VMware readies virtualization software for Macs

Still-unnamed product will run Windows, Linux and more on the Mac; unveiling set for Apple developer conference.

Virtualization software manufacturer VMware has announced a product designed to enable Mac OS X users to run multiple PC operating systems simultaneously without needing to reboot the computer.

VMware says its yet-to-be-named software, which is scheduled to be presented on Monday at Apple Computer's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, lets a Macintosh computer simultaneously run Linux, Sun Microsystems' Solaris and Novell's NetWare, in addition to Microsoft's Windows XP. Users can access the operating systems by clicking on designated tabs, and files can be moved between systems via drag-and-drop functions, according to VMware.

VMware is by no means the only recent entrant into the field of virtualization software that accommodates side-by-side access to different operating systems. In June, start-up Parallels introduced a product that enables a variety of operating systems to and appear to users as a separate window within Mac OS X. Even Microsoft has been exploring opportunities in virtualization, collaborating with start-up XenSource to investigate the possibilities of permitting XP users to run Linux.

Even Microsoft has been exploring opportunities in virtualization, collaborating with start-up XenSource to investigate the possibility of permitting XP users to run Linux.

Windows compatibility with Macintosh machines is expected to be a hot topic at Monday's WWDC event, as it has been since the technology was made possible with the introduction of Intel-based Macs. It has already been announced that Apple's own Boot Camp software, which permits the installation of Windows on Macs--albeit with rebooting required to switch between the Mac and Windows systems--will be part of its so-called Leopard operating system.

Since VMware's offering has not yet been released to beta testers, it is unclear how it will match up to products like Parallels in stability or speed. Additionally, there has been no word on its compatibility with XP successor Windows Vista, now slated for a January debut.

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