Psst: wanna win a hundred grand? Check out VMware's Virtual Appliance Challenge. Tell me, are these guys out for blood or what?
Packaging Linux servers and apps in VMware player should be a no-brainer. Offerings like E-Smith Server and anybody else offering a packaged product ought to be jumping on this. It's not that you necessarily ultimately expect the product to run in VMware Player (though in many cases, why not?) but that it's the bee's knees for a demo: show 'em what you've really got in an environment YOU control. No worrying about installation problems: the only thing that has to install is VMware Player and that's VMware's gig, not yours. You just set up the OS as you want it, install your app, bundle it up and put it up for downoad. What could be easier?
Any app, and any alternative operating system ought to be thinking about this, and that includes Windows apps: why fight with messed up, virus plagued systems that make your demo look bad? Control the environment and control the demo - and as I said, actually running it in that cocoon isn't a bad idea either. Yes, it costs more because you have to bundle Windows, but what does support cost? No brainer for many an app.
Right now, we Mac folk are disenfranchised, but I bet that will all change very, very soon. Porting VMware Player to OS X is unlikely to be very difficult (for the Intel Macs, of course) and it is obviously a waiting market - Mac folk bought a lot of Virtual PC and VMware player should be a slam dunk. Yeah, there is that nasty Windows licensing again, but I don't see that as too big a fly.
Were I a younger man, I would be plunging into this like an Olympic high board diver. The opportunities are immense.
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