We know it’s been a long time coming, so we’re happy to be able to finally share a little of what we’ve been working on for the Mac platform.
In this free, public release, we’re looking for feedback from users as we iron out kinks and add new capabilities to Fusion, on both Intel as well as Apple Silicon, in preparation for more formal support later this year.
Without further ado, let’s look at what’s in this release:
For those ready to get started, here’s the download link and the tl;dr
- Windows 11 on Intel and Apple Silicon with 2D GFX and Networking
- VMtools installation for Windows 11 GOS on M1
- Improved Linux support on M1
- 3D Graphics HW Acceleration and OpenGL 4.3 in Linux VMs* (Requires Linux 5.19+ & Mesa 22.1.3+)
- Virtual TPM Device
- Fast Encryption
- Universal Binary
Technology Preview – Windows 11 Guests on Intel and Apple Silicon
It’s here. While it is a little early, and things on Apple silicon don’t always behave like we’re used to on Intel, we’re thrilled to be able to share the work we’ve been doing to prepare support for Windows 11 virtual machines on Fusion, for both Intel and Apple silicon Macs. Many new enhancements and capabilities came together to bring Windows 11 to the Mac desktop with Fusion, and while they were designed with Windows 11 in mind, the tools can be used for other VMs as well.
Virtual Trusted Platform Module
In order to support Windows 11 requirements, a Trusted Platform Module is required. With this release, we have enhanced our Virtual TPM module by incorporating ‘Fast Encryption’, key auto-gen and key storage via Keychain with a TPM 2.0 virtual device profile that is compatible with Windows 11 system requirements. Of course, vTPM device can be added to any VM, but that VM must have either Full or Fast VM encryption enabled.
With the new ‘fast encryption’ mode, only the most critical parts of the virtual machine’s local storage space are encrypted, dramatically improving overall VM performance but providing a secure enclave for sensitive data such as a TPM device. Fast Encryption can be enabled for all VM types from the VM Settings. > Encryption window, or during the New VM walkthrough.
Encryption Key Auto-Generate and Store
To enhance the new fast encryption model, Fusion can auto-generate a password for the user, and the local keychain is used by default to store the encryption key, relieving the user from having to type it in whenever their VM boots.
2D Graphics Drivers for Windows on ARM
To deliver Windows 11 looking as good as it can, we are shipping an early version of our graphics drivers. This WDDM driver allows users to adjust the display setting within Windows to deliver 4K and higher resolutions.
vmxnet3 Networking Drivers for Windows on ARM
While Windows does not yet ship with our vmxnet3 networking driver for Windows on ARM as it now does for Intel, the VMware Tools ISO on ARM contains the 2 currently supported drivers for graphics and networking.
Improved Linux VM Support on Apple Silicon
Working with the communities of various operating systems and open source open-source projects such as Mesa, Linux, as well as our own open-vm-tools, we’ve made many enhancements to the Linux on Apple silicon experience. Patches have been upstreamed to address a variety of kernel-related issues, as well as enhancements to the Mesa SVGA graphics driver to bring 3D hardware acceleration and OpenGL 4.3 + GLES 3.1 support to Linux VMs with Mesa 22.1.1 and later. (note: 3D and OpenGL 4.3 requires 5.19 kernel and Mesa 22.1.1 or greater).
Out of the box now for many bleeding-edge or rolling-release Linux distributions, changes to the open source vmwgfx device drivers which made their way into Linux 5.14 and later provide a smooth ‘vm-driving’ experience while allowing users to change the resolution within the guest.
Auto-Fit Guest Display
Open-VM-Tools v12.0.5 in concert with this release now provides the auto-fit guest resolution feature. Users can drag the corner of the VM display window and the guest will automatically adjust the resolution in distributions like Debian Bookworm/Testing or Sid, and Fedora 37/Rawhide. Likewise, the resolution can be set from the View > Resize Virtual Machine menu.
Other Cool Stuff!
Universal Binary for Intel and Apple Silicon
With the 22H2 update to the Tech Preview, we’re delivering a single .dmg to install Fusion on both Apple Silicon as well as Intel Macs. Organizations that deploy Fusion en-masse can use the same asset for the existing as well as the new Macs that are brought under management, and likewise users downloading from vmware.com don’t need to worry about finding the version with the right architecture for their Mac.
There were several bugs that blocked successful booting of 5.15+ kernels. Working with the community we addressed issues in the Linux kernel, as well as in our own code to accommodate for the nuances of working with multiple architectures using a single code base. Distributions that have picked up those public changes, such Debian, Fedora and Kali, successfully boot and provide a delightful experience when combined with our latest graphics drivers, Mesa library patches and open-vm-tools.
While we’re thrilled with how much Fusion has improved, it is still a work in progress, particularly on Apple silicon Macs. As such there are some known limitations that users frequently ask about, such as:
- Fusion will not support running VMs across different architectures. (I.e. no x86_64 VMs on M1 Macs).
- macOS virtual machines are out of scope for this release, but it’s something we’re looking into.
- Ubuntu 20.04.4 and 22.04 for arm64 are not currently booting (Ubuntu 20.04.4 builds from July 5 and onward) We are working to resolve this.
A great deal of care has gone into this release, and the team sincerely appreciates the involvement and support of the community as we march towards finally supporting Windows 11 and Linux on Intel and Apple Silicon Macs!
We hope you enjoy the experience, and share with us how we can improve!So go on! The only thing left is to grab the build, try it out, and let us know how it fits your workflow!