[Molvis-list] Protein Explorer works on Intel Macs with Parallels

Eric Martz emartz at microbio.umass.edu
Tue Aug 8 14:05:31 EDT 2006

Yesterday, thanks to Jeremy Swan, I was able to test Protein Explorer on a 
MacBook (Intel CPU), in Windows, using Parallels Desktop for Mac 
(parallels.com, $80) to support the Windows virtual machine. It worked 
flawlessly. This means that all websites employing MDL Chime should work in 
this mode. Because the Intel CPU is native for Windows, Mozilla Firefox, 
and MDL Chime, they run as fast (or faster) than on comparable PC hardware.

This solution enables full Protein Explorer functionality (when used in 
Mozilla Firefox), including development of MolSlides in Chime or Jmol (see 
http://molslides.proteinexplorer.org). This is in contrast to Mac PPC's, 
where Protein Explorer works only in Classic, in Netscape 4.8 -- in this 
configuration, all functions of Protein Explorer work reliably except for 
MolSlide development (not supported in Mac PPC's).

Windows can be used either in a Mac window, or full-screen. When used in a 
Mac window, it is like any other Mac application (can be minimized, or in 
back of other app windows). Switching between the Mac desktop and a 
full-screen Windows desktop was easy, and took only a few seconds in either 
direction.  Files can be shared between the host Mac and the guest Windows 
machine using designated folders (tho I did not test this).

This solution requires a license for Windows, in addition to a license for 
Parallels Desktop for Mac. Later in the year, a solution may emerge that 
does not require any Microsoft software (Crossover Mac, Beta out soon, from 

Installation of Parallels Desktop for Mac, and of Windows XP Pro within it, 
went smoothly and quickly. Internet connectivity in Windows was enabled 

I tested the current full release of Parallels Desktop for Mac, not the 
enhanced Beta (which appeared on their site today, I think).

There were a few limitations in the Windows virtual machine that did not 
affect Protein Explorer or Chime sites. Currently, Parallels specs state 
that you cannot play audio CD's, burn CD's or DVD's from Windows, and there 
was no Firewire device. There was USB 1 support (a two-button USB mouse 
worked automatically) but no USB 2 support (so I could not use an external 
USB 2 hard disk).

I have not yet had an opportunity to test Windows, booted via Bootcamp, on 
an Intel Mac. This would be an alternate boot, so the Mac desktop would not 
be available until a reboot. This is in contrast to Parallels, where you 
can work on the Mac, switching to Windows in a couple of seconds only when 
needed (e.g. for Protein Explorer, Chime, or other Windows apps), and then 
switching back to Mac in a couple of seconds.

The MacBook I tested had 2 gigabytes of memory. We allocated 512 megabytes 
to Windows XP, leaving 1.5 gigabytes for the Mac.


/* - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Eric Martz, Professor Emeritus, Dept Microbiology
U Mass, Amherst -- http://www.umass.edu/molvis/martz

Biochem 3D Education Resources http://MolviZ.org
See 3D Molecules, Install Nothing! - http://firstglance.jmol.org
Protein Explorer - 3D Visualization: http://proteinexplorer.org
Workshops: http://workshops.proteinexplorer.org
World Index of Molecular Visualization Resources: http://molvisindex.org
ConSurf - Find Conserved Patches in Proteins: http://consurf.tau.ac.il
Atlas of Macromolecules: http://atlas.proteinexplorer.org
PDB Lite Macromolecule Finder: http://pdblite.org
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