VMware Fusion for Mac
VMwware has released a public beta of Fusion, their Mac OS X virtualization product. I wasted a few hours this morning mucking around with it, and my advice to you is to not bother with it quite yet: at this point it's just not quite ready. Stick with Parallels for now.
That's a little harsh, isn't it? Maybe so, but remember that VMware isn't moving into undefended territory here: Parallels has a darn good product right now, and this VMware beta release isn't even as functional as the beta Parallel releases that came out earlier this year. Right off the bat my eyebrows went up as the very first screen warned me that Fusion would run slowly because it has debugging and extra logging turned on and.. small drumroll.. you can't turn it off. Can't turn it off? What on earth are they thinking? Sure, they want to collect data, so I understand enabling heavy debugging, but it's more than a little arrogant to not allow it to be shut off. Strike one..
Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac, Third Edition -
Buy Take Control of VMware Fusion 3
See more recent review of Fusion 2.0.
Things went downhill from there. I downloaded the MultiBrowser Appliance from VMware's appliance download site. That's a packaged VM that let's you test your websites on different browsers, including older Microsoft Explorer versions. That sounds like a handy thing to have, but it didn't work: although ifconfig showed that it had acquired a dhcp address, and it had the correct default route, and /etc/resolv.conf was correct also, it couldn't resolve names. There are a bunch of network caveats in the release notes, so I guess this might not be a big surprise. Strike two.
Oh well, maybe that particular appliance is troublesome.. I'll just fire up a Live CD. Let's see, how do you point Fusion at a CD iso image? Hmmm.. you don't. Apparently the beta only allows access to the real CD? The release notes imply otherwise, but I didn't see how to reassign the CD device. Already in a bad mood , I shut it down and ran the uninstaller.. that didn't work completely either; I had to log out and return to clean up the remnants.
It turns out that you can choose an ISO image at installation.. I just missed that (it's under Advanced Options).
This beta is much too beta for me. If I had nothing to compare it to, I'd shrug and wait patiently, but that's not the case: Parallels is a very good product today. It may very well be that Fusion will be the better virtualization product eventually, but this beta is pretty sad. Yes, beta's often are disappointing, but when you are coming in against an established competitor, you need to be much more polished than you would otherwise: the bar is simply higher.
VMware probably isn't accustomed to being in second place, but over here in Mac-land, they definitely are for now. No doubt they'll improve this, and I'll certainly look again when they do, but right now VMware Fusion is of no interest to me.
If you want a great guide to learning Fusion, consider Joe Kissel's Take Control of VMware Fusion 3, a $10.00 PDF E-book that will teach you everything you need to know.
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