Free clue: unless you have very special needs (like you're a developer deploying on multiple platforms), multi-booting different operating systems is too clunky for words.
Me: Okay, I finished writing and spell-checking a spreadsheet of earthwork calculations in my superior-to-Windows spreadsheet app on my Mac. Now all I need to do is paste the text into AutoCAD so that it'll print up with the rest of my stuff. Of course, AutoCAD only runs on XP, so I'll need to save my file out in an XP-capable format, save it on a key drive or a server because the drive formats are incompatible, shut down my machine, restart it in that inferior XP operating system, load the file, copy it to the clipboard, and paste it into AutoCAD. That should take ten minutes tops.
The bottom line is this. . .
Fact 1: The new Apple machines were always intended to be able to boot XP. There's a reason why it took approximately three minutes from the machines appearing on peoples' doorsteps to some kid getting XP running on one.
Fact 2: OS X was always intended to be able to boot on generic PC hardware. Apple has had betas of Intel-capable OSX out for months. After people got OS X booting on non-Apple machines, Apple made approximately zero effort to prevent it from happening when they went gold.
Now then, if you're gonna argue that Apple's all about ponytailed openness and isn't about securely marrying their hardware to their software, I say HA! Apple has ALWAYS worked hard to lock specific OS's into specific machines. The first thing MacOS has always done when it boots is to figure out what kind of machine it's running on and see if it's even allowed to boot on that machine. Whether it's done so that you'll get the best possible user experience by not running a pig OS on an underpowered machine or (more likely) to get you to buy new hardware is irrelevent, the fact remains that Apple has always worked hard to ensure that their OS will only boot on the machines that they want it to boot on.
But when it comes to OS X for Intel, they're suddenly caught twiddling their thumbs when they discover that any kid with a Dell can boot OS X on his machine?
Not a chance.
Fact is, Boot Camp is a stop-gap. A kludge. In the future, Apple's gonna come out with the following:
- A virtualization program that'll allow you to run XP apps from within OS X. Whether it works as a standard machine emulator (like Virtual PC or VMWare) that runs all your Windows apps in a box or if it's a bit more integrated like Apple's "blue/yellow box" solution of running pre-OS X apps remains to be seen. But you will be able to run XP apps directly on your Mac, including things like clipboard support.
- A virtualization program that'll allow you to run OS X apps from within XP. Whether it works as a standard machine emulator (like Virtual PC or VMWare) that. . .etc etc etc.
Both of those things are gonna happen. It's inevitable. And if Apple don't do it, someone else will. And then multi-booting between XP and OS X will fade away like all kludges do.