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VMWare puts the pressure on Microsoft

It might be wise for Microsoft to allow people to distribute their own demo-wares on pre-configured Windows 2003 servers using the 90-day evaluation copy of Windows 2003 server. If they don't, companies will just have to distribute Linux instead.

I've been using VMWare long before Microsoft bought Virtual PC from Connectix, and I use it to this day.  It's not that I have anything against Microsoft's solution, it's just that VMWare has worked very well for my lab testing platform where I test everything from FreeBSD appliances to Linux to Windows Server and no tools are available to convert VMWare images to Virtual PC images.  VMWare's recent announcement of the free VMWare Player is about to make things even tougher for Microsoft because it puts an already popular product in the hands of the masses.  If Microsoft wants to remain competitive, they would have to come out with their own free Virtual PC Player.  Microsoft is already bundling Virtual PC in to their enterprise edition of Windows Vista, so the free Virtual PC Player for existing versions of Windows isn't really that much of a stretch.

Our own David Berlind feels that everyone should try VMWare Player and I couldn't agree more.  I would only add that it is the ultimate demo tool for complex software that requires complex installation procedures.  VMWare even provides a Virtual Machine Center where vendors like BEA, IBM, Oracle, and others show case their products preinstalled on a Linux Server instance.  This is truly a stroke of genius because it makes it possible to demonstrate software that would often take a day or more to install and puts it in a cooked package that's ready to deploy and test.  This also makes it possible to showcase Linux and FreeBSD to a Windows audience that hates the sight of nasty configuration scripts or commands that are so alien to them.  It also gives Linux and FreeBSD a leg up on Windows since independent vendors cannot just package a Windows 2003 Virtual Machine with their demo-ware pre-loaded on it.  It might be wise for Microsoft to allow people to distribute their own demo-wares on pre-configured Windows 2003 servers using the 90-day evaluation copy of Windows 2003 server.  If they don't, companies will just have to distribute Linux instead.