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
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.
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.