Imagination PowerVR SDK Blog

Win7-on-Mac (parallels) and PowerVR OpenGL ES 2.0



I write 3D software primarily for embedded devices, but I also have a Windows port active for development ease. I’ve been using the Windows PowerVR OpenGL ES 2.0 SDK emulator, and it works fine via Windows, but not if I host on Mac via Parallels Desktop 5.0 / bootcamp. Specifically, I get an error in the GLSL program link phase, and a blank screen. Anyone tried with Parallels 6.0? Any ideas from you PowerVR guys?

So very close to not having to reboot in order to do simultaneous development on iPhone and Windows :slight_smile:


I would assume the root cause of this is that hardware accelerated graphics are not fully supported by the virtual machine. This would explain why your application runs when you reboot and run Windows natively.

You should contact Parallels to see if there is any way of enabling hardware graphics acceleration within your virtual machine, or find out if there are any known issues related to this. We are hoping to have a version of PVRVFrame for Mac in a future release.


Thanks Joe, just looking around a bit, seems that Parallels 5.0 supports OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 9 of various flavors, that presumably thunk to the native OSX-hosted driver. I can confirm that I can run a simple game with shaders while hosted. If anyone over there has a setup similar to mine, it might be worth a run in case it’s an easy fix – i would certainly appreciate it!

OpenGL version support info found here:



Looking at the list of supported OpenGL configurations for Parallels you’re correct -  our emulation should run fine. Note though, that we’ve encountered other systems with cards that should support the features required and there have still been problems. Usually it’s a driver issue. Obviously we try to run a variety of graphics cards and if we do find a fault we report to the card vendor.

In this case the ‘driver’ has two layers: Apple’s and Parallels’ and it may be that either (or both) layer has problem(s). Unfortunately, we don’t run a Parallels system at the moment and don’t have any plans to do so. However, as Joe says, we do intend to produce a Mac native version of PVRVFrame soon.

In the meantime, I would recommend talking to Parallels about this - perhaps reporting the actual GLSL linker error that you encounter might lead them to a fix. If you can post the error here and a bit more about the system that you’re using we might be able to help more in the future too.