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VMware Fusion 4

Hot on the heels of last week’s release of Parallels 7 comes VMware Fusion 4.0, a major upgrade to the popular virtualization program that lets Mac users run Windows, Linux, and other operating systems side-by-side with Mac OS X. Fusion 4 includes more than 90 new features; as in Parallels 7, some of the biggest changes include full support for Lion capabilities such as Mission Control, full-screen mode (even for individual Windows applications), and gestures; you can also run Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and Lion Server as guest operating systems, and you can choose which Windows apps you want to appear in Launchpad, the Applications folder, and Spotlight. When running in single-window mode, Fusion 4 makes better use of screen real estate, which is helpful for Macs (such as the MacBook Air) with small displays. A variety of other changes make both Fusion itself and Windows apps running in a virtual machine more Mac-like and better integrated into Mac OS X. Fusion 4 now works better with Time Machine, supports Remote Disc, and offers virtual Bluetooth support. Fusion is now a self-contained, 64-bit Cocoa application, so you can install or uninstall it by drag-and-drop and run it from any location; in addition, it uses no system resources at all when not running. The program features significantly improved performance, too, especially in 2D and 3D graphics. According to VMware’s benchmark testing, overall performance is neck-and-neck with Parallels 7 — Fusion’s advantage averages about 2 to 4 percent, depending on the hardware and the test (although it does fall slightly behind Parallels in certain tests). Although not currently sold through the Mac App Store, Fusion 4 now uses a similar license model; except in business and educational settings, a single license is now valid for all the Macs a user owns or controls. Promotional pricing — the same price for upgrades and new purchases — is $49.99 through the end of the year. ($49.99 new or upgrade, 399 MB)


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Comments about VMware Fusion 4
(Comments are closed.)

Another developer forgetting about the loyal customers of many years and offering no upgrade pricing!
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-14 14:17
You could look at it that way, or you could look at it as upgrade pricing being $49.99 (same as for Parallels 7, incidentally), but being offered—for a limited time—to everyone, not just upgraders. In other words, it's basically a public sale at the upgrade price. Now, you could argue that $49.99 is too much to charge for an upgrade of this magnitude, but that's a different question.
But I can cross grade from Fusion to Parallels for $30.

Seems like VMWare should be $30 for an upgrade.

If I remember correctly a cheaper cross grade got me to Fusion.
If I run Fusion in Snow Leopard, how well does a client Lion run?

Due to Apple not changing the EULA for SL this seem the most straightforward way to run legacy software.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-14 15:34
The way I read the Lion license agreement, you can only run Lion in a VM under Lion. Be that as it may, I don't currently have a Snow Leopard installation I could test it on.
Parallels offers a trial, so maybe I'll try it out. Have to find the time to do it.
Parallels 6 will not let you install OSX, unless it is the Server version. If I am testing a deployment of my product, I want to test on the OS it will be deployed to, not OSX Server. I am assuming Parallels 7 has the same problem (at least with SL). Apparently this is Parallels honouring Apple's license.

Does anyone know if Fusion 4.0 allows you to install the regular versions of OSX? If so, and the performance is the same as Parallels, I am in. $50 is basically what parallels wants to charge me for upgrading from 6 to 7. And as far as I can tell, 7 just adds the ability to have windows act more like Lion... not sure why I would want that, heck I'd love if Lion acted more like Snow Leopard!
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-14 18:22
The previous versions of both apps (Parallels 6 and Fusion 3) let you virtualize Snow Leopard Server but not regular Snow Leopard or any version of Lion. Parallels 7 and Fusion 4 both let you virtualize regular Lion or Lion Server as well as Snow Leopard Server, but not regular Snow Leopard (as you say, that's against Apple's license).
What is the source for your performance numbers? I am trying to find some Fusion 4 benchmarks everywhere, but can't. Trying to decide between Parallels and Fusioin 4.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-14 18:55
The benchmark numbers (a lot of them) were in a reviewer's guide that VMware sent me. They don't appear to have been posted publicly yet.
Andrew  2011-09-15 08:25
Just compare suspend/resume (especially cold one) and any more or less modern game and you will find PD7 much more faster... Sometimes even 2 or 3 times faster.

BTW, I found an amazing new feature in PD7 helping with battery savings - on new MBPs with 2 video adapters it automatically switches to integrated graphics adapters (when cable unplugged) and my mac runs on battery for about 2 hours longer!
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-15 08:29
You've made these comparisons with Fusion 4? Or are you talking about the previous version? Because what you're describing doesn't ring true for me. I had Windows 7 running in both Parallels 7 and Fusion 4 side by side on my Mac yesterday, and although I didn't time it, Fusion seemed much zippier with suspend and resume.
Andrew  2011-09-15 09:59
Yes, did it myself. Just try *cold* resume, when Mac OS is reboot (or caches are purged) in-between suspend and resume.

Edited: just tried once again - it took me 46.3 seconds to resume 1GB W7 Fusion4 VM on newest MBP i7 after host reboot. The same operation takes about 16 seconds in PD7. Hot suspends/resumes are also faster in PD7, though not that dramatically impressive.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-15 10:00
OK, for me, P7 resumed Windows 7 in 11 seconds and F4 in 23. So yes, P7 was faster—but a "cold" (as you call it) resume is something I'd do once in a blue moon, and I don't think a difference of 12 seconds is exactly a deal-breaker.
Wow, that makes me more and more PD7 lover! Fusion4 is way too much behind.
Andrew  2011-09-15 10:05
Actually, it's much more frequent then you think. After you suspend and work for some time in Mac OS your caches are washed away by other applications and the next day you want to resume a VM - you have a cold resume.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-15 10:21
I urge you not to obsess over one figure like that. There are many respects in which Fusion is faster than Parallels, and there are other considerations (ease of use, customer support, licensing terms) besides speed to consider too.
Please tell us exact benchmark names where Fusion is better. I do not advacate for Parallels, but I also just do not see a single benchmark where Fusion would win (5% is ridiculous and statistically meaningless difference).

Heh, Parallels won in IE9 HTML5 benchmarks 4-6x times!...
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-15 17:00
Look, this isn't a review; it's just a new product announcement and I'm telling you what VMware told me. I'm sure that both VMware and others will publish benchmark results in good time. Note that no one is claiming that Fusion 4 is much faster than Parallels 7; they're about even, with each being slightly better in some areas. In any case, as I've said, it's not helpful to get hung up on benchmarks, because they tell only part of the story, and in real world use, most people will never notice the difference in performance between the two.
Glenn Fleishman  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-09-15 17:37
If anyone on this thread is an employee of Parallels, it would be appropriate to disclose that. I understand partisan defense of a given product (one might prefer a Mac to a Windows PC, for instance), but it would be polite to explain one's connection to a product should such a connection exist.
Matti Haveri  2011-09-16 21:56
It seems you have to download the bigger McAfee-bundled version if you want to install the VMware Tools in Linux or other non-Windows OSs because the "light" version does not have them and the on-demand download does not currently work in v4.0.1.

OK, the on-demand download should be fixed in a few days: