I was reading Marc Andreesen’s new blog and I came across this quote:
Virtualization — in the form of software like Parallels and VMWare Fusion — lets you deal with an individual operating system as if it were an application.
and I realized that since Apple has completed the standardization of the X86-family as the chip architecture for 99% of the world, the platform really has gotten irrelevant. Now that OS virtualization technologies don’t require massive amount of processing power, you can mix and match all you want. Like OS X, but need to run some windows programs for work? No Problem. Like Vista, but really need to run that Linux app? Easy-peasey. This really got cemented when Parallels officially released version 3 of their windows virtualization solution which theoretically gives virtualized apps access to the GPUs for the first time. We’ll have to see what the cost (in performance) is, but we know that it will get more and more seemless over time.
This goes beyond just the OSes though. Flash/Flex/Silverlight all enter this as well, further blurring the lines between operating system, platform and application.
I could see that very soon, the OS that you run will be 100% based on personal preference and all the worries about compatibility will be gone. If that does happen, Microsoft better be scared. I think that Bootcamp and Parallels are much more of a long-term threat than Flash ever will be.