Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cross Platform Utilities

Just some items that might help OSX people with working with Windows implementations....

CORD  the open source RDP client which works really well.

VNC clients/server.  I have successfully used TIGHTVNC server and client on Windows.  If you are on an OSX 10.5.x or later workstation VNC is built in by using the GO, CONNECT TO SERVER from the finder, enter vnc://mymachine.domain.com or vnc://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (put the IP address of the remote machine in place of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) and supply your VNC password is needed.  If you are connecting to another OSX machine using this procedure, use the account information you have set-up on the remote client for ARD use (name/password).  Other VNC clients on OSX are Chicken of the VNC, and Jolly's Fast VNC which is part of a more comprehensive OSX utility called ScreenRecycler.

There are some great utilities that deal with cross platform audio/video conversion.  Find my blog entry that talks about these HERE.

If you need to run Windows on OSX you can try virtualization products like VMware, or Parallels or a free product called VirtualBox.  You could also try using Apple's Dual Boot system called BootCamp which allows you to easily use the BootCamp Utility to partition your HD (non destructive) Burn a Driver CD and boot onto Windows Install Media to install Windows just like any other Windows compatible PC...because, well...it IS a Windows compatible PC as far as the hardware under the hood.  Dont forget to put your OSX install CD in after you install Windows, to install the Apple Windows Drivers (just rolls off the mouth don't it)....then use Apple Software update to make sure you have the latest versions.

BTW, do you need to backup your Windows partition, to restore later?  Look no further than WINCLONE.  It allows you to compress, backup and restore the Windows partition to larger HD partitions...you could also use SYSPREP to prepare the Windows partition for installation to other OSX hardware platforms.  It is my understanding, that OSX 10.6 Bootcamp drivers also install a HFS+ driver to allow you to access your OSX HD partition....not sure how I feel about that 8-).  Also, look at rEFIt or BootPicker to assist in the booting process...of course you could always just hold down the OPTION key while booting up your OSX machine to use the built in bootpicker, for simple selection of the partition you wish to boot from (including External HD, CD, DVD, Windows, OSX etc).

If you only need the occasional program, you can try CrossOver, which is the commercial version of the WINE project which allows you to install and run some Windows programs in Linux (and now OSX) without the need to actually install Windows.  It works well for the programs it supports.  I have personally run the Office Suite under CrossOver...and yes...it works.  Here is a shot of IE7 (with flash support (yes YOUTUBE works just fine)) running in CrossOver Professional 8 on my MacBook Pro.

If you need to WRITE to a NTFS formatted HD, you can try MacFuse and its NTFS 3G module.  Of course, OSX has the ability to READ NTFS just fine without any additional software.

I am sure there are MANY more tidbits but these are the items that help me the most in doing my job.