A day in the life of Danny D'Amours

VMWare Workstation 6.5 Beta – Unity on Linux

Unity for VMWare Workstation

I previously mentioned that the upcoming VMWare Workstation 6.5 was going to include a feature VMWare’s Fusion product called Unity which allow a virtual machine applications to be detached and shown in its own host window. This feature allow “foreign” applications on a virtual machine to be treated more like a native application and so can greatly enhance the experience of using applications from another OS.

Download the beta

Well it appears that VMWare Workstation 6.5 Beta 1 is now available for download and testing.

The beta currently only has support for Windows guest operating systems so you cannot run detached Linux applications but my usage will only be running Windows apps on a Linux host anyway. I do only have a few Windows administration applications that I require access to regularly. In the beta Unity claims to support Linux Compviz window effects for guest applications as well as support for virtual desktops which means that you can move guest apps onto any virtual desktop.

More features to enjoy

Additional features include:

  • support for certain card readers
  • link state propagation which allows a roaming laptop to propogate the network state changes (connection, IP address, etc) to be automatically reflected in guest VMs
  • improved 3D graphics support in the guest VMs

First impressions

After downloading the beta, the first thing that I notice is that the vmware config which is required after every kernel upgrade has been integrated into the workstation startup. Yeah!!!

Workstation 6.5 beta also opened up my 6.0 Windows XP image without a problem and after a quick install of the updated VMWare Tools, I was able to enable the Unity feature and use Windows applications in detached mode.

Here is a screenshot of Workstation 6.5 running on my laptop with MS Word and Windows Notepad running in detached mode.

VMWare WS 6.5 - Unity on Linux

Is everything perfect?

There have been a few complaints on the message boards about the slowness of the beta due to debug mode being enabled but that seems to be a reasonable compromise. After all this is a beta….

There are also a some acknowledged problems with graphical glitches with windows and some known beta limitations such as lack of multi-monitor support.
Hopefully beta 2 will smooth out some of these rough patches.

See this blog post for more information : Workstation 6.5 Beta 1 – Now with 100% more Unity!

Update (May 3rd): For anybody who is interested, it appears that it IS possible to remove debug mode on the Workstation 6.5 beta 1. I haven’t tried this personally but other claim to have had success.

Update (October 1st): After four months of beta testing, VMWare has finally released Workstation 6.5 to the world.

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April 25th, 2008 Posted by Danny D'Amours | Tech | 4 comments


  1. Came to your site by doing a Google search for Fredericton Flood and glad I found this article. Great news as I love all the VMWare applications. It’s nice seeing this feature as I’ve seen VMFusion and love how it integrates so nicely with your VM.

    Comment by Josh | May 1, 2008

  2. Thanks Josh. VMWare does have quite the nice set of virtualization applications. We use it at work quite extensively for server consolidation (VMWare ESX) and also for testing platform configurations or simply to run applications from multiple platforms (VMWare Server and VMWare Workstation).

    The Workstation beta is still a little rough around the edges but by the time release comes around it should be quite nice. It will be nice to be able to co-mingle different OS applications with each other.

    Comment by Danny D'Amours | May 6, 2008

  3. I’ve been using vmware 6.5 for some time now, and I like it very much. But I really want to remove the debug mode, because it greatly slows down my computer. I can’t access the the webpage with the link, vmware website says I’m unauthorized. Does anyone know how to do this?

    And VMware keeps saying I’m missing several 3d features ‘wich are required to use 3d graphics on the guest OS’ altough I’ve installed VMware Tools, and my grapicscard is fine. anyone got a solution to these two problems?

    Comment by Fleuris | May 16, 2008

  4. Fleuris: VMWare has apparently reorganized all of their beta programs and their forums around. The forums are now no longer public and I can’t seem to access them either (thanks VMWare!). Maybe I should just give up on Workstation 6.5.

    However, I did find another post on ubuntuforums.org (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=744239 ) that does detail how to disable debug mode.

    I haven’t run into the issue with the 3d graphics error yet. Can I assume that you are using Windows as the guest OS? I can’t say that I’ve tried any 3D applications on it yet. Sorry.

    Comment by Danny D'Amours | May 29, 2008

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