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VMware Fusion 1.1: free to select bloggers

Windows-on-Mac software gets an upgrade, and VMware tries to pique bloggers' interest. Also new: VMware Server 2 beta.


VMware released version 1.1 of its Fusion virtualization software to run Windows on Intel-based Apple computers Monday--along with an offer for free versions of the software to some bloggers.

"I have convinced the powers at VMware central that there's big-time value in having a strong, open conversational relationship with the blogosphere," Peter Kazanjy, senior product marketing manager for VMware's Mac products, said in an e-mail sent to bloggers and seen by CNET

"I'm...offering an open NFR (not for resale) policy for people who are honest-to-goodness bloggers." There's "no obligation to blog about VMware Fusion, but if you do, please go ahead and send a link back to us to," he added. Unlike the free 30-evaluation version VMware also offers, the NFR version doesn't expire.

The offer was sent to fewer than 60 bloggers, a VMware representative said, and Kazanjy apparently didn't want to extend it to the entire blogosphere. "Feel free to let your blog friends know, but do me a favor and don't blog this offer," he said in the letter.

Fusion is playing catch-up with SWsoft's Parallels, which entered the market first. But VMware, which leads the overall virtualization market, is on the attack: the company also released a beta version of a tool to import Parallels virtual machines into VMware so that Windows installations can be moved to the other virtualization foundation.

According to VMware and Kazanjy, features in Fusion 1.1 include "robust" support for Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard"; upgraded but still experimental support for DirectX 9.0 3D graphics; support for Boot Camp partitions as virtual machines; improvements to the "Unity" feature that lets Windows applications occupy a window unencumbered by menu bars and other Windows operating system elements; the ability to synchronize iPhone with Microsoft Outlook running in Windows; and performance improvements.

Fusion costs $80, but the upgrade is free.

VMware Server 2 beta, too
On Tuesday, VMware announced an open beta of VMware Server 2.0, its free server virtualization product known years ago as GSX Server. Unlike the premium ESX Server, VMware Server runs on a host operating system, Linux or Windows.

The new version should be generally available in 2008, VMware said.

New features include:

• Support for VMI, "paravirtualization" technology that lets Linux run much faster.

• Support for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 beta, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon", among others.

• A Web-based management interface.

• Support for up to 8GB of memory and two processors per virtual machine.

• Support for 64-bit guest operating systems, as long as the software is running on a 64-bit host.