VMWare Player

I use VMWare Workstation. It’s one of the few non-FLOSS applications that I run. I look forward to Qemu being as fast, feature rich and as easy to use so that I can switch to it instead. But until then, VMWare it is.

Maybe I just missed the reports, but at some point recently VMWare have released VMWare Player, a free (small “f”) application for Windows and Linux that allows you to “play” Virtual Machines created by any of their commercial products. There is even a collection of virtual machines available for download and a feature comparison chart.

Why bother commenting on this product? Obviously it slashes the cost of basing your infrastructure and desktops on virtualisation technology. But that’s very much a corporate angle. The impact on the FLOSS community could be more interesting.

VMWare Workstation is pretty expensive, enough to put most people off buying it. But this player is free. For redistributable OSes, people with full VMWare Workstations can create Virtual Machine for others. I can see projects making collections of Virtual Machines containing different Linux distros, BSDs etc available for download. You could essentially provide a fully configured development environment for your project in the form of a VM. Even those running Windows could contribute by developing under a Linux VM. Or for web applications that are tricky to set up, VM images could be distributed with everything set up just ready to go. All the complex configuraion could be done by someone who knows what they’re doing. Get the player, get the VM image and off you go.

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