We live in a technology-driven society, but no one enjoys the never-ending complexity involved when the software that you want to use does not work conveniently on your operating system of choice.
Forex trading, which has gained enormous popularity over the past decade, is one such arena where Mac, Unix, and Linux enthusiasts encounter a maelstrom of hurdles if they wish to run the more popular Windows versions of forex trading software. A simple review of the various Internet forums on the topic indicate that not much has changed in the past few years to address this obvious market need.
Of course, one can get around this problem by accessing forex trading software resident on their trusted broker’s server and trading “in the cloud”, so to speak. However, the character profile of a dedicated Mac or Linux user will resent being forced to accept a “band aid” approach when there must be a viable system solution somewhere to be found. The preference is to download the desired trading program and have it operate efficiently on your primary PC, not from some distant and unseen server.
If one wishes to download a Linux version of a popular trading platform today, there are some forex brokers than do provide both Windows and Linux versions (even if it is rare), but if you are accustomed to the features of the more popular Metatrader 4 platform, then you are out of luck. Metaquotes, the producer of Metatrader 4, has not created a native Linux version. But, never fear – there is always the “virtualization” path that may prove to be your only solution at present.
Unfortunately, most forex trading software is designed to run on personal computers equipped with a relatively recent version of Windows. This situation has been commonplace for many software applications over the years. Microsoft has strength in numbers, and software houses must keep an eye on the size of their intended market if they hope to sell profitably in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Eventually, the numbers will warrant a Linux version, but for now, the “emulator” route is the only “open door”.
Mac users are accustomed to the virtulization solution. This process entails creating a “virtual”, rather than actual, version of a software application or anything else within a different operating system environment. With a proper emulator installed, you then have the flexibility of downloading your favorite trading platform from your chosen forex broker.
Under this common approach, the question then becomes which emulator software is preferred? The most common referenced emulator over the past few years has been “Wine”, but recent posts suggest that there may be better competing versions out there to experiment with, namely “Parallels” or “VMware Fusion”. The latter supplier has been active in other software virtualization areas, but has been late to the game for supporting Mac OS equivalents. “Parallels” is viewed as more “feature rich” and receives higher marks.
If this complex approach is a “turn off”, then you can always revert to the online or web-based solutions that are out there. You can avoid the frustration of downloading and attempting to run opposing operating systems by simply logging onto your broker’s website. You may have to compromise on principle, but the true objective is to trade the forex market, not to demonstrate your consummate IT adaptation skills.
Much has changed in technology, and much has stayed the same, but Mac and Linux users are a loyal lot. An emulation solution may work best for now until software suppliers in the industry adequately address this obvious market need.