VMware Updates Fusion Virtualization for Mac OS

VMware claims the upgrade will provide better performance over Version 1.0 and support Mac OS X Leopard.

VMware on Nov. 12 released VMware Fusion 1.1, a free update to its $59.99 virtualization application for Mac OS X running on Intel-based Macs.

The company claimed the new version will offer better performance over Version 1.0 and support for Mac OS X Leopard.

Fusion 1.1 will also add "experimental" compatibility for Windows DirectX 9.0, though this does not include support for that APIs shader feature, said Pat Lee, VMwares product manager for Mac products. "We have to virtualize the GPU," he said, noting that at the 1.1. release, DirectX 9.0 a, b or c updates will not be supported.

Lee said that Fusion 1.1 will also work with Mac OS X Leopard and that the company has tested against the final shipping version of the operating system; some developers found that they did not receive copies of the GM version of Leopard until the product went on sale, causing some compatibility issues.

"We waited until [Leopards] release," said Lee, for that reason.


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Fusion 1.1 will also allow users to use a Microsoft Vista Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine and add French, German and Japanese support.

The company also released a beta version of VMware Importer for Fusion. VMware Importer is designed to let Fusion users "import virtual machines created by third-party Mac virtualization software," according to company info.

Although Lee said VMware does not break out Fusion sales numbers on the Macintosh, the virtualization market on the Mac remains relatively small. Its limited to desktop users who want to run a subset of Windows applications without rebooting using Apples Boot Camp feature.

However, recent changes to the Leopard Mac OS X Server license could allow server-side virtualization on the Mac.

Still, Fusion and other current Mac virtualization products remain focused on the individual user, forgoing some industrial-strength features.

"We designed VMware as a consumer-focused product," said Lee, giving it a different set of feature needs than the companys enterprise-level and server products.

"A single snapshot makes it easy to allow users to roll back to a well known point," Lee said, explaining one way Fusions feature set varies from those products. "However, multiple snapshots is a great feature request that we will definitely consider as we plan future Mac products," he added.

He also said that "we will definitely consider" the ability to mount physical drives in multiple simultaneously running virtual machines "as we plan future Mac products."


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