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Apple's macOS 12 adds improved virtualization though no sign of anything like Boot Camp on M1 silicon

Linux and macOS guests will be doable, and iGiant even appears to have added an XKCD Easter Egg

Desktop virtualization is not the kind of thing that gets a mention in Apple’s big product announcements, and today's effort that revealed macOS 12 — code-named Monterey — was no exception. But sharp-eyed observers have spotted some changes that will make Macs, including those powered by Apple’s own Arm-compatible silicon, more adept at running guest operating systems.

Evidence of Apple’s additions can be found here, in a brief mention of virtualization stating that macOS 12 supports the Virtio specification and can therefore create standard interfaces for many device types — including network, socket, serial port, storage, entropy, and memory-balloon devices.

Developer Zhuowei Zhang spotted some of the new features, and perhaps even an XKCD Easter Egg.

Another new piece of documentation for macOS 12 details a class called VZMacOSBootLoader.

It appears that Apple has not created a direct replacement for Boot Camp, the tool that installs Windows alongside macOS on Intel-powered Macs.

Windows users who really want Microsoft’s flagship OS on an M1-powered Mac can use Parallels’ eponymous desktop hypervisor, and Microsoft’s free Windows 10 Arm Insider Preview release, to do the job.

VMware, however, has shown less enthusiasm for supporting Windows on Arm in a forthcoming M1-native release of its Fusion macOS desktop hypervisor. Virtzilla’s more than capable of making it work, but has noticed that the licence Microsoft uses for Windows on Arm specifies that it can only be installed on a machine with a Windows 10 licence. ®

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