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[Updated with more reviews below.]

Scott Lowe and Bob Roudebush and give us two views on the beta of The Product Codenamed VMware Fusion on the Mac:

Scott Lowe liked the performance:

I had a fully functional installation of Windows XP Professional up and
running in less than 15 minutes.  (I kid you not.)  The installation
was faster than any physical/non-virtual installation I’d performed.  I
was astounded.  While Windows XP was installing, I flipped over and
surfed the web, checked e-mail, helped my wife with some font designs,
and checked my RSS subscriptions—all without any
noticeable performance impact.  (In fact, the Windows XP virtual
machine is still running right now as I post this blog entry.)

 

Bob also liked the product. It was able to handle everything he threw at it — Windows XP, SUSE Linux 10, a downloaded virtual appliance — and he liked the attention to detail. He did wonder if the product was too simplified:

From what I have seen with “Fusion”, it’s this use case that the VMware development team has focused on in building the product. Instead of building a very complicated, console-looking application with lots of knobs, levers and switches, they opted for a very “Mac” feel. “Fusion” has a very simple UI (screenshot to left) that removes much of the complexity of VM management. The creation of a new virtual machine is achieved through a very simple wizard which guides the user through configuring the virtual machine and setting options such as memory usage, processor count, disk size, etc. …

I wonder, though, that for a lot of potential users of “Fusion” that
the interface doesn’t provide enough access to the product’s
functionality. I know many IT administrators and developers that have
“made the switch” to Mac, for example. They will want to run Windows
and other OSes on OS X using products like Fusion. They will also want
to be able to leverage some of the more advanced capabilities of the
product without resorting to editing configuration files. When I
downloaded a virtual appliance from VMTN,
for example, it required some modification of the Ubuntu virtual
machine’s VMX configuration file to make the ethernet connection work
properly.

We’ve been keeping quiet on purpose until now, but now that we’re in a private
beta, feel free to link to any other reviews that are out there in the
comments of this post. Substantive comments from beta testers on the
products should probably be left in the appropriate newsgroup to ensure
the product team sees them. You can register for future beta phases here.

Update: Powerpedia likes the feature set:

Drag and drop between guest and host was also awesome looking.  Parallels
has nothing like that. The VMware product also appears to have better
USB support. Using the iSight camera in the VM was nifty but with iChat
and Skype on the Mac natively i
don’t know what i would use it for. Well maybe the Cisco video
conferencing software with Call Manager so it might be worth it. If i
can get my Treo 700P to sync to the
VM on my Mac with Fusion i will be completely sold. I cannot get
Parallels to do that even with the latest build.

I will say that i am a bit biased for the VMware product (just
because of the interoperability with their other products), so unless
Fusion really sucks i will be using it. That doesn’t mean that i won’t
be critical of it if i have issues with it!