VMware continues to push Mac OS X virtualization

VMware Fusion for the Mac gets a maintenance update, but the virtualization application is also going into private beta

If you thought VMware concentrated its innovation and bag of tricks on only its flagship ESX hypervisor product, you might be wrong. It looks like the company is still very much concerned with its hosted desktop virtualization products, such as VMware Workstation for Windows and VMware Fusion for the Apple Mac OS X.

[ See also: Parallels to offer XP compatibility for Win 7 | Track the latest trends in virtualization in InfoWorld's Virtualization Report blog and newsletter | Find out about a VMware Fusion bug that breaches the guest-host OS wall ]

A maintenance release of VMware Fusion 2 was recently announced. The Fusion 2.0.5 update is once again a free upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1 and 2 customers. And the update's main claim to fame is that it fixes more than 80 bugs, but also includes:

  • Support for Mac OS X Server guest operating systems on Macs with Intel Xeon 5500 and 3500 series processors
  • Experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server (32-bit only) as both a guest OS and a host OS
  • Support for Ubuntu 9.04 as a guest OS
  • And it reduces CPU usage when a virtual machine is idle

Unfortunately, one of the big user questions remains unanswered. There is still no word on the ATI graphics issue, so 3-D acceleration contines to be disabled on systems with ATI chip sets.

It is also being reported that VMware has a few private beta projects in the oven. Workstation 7.0 is said to be in the works, and so is a new private beta of VMware Fusion (version number yet to be determined). A select group of private beta testers is now taking a look at the future of Fusion. Some of the enhancements include a simpler way to access common tasks in the Virtual Machine Library, added support for DirectX 9.0c with Shader Model 3 functions, experimental OpenGL 2.1 support, a new migration assistant to help move from Windows XP or Vista to the Mac, and experimental support for Windows 7 as a guest operating system. We'll see what else VMware has in store for these products once they leave private beta status.

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