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Triple Booting an Intel Mac the Right Way

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the use-three-boots dept.

Operating Systems 101

Miah Clayton writes "In the past, installing Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows on an Intel mac meant that you were forced into only having 3 usable partition slots due to the MBR/GPT hybrid limitations. Steven Noonan figured out a way to avoid dealing with the MBR partition limit and have a Linux install that isn't performance-crippled by having a swap file instead of a swap partition."

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Performance Crippled? (5, Insightful)

Foolhardy (664051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25584661)

I was under the impression that modern Linux kernels had negligible performance impact from using a swap file as opposed to a dedicated swap partition.

Personally, I much prefer using a swap file because it gives me more flexibility in locating, resizing and moving swap.

Re:Performance Crippled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25584805)

MOD THIS UP. Anybody who really thinks that setting up a swap file versus a swap partition that much is stuck in time somewhere around 1997-ish.

Re:Performance Crippled? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25584921)

That pretty much describes every smart Mac user's last experience with Lin-sux.

Re:Performance Crippled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25584939)

Is using gparted hard?

Re:Performance Crippled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585167)

More importantly, who uses swap when computers are shipping with 4 gigs of ram?

Re:Performance Crippled? (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585169)

Quite true. Along that line, who uses physical partitions on a disk for linux installs anymore? Make yourself one physical linux partition, and use LVM to get all the volumes you need. You can even make yourself a swap partition under LVM if you want.

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586493)

Maybe it's technically possible to do this without a /boot partition, but /boot makes it a LOT easier. I'm not even sure if it's possible without a small /boot partition

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

lordcorusa (591938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588795)

The last time I installed using LVM, you still needed a separate /boot partition. Maybe that's changed, though.

I used to use LVM religiously. I still love its ability to resize partitions. However, when anything goes wrong with the filesystem, it's really, really painful to try to fix it. I finally quit using LVM because of that.

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

dragonturtle69 (1002892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25592733)

I do. /home belongs all by itself at the very least.

Re:Performance Crippled? (3)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585679)

To elaborate on that, the advantage of putting the swap on a seperate disk is that your main HDD can be dealing with real apps and data while the secondary swap disk is working away paging things into and out of RAM, giving a performance boost. Using a swap partition on the same drive as the OS makes absolutely no sense.

Re:Performance Crippled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25586369)

depending on what you are doing there may be no real reason to worry about swap and local file system performance overlap. for example when you have your home directory and other data accessed over the network, the amount of time spent loading and reading apps and executable from disk should be relatively low for a desktop environment.

obviously there are also situations where having your IO workloads spread out makes sense, but in the context of desktop performance comparisons most computers are going to have the windows page file on the boot drive just like most linux installs would too by default.

It shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590499)

Sure, it shouldn't be an issue for the vast majority of users in practice. I certainly don't keep myself up at night thinking about how I can fit a seperate swap device in my laptop - like most users I have enough RAM that I don't have to page out running apps all the time or anything like that. It's just that if you are going to move your swap somewhere, it should be to another physical device.

Re:Performance Crippled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587305)

To elaborate on that, the advantage of putting the swap on a seperate disk is that your main HDD can be dealing with real apps and data while the secondary swap disk is working away paging things into and out of RAM, giving a performance boost.

Unless you quit talking about performance and paging real quick we're going to kick you out of the high performance club house.

If you are accessing your swap device, you've already fucked up your configuration and should just stop worrying about performance in general.

Re:Performance Crippled? (5, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589399)

I don't have a separate drive to spare on my laptop for swap space, luckily I found a workaround for that by putting the swap on a ramdisk

Ramdrives can be used: SSD's! True ones are best (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25591403)

I've actually done that (using a ramdisk, albeit, a true SSD, for the job - &, it works)!

(& it does even BETTER than moving your pagefile.sys to another std. mechanical HDD does (or in the case of Linux, a swap partition, which is how I do that on NT-based OS as well, albeit onto this SSD) which DOES work for better performance by NOT burdening the MAIN disk you house your OS &/or programs on typically!)

Fact is, I've been stating folks do that for more than a decade now online, first back as far as 1997 in NTCompatible.com's ARTICLE #1 & far before that on forums boards online, for improving NT-based OS' performacne... & it works, as the init. poster stated (IF users have more than 1 HDD online in their systems)

It does make sense, &, it DOES WORK FOR BETTER/FASTER PERFORMANCE!

How?

I.E. -> Let your main disk perform program & data loads of things you actually use, while the read/write heads of another disk do paging (& in my case, I also put over %temp/tmp% ops, webbrowser caches, logging from the OS + apps onto it as well (on another partition on my SSD, the first partition is the pagefile.sys)).

E.G.-> I do this, via a piece of hardware called a CENATEK "RocketDrive", a TRUE SSD (uses faster RAM for writes than FLASH SSD's use, in PC-133 SDRAM, & the PCI 2.2 bus (133mb/sec speed) is what it uses, & it is the ONLY piece of PCI equipment in my machine now in fact, so it has the entire bus to itself, w/ out contention from other devices on said bus)

It's FAR faster than Flash-based SSD solutions have, & mainly faster in write performances!

(Which FlashRAM based SSD ramdrives are far slower at... write performances!)

Now, some folks using Flash-based SSD's have used more than 1 of them, putting writes onto 1 flash SSD, & reads onto another flash SSD ( & iirc, it was IBM or SUN Microsystems who have done so) to GOOD effect actually with FLASH based SSD's (using 1 disk for reads, & the other for writes)... So, it's not "impossible" to get decent write performance outta them, by simply splitting up where you read to, AND, where you write to...

IBM & SUN have begun to use this as well, & yes, it works!

(For databasing, which was one of my suggestions in an article for EEC Systems/SuperSpeed.com while on paid contract to improve another of their wares in SuperCache I & II, which I increased the performance of it by up to 40% via creating a tuning engine for it which they bought out the code from myself on - I did the added research for ramdisks & Database tables/devices as well, & it worked out for they as a performance enhancer also)

However, my approach only requires a single unit, the CENATEK RocketDrive, for better performance - not more than 1 unit as IBM &/or SUN have done to offset the delay in writespeeds that FLASH based SSD's incur...

Fact is?

My ideas for this were first written up for SuperSpeed.com, on their website, alongside the likes of Mr. John Enck who is one of Windows IT Pro magazine's technical editors (SuperSpeed.com was then EEC systems circa 1996-2002 or so)... & my ideas for using SSD's for DB work took them to a finalist position @ Microsoft Tech Ed 2000-2002 (two times in a row in fact), in the hardest category there:

SQLServer performance enhancement.

This works, simply thru reduction of latencies AND placing reads/writes such as webbrowser caches, pagefiles, logging, & temporary ops onto it, taking this burden off the main HDD (which is far slower anyhow, so, every little bit helps here!

Now, so you know?

There's even a better TRUE SSD out there than mine, & it has been out there for years (not FLASH based stuff that's slower on writes than "real SSD's" are) called the Gigabyte IRAM (uses faster ram, DDR iirc, & a faster bus in SATA 1 150mb/sec transferral rates)...

APK

P.S.=> Using a TRUE SSD for both taking away things like webbrowser caches, paging operations, temp ops, & logging from your main disks helps, in & of itself in doing so, as would using a 2nd (or more) HDD's present...

However, the lower latencies & access/seek speeds on TRUE SSD's are FAR FASTER than std. HDD's are... & this is the other gain present!

(As well as not creating files that may aid in fragmentation of other files, as paging files, temp files, & browser cache data can as well - another something to "keep in mind")... apk

Re:Performance Crippled? (2, Insightful)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586673)

With 4GB of RAM...My box could hardly use Swap. Or put it in another way, when it does use the swap space, it's slow like hell!

The 'free' command tell me that most of my ram goes to caching, but I very seldom encounter the case that I need more than 4G.

When the time comes that I need more than 4G, I would just go out to buy more ram! Paging to the harddisk is far too slow...

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587485)

IMO, the only point of swap on a modern desktop/laptop these days is to hibernate.

-l

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586695)

With current memory prices, what is the point of bothering with swap on a laptop?

It seems like the whole issue becomes moot when the extra memory costs less than a license for one of the OSes that's contributing to the problem.

Motherboards that can't take big RAM sticks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587925)

With current memory prices, what is the point of bothering with swap on a laptop?

For one thing, a motherboard might not be able to take large enough RAM modules to make Windows Vista work efficiently. If each of two slots can take up to a 512 MiB module, you aren't going to get the 2 GB you need for Vista. For another, you need a swap file to back up RAM should your laptop's battery run out while it is on standby.

Re:Motherboards that can't take big RAM sticks (1)

WillyDavidK (977353) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590807)

If your mobo only supports 1GB of RAM, then you have no business running Vista in the first place. I'm sure there are still OEMs out there somewhere that are forced to sell a unit like the one you are describing though, unfortunately.

Not Performance Crippled (3, Informative)

Taxman415a (863020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586979)

Indeed it's been a long time since that wasn't the case. Since the 2.6 Kernel came out basically. Here's the lkml thread on it. http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/6/29/11 [lkml.org] and http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/7/7/326 [lkml.org] are the two posts. The latter is more informative, the former is definitive and clearly shows Andrew Morton is the one saying that part too. This is from 2005 folks. Someone notify the submitter. That is of course unless you don't trust Andrew Morton to know what he is talking about. And just because this comes up every once in a while, googling for linux swap file performance finds that post easily.

Re:Performance Crippled? (1)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587173)

Mod parent up even more :D

The performance difference between a dedicated swap partition and a swap file (as created by dd or something) is absolutely negligible - within the fractions of a percentage point.

You may actually see slightly better performance because, when dealing with disk accesses on your / partition, the disk has less of the platter to seek to in order to actually write or read blocks back than sweeping potentially right across the disk to another partition.

Since the block cache gets used for files, the only overhead is a couple inode lookups, and if you're using a high performance filesystem like XFS or so, what could possibly be your problem? I've noticed a higher performance hit using ext2 or having ext3 journal all my swap writes (what the hell is the point in that, I wish I knew how to turn off journalling for individual files).

buy a pc (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25584697)

macs suck.

eat it fanbois.

Re:buy a pc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25584785)

I will, along with my job.

Re:buy a pc (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25584827)

You will eat dick along with your blowjob?

Or will you eat Steve Jobs? I don't recommend the latter, as ol' gran'daddy gaybo Steve is dyin' of AIDS he contracted at a meth-fueled bareback party long ago.

Re:buy a pc (3, Funny)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25584907)

Ballmer, is that you again? Stop it, or we'll cut off your coffee allowance again and lock you in the special place. I mean it this time...

Re:buy a pc (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25589929)

"special place"? I assume you're talking about a room with no chairs (aka: Ballmer's hell).

GPT partitions (4, Informative)

c_g_hills (110430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25584817)

Since Windows even now only recognizes the Master Boot Record (MBR) format

This is untrue. 64bit versions of Windows support GPT, as do versions newer than Vista.

Also, I don't have a problem using a swapfile. I see no performance difference at all.

Re:GPT partitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585309)

You mentioned versions of windows newer than vista. What version would that be?

Re:GPT partitions (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585495)

Windows Server 2008 most likely.

Vista is old :)
Server 2003 is in midlife crisis
XP is ancient
2000 is lore of years past...

or something along those lines...

Re:GPT partitions (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587959)

Judging from this FAQ [microsoft.com] , "versions newer than Vista" includes Vista. In fact, even that is not a strict bound, as all versions of Server 2003 SP1 also support GPT.

(At least that's my reading. I had no idea what GPT was before this, so I could be wrong.)

Re:GPT partitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25595783)

Using dm-loop is much faster than the old losetup.

What is the point? (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25584997)

As much as this will sound like a trolling post, it's not... what is the point of buying a Mac and then triple booting OS X, Windows, and Linux? It seems to be that Linux and OS X are redundant, not to mention that most things you can run on OS X can be run on Windows as well... why buy the Apple hardware?

The only reason I can think of is the image of the Mac, honestly. If there were major redeeming qualities of OS X (especially as compared to Linux?), I could understand that as well, but I am not aware of them (granted, I don't use Macs much, but if you're going to install a Unix based OS, Linux, in addition to a Unix based OS, Mac OS... hm!).

Or am I missing something - i.e., Apple hardware actually is that much better to warrant a higher price tag? Back when they were using RISC based processors, I would readily believe that there might be a difference... but now that even the CPU architecture is the same (Intel...) ... ?

Re:What is the point? (1, Interesting)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585133)

There are arguably different pros and cons to all three operating systems, so why not have all three if you have the space? This is slashdot, the question is not why, but why not.

Also, a lot of people don't just buy macs for the operating system but for the optimized rock solid hardware- please no flamewar.

Re:What is the point? (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585321)

There are arguably different pros and cons to all three operating systems, so why not have all three if you have the space? This is slashdot, the question is not why, but why not.

I was about to talk about my opinion of the various OSs and hardwares, but your point is more succinct and helpful.

Re:What is the point? (0)

morari (1080535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585671)

Macs do not posses optimized, rock solid hardware. Such stability is simply the result of having a very limited set of hardware configurations to program for. I can almost guarantee you that Windows would also be super stable if you could only use it on one kind of setup.

Re:What is the point? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586879)

That's not strictly true. While the hardware configurations are far fewer than on a traditional PC, Apple still uses a wide variety of components and manufacturers for their various machines. They have both ATI and Nvidia GPUs for example, and optical drives from several different manufacturers, and sound cards, firewire boards, USB hubs etc from different people that are used in different machines.

Yes, it's a lot easier than Windows having to accommodate any of 5 billion different sound cards, but it's not an assured "the sound card will be this exact model for certain" with a Mac either.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25590147)

You lost me at, "optimized rock solid hardware".

Their hardware is not crap, but there's nothing special about it. For example, I like the new MBP 15" a lot. I like the construction and I'd just use a matt screen protector (done it before) but the hardware is ubiquitous for notebooks in that price range. It's just a PC with a good OS.

Re:What is the point? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585159)

If you're writing portable software, you need to test it on all your target platforms. And, if you want to run Mac OS X legally, then buying Apple hardware is your only option.

Although, I prefer virtual machines over multi-booting.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585227)

I know that a while back more than one PC magazine tested Mac laptops against Windows laptops (all loaded with Windows), and the Macs were considerably faster, even than the laptops designed for Windows. So, yeah, I'd say the hardware is worth it.
I don't understand the multiple-booting thing myself either. I use both Macs and PCs, and when I need Windows on my Mac, I'll run it under either Parallels or VMware. Why Macs? Well, if you need a lot of power (I do a lot of PhotoShop) you can't get a Windows machine with 8 cores cheaper than you can get a Mac Pro - sorry. It's cheaper to buy the Mac Pro and put Windows on it (even with the cost of that license) than it is to buy an 8-core Windows machine. Go figure!

Re:What is the point? (1, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585943)

Why Macs? Well, if you need a lot of power (I do a lot of PhotoShop) you can't get a Windows machine with 8 cores cheaper than you can get a Mac Pro - sorry. It's cheaper to buy the Mac Pro and put Windows on it (even with the cost of that license) than it is to buy an 8-core Windows machine. Go figure!

If only there was some use for all those cores...

Scroll down for graphs of Power Macintosh G5 routinely outperforming Mac Pro in Photoshop:
http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/macpro.ars/7 [arstechnica.com]

Read the text to see why it does not really matter (in most cases) if you have 8 or 2 cores:
http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2006/12/photoshop_and_multicore.html [adobe.com]

Re:What is the point? (3, Informative)

Chrononium (925164) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586181)

Sadly, since we are dealing with the world of computing, things do change, especially for the Mac in the times since those articles were written. The ARS report was benchmarking an emulated version of Photoshop (that's what "Rosetta" does). Fast forward to today, we already have Photoshop CS3 (Mac Pro's do beat the G5's) and there's also CS4. According to one benchmarking source, Photoshop CS3 did do slightly better with the 8 core Mac Pro versus the 4 core (although I would agree that the difference is so small that it could be within measurement error).

Re:What is the point? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590577)

Well.. thanks for mentioning CS4.
Otherwise, I had no direct link to the post above and actual pointlessness of so many cores.

And while it may seem as heresy to the proud owners of multiprocessor work stations - Photoshop was never really about processing power.
Or graphic cards (completely worthless investment up until CS4).

Photoshop was, is and probably always will be primarily about memory.
While processing power is great to have in excess the key component of any Photoshop station is memory.
That is why every new edition concentrates on the amount of addressable memory, while multiprocessing is practically an afterthought.
Its only logical.
And you might even say that Apple is to blame (in part) for that - with all those years of Macs (primary platform back then) that allowed nearly nothing besides memory and drives to be upgradeable.
But only in part. Cause it is all about being able to load that 500 MB multilayer B2 poster and work on it without raking all over your swap drives.
Or B1... or your entire 2 GB card of 10 MP photos at once... or whatever.
Thing is - the key to unhindered work with many and large bitmaps is memory. As fast as possible and as much as possible.

And that is where Macs are finally being pushed aside as primary Photoshop platform.
CS4 does not have 64-bit support under OSX. 64-bit that would allow more memory for Photoshop, and more efficient use of it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cs4#New_in_Creative_Suite_4 [wikipedia.org]

And its not just a Photoshop thing. The new Premiere or After Effects won't be 64-bit on OSX either.
The way it is going, we might live to see a Windows only Photoshop sooner than Photoshop for Linux. (To all the gimps out there - don't even start.)

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25586251)

He uses eight cores to try to make a product with an inefficient workflow in 1/8 of the time, a lot of creative people is highly inefficient and cripple their workstations with unneccesary work. there are others that can do great works with limited resources and use the right tool for the job (a render farm for example) when the requirements are too high.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585291)

As much as this will sound like a trolling post, it's not... what is the point of buying a Mac and then triple booting OS X, Windows, and Linux? It seems to be that Linux and OS X are redundant, not to mention that most things you can run on OS X can be run on Windows as well... why buy the Apple hardware?

The only reason I can think of is the image of the Mac, honestly. If there were major redeeming qualities of OS X (especially as compared to Linux?), I could understand that as well, but I am not aware of them (granted, I don't use Macs much, but if you're going to install a Unix based OS, Linux, in addition to a Unix based OS, Mac OS... hm!).

Or am I missing something - i.e., Apple hardware actually is that much better to warrant a higher price tag? Back when they were using RISC based processors, I would readily believe that there might be a difference... but now that even the CPU architecture is the same (Intel...) ... ?

i prefer OS X's interface to anything Linux has to offer. There is less hassle when doing certain things, and it's overall more stable and feels more complete then using compiz+gnome (i also found gnome to lack with multimonitor setups). Maybe I just didn't spend the time trying to tweak everything to behave in what i perceive as right, which seems to be a theme among linux applications (but oddly enough osx feels, for the most part, right out of the box)

I could understand however that if you are a command line jockey and know the where/how of every config file then you wouldn't find os x appealing especially at a higher price tag

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585425)

One Word... iMovie

It's the only thing that makes me want a Mac. iMovie is arguably the best consumer-grade video editing package available. Nothing else about OSX inspires me.

Re:What is the point? (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585481)

Apple hardware actually is that much better to warrant a higher price tag?

You're not only buying the hardware, but the OS and the after-sale service also.

Re:What is the point? (5, Insightful)

Alinraz (533041) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585703)

I agree with your: "what is the point of buying a Mac and then triple booting OS X, Windows, and Linux?" But for totally different reasons.

I ask: why would you bother with even a double boot, let alone a triple boot? There is nothing you can't do with a Mac, in OSX alone, that you can do with any other OS.

First, hardware: Apple hardware is clean, reliable, with features that are difficult to find in combination on other systems. Apple hardware works; and when it doesn't they fix it. You don't have to keep fussing with it like you do if you build a machine from scratch. And its price is comparable to similarly equipped PC equipment (there was a recent post here on /. about that specifically). Yes, you can buy a PC for less... but that misses the point doesn't it?

As for the OS: OSX is like running Linux in many ways. It is solid, never breaks, it performs well, doesn't have virus and worm issues: basically everything that Windows isn't.

It is based on BSD, and has gcc and other open source tools. It has ssh, bash, tcsh, and X. You can build and run nearly any open-source application or tool.

What OSX is missing from Linux: fiddlyness. While running a Linux distribution feels good, at the same time it's a fair amount of work. Need to get a new piece of hardware working: compile a new kernel module, add that, and muck with configuration files in /etc. And if you're unlucky, possibly have to muck with device nodes in /dev or monkey around with udev configurations. And that's just one example. Every time you want to add or change something it's rinse and repeat time. Oh and forget Linux on laptops... it's famous for having spotty laptop hardware support.

But really the question is "why multi-boot"? With VMWare Fusion on the Mac, I really don't know. Just run Windows applications side-by-side with your Mac ones in OSX. Run an entire Linux development server in a virtual box. When you need to compare configurations, clone the sucker and try out a different one. When your Windows VM starts to get a polluted registry, slows down and starts to eat itself, delete and reinstall it...while compiling the Linux kernel in a Linux VM, while writing a software certification test proposal in OpenOffice running directly in OSX. No lost productivity simply because you have to reinstall Windows.

The real question here is not "Mac vs Linux vs Windows?", it's "why are you still multi-booting?"

Re:What is the point? (4, Insightful)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586571)

From gblackwo (1087063):

There are arguably different pros and cons to all three operating systems

You say there is no need to multi-boot because OSX does everything perfectly. I submit that OSX does nothing perfectly, but everything well, which makes it useless to me. I have many devices, each for one thing, and OSX doesn't do any of those things better than the alternatives. Why use it?
Ubuntu Netbook remix is much nicer on the ultra-portable than OSX or Windows, 64 bit Windows is required on the gaming machine, and Linux+XBMC does for the mediaboxen quite well. Macs were never an option there, because the one piece of hardware that has component and TOSLINK out in a small form-factor with no adapters or messy cables, the Apple TV, has no DVD drive and does not allow me to easily put stuff on it (where stuff includes zsnes & and a controller, a DVD drive, and support for all of the stuff I have that's not in a format Apple accepts).

I wasn't intending to attack OSX here, just to attack the evangelism in the parent suggestion that we should all use X because it does what he needs, and we obviously need the same things. Everyone wants different things from their computers, and there is no single solution that will ever satisfy them all.

Re:What is the point? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586917)

Ubuntu Netbook remix is much nicer on the ultra-portable than OSX or Windows, 64 bit Windows is required on the gaming machine, and Linux+XBMC does for the mediaboxen quite well.

You make a good argument for booting into different operating systems on different hardware, depending on usage requirments. What it doesn't address is why anybody would want to boot into different operating systems on the SAME hardware. If the hardware is "good for many things, perfect for none", why not use a single OS that matches that?

Re:What is the point? (1)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587953)

The reason not to use a single os for multipurpose hardware (or to use one) is all about good "enough". A nice 17" mobile workstation with a gaming graphics card is an excellent example: if the os is good enough for gaming, you can game on it. If the os creates a good enough environment to do video editing, or image composition, you can do that. If the os has good enough power management, it can be a portable, for use on the train. The thing is, to use only one OS for all of those tasks, that OS has to be 'good enough' at all of them. If you use your 17" laptop to game, write code, and occasionally check email while roving, on battery, you probably want Windows for gaming, whatever environment you develop for to do your dev in, and a flash based, fast booting linux for the email on the run, so that the battery doesn't die.
For *any* of the single purposes I use my hardware for, Mac OS isn't good enough. Even if I had one device that did all of those things, OSX wouldn't be good enough at all of them (Again, nothing wrong with OSX, I'm just not in their target market, and they don't design for my usage).

Re:What is the point? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588505)

while I agree completely,one should use the OS for the main tasks required. Giving windows plenty of uses. As well as Linux and OS X. However what feature of OS X makes it unusable for you? Or is it simply you don't like their limited hardware options? A valid reason by itself.

Re:What is the point? (1)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589523)

For gaming, there's no question that OSX doesn't work. I like Supreme Commander, Team Fortress 2, Portal, C&C (pretty much the whole series), and most of them just don't work on anything but Windows.
For the mediaboxen, aside from the fact that they are all commodity hardware and thus cannot run OSX, I really like Amarok. The netbook, obviously, isn't even the right processor architecture, (Atom, not Core 2), and my wife really prefers Ubuntu to OSX or Windows anyway. As for the servers, the fileserver/torrentserver is running software RAID through LVM, Samba, Mediwiki, and a MySQL database for Amarok, and FreeNX for remote management, and the firewall runs OpenBSD for simplicity and security.

Re:What is the point? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589657)

atom is still x86 compatible. RAID,samba, mediawiki, and MYsql all run on OSX but if your family prefers ubuntu, and windows for gaming then that is enough.

Re:What is the point? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587339)

Everyone wants different things from their computers, and there is no single solution that will ever satisfy them all.

I really wish people would get this through their heads, and we could stop all of these "[your OS of choice] sucks! [my OS of choice] is awesome!" arguments. I'm typing this in OSX with a dual-boot Linux/Windows desktop next to me, both of which are used to administer both Linux and Windows servers. In each case, the operating system was chosen specifically because it was the best OS to do the tasks that machine was being set up to perform.

So each has some strengths and weaknesses, and beyond that it falls largely to personal choice. At least, that's as far as practical considerations go. I definitely wish Linux well for more political types of reasons. (I include "openness" as both a practical and political advantage)

Re:What is the point? (2, Interesting)

Alinraz (533041) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587673)

Assuming you were actually replying to me (not exactly clear based on your quote and what you said), I'd like to answer you.

First off, I'm not evangelizing anything. I was merely answering the parent poster when he asked about the benefits to purchasing a Mac over a PC. I was describing why it works best for me; I recognize that other people might want/need other things.

I've just always thought it ironic that I'm so much more productive developing Linux software on OSX than when I used Linux as my primary OS.

Please use whatever you want to use. I would never dream of suggesting that because a Mac is perfect for what I do, it is perfect for what you do.

However, I think the main point of my post is valid: why multi-boot? Even what you point out is different hardware running a single OS most of the time.

As a note, I am all about the right tool for the right job. I run several machines: A Linux fileserver for our home network server, my OSX laptop (often running Win or Linux in a VM) for my day-to-day work, a Linux server for web hosting, a Windows laptop for my wife, a Tivo (Linux again), and a Linux server for my piano. I even have an old desktop that I never turn on that is configured to dual-boot WinME (don't ask) and Linux; but I never actually use the dual-boot on it...I haven't even turned in on in a year.

Re:What is the point? (1)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588333)

I was half replying to you, and half making my own point. Sorry for the confusion.

As for the multi-booting thing, though (and I think I've answered this elsewhere), multi-booting is what happens when you have multi-purpose hardware and there is no single OS that serves all of those purposes. That is essentially the logic behind all of the laptops with a flash based linux that can be booted into to do email and whatnot without booting up the full system, a second os for when the requirements are speed and battery life rather than versatility. The process for switching between them can be a pain, but if you want to play Crysis sometimes, and test the linux ATI drivers other times, you're going to be dual booting.

The other reason to dual boot, of course, is to see if you like something. I'm dual booting a laptop with Ubuntu 8.10, to see if I can use that instead of the OS I was running before (WinXP on that one). If I can get the games I play on that running in WINE, it will cease to be dual booted, but until then, I dual boot.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587729)

All Macs made today (except the Air), even the Mac mini, have combined optical digital audio/analog audio input and output ports or dedicated TOSLINK ports.

(If you wanted, people have put guides for turning the Mac TV into a regular Mac on the 'net. So you could use it with a USB DVD drive and USB adapted controllers via a USB hub this way.)

Re:What is the point? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590459)

You say there is no need to multi-boot because OSX does everything perfectly. I submit that OSX does nothing perfectly, but everything well, which makes it useless to me.

Y.. you're one tough customer to please!

Re:What is the point? (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586689)

While running a Linux distribution feels good, at the same time it's a fair amount of work.

When was the last time you installed and used Linux seriously? Really, you're describing the situation as it was a couple of years ago.

Re:What is the point? (2)

Alinraz (533041) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587757)

For "using Linux seriously": Um, well... about 5 minutes ago. I've got a current release of Fedora running in a VM that I installed a few weeks ago.

I use it every day. I write both kernel-level and application level software for it every day. Yet I find I need to spend lots more time configuring and maintaining Linux than I do OSX. That's me. YMMV.

Re:What is the point? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589859)

I've got a current release of Fedora running in a VM that I installed a few weeks ago.

To borrow a phrase, "Well, there's your problem!"

Semi-seriously. In my experience, Fedora is fidgety. Red Hat products are fairly fidgety in general, but I set up CentOS on the household server and treat it like a server: it needs routine care and feeding. It needs cursory log inspection. It needs basic maintenance. I don't multi-boot it. I don't reboot it at all. It ticks over, warm and happy, serving files and email and whatnot.

For desktops, Kubuntu 8.04LTS. No touchiness, no grouchiness, minimal hand-holding.

YMMV, but that's my experience.

-----
*Thanks, Adam and Jamie.

Virtualization eats RAM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588183)

There is nothing you can't do with a Mac, in OSX alone, that you can do with any other OS.

If you play a wide variety of proprietary games on a computer, you need either Windows or some sort of Wine hackery. How far has Darwine come? Or do you fall back on picking another title in the same genre? Or if you develop software for clients who use an operating system other than Mac OS X, you need to be able to test that software on the operating system that they use.

But really the question is "why multi-boot"? With VMWare Fusion on the Mac, I really don't know. Just run Windows applications side-by-side with your Mac ones in OSX. Run an entire Linux development server in a virtual box.

In order to keep a Windows and Linux session open at the same time as Mac OS X, I'd need to multiply the RAM by 3. How much RAM can one put into an iMac, Mac mini, or MacBook?

Re:Virtualization eats RAM (1)

mauryisland (130029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588439)

I have 4 Gb RAM in my MacBook. Ububtu runs just fine under VMWare Fusion, as does XP. I don't usually run two VM's at the same time, but I've tried it with four running, and the machine was usable.

Re:What is the point? (1)

residents_parking (1026556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589461)

I'm an EE who designs deeply embedded firmware for a living. Actually there's very little I CAN do with a Mac. I rely on dozens of *essential tools* most of which only exist for Windows. Why should I pay double ticket price for a fancy white box that does only 10% of what I need? Even with virtualization (whose explicit purpose is to get AWAY from the OS), why would I do a crazy thing like that? Do I have cash to burn?

Don't misunderstand - monopolies don't benefit anyone in the long term. It would be good to have a genuine choice, but in my field it doesn't exist because Apple (and to a lesser extent the open source community) only seem interested in "cool and happening stuff", which excludes a lot of actual work.

Re:What is the point? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590489)

I wasn't trying to go for Mac vs. Windows necessarily, at least not from an OS perspective.

As for fussing with hardware, I have built many PC's over the last few years and rarely have to "fuss" with it. I don't know where this presumed hardware failure all the time comes, but I have not had that experience really since I stopped buying generic RAM about 10 years ago.

OS X never breaking - I have worked with Macs, in very limited capacities. However, in that limited capacity, I've actually seen quite a few Macs crash, have network card configuration issues, etc. Granted, probably not as often as a PC, but the "Mac OS X never crashes!" thing is about as valid as saying there is a [good] Linux software replacement for any Windows software. (My hobby and ultimate goal as a profession is music composition, and I can veritably say that Sibelius (or even Finale) beats pretty much anything I've seen on Linux.) I admit there are pro's to having a Mac, I am simply submitting that it is not as black and white as many like to make it (Mac rules for a tiny bit more of a price tag, while PC is cheaper but is horribly faulty, full or hardware issues, etc).

"well, doesn't have virus and worm issues:" - I grant you that. On the other hand, I personally have not had a virus for many years on anything from Windows 2K, XP, to Vista.

As for dual-booting/VMWare Fusion/etc, I agree. If I had a Mac, I would do that. Since I run PC, I'm slightly annoyed that Apple won't let me try to run Mac OS X on my system, simply for kicks (and the extremely few Mac only applications that I would like to be able to run)... other than that, I'm happy to agree to disagree with the Mac Rules people and happily use my PC. :)

Re:What is the point? (1)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25592807)

GAMES!

NO YOUR MAC PRO WILL NOT PLAY CRYSIS WELL! IT WONT IT WONT LOOK IT UP IT WONT!!!!!!!

It costs thousands. i can build a pc that will play it well for under 1500. why cant mac fanboys learn this? i guess its just easier to pretend the thing they cant do doesnt exist.

Ok listen very carefully:

Mac. graphics. suck. for. high. end. gaming.

Re:What is the point? (1)

Almahtar (991773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593357)

What OSX is missing from Linux: fiddlyness.

Depends on what you're doing. Try installing Apache2, Mysql5, and PHP5 on a mac. It's not pretty. Lots of crazy command line operations and hoops to jump through. Lots of "fiddlyness" as you'd say. For a web developer OSX is not easy to adopt.

Now let's try on Ubuntu: apt-get install apache2 mysql php5 Wow. That was hard.

Audience is everything. OSX is a great OS, but it isn't for everyone.

Re:What is the point? (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586063)

It's the software, of course. If there's a single OS that runs all the software you need, you'll probably stick with it. Otherwise you might need two or three. Maybe you can get by with Wine, Crossover, and virtual machines... maybe you can't.

The list of things that are Windows only is huge -- lots of business apps and games, Visual Studio, Netflix watch-it-now... If your job/lifestyle don't require any of them, good for you, but otherwise you've gotta have Windows.

There's a lot of great software in the AV world that's Mac only, both on the beginner level (iLife suite) and the professional level (Logic, Final Cut suite). Also, maybe you want to develop for the iPhone -- got to have a Mac for that.

A decent Linux distro will get you a huge software repository with rapid securtity fixes and up-to-date builds of thousands of great programs. Some of this stuff is available for OSX and/or Windows, but it's often behind the curve.

Re:What is the point? (2)

bogie (31020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586261)

Seriously? You can't think of any advantages? Then I guess I'd suggest that OS X isn't for you.

But if you want my opinion, and what else is the point of the internet, then when comparing OS X vs Linux the only thing I can say is that for modern desktop computing OS X does just about everything better than linux. It is simply more polished and easier to use. The apps are more mature and usually easier to use. Plus you get some really first rate commercial apps. Finally since it is *nix you can run whatever OSS you want on it. It really is the best of both worlds. Why do you think so many of the longtime linux users and developers moved to OS X? It's not because they were dying to fork out extra money to Apple.

For people willing to put in the in extra time and live with the known drawbacks Linux has always been a viable alternative on the desktop. And for things like schools, thin clients, embedded, servers, where cost is an issue, etc Linux really does kick all other OS's asses. But it has a ways to go before it can match what you get with OS X on the desktop.

Re:What is the point? (2, Funny)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588597)

But if you want my opinion, and what else is the point of the internet

Is the internet no longer for porn?

Re:What is the point? (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586301)

As much as this will sound like a trolling post, it's not... what is the point of buying a Mac and then triple booting OS X, Windows, and Linux?

We choose to triple-boot a Mac in this decade and hack the other things, not because it is practical, but because it is fun.

u obviously didn't rtfa (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586709)

he stated up front he wanted to test on all platforms...

Re:What is the point? (1)

_Pablo (126574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586771)

For a developer who needs to test their cross platform 3D application on Windows, OS X and Linux then triple booting a Mac means that they have a single machine that is legal and supported by Apple, Microsoft and Canonical - and all in one attractive package.

But I would imagine that for any computer geek who wants choice (play current PC titles, try out Intrepid Ibex, have their everyday computing platform be reliable and almost maintenance free), a triple booting Mac is a thing of desire.

Re:What is the point? (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586823)

The iMac really is a beautiful piece of hardware, leaving OS aside. I have an "old" white one (dual core intel, just with the older white case before the all-aluminium ones came out) and I love the damn thing.

I can carry it around easily when I need to go somewhere (it packs up neatly even for transatlantic flights) and if I want to move it between home and a friend's house it takes about 2 minutes to unplug it and the KB/mouse and pack it back into the box it came in, which has a big carry handle on the top so I can carry it like a suitcase.

The screen is beautiful (despite lots of wank on /. recently about how 'apple imac screens are shit!', I find it looks very nice, and the all-in-one design works well for me.

It won;t suit you if you want to be able to replace every last single transistor with one you bought from a white box store, but you can change the memory on your own, and with a service manual (ie, if you're competent enough to build your own whitebox PC, then you can take apart an iMac) and change the HD, optical drive etc. In my opinion, the 3 year apple care is well worth the cost - so if any of the "non-standard" bits go wrong, which on an iMac is the logic board, it'll be repaired.

So, I can't upgrade the graphics card or the CPU, but then, I don't really need to - it's not supposed to be a bleeding edge games machine that would require that. It works for me as a Final Cut Studio work station and my home machine, with some WoW, EvE, Quake 4, UT2K4 thrown in - all of which play very well.

I can dual boot it if I want, and while I don't have Windows on mine personally, I do support a friend's office machines - he recently replaced all the Dell boxes he had with iMacs after seeing mine, and they run Windows exclusively for his business needs.

As for two Unix based OSes, well that's up to you. While there is an excellent set of open source tools and software available on OS X from the community at large (like Darwin Ports, and pretty much any app you can run in Linux you can build and run in OS X), there are just some times where you want to be doing what other people are doing - I know, for example, that some open source apps just work better on an actual Linux install, rather than on OS X - while it's a Unix OS, it does have its quirks. I could fully understand why a Linux user would want to be able to dual boot.

So, to get back to point, not even considering the OS that is running on it, Apple hardware is worth it for me. In my experience, it is built well, looks good, is well featured (firewire, gigabit ethernet etc) and has some genuine advantages in form and design over a traditional PC that make up for the disadvantages like lack of GPU changeability etc.

It may not be for you though - if you want a fully expandable tower Mac, then you're looking at a Mac Pro, which really are expensive. In the consumer end though, if you want a working machine with a lot going for it, then the iMac, Macbook and Macbook Pro are three of the best Windows, OS X and Linux machines you can buy right now.

Re:What is the point? (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587217)

As much as this will sound like a trolling post, it's not... what is the point of buying a Mac and then triple booting OS X, Windows, and Linux? It seems to be that Linux and OS X are redundant, not to mention that most things you can run on OS X can be run on Windows as well... why buy the Apple hardware?

I dislike Windows, yet I need to test websites under IE.

The only reason I can think of is the image of the Mac, honestly ... granted, I don't use Macs much

I'm guessing you've hardly used a Mac at all. The difference is night and day. There really is no comparison. Let's try to make a comparison though.

Choose any PC to match up against a Mac Mini. Now, compare the screen reader options for the two: Mac comes with VoiceOver [apple.com] for free. The most popular screen reader [freedomscientific.com] for the PC costs more than the Mini itself. To you, that may not make much difference. To a web developer who needs to test accessibility of websites, or as a blind user, the Mac wins, hands down.

Like web browsing? Compare the default browsers for supported standards. [evotech.net] That chart is for CSS selector support, but in pretty much any comparison, Safari on the Mac wins against IE.

Security: The Mac comes with a built in Keychain. It remembers my passwords for websites and system activities. It keeps those passwords locked up behind _one_ password. So it keeps my secrets safe for me. The PC does not have a keychain bundled.

The Mac comes with FileVault. Full encryption for each individual user's home folder. The PC does not have anything like FileVault bundled.

The Mac can do a randomized N-pass file wipe on trashed files. The PC does not bundle file wiping capability.

These are serious features that are seriously lacking in a typical PC. On Windows you would need to pay extra... a lot extra in some cases, to get features that are bundled on a Mac. On Linux, these features might be available, but you will likely need a considerably higher level of computer skill to install, maintain, and use them.

As such, I prefer a Mac. I get more features that I actually use with a Mac. I can easily maintain the system myself. I don't have to worry about computer viruses. The resale value of Apple is truly magnificent, making upgrades cheaper with Apple hardware than PCs. (When was the last time you saw a 2 year old consumer grade PC sell for $550? [ebay.com] ) And in a pinch, I can boot into Windows or Linux.

I'm sorry if you mistake that for vanity.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587769)

As a web developer, Mac hardware gives me the ability to test code in pretty much any environment I wish. Any web developer that's worth their salt has to, at a minimum, test his or her work in Firefox (Gecko), Safari (Khtml), IE 6, IE 7 and soon IE 8. If they're good developers they would test in Opera and screen readers as well.

I cannot test on the OS X side of things on a Lenovo but I can test the OS X/Windows/Linux side of things on a MacBook.

Are there major redeeming qualities of OS X? For me, yes. One of the main reasons I like OS X is (and it's rarely listed as a Mac virtue) 3rd party software is, in my opinion, superior to 3rd party software for Windows or Linux. Mac developers apply the same polish and attention to detail that Apple does.

I tried web development an a SuSe box and I found that while yes, I could do it the software was missing the polish of software I was used to on the Mac. Take Transmit [panic.com] , an FTP program. FTP? What the heck is so much better about FTP on the Mac? Until you work on a system that doesn't support it, you don't know how nice it is to be able to click on a remote document have it automatically open it up in TextMate [macromates.com] and upload it to the server whenever I save the document within TextMate. And it's not hardwired to work that way with TextMate, it does that for whatever text editor I wish to use. Programs like Things [culturedcode.com] for GTD/task lists or Yojimbo [barebones.com] for storing random but useful clutter in a single location are unique in functionality, simplicity and quality to OS X. 1Password [agilewebsolutions.com] to manage all my hundreds of passwords and only require me to remember one. Most of these apps have an iPhone equivalent so if I ever get an iPhone, my desktop software will sync seamlessly with my phone. I have yet to find a text editor as powerful yet simple to learn as TextMate. On top of that, I have native access to the lion's share of open source/Linux/Unix software. I don't expect you to accept my argument until you actually experience this "higher" level of software quality. You only notice it when it's missing. Ask anyone that's used Quicksilver [blacktree.com] . Mac software has Linux and Windows equivalents but not equals.

Would I multi-boot? No. Virtualization is just fine for my line of work and much more convenient. But virtualization for the article submitter may not be viable. My point is, my needs/preferences are different from your needs/preferences which may different from the submitters needs/preferences.

Re:What is the point? (1)

spamfiltre (656000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587779)

why buy the Apple hardware?

I can answer that. I spent a year waiting for the right hardware to come along to replace my Dell Inspiron. I wanted a true gaming laptop, not a compromise. I found everything I wanted in the hgih-end 15" macbook pro: cutting edge 512mb vid card, fast RAM, killer screen (you should check out the viewing angle compared to the macbook), sleek design. I priced a can't-quite-compare (last-gen vid card, slower RAM) alienware machine the day I bought my mbp at $300 more. When you are looking high-end, macs kick A$$.

Re:What is the point? (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587981)

We're all suppose to be nerds here so the answer should be "because you can." That said, I won't be impressed until they get Plan9 and Hurd running as well (quintuple boot?).

Re:What is the point? (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 5 years ago | (#25592255)

I used to think the same until I got a Mac. I love the Terminal App, and I use the exact same software I use on Linux-- GNU Screen, Vim, Unison, TeXlive, GCC, Git, virtual desktops (spaces) etc... I just don't see the difference, really. AND, with the Mac laptop I get 5+ hours of battery life and a slim case for $1000.

I don't dual boot because it seems nowadays everyone is compiling free software for Intel Macs (and I don't use Fink anymore). All my desktops are Linux, but I do like how Itunes handles podcasts, which I'm addicted to (Itunes is more polished than Rhythmbox, but I can go with either).

I could never use OS X on a desktop-- it would be way too inflexible. But when I'm on the road, Vim in the Terminal App with long battery life is just AWESOME.

Swap partition (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25585029)

Maybe you could just change the Windows partition type to Linux swap and use that!

My way of doing it (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25585295)

Buy or build a system with a four core processor and 4GB of memory with 4TB of storage with 4x something else, call it a Quad-Quad system. Install the OS you like the most on the system, Install VMware, install the other two OSes you want inside VMware, and you can run ALL THREE AT ONCE!!!! OMG!!!

Re:My way of doing it (1)

XLR8DST8 (994744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588915)

new windows 7 system requirements?

*dodges chair*

Here is why. (4, Interesting)

Miah Clayton (1397863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586021)

I am not an enthusiast of anything. I like my Mac for a few reasons, but the purpose for triple booting is a sole one: I am a developer. I need the ability to cross develop. And I need to do it on the run, since I am very seldom in a fixed position for more than a few hours. Therefore, I need to use a laptop for most development. This is not an ideal situation, ever. Laptops notoriously have smaller HD sizes, more RAM restrictions, slower processors, and, typically, integrated graphics. With these limits, using VMWare Fusion (which I own and still use for certain things) carries an unacceptable overhead. It also occasionally interprets OpenGL and DirectX improperly, which is not an acceptable scenario as a game developer. The ability to genuinely triple boot allows me to remove the RAM and CPU overhead caused by booting as a guess operating system. It has nothing to do with "Macs are awesome" and everything to do with "I can cross develop every major platform on one machine, and one I can be on the move with"

Re:Here is why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587459)

How telling that of the 3 platforms, Apple is the only one you have no choice of hardware on.

THAT is why I am not a fan of Apple.

Re:Here is why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25590235)

How telling that of the 3 platforms, Apple is the only one you have no choice of hardware on.

I disagree. I am triple booting on my Lenovo Thinkpad, and it works quite well.

An interesting side note, while I was traveling recently, out of: OS X, Ubuntu, and Windows XP pro, only OS X managed to actually connect to my hotel's wifi for some reason. I played and played and played, and I could not get Ubuntu or XP to work! OS X just worked immediately, without any configuration.

if you're going to... (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586287)

If you're going to triple boot...why not do it on a Dell? That's what I do. I think I have booted into Vista and OSX twice each.

Re:if you're going to... (2, Insightful)

Miah Clayton (1397863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586399)

In my case, I rather enjoy keeping my nose clean. You can't have Mac OS X on a Dell without breaking the TOU, and most likely not without warezing it.

Re:if you're going to... (1)

g-san (93038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588249)

My MacBook Pro came with BootCamp and OS X and Windows installed. I booted into Windows once. Something is just wrong with seeing the windows desktop framed in an apple laptop bezel cover. I reminded myself why I got a Mac in the first place, rebooted, and eventually nixed the Windows install, no pun intended.

Why? (0, Offtopic)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586469)

What's the point with VM software these days like VM ware or Parallels? We use intel macs as our primary development platform. Why? Paraellels allows us to have OSX and then boot XP Pro, Vista, Linux, BSD, and OpenSolaris with a double click of the mouse. We've found it much of efficient to use VM's for this kind of stuff than boot camp or triple booting because we can change environments with a mouse click, not a restart. And then if something does go heywire, we can kill the VM from inside OSX usually. Hell I have OS 10.5, XP Pro, and OpenBSD open right now on my MacPro.

Part of the reason of buying the macs was so we could easily test products across various platforms and no bitching from our developers. They want to use Kdevelop for a project, fine, install the Linux flavor of your choice in Parallels and go. Want to use Visual Studio, fine, boot up windows and run visual studio, not a problem. Want to use BBedit or Textmate and go, again, not a problem.

Triple booting maybe cool for an experiment, but these days, VM makes it far easier for most tasks to just double click and go.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588077)

Pardon my ignorance, but rather than making one OS primary, could you install a Xen variant to bare metal and then put every OS in a virtual partition? I was thinking especially of the forthcoming freely available XVM Server.

Re:Why? (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25592529)

Revoke your geek username and card immediately. If you have to ask why, you aren't /. 's original target audience.

Not exactly news to me... (1)

zarmanto (884704) | more than 5 years ago | (#25586545)

A variation on this has been available at the OnMac forum for over a year now: http://forum.onmac.net/showthread.php?t=2793 [onmac.net] (Alas, the forum has pretty much become overrun with spam, and the administrator has been MIA for quite some time... so it's fairly difficult to find anything new over there these days.)

Re:Not exactly news to me... (1)

WillyDavidK (977353) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590905)

I was reading tripple-booting articles at onmac.net 2 years ago when I got my first mac. They had implementations before the Boot Camp beta ever came out.

3 partitions for OS X & Windows + many linux (1)

Le Fol (33484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587235)

There is a more flexible solution, though admittedly more complicated. The trick lies in the fact that OS X needs a GPT at the installation stage, but not later.

So you create up to 4 partitions in GPT mode with BIOS compatibility. You install OS X in the third partition, the first being the EFI one and the second the sum of the space you'll give to the first and second later.

You install refit in the OS X partition to be able to boot later on and then you suppress the first, second and fourth partition after having carefully recorded the start and end of the third.

You then initialize a new (BIOS) partition table on the disk and you create 3 primary partitions and one extended. On the two first primary you can install any windows you want, and if you recreated the third exactly where the OS X one existed, your OS X shall be fully functional.

On the extended partition, you create then as many logical partition you want, each able to host a linux OS or a NTFS or HFS data store.

The only caveat is that refit seems to not fully honor all the partition mbr after you write on the disk mbr. So don't write on the disk mbr, but always on the partition one or otherwise, only the last installed mbr will be used (which is fine if it contains a jump to all the OS like Ubuntu does).

Re:3 partitions for OS X & Windows + many linu (1)

Le Fol (33484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587331)

Two things that I left out:

Obviously after that all OS X update of the Apple Efi shall fail because there isn't an Apple Efi anymore.

The second one is way more tough: how to format that disk, how many partition of which size?

Quad Boot (1)

geek2k5 (882748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588825)

I provide software and hardware support for a college campus that has a range of operating systems and application packages. I'm running a Mac that I managed to get to boot in OS 10.4, OS 10.5, Win XP and Vista.

It took a bit of finagling to get the quad boot setup to work because the copy of Vista I had didn't want to install after 10.4, 10.5 and XP were in place. I eventually had to pull the drives for 10.4 and XP to get it to work.

It wasn't the most elegant solution but it worked.

Re:Quad Boot (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593893)

Psth. n00b. I have a quint-boot laptop - opensolaris, winxp, osx, linux, freebsd. iwin kthxbai.

Actually, you have never been limited... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25589545)

...to having only three partitions. You have always been able to redo the partition scheme any way you want after setting up the two (or three) initial partitions. Same goes for people who keep insisting that if you want to use Bootcamp you can only have a single partition for OS X - wrong. You can change the size of this partition after Bootcamp installation and insert as many more as you want.

But I suppose it has been "impossible lol" if you're a computer neanderthal.

Not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25600357)

I'm not convinced that this is noteworthy. I mean, this occurred to me when I was setting up a triple boot. Using the Linux kernel's gpt support is simply using the right tool for the job.

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