Does Parallels need the OS's it virtualizes to be able to run natively?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by Byte99, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. Byte99

    Byte99 Bit Poster

    How exactly does Parallels work? I had previously thought Parallels wasn't an emulator, and thus the OS's it virtualizes need to be able to run natively. Thus I thought the fact that Parallels could run Linux on an Apple Silicon Mac (as demonstrated at WWDC) meant Linux can be run natively on that hardware.

    I.e., with my Intel Mac, I thought what Parallels did was to create a virtual partition in which I could run Windows (or Linux) natively, simultaneously with MacOS. Since Windows was running natively, it ran much faster than it would through an emulator (see )

    However, I just found this article, indicating Parallels is in fact an emulator ( ), i.e., that rather than creating a virtual partition in which Windows/Linux is running natively, it creates an x86 hardware emulation layer on top of which Windows/Linux can run. This would mean that, when Apple was demonstrating Linux-through-Parallels at WWDC, it actually wasn't running natively, but rather on top of Parallel's x86 hardware emulation layer.

    So which is correct?
  2. ParallelsU130

    ParallelsU130 Bit Poster

    The article you posted does not talk about emulation in the technical sense, but talks about a VM as "hardware emulation". There actually IS a very real difference between the two:
    Virtualisation: runs an operating system that communicates directly with the host hardware, which must be able to understand the instructions to it, e.g. x86 to x86.
    Emulation: runs an operating system on emulated hardware, all contained within a software package; i.e. the emulated OS is not communicating with the host hardware.

    The Apple demonstration therefore must have been an ARM based version of Linux if it was running on M1.

Share This Page