[GLLUG] triple-booting a Mac with OSX, RedHat (specifically ScientificLinux), and Windows XP

charles at bityard.net charles at bityard.net
Tue Jul 22 14:17:57 EDT 2008

On 7/22/08, Emilio Xavier Esposito <emilio.esposito at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi
> I'm interested in making my Intel Mac a triple-booting machine with
> OSX, RedHat (specifically ScientificLinux), and Windows XP.  I've done
> some Googling and found the how-to: http://tinyurl.com/6s8b4h (
> http://blog.geeklimit.com/2008/07/02/triple-boot-macbook-pro-osx-leopard-vista-64-bit-and-ubuntu-804-64-bit/
> ).  The instructions appear to be up-to-date and very straightforward.
> Does anyone have any experience with this type of setup?
> What differences (between Ubuntu and ScientificLinux) can I expect
> when I have to backup the MBR?
> Are there better methods or instructions available?
> Would I be better off using Parallels or VMWare Fusion instead of
> triple-booting?

It depends on how you plan to use them. If you triple-boot, the OS
that boots has full control of the hardware at all times. This is
important for some things, but not necessary if you just need to run
desktop apps. The biggest downsides to triple-booting would be the
setup procedure and management of the MBR. If one OS decides to
overwrite the MBR (especially Windows), it's an inconvenience to
rebuild it again. I've always recommended using one physical disk per
OS when dual or triple booting because it removes some of the
potential confusion and makes it less likely that one OS will
interfere with another.

With Parallels or VMWare, the OS installation is obviously a lot more
straight-forward and the whole setup is far less fragile. The downside
is that you lose some speed and the guest OS doesn't have direct
access to the hardware. On the bright side, I've read that Parallels
and VMWare both have a way to run Windows apps right on the OSX
desktop, almost as if they were native applications. This is probably
the best way to go if you only need to run standard desktop
applications like Office.


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