There’s no question that Parallels Desktop is the current tool to beat when it come to running Windows applications under Mac OS X. There are a number of great features that Parallels offers like being able to create a VM image from a real PC and import VMWare images. These are a few things that VMWare Fusion doesn’t yet offer, but does it matter?
So one has to wonder, why choose VMWare Fusion at all? For one, Walt Mossbergs review sums up the difference between the two products nicely and I can agree with his findings. I have had Parallels pretty much paralyze my machine while resuming a saved state. It would do this for about 2 minutes before Mac OS X became usable again. Parallels can be a major CPU hog in many cases, but VMWare on the other hand, feels much lighter on it’s feet.
One thing I find amusing though is that everyone is focusing only on the “running Windows” aspect of virtualization. If you take Windows out of the equation, Parallels Desktop kinda sucks. Sure, I was able to run OpenSUSE 10.2 under Parallels, but there is no desktop integration at all. Under a non-windows OS, you still have to ctrl-enter to return cursor control to Mac OS X. VMWare on the other hand has it’s VMWare tools supported by several Linux distributions as well as Solaris 10. Additionally, VMWare will dynamically adjust the screen resolution of the target OS when the VMWare window is resized. It does this flawlessly under Ubuntu. I am currently writing this post in Ubuntu 7.04 in VMWare and I can seamlessly bring my cursor into both OS’s. Under Parallels, Linux integration isn’t this smooth (And BTW, Ubuntu is a very slick distribution!).
So the long of the short is, if you’re looking for running more than Windows, you should give VMWare a look.