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Monthly Archives: December 2008

PHP and Web Development Tips with VMware Fusion

Brian Roy published a fun video blog today with some tips for how to do really easy web application development using VMware Fusion on your Mac.

Brian is a web developer, and he does a lot of development using PHP, which ultimately runs in a LAMP stack.  In his case, a lot of his work runs in the Amazon EC2 cloud.

Brian uses VMware Fusion as a way to have a virtual machine instance of Fedora (which is what Amazon runs in its EC2 cloud) on his Mac, in which VM he has created a shared folder that points out onto his Mac, where his PHP and HTML code resides.

Brian likes to code using the text editor Smultron, on his Mac, and so when he saves off what he’s doing in Smultron somewhere in his Mac Documents folder, he can immediately pop over to his Fedora VM on Fusion, and test run that code over the shared folder.

That is to say, Apache, running in that Fedora VM, can execute that PHP code, via the shared folder, which looks out onto Brian’s Mac.

You can watch Brian’s video below, and below that, there’s one of our handy tutorials that talks about shared folders.  Enjoy!

Video: VMware Fusion Developer Tips and Apple after Steve Jobs from Brian Roy on Vimeo.


And here’s that video tutorial on using Shared Folders:

Autodesk Loves VMware Fusion: AutoCAD on the Mac

I was checking out my Google Alerts the other day, and came across this great blog post about running AutoCAD on the Mac with VMware Fusion

I’ve seen posts like this before, of course, but what really made me happy this time around was that it was an official Autodesk blog talking about it!  How’s that for validation?

In the post, Shaan Hurley talks about the niceties of running AutoCAD on a Mac, and the various way to do it, including both Boot Camp and virtualization, fairly mentioning both us and our primary competition in the field.

But what really made me smile was this part:

We showed AutoCAD 2009 running on a Mac using VMware Fusion last week at Autodesk University 2008 in the General Design booth.


Yup, that’s right.  When the rubber really hits the road, at a tradeshow, where you want to put your best foot forward, and make sure everything “just works,” the AutoCAD team selected VMware Fusion 2.  Check out the great picture of them at the booth.  

We on the Fusion team haven’t done any specific demo videos showing off AutoCAD, but I did some quick YouTube research, and lo and behold, there are handful of helpful videos out there showing off VMware Fusion 2 (you know, the one with the enhanced 3D acceleration features? Yeah, that one. ) running AutoCAD.

Here are the videos I found (with Spanish captions, no less!):

The first one shows off how to disable the “Optimize Mouse for Gaming” feature to get the best performance.

And this one shows off Unity, Single Windows, and Full Screen views:

And here’s everyone’s favorite “OMG! 3D acceleration is in Fusion 2” demo (in which I got to play Gears of War at work…nice eh?)

VMware Fusion 2.0/2.0.1 and Mac OS X 10.5.6

Yesterday Apple released Mac OS X 10.5.6 update. For folks who are running Mac OS X Server 10.5.x in a virtual machine, you may see Software Update (in the virtual machine) offering to update your system. We recommend that you do not proceed with this update, or at least take a snapshot of your OS X guest first.

are some known issues with this OS update that cause WindowManager to fail under default setting in a OS X virtual machine, as well as some USB issues. Go to the updated VMware Fusion 2.0.1 Release Notes
for more details on these issues and
workaround in case you already updated your virtual machine to 10.5.6.

These issues will be fixed in the next maintenance release of VMware Fusion. And they do not affect Mac OS X 10.5.6 as a host.

VMware Fusion 301: Control of Hardware, part 1

Last week when I wrote about what Tools generally does and mentioned that it enabled 3D acceleration, someone asked a natural question: What makes 3D acceleration in a virtual machine so hard? Why can’t the guest directly control the graphics card?

Continue reading

Tip: VMware Toolbox

Last time I gave a brief overview of what VMware Tools is and why they’re is important. But how do you interact with them?

Open Toolbox
The main way is via VMware Toolbox. You’ll need Tools installed, of course, and the way you get to it depends on the guest OS you’re running. In Windows, right-click the VMware-three-boxes logo in the system tray and select Open VMware Tools. In Linux or Solaris, run vmware-toolbox. We don’t currently have a Toolbox for OS X guests, and I’m not sure about FreeBSD or Netware. You’ll need to have opened Toolbox as an administrator for some features.

Once in Toolbox, you can get information about what version of Tools you have installed (About tab), shrink a disk (Shrink tab, requires a sparse disk with no snapshots), links to shared folders (Shared Folders tab, if you have them enabled), scripts which are run when the virtual machine powers on/off or suspends (Scripts tab), connect/disconnect devices (Devices tab), and general options (Options tab).

Tools does way more than what’s listed in Toolbox, but the other stuff is either automatic (such as copy/paste support) or configured elsewhere (such as HGFS shared folders, which are under the virtual machine’s Settings).

VMware Fusion 101: Introduction to Tools

I've previously alluded to how difficult it is to figure out what's going on in the guest by examining the instruction stream. Yet Fusion can do all sorts of nifty things such as drag-and-drop, Unity, HGFS shared folders, and so on – there's no way Fusion can do all that on its own. So how do we do it?

Enter VMware Tools. Tools is code that lives in the guest and allows us to peek inside. Instead of Fusion staring at a stream of reads and writes and adds and so on to try to figure out what's going on, Tools can just ask the guest OS. Doing things at the right layer makes things so much simpler!

Tools it a bit more than that, though. One of the benefits of virtualization is portability – you can move a virtual machine between computers (in some cases, even as the virtual machine is still running). But what if the first and second computers have different hardware – how can the virtual machine possibly cope if it starts off on a Mac mini, gets suspended, and resumes on a Mac Pro (or maybe even a computer running Windows or Linux and using VMware Workstation, VMware Player, VMware Server, or so on).

Virtual machines don't see the physical hardware directly (which would cause portability problems). More importantly, nearly all hardware expects to be controlled by exactly one OS – even if the guest could see the physical hardware, it would cause lots of problems. Instead, the guest sees a set of emulated hardware that doesn't depend on the actual hardware; Fusion takes care of translating appropriately.

All hardware, even virtual hardware that doesn't really exist, needs drivers for OSes to know how to talk to them. For some of the virtual hardware (for example sound) we emulate existing physical devices, the guest can use standard drivers provided by the OS or third parties. For other virtual hardware (for example video) we use our own "hardware" that doesn't exist in the physical world. While it obeys a basic set of commands, it needs drivers to get all the features (such as 3D acceleration). These drivers are a part of Tools.

Generally speaking, you want to install Tools in the guest, instructions can be found in Fusion's Help. We have Tools for a wide variety of guest OSes – Windows of course, and Linux, and OS X, and Solaris, and FreeBSD, and even Novell Netware. Not all versions of Tools have the same capabilities (we obviously give priority to more commonly used guests), but all are useful.

Tip: Find Virtual Machines

Show in Finder
Ever wonder where your virtual machines are kept? The default location for non-Boot Camp virtual machines is /Users/${USER}/Documents/Virtual Machines. Boot Camp virtual machines are kept in /Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/Virtual Machines. You can also locate a virtual machine by ctrl-clicking on it in the Virtual Machine Library and selecting “Show in Finder”.

Yet another way to find virtual machines is to use the fact that they tend to be quite large. Simply look for where your disk space is being used, perhaps with a tool like Grand Perspective or with a regular Finder search.

VMware Fusion 2 Podcast on For Mac Eyes Only

The folks over at For Mac Eyes Only were nice enough to invite us to join in on one of their podcasts. 

They published it late last week, and if you’re interested in some of the inside scoop regarding VMware Fusion 2, the design considerations that went into its features, and such, hop on over, and check it out!

And if you’re into Mac stuff in general, think about adding FMEO (that’s what the cool kids call “For Mac Eyes Only”!) to your iTunes / RSS subscriptions or following them on Twitter.