Conversely, OS X offers at least partial support for Windows default NTFS file system and full support for FAT32. When we installed XP on our Mac, we had the option of choosing between the two, but we stuck with NTFS.Once wed completed our Mac-to-Windows-and-back journey, we could read our NTFS-stored files, but we could not change them or write new files on our Windows partition. The Linux kernel ships with read-only support for NTFS, as well as and experimental read-write support.
Provided that Apple can make full NTFS interoperability happen without jeopardizing data integrity, we hope to see this support built into OS X 10.5, in which Boot Camp will appear as a standard feature.
Otherwise, users opting for the dual-boot experience may find a Windows XP thats cut off at the knees.
Based on our past, not-so-great experience with dual-booting, its not clear to us how big of a hit Boot Camp will prove to be with Apple users.
Weve found that dual-boot scenarios tend to leave users spending the bulk of their time booted into one of the two OSestypically the one that hosts the most narrowly compatible software (that is, many Windows applications).
Virtualization or terminal services work much better for enabling, for instance, a Mac OS X or Linux user to run Windows-only software.
When users lack full access to files on either operating systems partition, as is the case with Boot Camp, users will find it that much tougher for the OSes to coexist.
Wed love to see VMware cook up a version of its VMware Player for the Mac.
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With OS Xs Unix underpinnings, and its capability for running X11 applications, porting the Linux version of VMware Player might not be too lofty a goal to reach.
That way, users could run Windows software without resorting to a dual-boot configuration.
Still, even with the limitations of dual booting, Boot Camp offers Apple hardware buyers more choices, and we in the Labs always welcome more choices for ourselves and our readers.
Boot Camp principally represents a bid by Apple to sell more hardware, but we welcome this gesture of openness.
If, to boot, Apple grew similarly more open to allowing OS X to run on non-Apple hardware, the strategy could go a long way toward improving the firms case for itself in enterprise IT.
Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at email@example.com.
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Windows XP operates just fine on FAT32, but Microsoft defaults to NTFS with good reasonNTFS supports more granular access rights, built-in file compression and encryption, partitions larger than 32GB and file system journaling, among other features.