Blogosphere launches virtual 'Occupy VMware' campaign

Developers and testers are demanding a Microsoft MSDN- or TechNet-style software subscription for VMware's growing library

As a software developer, tester, or someone just trying to learn and understand VMware's virtualization or cloud-related technologies, would a relatively inexpensive, nonproduction, annual subscription to its software prove beneficial to the task? If VMware offered a subscription service of its software to the development community, in a similar manner to how Microsoft currently provides the MSDN Subscription for developers or the TechNet Subscription for IT professionals, would you be interested?

You might be surprised to hear VMware offered just such an animal in the past. It was called the VMware Technology Network (VMTN) Subscription. While the "subscription" part may not ring a bell for many of you, the "VMTN" name probably does, as the acronym represents the official VMware Community itself.

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First introduced in June 2005, the VMware subscription gave developers and testers an opportunity to cost-effectively get their hands on VMware virtualization software for an entire year at a time. But less than two years after the initial launch of the VMTN subscription program, VMware decided to abruptly pull the plug.

Fast-forward to 2011, and it's obvious that this void still exists (and has, in fact, grown), and there remains a need for such a program. Now members of the VMTN community and the extremely active VMware user blogosphere are coming together and expressing themselves with the mighty pen -- or, in this case, the mighty keyboard. Mike Laverick, a VMware vExpert and U.K.-based freelance virtualization trainer and contractor, helped kick off what could be described as a virtual "Occupy VMware" campaign. Its aim is to bring visibility and awareness to the lack of a subscription-style program for the growing community at large who need more than a 30- or 60-day evaluation software license to become proficient at the technology.

In addition to blogging about the issue, Laverick started a new thread on the discussion forum on the VMTN community site -- specifically, the forum operating within the office of VMware CTO Steve Herrod. Community members have been appealing directly to Herrod to help affect change by reinstating the VMTN subscription program.

Compared to other topics on this forum, the thread has blown up with activity. To date, the initial request from Laverick has been viewed more than 5,000 times and has received over 180 replies from community members.

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