When MS purchased Virtual PC from Connectix there was a lot of outcry about the supposed removal of Linux support from the product. You could still use Linux and other operating systems, but MS removed a few of the wizards/menus that made using those OSs a lot easier in a virtual environment. I can certainly see why MS would do something like that, but it was a catalyst for many people to move to rival VMware.
VMware is a great product, but Virtual PC is no slouch either. If you've got a MS OS to begin with the Virtual PC product is a simple install and no challenge to use.
MSDN subscribers already get free copies of Virtual PC to test out MS software and operating systems. Although VMware gets the nod for wider OS support you can do same things with Virtual PC. Most people using this product are really only using it for mainstream MS and Linux OSs which is not much of a stretch for this software.
Rival VMware has been eating MS's lunch for quite a while now. Since the 2004 release of Virtual PC the VMware camp has been busy issuing major updates of their own (in many cases superior) product. Their recent launch of the VMware Player lets anyone run a precompiled OS as an application for free. This innovative concept has really put the screws to MS. They couldn't compete with that...not with a paid product like Virtual PC.
Then to add insult to injury VMware also released their server emulation product for free. For the marketplace there was almost no reason to use Microsoft's product. There were better, free products out there. This had to be a major reason behind this move. The competition has already moved to a nearly free model and the only product they have not made free is their Workstation software. The free version of Virtual PC goes after that important market.
Virtual computing is really not mainstream yet. I personally use it every single day. It's truly amazing what you can do with these things. MS's release of Virtual PC can only mean good things for the user. As a webmaster, for example, you can safely run multiple copies of different versions of IE to test your sites. Try that on a single install of Windows.
I'm pretty sure that the VMware camp knew this was coming. So far they've been quite proactive in keeping their software licencing ahead of MS by releasing free versions of their tools. It's doubtful that the MS release of Virtual PC as a free tool will take away from VMware's substantial lead among professionals, but it will add a new level of user; the average PC user; the consumer.
It's refreshing to see the software going in this direction. If you haven't tried it out, go get yourself a copy:
|The software industry is learning that virtual machines can cause real headaches, when it comes to figuring out how to charge for their programs. |
Right now, the computing world is clearly moving into a realm in which a single PC can be running many operating systems at the same time, and businesses want the opportunity to get the benefits of that flexibility, without having to pay over and over again for the same software.
In a major shift for Microsoft, the company decided last week to allow business customers to run up to four instances of Windows on the same PC. It's part of a sea change that has the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker and the rest of the industry headed into unfamiliar waters.
Putting a price on a virtual computer
This looks like Microsoft's response to the "buzz" Apple's been garnering now that you can run Windows, Mac, or Linux natively on any Intel Mac.
Of course, you still can't run Mac OS X with Virtual PC on a Windows machine, so this move only fights the buzz. It doesn't actually provide the same "multi-OS" opportunity an Intel Mac provides.
I wonder if this will become Microsofts approach to computer security.
Basically, if you want to browse the web, you'll do so from a "virtual pc".
Sure it doesn't hurt MS to release a Virtual PC for free. The revenue generated from that products was probably negligible anyways. But what about VMware? Weren't the server (GSX) and enterprise (ESX) product lines their main source of income? And now VMware Server gets released for free! I don't think VMware did this proactively but rather in response to Xen's growing market share.
Virtual pc for mac still costs $129 ;)
|As a webmaster, for example, you can safely run multiple copies of different versions of IE to test your sites. Try that on a single install of Windows. |
That's been possible for years. I have IE5, IE5.5, IE6 and IE7 all running on the same machine (Windows XP).
Keep in mind that VMWare player and VMware server are also free now and it's a superior, smoother, faster product. There are several vmx makers on the web so you don't need the workstation program.
VMware is great for cross-browser, cross-screensize, cross-font-size webpage testing.
[edited by: amznVibe at 6:13 pm (utc) on July 18, 2006]
Man is this slow to load linux - it's taking hours on my machine.
|Microsoft said on Tuesday it would allow anyone to use its specifications for "virtual" drives, which enable one computer to run several operating systems, with the promise never to sue for infringement of its legal rights. |
The Microsoft virtualisation software has been available for more than two years, but as computers become more powerful the use of virtualisation is expected to mushroom, the company said at a news conference.
Microsoft opens virtual drives for free [washingtonpost.com]
So, has this mushroomed?
They're still ramping up public awareness of this. With all of the new Vista, Office and IE7 products coming out shortly this one may be getting lost in the shuffle for the average user. Virtualizing your PC environment can be a difficult concept for many.