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VMware gets more Windows-friendly

The maker of software that lets Intel-based computers run several OSes simultaneously has released a new version of its desktop product, to reassure users that it runs Windows well.

VMware, a maker of software that lets Intel-based computers run several operating systems simultaneously, has released a new version of its desktop product, designed to reassure users that the program runs Windows well.

VMware Workstation 3.2, with a price of $329, runs atop either the Windows OS or the Linux OS and lets additional operating systems function. It's useful for programmers who want to test their software on different OSes without the bother and expense of several machines. Another potential customer would be a trainer who wants to demonstrate a program on several operating systems.

The new version of VMware Workstation passes Microsoft's Windows certification tests, which, among other things, assures that VMware runs well atop Windows, Chief Executive Diane Greene said. The certification also requires that software components get Microsoft sign-off. Without these so-called signed drivers, installing Windows on VMware would trigger "use at your own risk" warning messages.

The new version also includes bug fixes and performance improvements to speed up processor and network performance, Greene said.

One customer upgrading to the new version is FleetBank, which is using VMware to run 12-year-old software written for old DOS computers, said Mark Johnson, FleetBank senior systems analyst. About 400 bank branch tellers use the software, he said.

VMware lets the company continue to use the old software on more modern PCs that run Windows 2000, which has needed features for controlling computer users' network privileges, Johnson said. The tellers have noticed, however, that the VMware is slightly slower than the older DOS machines, he added.

also sells versions of its products.

VMware isn't alone, though. SWsoft has been angling for the same market, and Connectix just entered the fray.

Connectix has focused on emulation software that lets PCs run gaming console software and Mac OS computers run Windows software. This week, the company introduced Windows software that lets a server run Windows, Linux, Unix and OS/2, the company said.

Software companies ProTier, LeoStream and BladeLogic are providing software to make the Connectix approach easier to manage, Connectix said.

VMware, a 240-employee, Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, also announced several new executives.

•  Paul Auvil took the new post of chief financial officer on Aug. 19. He previously was CFO at software maker Vitria, where he led its 1999 initial public offering.

•  Lee Caswell joined VMware on Aug. 19 from Adaptec to become executive vice president of marketing and business development. He replaced Susan Thomas, who retired.

•  On July 31, Kirk Bowman became executive vice president of worldwide field operations. He previously was in charge of the same area at Inktomi.