Demo Room: Virtual PC Does Linux

Several companies product software that will let you run the red-hot Linux operating system on your Mac -- but Connectix wants you to be able to run Linux from within the Mac OS itself. Today the company began shipping the $99 Virtual PC with Red Hat Linux, and Macworld editors got a recent chance to get an up-close look at this new emulation package.

According to Connectix's Mitchell Cipriano, Virtual PC with Red Hat Linux is intended to be an method of running Linux on your Mac that's easy to install, configure, and manage. It's intended for users who may need to use Linux periodically, users who are looking for as pain-free a method of learning Linux as possible, and any other users who may need to use Linux periodically for whatever reason.

Because Virtual PC runs as an application within the Mac OS, users can run Linux simultaneously with the Mac OS -- something that most PowerPC versions of Linux, such as LinuxPPC or TerraSoft's Yellow Dog Linux, can't do. However, since Virtual PC emulates the Intel microprocessor found in Windows PCs, Virtual PC with Red Hat Linux shouldn't come close to matching the speed of those Mac-specific Linux versions.

According to Cipriano, Virtual PC supports USB -- something the real Linux can't even do -- and can share your existing internet connection.

Cipriano also noted that another new version of Virtual PC, one which includes Microsoft's new Windows 2000 operating system, is on schedule and should be available by the end of this month.

Virtual PC 3.0 takes advantage of the Velocity Engine included in the G4 processor, according to Cipriano. He also said that in the future, Connectix plans to make Virtual PC take advantage of Macs containing multiple processors.

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