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Monthly Archives: July 2008

Safer, Stronger, and More Seamless: VMware Fusion 2 Beta 2 Now Available

The VMware Fusion team is proud to announce VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 2.

This latest public beta, a free download, builds on VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1, adding the Unity 2.0 suite of Mac-Windows integration features, new ways to protect and manage your virtual machines with multiple snapshots, and a garage full of power tools for technical professionals.

And as previously announced, VMware Fusion 2.0 will be a free downloadable upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1.x customers.

Key Features of VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 2

As with Beta 1, VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 2 brings dozens of new features and improvements to the most seamless way to run Windows on your Mac.

Beta 2 Highlight Reel: As usual, we’ve put together a video, above, of Beta 2 highlights, in addition to the more in-depth video demos on the Beta 2 welcome page.

Unity 2.0 -- Application SharingUnity 2.0: Next Generation Mac-Windows Integration 

Beta 2 takes to the next level the Mac-Windows integration first pioneered in VMware Fusion 1.0.

New in Beta 2, share applications between Windows and Mac. Launch Mac files with Windows applications, and even set web, email, and other links to launch in either your Mac or Windows browser and email clients.

Use VMware Fusion’s Mirrored Folders to seamlessly map the contents of your Mac’s Desktop, Documents, Music, and Pictures folders to show up in your Windows Desktop, My Documents, My Music, and My Pictures folders.

Even map your Mac keyboard to send custom keystroke combinations into your virtual machine. Learn more about Unity 2.0

Windows is even Safer on the Mac Safer VMs -- AutoProtect Timeline

Building on VMware Fusion 1.x’s ability to take a single virtual machine snapshot, VMware Fusion 2 provides ever better ways to manage and control Windows on your Mac. New in Beta 2, take and manage multiple snapshots for each of your virtual machines, keeping checkpoints before you install new software to protect against potential issues.

And extending multiple snapshots, VMware Fusion 2 offers an industry-first: AutoProtect, automatic, timed snapshots at half-hourly, hourly, or daily intervals.

You never know when disaster may strike—AutoProtect keeps you covered. Learn more about safety features

Easier and Easier

Beta 2 also adds more usability and “Mac-friendly” features, like CPU utilization reductions, Mac OS X Leopard Quick Look integration, Apple Help integration, and better activity monitors in the status bar. Learn more about usability improvements

Video Star Video Star -- 3D Games Shot

DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2 3D acceleration gets more refined in Beta 2, meaning bigger and badder Windows games will run on a Mac, with no rebooting.

And High Definition video now runs at near native speed, and with less CPU impact on the Mac, opening up the world of Windows-only HD media. Read more about video improvements

Big Iron -- Three Major Server OSesPower Tools for Tech Pros

VMware Fusion 2 really starts to show its datacenter and enterprise heritage with the addition of a slew of power user tools.

Multiple Snapshots and the addition of Mac OS X Leopard Server virtual machines, make VMware Fusion a Mac IT pro’s best friend. Also new in Beta 2, better Linux support, including support for Ubuntu Hardy Heron and Linux Unity view.

Server Grade Power: With the addition of Mac OS X Leopard Server, VMware Fusion 2 now boasts support for all major server OSes, both 32 and 64-bit. Also new in Beta 2, add up to four virtual CPUs to your virtual machines and control virtual machines from the Command Line using VMrun.

Let your Mac Pro and Xserve out to run by loading up with server-grade virtual machines on VMware Fusion 2. Read more about power features

Go Get the Beta!

We encourage anyone interested in the latest and greatest to check out the the Beta 2 welcome page, watch the demo videos, and go grab the bits.

Please note: Beta software can be prone to instability and bugs. Don’t run Beta software in a mission-critical environment.  Release notes can be found here.

What’s the point of Windows on the Mac? Rob Griffiths at Macworld tells us.

Picture 3 Macworld’s Rob Griffiths has a great article out on why you might want to run Windows on your Mac, and how to do it.

It’s really nice to see articles like this showing up, helping people understand why there’s great opportunity in running more than one operating system on their Mac.

Apple’s “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” ads are funny, but in being so hilariously reductive, they can sometimes make it easy to miss some of the nuance of the modern computing world. 

For example, in those commercials, they tend to equate “PC” with “Windows and non-Mac hardware.”  But as we all know, Windows and Windows applications can run on the Mac, no problem, with software like VMware Fusion.  So it’s not as simple as Justin Long and John Hodgeman, regardless of how funny they may be.

It’s a little more nerdy than you would want to get into on a 30-second TV commercial, but the reality is, an operating system like Windows is actually not just one, monolithic entity, (a “PC”) but a handful of services—some of which are better, or worse, than others.  If you really want to geek out, jaunt over to wikipedia’s entry on “Operating System” to check it out.

Libraries for me, hold the GUI, please!

Personally, I love the Mac OS X User Interface.  I’m in love with Expose, and use “hot corners” and Spaces to help me navigate my pile-o-windows that I sometimes end up with.  But that’s just the UI.

But where Windows really has value at this date (at least in this user’s opinion), is in the Windows API and libraries.  That is, the resources that Windows applications and their developers—whether Windows Live Writer, or Internet Explorer, or QuickBooks, or what have you—tie into to access computing power from the underlying hardware. 

I don’t think anyone could argue with the claim that, currently, Windows libraries have the richest set of applications built on top of them of any major operating system.  As Steve Ballmer is renowned for shouting: developers! Developers! DEVELOPERS!

This isn’t to say that there aren’t great Mac applications.  There are thousands, and growing—you should have seen the Apple World Wide Developers conference this year!

But the fact still remains, there are tons of reason to have “Windows” on your Mac—and that having “Windows” on your Mac doesn’t necessarily mean having rolling green hills of XP staring you in your face.  With features like VMware Fusion’s Unity view, you can pick and choose the parts of Windows you actually want, and leave the parts you don’t need.

Like noted above, Rob Griffiths over at Macworld does a great job of rounding up exactly why you probably want Windows on your Mac—and as Rob has a tendency to do, the article is really insightful and useful.  Highly recommended.

Microsoft Promoting Running *Windows* Office 2007 on *Macs*? Hopefully with VMware Fusion!

Office Online Home Page - Microsoft Office Online

My boss kicked this interesting tidbit my way to share with all of you.

Microsoft Office’s online home “Office Online” has a big “Back to School” graphic up (is it that time already?).  But that’s not surprising.

Office Online Home Page - Microsoft Office Online-1What is remarkable about the graphic, is that it’s quite clearly a MacBook Pro (or, at least to my eye), and in the screen shot, it appears to be running Word 2007…for Windows.

It definitely looks like Windows Office 2007, because it features the little “launch orb’ in the upper left hand corner of the UI. 

I use it all day long, so I recognize it!

Which makes me wonder: Is Microsoft Windows Office team (as opposed to the Mac Business Unit Office team) getting onboard the virtualization train? 

Of course we say this all the time: Mac, Windows, it doesn’t matter what OS the app was designed to run on originally. 

The Mac running VMware Fusion and a copy of Windows lets you choose the best app for your needs.  Do you like Mac Office 2008?  Great!  Prefer Windows Office 2007?  That’s fine too.  Do you like Omnigraffle?  Wonderful.  Are you a Visio pro?  Run it in a VM on your Intel Mac.

So, what do you think?  Snafu, shift in mindset, or VMware Fusion kool aid drinking?

Tell us in the comments!

VMware Fusion Shows Up on Lifehacker Editors’ “Favorite Software” List

Pete_s VMware Dell

The folks over at Lifehacker, one of the Fusion team’s favorite blogs, have a great post up where the Lifehacker editorial team—a brain trust of experts on how to use technologies of all sorts to live a better life and get things done—float all their favorite software applications.

Scanning through their list, there’s some great stuff in there that I use all the time, like Quicksilver launcher (OS X), Skitch (OS X) and SnagIt (Win), and some other stuff I wasn’t so familiar with.

Of course, the reason why I paid close attention to it, was that both Lifehacker Editor in Chief, Gina Trapani, and Senior Editor, Adam Pash, both listed VMware Fusion as their favorite way to run Windows on the Mac (and, in this case, Linux too—these guys skew more techy than most, as you would imagine.)

Thanks for the shout out, Lifehacker team!

Unbuffered I/O Bugs and Virtual Machine Corruption

Performance Guage Icon Performance of virtual machines on VMware Fusion is something that we take a lot of pride in.  It’s the fact that VMware Fusion is fast, stable, and powerful that leads so many people to choose it as their favorite way to run Windows on your Mac—whether that’s former Boot Camp and Parallels users page, or even Apple retail stores.

So when we run into things that can enhance or degrade the performance of our users’ virtual machines, we sit up and take notice.  And more important, we make sure to share it.

Optimize for Mac or VM?

VMware Preferences-3

Many of our users are probably familiar with the setting under VMware Fusion Preferences that lets users determine if they want to optimize for virtual machine disk performance, or optimize for performance of their Mac OS applications.

The way this works is that, by default, VMware Fusion “optimizes for virtual machine disk performance” with the tradeoff of using more of your Mac’s memory.  Conversely, if you “Optimize for Mac OS application performance” VMware Fusion uses less of your Mac’s memory, but can decrease performance of your virtual machines—a tradeoff that some users are willing to take. 

Apple Issue with Unbuffered IO

“Optimizing for Mac OS applications performance” works via enabling what is called “unbuffered IO.” The problem is that there is an Apple problem with unbuffered IO that can cause your virtual machine, or your entire OS, to hang at some points.  If this occurs, your virtual machine disk can get corrupted, which, of course, we want to avoid at all costs.

We have reported this issue to Apple, but until this bug is resolved, we recommend that all VMware Fusion users ensure they select the default option, in VMware Fusion Preferences, for “Optimize for virtual machine disk performance” to guard against potential data loss.

To all our users, thanks for running VMware Fusion for fast, stable, and powerful Windows on the Mac, and we look forward to making your Mac virtualization experience better and better.

VMware Fusion Helps Save iPhone 3G Launch in UK? Wow.

Pete_s VMware Dell-5When I woke up this morning, as is my usual move, I went to check the VMware Fusion twitter account (“follow” us to stay in the loop!) to see what showed up overnight.

Imagine my surprise when seeing a flurry of tweets about VMware Fusion being rapidly deployed at Apple stores in the UK, to help activate iPhones via O2 (the cell carrier partnering with Apple in the UK) website. 

It seems that the O2 website is Internet Explorer-only, which means you need to run Windows—Internet Explorer doesn’t run on the Mac. 

But as you would expect, Apple only has Macs in their stores, meaning they’d have to run Windows on their Macs to get access to Internet Explorer…and Apple’s solution of choice to do this looks to be VMware Fusion.

Since that flurry of tweets, TUAW, Computerworld, The Daily Standard, and a handful of other outlets have picked it up.

Not being over in the UK, it’s hard to know how much Internet Explorer is helping, versus the problem being at the web services level—these things can be messy, to say the least.

Regardless, I know when I speak for the whole Fusion team when I say it feels nice to know that VMware Fusion is Apple’s preferred choice when it comes to running Windows on Mac.

Are Virtualization Users Buying Up All the XP Like Hot Cakes?

hotcakes Yesterday Ina Fried had an interesting post on how WIndows XP was a hot item on Amazon.com, inferring that this was because Microsoft has now stopped selling XP, but that retailers are allowed to sell it as long as they have stock.  And as such XP Pro and XP Home where up in the 15 and 16th ranked spots on Amazon’s Best Selling Software page.

Well, Michael Horowitz at CNET has an interesting take on this: are Mac users with virtualization products like VMware Fusion the rabid XP buyers?

His rationale is around how it’s the “full” copies of XP that are selling well—the very kind required for running in a VM. 

Of course, my favorite part of the article is where Michael talks about the other part of the Mac connection—the popularity of Mac software and virtualization software on that very same list. VMware Fusion is #6 on the list, just ahead of Mac OS X Leopard at #7 on the list.  Parallels Desktop is down at #16.

What do you say?  Are you stocking up on XP?  Or are you just fine with Vista Home Premium in your VM?

Five Great Tools for Windows Maintenance—including Windows in Virtual Machines

v28_cordless_tools We’re unabashed fans of Adam Pash, senior editor over at Lifehacker, thanks to his constant stream of great posts on tips and tricks. 

Adam’s the same gent who had that fantastic post on how to strip down Windows XP super thin to make it run with the lightest footprint possible (64 MB of RAM, was it?) in VMware Fusion.

Adam’s latest installment is on “The Five Best Windows Maintenance Tools” out there.

Because virtual machines are somewhat new technology in the public mind, we get a lot of questions about how VMs should be treated compared to regular, physical machines.  For example, should you run virus scanning software?  Do you need to defragment?

The short answer: you should treat and maintain your VM the same way you would a physical machine—which means virus scanning, defragmentation, spyware scanning, and so forth are a must.

Adam does a great job of trotting out a handful of useful tools for keeping your virtual machine in tip-top shape, and running smoothly.  Check out his post. 

VMware Fusion Academic Pricing Now Available Online

fusion_edu01 For those that don’t know, VMware has a strong academic background, having spun out of a research lab at Stanford University back in the late 90s.

Part of staying true to those roots is a company policy of very favorable academic pricing—in the case of VMware Fusion, half off from retail list price.

This past week, the VMware online store launched their academic portal, which you can visit here

Previously, the only way to get access to VMware Fusion or VMware Workstation at their academic prices was to purchase at an outlet like a campus book store that happened to stock the software—and not every student necessarily has access to that.

Now, current students, prospective university students, or academic faculty and staff can get access to academic pricing simply by visiting the VMware academic store front, and authenticating their academic affiliation. 

Let’s hear it for starving students getting cheaper software!

Switching to the Mac Tips at All Thing D; Don’t Forget VMware Fusion!

lightswitch Our friend Walt Mossberg has a very cool roundup of tips and tricks for new switchers to the Mac

Based on the rising popularity of the Mac, and his readers emailing in with questions, Walt decided it would be good to put together a brief post on Mac equivalents to popular Windows features, like the task bar, menu bars, start menus on so on.

Don’t Forget the Fusion!

One thing Walt leaves out of this particular post (though he has covered it in the past—he too is a fan of Fusion!), is that the ability to run Windows applications, and even the whole Windows desktop, side by side with your new Mac is a great tool for switchers.

Windows on Mac makes switching pretty darn easy—and even helps out those who have already switched, but were forced to leave behind great Windows apps they knew and loved.

When we add and refine features, it’s always with an eye towards being able to smooth the integration of the best of Windows and Mac—and that includes making it easy for new Mac users to transition to the Mac.  For example, that’s why in Unity view, you can hide or show the Windows task bar—some people just like using the Start Menu, and we’re gonna help them!

But in the mean time, before VMware Fusion has reached feature perfection with respect to integration (and it’ll probably be a while yet!) it’s great that there are people like Walt out there helping out to ease the transition.  You can read all about it here.

Photo by amulligan.