VMware specializes in software that lets multiple "virtual machines" run on the same computer, juggling multiple operating systems to improve efficiency, ease software development or make data centers more flexible. VMware Player is an application for Windows or Linux that runs those virtual machines.
Although people can't create virtual machines with VMware Player, they can use it to test virtual machines that have already have been created using the company's earlier products, Workstation, GSX Server or the top-end ESX Server.
One scenario in which the software could be useful is in evaluating software, already installed in pre-built virtual machines and tested in a harmless environment. VMware offers sample software at its VMware Technology Network.
The move reflects both the EMC subsidiary's XenSource. Linux sellers Red Hat and Novell are building Xen into their operating system products.and its response to the arrival of competitors such as Microsoft's Virtual PC and products , , an open-source project sponsored in part by a start-up called
demonstrated the Player software last week at the company's VMworld conference.