Here's the Future

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by blybug, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. blybug macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2003
    Galveston, TX
    My university has implemented a java web-based version of Citrix Metaframe which allows applications to run off a server through a web browser. There is also a Citrix desktop client for OS X which can run Citrix .ica documents and link to the server apps without java or a browser. It's really a variation on "Remote Desktop" on an app by app basis.

    What is striking is that when you set your Citrix preferences for "seamless" windows, the Windows apps (Explorer, Word, Outlook, etc) all appear as individual windows within the Mac environment. They move around like regular windows, even behave correctly with Expose. With a broadband connection doing common tasks, these applications are virtually indistinguishable from local apps. Below is a screenshot (really this is for real, not a Photoshop)

    I have to believe that BootCamp is the first step towards this kind of integration with OS X. If a developer like Citrix can write a java application that can run Windows apps in Windows windows over a network in the Mac environment, I'm sure Apple could do the same with a local partition and Windows install. They've stated that a version of this is coming with Leopard. I'm guessing when you install Leopard you will be given the option of creating a Windows partition, and like now you can dual boot. But when in the Mac OS there will be a control panel to turn on Windows, and it's partition will rev up Windows invisibly, and the apps will simply appear in (fugly) Windows windows.

  2. neocell macrumors 65816


    May 23, 2005
    Great White North
    That would be very cool, if it is possible. You would get the best of both worlds at the same time (same boot). VPC without the V
  3. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    thats so cool! is there a free way to do this?
  4. Takumi macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2005
    Gunma, Japan
    The question should be "is there a free 'legal' way to do this?"


    P.S: Very cool
  5. stridey macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2005
    Massachusetts, Connecticut
    Frankly, I think this sucks. I mean, how would (do?) keyboard shortcuts work? How about the dock/windows manager (or whatever it's called)? How about drag and drop? Does that work. Frankly, while I'm ok with Macs running Windows, I don't want to run two OSes (or even run one OS and emulate another) at the same time. It's just mixed paradigms.
  6. blybug thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2003
    Galveston, TX
    Although the windows behave as windows, the Windows apps are actually in their own little universe/sandbox, much like Virtual PC. The default setup does not have the ability to open or save local documents from your hard drive, or easily use a local printer (although I figured out how to do that through some pretty confusing Options dialogs). These apps are actually running off some Windows server somewhere, and simply displaying their "windows" through some nice graphical web browser trickery on the Mac desktop. Windows alt-keyboard shortcuts work just fine when you have a Windows app foremost.

    There is an app called "Desktop" which opens up an entire XP desktop framed in a Mac-style window where you have the Start menu, taskbar, etc, and it is mapped to the user's own network directory. Looks very much like when you run MS Remote Desktop or Timbuktu to control a PC. So MS Word docs that you save via the server version of Word end up there (and you can access them when you use Word, even without the Desktop).

    It's not terribly elegant in some ways, and I do feel kind of "dirty" having those Windows windows floating around my screen. But it's a great way to access a few apps I need for work that don't exist on the Mac (like Outlook) and the Windows-only electronic medical record my hospital uses. They installed this setup to allow the placement of dumb terminals all over the hospital that don't have any local apps or resources for people to screw up, but since it's java based it actually works cross-platform. The IT guys about crapped their pants when I showed them how this worked on my Mac (even my old Mac, a Pismo PowerBook G3).

    I'd guess the Apple implementation would allow drag-and-drop and copy/paste, dock recognizing the apps (Virtual PC accomplished this) as well as drive access between OSX and XP, none of which Citrix does. You could still dual boot if you wanted the whole Windows experience on your future Leopard Mac, but I think the point is to be able to run some Windows-only apps without having to suffer through Windows.
  7. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
  8. helicine macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2004
    the retina of the mind's eye
    unfortunately this isn't cheap - AFAIK, your Citrix server has to be running Windows Server and also has to be running the Citrix Metaframe Server - neither of which are cheap - whereas you can do remote desktop to any XP Pro system. It's a nice setup, but far from practical for most users.

    I'm digging Boot Camp for the few things that I need a physical PC laptop for at work - but I'll probably be using Remote Desktop for the majority of tasks. Once there is a VMWare-esq product for OSX, I'll probably use that instead to save the dual-boot hassle.
  9. blybug thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2003
    Galveston, TX
    Yeah, I doubt too many average Joes are going to set up a Citrix server for themselves, but I think the functionality is a nice paradigm for how BootCamp could evolve in Leopard. I'm just lucky enough to have access to this through UT. It's nice because from home I have to first log into the (flaky) university VPN to remote my office PC, with the Citrix apps the authentication is done through the browser with no separate VPN and the apps run independently as the screenshot shows.

    My setup at work is great...the office I moved into already had a Dell PC setup. I stuck my MBP in the middle of the mix, connected the USB keyboard and mouse, connected the Dell monitor as a 2nd display, and run Remote Desktop full screen on it to control the PC still sitting under my desk. It's beautiful how I can mouse back and forth between the two environments so seamlessly. This would be another great way for Apple to implement the integration. I have to believe that once a Windows partition is created and functional, they can figure out a way to have a Windows control panel in Leopard with many or all of the following:
    • Simple Dual Boot (just like Boot Camp)
    • Windows apps in their own individual Windows intermingled with Mac apps (ala Citrix)
    • Full Windows in a window/sandbox (Virtual PC style)
    • Fast User Switching between OSX/Windows
    • One OS on each monitor when mulitple monitors are present
    They'd all have their own appropriate way to cut/paste, drag/drop, access each other's files. User chooses based on preference, functionality, and system resource use (any option that has both OS's running at once would certainly be a RAM/processor hog). Apple can do this elegantly. Only question remains will this kill OS X software development? The future will tell, and today will be a landmark day in Apple history either way. I'm sure Apple is banking on people feeling safe to buy Apple hardware since they'll have heard it can run Windows, but of course out of the box it will only run OS X. Then hopefully they will never bother installing Windows, or if they do they'll use it less and less as they learn more about OS X.

    Sounds like at this point Jobs & Co are ready to either take over the world, or go down fighting!!!
  10. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816


    Jul 26, 2005
    I like your options there, blybug. All of them make sense at different times, all have their strengths and weaknesses, and all are (potentially) achievable. Any program that offered all of those options would be a true killer app.
  11. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    There's only going to be one OS someday.

    OS VR

    Virtual Reality, baby.

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