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The Next Round in the Virtualization Wars 355

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-this-corner dept.
GvG writes "After making Virtual Server available for free some time ago, Microsoft announced today it is offering Virtual PC as a free (as in beer) download. They also announced a change to the Vista license related to virtualization: Customers who deploy Windows Vista Enterprise have the ability to install up to four (4) copies of the operating system in a virtual machine for a single user on a single device. Even better, nothing in the license requires that Microsoft Virtualization technologies be used - if you want to use a competing product as your Virtualization solution, you still get the four extra licenses for use with VMs."
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The Next Round in the Virtualization Wars

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  • Sorry Mac Users (Score:5, Informative)

    by thedbp (443047) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @12:31AM (#15710577)
    the version of VPC that is freely available only runs on Windows.

    Blarg!
  • What is supported (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nemith (114402) <bennetb@one w e s t .net> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @12:31AM (#15710579) Homepage
    Check out this link as to what will work on VPC and what won't. http://vpc.visualwin.com/ [visualwin.com]
  • by thedbp (443047) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @12:39AM (#15710608)
    Um, NO.

    WINE uses reverse engineered Windows APIs to run Windows apps w/out running a copy of Windows and isn't compatible with a metric shit-ton of software.

    Virtual PC runs a full copy of Windows in a sandboxed environment, great for servers to compartmentalize their various services or for Mac users to run a Windows-only app and is exactly like running Windows on an actual PC.

    Don't you people know how to use Google?
  • Re:What?! (Score:2, Informative)

    by jonoid (863970) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:13AM (#15710720)
    Nope. Unless you bought it in the last couple of weeks or so you would not be entitled to a refund. Since you accepted the price of whatever it costs, you are not entitled to automatically get a lower price once it is lowered (or made free). I doubt Microsoft would be nice enough to refund the money of EVERYONE who bought it.

    It's similar to the example of someone losing their dog and putting up signs offering a reward. If you were to find the dog and give it to them without knowing about the reward, then see the sign and try to claim the reward, you would not be entitled to anything.

    Wow, I actually retained knowledge from law class. Amazing.
  • Re:Sorry Mac Users (Score:3, Informative)

    by nathanh (1214) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:49AM (#15710827) Homepage
    That is a smart move and one that Linux distributions should take note of. Xen potentially has a lot to offer here.

    Red Hat has been bundling Xen for nearly 18 months now.

    Debian has been bundling vserver for nearly 6 months now.

    Sounds to me like Microsoft is playing catchup to the Linux distributions (again).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:51AM (#15710833)
    By the looks of things, it does, in fact, support quite a wide range of *ix-based OS's...
    Have a look for yourself: http://vpc.visualwin.com/ [visualwin.com]

    Missing some of SCO unix server OS's, and some misc client/server distro's that I've only ever heard of in passing, but overall... kinda impressive, for M$. Well done to them. I've not used VPC myself, and I haven't used VMWare since my college days (v4.0, where it ran like a dog on RedHat(choice of OS wasn't up to the students), but even if it only runs half as well as they say does, it'l be more than usable.
  • by julesh (229690) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:50AM (#15710995)
    But how do I do that if I have a Vista system and want to install a copy of XP?

    Microsoft licenses typically allow you to run an older version of the same software in place of the current version if you wish. I'm not sure that this applies to the vista license, but I suspect it does.

    The same question exists if I have an XP system and I want to install an XP virtual machine on it.

    The XP license (at least the corporate one) allows you to run one virtual instance, in the same way the Vista one allows 4. All they're doing here is increasing the numbers.
  • by Kichigai Mentat (588759) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .oknelawok.navi.> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:00AM (#15711019) Homepage Journal
    You'll notice that only the Windows version of VPC is free. Mac users still have to shell out. True, VPC for Mac isn't exactly virtualization (it's straight up emulation), but it's all pretty much buzz words (Yes, I know what the difference is), when you consider that the two products accomplish the same task, and have the same name.
  • Yes. (Score:3, Informative)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:20AM (#15711052)
    I was able to install Tiger_x86 (10.4) under VMWare. Got networking with one of Maxxuss' pathes. Still can't get sound to work though. Other than that, it runs fine in VMWare.
  • Re:What about XP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by akac (571059) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:22AM (#15711059) Homepage
    True if that's the host OS. But for a virtualized host, one wishes it to be as lean as possible to impact the host OS as little as possible.
  • by RShizzle (983535) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:26AM (#15711067) Homepage
    Yes, VPC can run a variety of Linux distributions and is very useful for testing code, or having a secondary operating system. See this http://vpc.visualwin.com/ [visualwin.com] for the full list of supported platforms. However, VMware workstation is still much more configurable and powerful (though not free) and will allow you to run almost every x86 operating system completely unmodified.
  • by Keeper (56691) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @04:06AM (#15711152)
    Uh, no, it doesn't. And I've got the proof sitting right in front of me:

    95% - idle
    2% - Virtual PC.exe
    2% - taskmgr.exe
    1% - svchost.exe
  • by lukas84 (912874) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:13AM (#15711412) Homepage
    sysprep isn't a third party tool.
  • Re:OSS is working (Score:2, Informative)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:18AM (#15711416) Homepage
    IIRC, if you've licensed windows server 2003 enterprise, you can run up to 4 instances in Virtual Server 2005.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @08:37AM (#15711779)
    If the guest OS is Vista beta 2, then yes, it will spike 100% CPU utilization. But that's due to a known issue between Vista and the existing VPC Additions drivers. If you go to http://connect.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] and sign up for the Virtual Server R2 beta then you can download the new Vista additions and then problem goes away.

    I run several OSes in VPC. WinXP, Vista, Fedora, QNX, and I'm still trying with ReactOS. None of them are resource hogs for the host machine, except with RAM, but that's to be expected.
  • Old PC-controlled laboratory instruments. If the instrument still works, why (a) pay for a new instrument, (b) train technicians on the new instrument, (c) possibly buy new mounting hardware, (c) train technicians with new versions of the software, (d) come up with new calibration parameters for the new instrument, (e) work out new statistical correlations for the different sample types' properties, (f) get the instrument certified for certain industrial applications (automotive, medical, etc.), (g) possibly buy software to convert between older and newer data file formats?

    Some lab instruments will run for a good 10-20 years... there are probably still a few DEC PDP's and Apple II/GS's out there connected to instruments somewhere!
  • by ysachlandil (220615) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:04AM (#15711919)
    Xen version 3 and higher allow for unmodified guests, no need to 'enlighten' the guests anymore. This works only with VT-x enabled Intel chips for now...

    --Blerik
  • by Xocet_00 (635069) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:04AM (#15711925)
    Just in case you're interested, you can pop open the .vmx file for your virtual machine and add the following line:

    svga.vramSize = "67108864"

    That'll give you a 64 Meg card. Just enter any number in bytes to get whatever amount of video RAM you want.

    For the curious, you can also add

    mks.enabled3d = "TRUE"

    and enable (very) basic 3D support. I mean basic though. I think the spinning cube in dxdiag works, but that's about it. Anyway, VMWare is a bit more video-capable than it seems, but you do have to change a couple configuration items.
  • Re:OSS is working (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:10AM (#15711951)
    Xen runs Windows just fine, and has since about version 3, if you have sufficiently modern hardware. I use it every day.

    (modern == anything from Intel in the past year or so, or anything from AMD in the past six months)
  • Re:OSS is working (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fitzghon (578350) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @09:49AM (#15712186)
    Actually, Xen 3.0 with hardware virtualization support on your CPU can run Windows just fine. In HVC mode, getting Windows to run under Xen is actually pretty easy. I have a computer on a desk next to me that is running Windows XP under Xen right now.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:11AM (#15712320)

    Could someone explain to me why are VMWare and Microsoft rushing to give some of their virtualization products away free?

    VMWare makes money selling really cool management suites for their virtualization technology. They figure if they give away the low-end stuff, then everyone will use it and those with money will buy their high-end stuff, which works with it. They are otherwise competing with several free, open-source implementations which would take over if they tried to charge for them.

    MS does not like the fact that VMWare is king here and they don't want open source taking another market either. As a result they want to make sure everyone is using their solution and it chokes out the rest of the market. Once that is accomplished they can start charging and developing competitors to VMWare's management stuff.

    The short answer is, they don't want you to move to a free, open source solution because they can't make as much money then.

  • Re:OSS is working (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @10:18AM (#15712364)
    'we swear someone did it in a lab but we can't prove it or tell you how to do it'

    People seem to have forgotten that the Xen project was originally sponsored by Microsoft. So the Xen people made Windows work the same way they made Linux work: by modifying the source. But for obvious reasons they couldn't release their changes.

    As other commenters have pointed out, this is history now. Xen runs Windows fine on recent processors.

  • by zariok (470553) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @06:18PM (#15715143)
    Short answer: Save massive amounts of $$ of new hardware.

    As a developer, it's VERY cost effective. Load OS, snapshot, configure, snapshot, load your app and test... if you find something, back off to previous snapshot (takes seconds) and load app again, test. Otherwise you're spending many hours reloading os (or ghosting) to get a 'virgin' test environment.

    As I work solely in Linux (with exceptions of gaming), getting my windows environment for development / testing... power up the VM. "Pause" when done ... seconds to boot and "sleep". If I want to move my dev windows environment, copy the files from my laptop to desktop... boot vmware with that image. woot!

    You can also setup a virtual network, load 3-4 or 10 virtual machines (limited to your ram for the most part)... test out new servers (ie failover, load balancing, etc) without having 4 $4000 machines humming away.

    As a user, it's easy... do anything "questionable" in a vm... if anything bad happends, blast that image (or reload back to a snapshot) and try again.

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