We're pleased to welcome our latest long-term sponsor, VMware, the company that is not just the latest entrant into the virtualization market for Intel-based Macs, but also the overall market leader in virtualization.
Without a doubt, the biggest story in the Macintosh world over the last year has been the switch to Intel processors, largely because it introduced virtualization to the platform. Although most Mac users think of virtualization as giving them the capability to run Windows programs on a Mac, it more generally encapsulates an entire operating system within a virtual machine - the virtualization application pretends to be a physical computer. With virtualization, you can run multiple operating systems simultaneously, but you can also distribute virtual machines with pre-configured software to many users in an organization, test software in a clean environment and easily revert back to a clean state after running a test, move complex server configurations between different computers, and more. In short, virtualization is important stuff, and I expect that we'll be seeing more of it on the Mac.
VMware Fusion, slated for release in August 2007 but available now for download in Release Candidate form and for pre-order at 50 percent off, is VMware's first Mac product. Although it's too soon to review it or compare it to the competition, it looks extremely promising. I particularly like the Unity feature that eliminates the Windows desktop entirely. I don't like using Windows, and when I want to run a Windows application, I'm interested only in that application, not in anything else related to Windows. That's what Unity does: it breaks Windows applications out of the Windows desktop and lets them mix with Mac applications (check out this YouTube video if you're having trouble visualizing this). They can appear in the Dock, show up as individual windows in Exposé, and even accept drag-and-drop from other applications. Sure, they still look like Windows applications, but that's a small price to pay for letting you avoid Windows itself.
Thanks to VMware for their support of TidBITS and the Mac community!