From David Berlind, more on licensing and Vista. We’re down in the legal weeds at this point, so if you’re getting overwhelmed, just wait till the dust settles. I predict that at some point Microsoft will have to give on this — virtualization is just too powerful and useful to keep bottled up in enterprise licenses.
One of the key advantages of virtualization is connected to the way that it converts an entire system into a file (or a series of files) that lives on a hard drive. A file that can be copied. An, in fact, that’s one reason to virtualize a system. Let’s say the hardware is having a problem and has to be fixed or replaced. Today, the headaches in moving all of your personalizations from one system to the next make for an aggravating excercise in futility. There are all sorts of utilities for making the move and even Microsoft is coming up with some tools. But in the end, not everything makes it. Particularly little nook and cranny stuff that’s very important to end-users. But when your entire computer is contained within a VM, you just copy the VM from one computer to another, and voila: you have your entire system exactly the same way you had it before on the previous computer.
So far so good. Unfortunately, what’s good for the goose (you) is also good for the gander (the pirates). Virtualization technology means that a pirate can encapsulate a clean, pristine version of Windows into a VM and then make as many copies of it as he or she wants.