Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Playing with Parallels

Those of you who read up on Mac software may well know that Parallels Desktop has been updated to version 3.0. It’s not a free upgrade but those with version 2.x can buy the new version for a reduced price – I paid around £20 but the price has gone up since.

While it introduces some nice stuff for Windows users – ability to right-click on any file in OS X or Windows and have it open in an application on the other operating system, and hugely improved 3D performance – there’s also some improvements for those of us running Linux as guest OS in OS X.

Firstly Ubuntu is now on the list of supported distributions. This isn’t huge – you’ve always been able to run Ubuntu as ‘Other 2.6 kernel’ – but it’s nice to see it recognised. But Parallels also now provide Parallels Tools for Linux (like the tools that exist for Windows) which makes the experience of running Linux in OS X much nicer.

You don’t get the fancy coherence mode, like in Windows, but you’ll find that the Linux desktop now fits the window without scrolling in windowed mode, and should appear as proper full screen in full screen mode without the need to configure it – a welcome feature for those of us with widescreen computers as you don’t get the thick black borders around the desktop. Also, you can move the mouse in and out of the window without needing to capture and release the keyboard and mouse, so it feels much more natural.

Since running Windows is what Parallels is most used for, it’s understandable that most of the improvements are there, but it’s also nice to see some improvements for Linux too. Let’s hope for Coherence in future release.

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