Virtual Sign of the Times

This ad for VMWare underlines some themes that are beginning to percolate to the top in IT in general. First, is the OS Mess. There  are now roughly double the number of operating systems today that have to be programmed for. But second, there is  nary any cross platform tool that will produce write once run anywhere reliable portable code. C/C++ ? Yea right even with tools like Qt this is a major undertaking. HTML and JavaScript? Look at the recent HTML5 and other Web standards achievements – its back to the squalid past. Java nd Flash?  Remember Apple has cut-off Java and Flash from iOS mobile devices,. Microsoft is not allowing Flash on Windows 8 IE and the status of Java on Windows 8 is also precarious.

So the new cross platform solution is to run virtual machines. There is so much computing horsepower just waiting around on dual and quad core processors let alone GPUs also brimming with untapped cycles.So have VMs tap them and just run the desired OS inside your own favorite box or server [and double the learning curve as the system admin and troubleshooting are not just different but subject to virtual constraints]. Some of the virtual machine vendors are starting to tap more effectively into these  resources underutilized CPU cycles  – the add for VMware Fusion 4 is typical.

Apple’s Mac sales, which are rising  22% in a PC market that is down to nearly 0%,  may be profiting from  this virtual opportunity. So you absolutely must run Windows – do it on your Mac with a charge of $50+the cost of your version of Windows. Now Microsoft does not care-they get a high margin Windows sale. Intel is okay – Apple is running Intel chips. PC hardware manufacturers may have their noses out of joint the most. But the inverse of this, running MacOS on a PC is impossible – MacOS/X looks for unique signature of Apple hardware. How long will Microsoft tolerate this imbalance? Virtually forever, remember they get a high margin sale and running Windows 7 on a Mac might get some users to switch back to Windows as their base OS.  And thus you have a Virtual Sign of the Times.