Two people working at the same time in 1 Mac Pro, can be done?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by knucles, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. knucles macrumors regular

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    #1
    So imagine that i have 2 monitors, two keyboads and mice....

    I have a Mac Pro and i want two workers working at the same time in the same machine.

    That way i only have to buy 1 version of the software involved.....
     
  2. ovrlrd macrumors 65816

    ovrlrd

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    #2
    Might be possible with some sort of software out there that lets you split OS X logins onto a second screen, but I don't know anything about doing that. There is definitely nothing you can do with the built in software.
     
  3. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #3
    not possible, as there is only one chipset in the computer it can not handle separate traffic
     
  4. Queso macrumors G4

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    #4
    It's the software where the limitation is. There's no reason why hardware that supports multiple monitors, multiple USB devices and multiple network cards couldn't separate out the user sessions, but the OS would need to tell the hardware how to separate them.

    I'm just wondering whether you could actually do this in VMWare if one of the users didn't mind being on Windows or Linux. It would all depend on whether you could dedicate the second USB keyboard and mouse only to the guest OS whilst it ignored the first. Hmmm....
     
  5. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #5
    Actually yes, it is possible in a way.

    1. Buy VMWare Fusion.
    2. Buy Snow Leopard Server (or work out how to use standard Snow Leopard in VMWare Fusion).
    3. Run Snow Leopard in VMWare, maximised on the second screen and connect a usb and keyboard mouse directly to the virtual machine.

    However, since you'd be running two operating systems you'll need licenses for both OSs and both copies of the software you want to use.
     
  6. Queso macrumors G4

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    #6
    But can you configure VMWare not to send the main keyboard and mouse I/O requests to the guest OS? That's key to the whole setup IMO.
     
  7. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #7
    Just don't have the VM active - if the main user doesn't click on the VM or move their mouse over it then the second user can work in peace.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    It is possible, the hardware has nothing to do with it. In fact today's computers are by far more powerful then the multiuser mini and mainframe computers if the 70s/80s and possibly the 90s at this stage.

    the difference is the OS is not designed for multi-user, and so the products that exists try to get around this with varying degrees of success. Personally, given the low cost of computers, even the Mac Mini, I'd opt for just getting a cheap computer to be used along side the main one and set up some shares or a NFS to centralize the data.
     
  9. Queso macrumors G4

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    #9
    I see. It would need the host OS user to be a bit disciplined with their mouse pointer but you're right in that it would work.
     
  10. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #10
    The easiest thing would be to setup the second display so that it's positioned in an awkward location like so:

    Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 12.44.54.png
     
  11. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #11
    But I believe the displays must have a common pixel so the mouse can travel between them.

    If your Mac display (upper right in this case) has any functions activated by moving to the lower left, you may end up on the other display. For example, if I drag my mouse to the bottom left I start my screen saver (with password).

    So you would need to deconflict something like this with your display placement for both the Mac and PC.
     
  12. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #12
    There is actually very little to be added to the OS. MacOS X _is_ designed for multiple users. If you use "Fast User Switching", you can have two or more users using the same Macintosh, and the software of one user keeps actively running and updates its own virtual screen while the other user controls the main screen. One thing I tried (and it worked) was starting to burn a DVD, switching to another user, and a while later the DVD was done.

    The problem is that the OS assigns _all_ monitors to the same user, and _all_ keyboards and mice to the same users. And if you have two monitors attached, each user believes they have two monitors (even though the monitors of one user are invisible). All that would be needed is an interface that lets you assign each monitor to a specific user, and each keyboard to a specific user. The operating system itself will handle this without any problems.

    As for the cost: Many people need lots of power _sometimes_. It would be great if four users could share a 12 core MacPro. When one of them does something that would bring a MacMini to its knees for an hour, that MacPro would handle it in a few minutes - with enough power to spare that the other three users wouldn't even notice. So if that 12 core MacPro saves _you_ an hour every day, it will save you and three colleagues four hours every day.
     
  13. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #13
    Yeah you need a common pixel so you'd lose one hot spot. That's pretty easy to live with though.
     
  14. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #14
    Understand and agree.

    However, someone like me who just drags down and to the left at the max would probably transition to the other screen. In my case I would need to set up the screens differently so that wouldn't happen. YMMV.

    The 64 dollar question. Has anybody tried to do this with a Mac Pro?
     
  15. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

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    #15
    Great thread. It would be so awesome if 2 or more people are working from the same machine. Somebody should try it :)
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    #16
    Technically you could even try it on a MacBook. All you need is an external screen, a copy of VMWare and a USB keyboard/mouse.
     
  17. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #17
    Well, in the interests of the 'why not' sentiment, I've given it a try (I already had a Snow Leopard Server vm open on my desktop for testing some other things, I have a second display and I have a spare keyboard to hand). In this manner you could have as many clients as you wanted.

    For anyone wanting to actually use this in the future, note that you have to open up the contents of your virtual machine (show package contents ~/Documents/Virtual Machines/Mac OS X....vmware), open up the vmx file in there in notepad and add the following line at the end:

    usb.generic.allowHID = "TRUE"

    That allows you to send USB mice and keyboards etc to the virtual machine.

    It works just as expected. I've got my spare Apple keyboard and Microsoft mouse sent through to the virtual machine and I'm using my normal Apple keyboard and magic trackpad on my main machine. VMware is maximised in the second display.

    I've edited the two screenshot files together here:

    multiusersetup.jpg

    Edit: You could even go another step further and use a usb to vga/dvi adapter too. You could attach a mouse, keyboard and vga adapter to a hub and then connect that hub to the VM. One cable to add a second user.
     
  18. Mr. Zarniwoop macrumors demi-god

    Mr. Zarniwoop

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    #18
    I've done this using VNC and fast user switching. Vine (VNC) Server is running on the background users session. You have to configure it so it runs on a different port from the built-in VNC service (screen sharing).

    From https://www.testplant.com/multidesktop.html:

     
  19. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #19
    Interesting. So, in theory, the OP could do exactly what he wanted by using a combination of the VNC and the VMware method.

    Setup Windows/OSX/Linux in the VMware, maximise to secondary display and send a mouse and keyboard to it as I described above. Then setup the fast user switching + vnc server method on the main machine and then use the OS in the VM machine to VNC in to the main machine. This will then allow the second user to use the same apps that are installed on the main machine.

    Both parts have been proven to work separately so there's no reason to think that they couldn't work together. Doing so would mean you wouldn't need a second physical computer at all to do this.
     
  20. cube macrumors G5

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    #20
    Mac is so complicated...

    That is what happens when you don't use the standard Unix windowing mechanisms.
     
  21. knucles thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    Man, this is amazing. i never thought it would be possible. It actually work seamless?

    This can very well revamp my small 3 ppl company, i can have 1 employer doing 3d modelling while another do Pages work and i respond to some e-mails.....in my Hex Mac Pro and avoid the hole let me use your computer thing
     
  22. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #22
    Most Macintosh users are very, very, very happy that Apple doesn't use the standard Unix windowing mechanisms.
     
  23. cube macrumors G5

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    #23
    You can use X Window and have a nice toolkit on it. Happy Mac users have nothing to do with it.
     
  24. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #24
    Thanks! That's really cool.

    Is your spare keyboard the same as your main keyboard?

    Now that would be interesting. :)
     
  25. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #25
    Everyone gets a cheap computer for emails and since only one person will be doing 3D modeling at a time they can use the specialized Mac Pro.
     

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