Solidworks and Games etc. This is like VirtualPC – but better, much, much, much better, because something doesn’t have to intercept the processor calls and translate them to something that was meant to run on a totally different processor. You still have to maintain two operating systems, but thankfully you don’t have to completely shutdown one to get to the other.

p.s. please note that Boot Camp is only for Intel-based Macs (– this sentence is not conjecture and opinion, but hard fast truth)

I’ve always been a Windows user, but something compelled to buy a Mac laptop two years ago before I started school here at State, and now, I would never in my life dream of owning another Windows machine.

I think I hear harps playing and Angels singing.

I become extremely frustrated anytime I have to use one, but I’m an engineer and would love to be able to run SolidWorks on my computer (it’s not available for Mac). I would also love to be able to buy video games and play them whenever they are released. I am still waiting for Civilization IV. So, my question is, if XP was to be installed on a Mac, would the Mac be bombarded by 3000 viruses and spyware programs every hour of the day?

I’m not sure that 3000 is a high enough number.

The answer of of course is Yes, absolutely. – but that’s mostly just to be very scary and dissuade you for trying to dual-boot anything.

So, if you have an Intel Mac, and if you install boot camp, and if you go buy Windows XP, and if you install Windows XP on your Intel Mac to be used with boot camp to dual-boot the thing – and you use boot camp to start into Windows XP – then you better have antivirus and anti-spyware software running on the Windows XP install. You also should employ safe internet practices. And never, ever, never, ever, never run Internet Explorer. It’s terrible, and horrible, and wretched, and the source of all that is wrong with Windows. (okay, that’s not really true, there’s plenty of other stuff wrong with Windows, and it’s probably only terrible and wretched, not horrible). But as long as you don’t use IE, and keep your antivirus and anti-spyware software updated, and “be safe on the internet” – then no, you won’t be bombarded by 3000 viruses and spyware programs. Just like any other Windows machine.

But when you aren’t booted up into Windows XP – you have nothing to worry about, well, you have less to worry about. Only, you have a big gigantic worry if you’ve forgotten about that Windows XP install, and haven’t shutdown the Macintosh and started up in Windows XP in a few weeks. Then you have a few weeks outdated XP operating system, and few weeks outdated antivirus and a few weeks outdated antispyware. As long as the first thing that you do is update things and don’t go visit any internet sites, and hope there’s not some network-based XP exploit out, then you should be fine. But you just have to keep that XP install updated.

If you run IE, though, there’s no hope for you. There’s a special level of Dante’s Inferno reserved for IE users.

I haven’t had a single virus since I switched systems two years ago, and wouldn’t want to revert to such horrible times. If having Windows means viruses and spyware again, I’ll continue to walk to the computer lab to use SolidWorks, and I’ll continue to wait for video games because it’s not worth it. Also, I heard a rumor, from what I thought was a valid source, that Apple would be releasing a new generation of iPod or a completely new contraption for their 30th anniversary. I heard the entire front of the new iPod would be a video screen and the new “click wheel” would be a touch-activated, touch-screen mechanism. I’ve been waiting with bated breath, and the anniversary has come and gone and still no whisper from Apple of a new iPod. Do any of you know anything? Were these claims substantial or someone’s iPod fantansies?

With Apple, everything is a fantasy until it’s not. I’m sure there will be something. But no one, unless they are an Apple employee on that project itself can tell you the truth. And if they do tell you Apple apparently does bad things to them. Far worse than if you use Internet Explorer.

They did, however, spill the beans on the Reality Distortion Field on April 1.

Pretty much says it all for me. My opinion of boot camp.