Virtualization users looking forward to Mac OS X guests

The day is near for consumers to be able to virtualize multiple copies of their beloved Mac OS X Leopard Server operating system on top of a single Intel-based Mac machine. The VMware Fusion team announced on its company blog that VMware Fusion 2.0 is going to add official support for running Mac OS X Server as a guest operating system inside a virtual machine, making this the 61st supported virtualized operatin

The day is near for consumers to be able to virtualize multiple copies of their beloved Mac OS X Leopard Server operating system on top of a single Intel-based Mac machine.

The VMware Fusion team announced on its company blog that VMware Fusion 2.0 is going to add official support for running Mac OS X Server as a guest operating system inside a virtual machine, making this the 61st supported virtualized operating system for Fusion. Support is going to be added into the next version of the beta product, Beta 2, although no specific release date has been identified.

So, what's the big deal? Why wouldn't you be able to virtualize Mac OS X? If you remember, I mentioned last year that Apple had removed certain restrictions around virtualizing Mac OS X Server. Up until then, Apple wasn't too keen on allowing people to run Mac OS in a virtual machine. But with the policy change, Apple gives the ability "to install and use one copy of the Mac OS X Server software (the 'Mac OS X Server Software') on a single Apple-labeled computer. You may also Install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-labeled computer, provided that you acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of these other copies of Mac OS X Server Software."

However, questions have been raised as to whether or not people can virtualize other Apple software, specifically other Mac OS X operating systems such as desktop versions. This remains to be seen. So for now, it sounds like Apple is only allowing support for virtualizing Leopard Server and not client, and it has to be on Apple-branded hardware. And don't forget, you will still need to purchase additional licensing for the guest operating systems. You can't simply re-use the same host OS license.

And don't worry, VMware isn't alone in this quest.

Parallels users are also able to virtualize Mac OS X Server. In fact, Parallels announced support for Leopard Server as a guest operating system back in January with the announcement of the Beta release of Parallels Server. And recently, Parallels announced on their company blog that Parallels Server for Mac has reached the Release Candidate stage, edging closer to a final release to market.

Parallels, like VMware, is adhering to the same Apple licensing policy. So both platforms should be limited to virtualizing the Server version of the OS. But hopefully, virtualization pressure from consumers will continue to push operating system and software manufacturers to keep adjusting and changing their licensing policies to make them more virtualization-friendly.

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