Virtualisation vendor VMware has announced the general availability of VMware Fusion, a software product that allows Apple users to run Windows-based applications on the Apple Mac platform.
Fusion is a "virtual machine" that allows users to run Mac, Windows, Linux, NetWare and Solaris-based applications in parallel on a Mac, without having to reboot their computers.
Paul Harrapin, managing director for VMware Australia, said many Apple users have been frustrated by an inability to use applications that aren't developed specifically for the Mac OS.
"You [were] limited in not being able to use the applications that were only developed for the Windows environment," he said. "Now, you can run any form of application on the Mac seamlessly without having to reboot all the time."
Harrapin said that while there are always exceptions, generally any application written for the x86 environment should run on Fusion's virtual machine.
The beta for Fusion was downloaded 200,000 times since the start of the year, the company said.
VMware isn't alone in offering Windows apps on the Mac.
Last week, Parallels announced the availability of Parallels Desktop for Mac -- which does the same job as Fusion, but only for Windows apps (not Linux, NetWare, et al).
Apple has also released, in beta form, its own virtualisation solution -- called Boot Camp. Boot Camp enables users to run Windows applications on their Mac -- but not seamlessly (ie, only when they reboot).
The full-featured version of Boot Camp will be included as part of Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system, due out in October.
Harrapin would not speculate on whether Boot Camp might negate the need for VMware Fusion among some users. "I can't really talk about what other companies are doing," he said.
Users can today download the VMware Fusion product at a pre-order special of US$40. The packaged product cost US$79.95 and will be distributed in Australia by Ingram Micro from the end of August.