VMware Fusion 2

I bit the bullet and downloaded the VMware Fusion 2 release candidate today. For completeness, I also trashed my Ubuntu 7.04 Server virtual machine and installed Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop. Here's some thoughts after a few hours of use.

Installation

During the machine setup, I was prompted to do a "Linux Easy Install." The software auto-populated my full name and username, and asked me for a new password. I let it do its thing, having already pointed it to the Ubuntu installation ISO. A short while later, with no additional interaction, I was at the Gnome login screen. The username and password I had chosen during installation worked great.

Interface

Screenshot of Linux apps running in seamless mode

The feature that finally pushed me over the 2.0 edge was Unity support in Linux. In the past I have only run server applications on my VM, but I had to see Linux Unity in action, layering my Linux applications with Mac OS X applications. It doesn't disappoint.

At the other end of the spectrum is "Headless" mode. I've been waiting for this for a long time. When I'm using the server capabilities of my VM, I don't want an extra application cluttering up my alt-tab. Now: "Enter Headless," quit VMWare Fusion. Simple. I assume the VM will suspend if I shut down the computer, but I haven't tested it yet.

Screenshot of the Virtual Machine Library

The new library window is a bit more attractive, and the machine settings list is more compact. The list also shows a live thumbnail of your VM's display, be it console or graphical. Along the same lines, the console display can now be resized to zoom the terminal text in or out.

Screenshot of Gnome's app launch menu in the Mac OS X Dock

The Gnome application menu is also accessible from the Mac OS X Dock. Apps can be launched in Unity mode without restoring the Gnome desktop.

Seamless cursor movement between the Linux and Mac desktop, along with VM resolution adjusting to the size of the machine window, are also great features, though I suspect they were present in Fusion 1.0.

Some Other Section

Looks like the VMware Fusion team has been up to good things since the first release. I haven't yet tried Parallels, but I can't see a reason to try anything new from where I'm sitting.