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VMware: Another Netscape? 627

An anonymous reader writes " This CRN article states that Microsoft is about to buy Connectix and enter the server consolidation market. Connectix makes virtual machines products that compete with those of VMware. Quote: 'The technology will be integrated into the Windows code, sources said.' Will Microsoft be able to pull this one off? Will their virtual machines run operating systems other than Microsoft's?"
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VMware: Another Netscape?

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  • Great... (Score:4, Funny)

    by vinsci ( 537958 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:22PM (#5337834) Journal
    ...now we can have a tail-recursive win32 delay loop.
  • by psyklopz ( 412711 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:22PM (#5337845)
    if virtual pc will be suspended for the mac.

    are they more concerned about stopping adoption of os x, or more concerned about selling windows licenses to mac users?
    • by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:26PM (#5337893) Homepage
      That's silly. Mac users buying Virtual PC buy a copy of Windows, too.

      Microsoft would have no reason to want to stop this.

      • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:34PM (#5337977)
        No, we don't all really buy a copy of Windows. Some of us just buy the cheap ass version with PC-DOS and then install our borrowed copy of Windows. I know that's how I go about it.

        Will the cheap ass version vanish I wonder?
      • by mgs1000 ( 583340 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:34PM (#5337980) Journal
        Yeah, and we know that Microsoft would never sacrifice profits in order to put a competitor out of business.
      • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:30PM (#5339144) Homepage
        Microsoft would have no reason to want to stop VPC users buying windows, at all, no.

        However, Microsoft also has no reason to want certain things about VPC to stay the way they are. For example, the fact it is screamingly fast. For a long time, one of the big bragging points mac users had was that we could run windows, *emulated*, at about the speed as a windows machine with half the mhz. (I don't know how current models perform.) That's really, really impressive insofar as emulation goes. Microsoft also has no reason to want VPC to continue to be as clean and effective as it has been.

        What i am saying is that people don't come to VPC on a lark: it is an expensive piece of software, and people come to it becuase they need to get something out of it, usually to run some windows-only program. This means VPC's quality can suffer, and Microsoft will have no reason to consider this a bad thing-- at the moment, VPC has no serious competitors, so people will keep buying VPC.

        Microsoft also has no reason *not* to stop Virtual PC from being able so cleanly, seamlessly, and easily to emulate, say, Linux. They have no reason to make it easy to run a non-MS operating system on your mac.

        There is also no reason not for Microsoft to continue as they have and then, after a couple versions, slowly let wierd bugs, incompatibilities, etc, creep into VPC., until mac users *still* can run windows, but they only do so becuase they need to run windows for some reason-- because VPC has become enough of a pain that the PPC's wonderful talent for emulation no longer seems like much of an advantage over the x86.

        Am i saying Microsoft is going to do this? Well.. no. In fact, i don't think they will, becuase macslash is reporting [macslash.org] that apparently the VPC team will report directly to the MacBU, not to seattle. This means that they will continue, almost certainly, to make VPC as much a quality product as possible. So there goes that conspiracy theory out the window right there.

        However, it does bother me that Microsoft is able to take big, important groups like Connectix and Softway (Interix) and buy them up just like that. Yes, they are buying them for apparently benign purposes. But what it seems like to me is that while Microsoft is not buying these companies so they can quash or disable them, they are buying them so that they can keep their eye on them. Potentially, something like Interix or VPC could become a big stepstone in some kind of major migration away from Microsoft. if Microsoft owns those companies, however, if it looks like such a thing is going to happen, MS can take steps to prevent it, so long as MS always keeps the quality of those companies' products so high that there never is a reason for a competitor to arise. Threat management.

        This brings me to my question: how on earth is MS going to make Palladium work with VPC? Palladium becomes pointless unless those keys are kept secret, and if MS embeds those keys into a macintosh executable then extracting them will be trivial. So how is MS planning to make Palladium work in VPC? Are they going to require a PCI card with a palladium chip in it, or what? That would still toss out Palladium's concept of the secure keyboard-to-processor-to-monitor path, but it would at least keep the keys locked safely in silicon. Or, much more likely, are they just going to not let VPC run palladium apps, since the Mac OS is not "secure"?

        So, here's a slightly more likely conspiracy theory. Perhaps MS [only partially of course-- i've no doubt they're mainly buying Connectix for the reasons they say they are] likes the idea of buying Connectix because it removes the risk Connectix will attempt to emulate Palladium within VPC? I mean, Palladium is going to be damned hard to crack, but if anyone at this exact moment in time has both the resources and the reason to crack palladium, it's Connectix or nobody. I really haven't the foggiest idea what Connectix was planning to do about Palladium, but they have experience at cracking closed systems-- they reverse-engineered the PSX. That expertise, and a few hours rented time with an electron microscope to pull on the Palladium's keys, and suddenly MS is no longer the sole source or vendor of their Palladium platform.

        Would that have actually happened? I have no idea. But it certainly won't now. Maybe not a big deal, but certainly convenient for Microsoft either way, no?

        Just like it's "convenient" that Bungie's excellent cross-platform game development library, rather than being sold off with Oni and Myth, is currently buried somewhere deep in the bowels of the earth..
    • by LordYUK ( 552359 ) <(jeffwright821) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:30PM (#5337939)
      they SELL windows liscenses??? Gee, and I thought the .txt file with the key in it was included with EVERY copy of windows...

      who knew???

      of coure, I better not let the BSA hear me say that, they might give me a merit badge in thievery!
    • by Ford Fulkerson ( 223443 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @07:21PM (#5339503)
      Do you remember the last time when Connectix sold it's Playstation emulator to Sony.

      There was lots of talk about how good this would be, since Sony could cerate an official platform for selling PSX games to mac and pc users, since Sony was supposed to lose money on consoles this would make perfect sense. Of course, this did not happen, Sony chose to kill it instead.

      Now, why do I get the feeling that the exact same thing will happen again?
  • So. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Znonymous Coward ( 615009 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:22PM (#5337846) Journal
    What will happed the Connectix's products for the Macintosh and OS 2?

  • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:23PM (#5337852) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft To Buy Connectix To Enter Server Consolidation Market

    Assimilation to be announced Thursday
  • by mmacdona86 ( 524915 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:23PM (#5337853)
    If you are running 50 instances of NT Server on a single box, how many NT licenses do you need?
  • Most likely (Score:5, Informative)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:25PM (#5337868) Homepage Journal
    It's most likely desireable because they want to be able to run partitioned servers, much like one can do now with VMWare. Of course, I'm sure they won't mind 'embracing and extending' the product out of Mac-Space. It is probably the core virtualization technology that they are after though.
  • Better check out the Bochs project as mentioned here [slashdot.org]
  • You know... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kappelmeister ( 464986 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:25PM (#5337871)
    that they're just trying to find some way to make it look like typing "ls" on a Linux shell gives you a BSOD.

  • by banal avenger ( 585337 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:25PM (#5337875)
    According to MacCentral [macworld.com]. This could be good for the Mac, meaning the development team would have more access to Windows code and be able to guess how things are working less. Or it could be bad. And I have no idea what to think. Microsoft still makes money off of the license that goes with the sale of VirtualPC.
    • Why should they need access to the source code. Virtual PC emulates a x86 machine. They should be using the informaiton they got from Intel or AMD on how the x86 works. Microsoft Windows won't tell them anything.
    • by mfago ( 514801 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:40PM (#5338042)
      Given MS's history, I think it is a safe bet that this will be a _bad_ thing for VirtualPC Mac.

      At the very least, I fully expect one to be required to purchase it with a Windows license.

      I personally think VPC (all platforms) will go away entirely.

      How did this get by the FTC?
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:53PM (#5338181) Homepage Journal
      Or it could be bad. And I have no idea what to think. Microsoft still makes money off of the license that goes with the sale of VirtualPC.

      I saw the article already, but based upon M$ history and the announced integration of yet another application into already bloated and non-secure mess that Windows is, I foresee future news, with a familiar flavor. I.e. "this exploit allows anyone to take over any instance of blahblahblah".

      Yeah, they also said they would continue to support Mac computers, but is this something you really want? I couldn't help, but notice a comment that 'they don't intend to kill the software'. Really... It's just one more sword to dangle over Apple, when Steve gets too uppity.

      I don't see any long-term winners here, other than those selling Connectix's assets.

  • Only natural (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:25PM (#5337877)
    Of course MS will buy one of the implementors of this kind of technology. Look at Citrix. Of course, it will run well, 1 or 2 versions later. Of course, it will NOT run other OSes as well, or even at all. There will be undocumented hacks, which might make it work better.

    The problem is that MS stuff doesn't run on anything but x86 these days. I want a real hardware platform, like IBM makes, where I can carve out a few LPARs on a 32-way box with 8GB of RAM. Then I'll run Windows200x on it, with my other OS in that. Real hardware redundancy, etc.

    Using Linux as an example--
    Its far better to run Linux and Win-in-VMWare (free + VMWare) than MS and Linux-in-its-VMWare-clone. Do you trust MS stuff to be the core OS?
    • Re:Only natural (Score:3, Informative)

      by ostiguy ( 63618 )
      The Unisys ES7000 can run 1 32 way or as many as 8 4 way win2k machines. hardware partitioning, don't know how dynamic it is for software instances.

      Don't understand your citrix comment comes from. MS didn't buy them. Citrix is thin client stuff anyhow, nothing to do with virtualization.

      MS does run on non x86 - there have been Itanium revs for devel use for over a year. IBM nor Dec were stellar partners, back when their chips could run NT.

      Does linux support hot swap PCI? NT has since 4.0. If linux doesn't, I can't see how it would make sense as the underlying os. I would have the utmost confidence in MS stuff as the core OS - I would think about not assigning an IP to it, and managing the box via KVM over IP, or something else, so security hotfixes are a non issue.

  • Excuse me (Score:2, Funny)

    by OYAHHH ( 322809 )
    Instead of:

    "...Microsoft is about to buy Connectix and enter the server consolidation market."

    Doesn't the author mean to say:

    "...Microsoft is about to buy Connectix and enter the server decimation market."

  • by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:26PM (#5337891) Homepage
    Comparing this to the browser battle isn't a good example. I doubt that MS will allow other OSs to run, thus VMWare will still have the market for running Non MS OSs on Win2k/XP. Plus, I doubt that MS will offer any functionality where you can run a MS OS on top of a non MS OS (although they may, since they'll still sell licenses in that situation), thus VMWare keeps that market too.

    VMWare isn't going away. They just may take a hit on the running multiple Windows on Windows market.
  • Who cares if the vms run other operating systems besides windows. I mean sure, if it ran linux/unix/os2 or somethign like that it would be pretty awesome. Bit if they put one in that can run DOS reliably and effectively I'm down. It's tough to play dos games since they usually require a seperate dos gaming box. If they do it right, with win 3.1/dos vms it will totally rock. Adding other stuff like linux is just icing. I mean I've already got Cygwin, DOS is what I want.
    • One of the cool things about VirtualPC instead of VMWare is it comes with IBM PC-DOS, so you can play dos games right out of the box.

      I used VMWare for a while, and just got VirtualPC. It really is so much better. All versions of OS/2 install perfectly, DOS games run flawlessly. Sound Blaster support is pretty well emulated.

  • by Beetjebrak ( 545819 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:27PM (#5337901) Homepage
    I wonder who will be the first to lose their job when the .NET Server crashes, thereby taking down dozens of virtual machines.

    I sometimes run VMWare on Linux, but that's just to play Ultima 7. Can't say Linux ever crashed down from under my Avatar. Win2K actually did, using the same VMware version.. ominous at best. I'm not touching it with a 10 foot pole!
  • Solaris (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:27PM (#5337903)
    'The technology will be integrated into the Windows code, sources said.' Will Microsoft be able to pull this one off? Will their virtual machines run operating systems other than Microsoft's?

    This is most likely Microsoft's response to Solaris Containers [sun.com] which are expected to be shipping in Solaris 10. Of course, both of these are simply implementations of ideas pioneered by IBM with VM/CMS.

    The VM approach makes a lot of sense even if you only plan to use it to run multiple copies of the native OS within them. The advantages are twofold. Firstly, it prevents one malfunctioning application from impacting other applications - even on Unix this is a serious problem, since one process can devour the CPU, memory, disk space, etc. Secondly, it allows resources to be redistributed or added on the fly, especially if your VM is seamless enough to span nodes.
  • by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:28PM (#5337910) Homepage Journal
    What's wrong with this? Now maybe we can finally get a PlayStation emulator [techweb.com] built into Windows.
  • Apple's Switch? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by E1ven ( 50485 ) <e1ven@e1veBALDWINn.com minus author> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:29PM (#5337929) Homepage
    I wonder if this is part of an attack against Apple?

    As those of you not familiar with the Mac Marketplace might not know, Connectix makes the popular Mac application Virtual-PC. Virtual PC allows Apple owners to emulate a complete PC enviornment on their Apple machines, at somewhat reasonable speed.

    They seem to have had favorable licensing with Microsoft in the past, as they offer pre-installed images for certain OS systems, such as Windows XP, 2000, etc. While they do (I assume) pay MS for each license, it does help people to break the MS dependance gradually, as they can still run their old applications under emulation.

    If they eleminated this crutch for people switching to apple, and then later discontinued Office... Apple would lose most of it's corporate market.

    So- As useful as this technology is in the Server market (and keep in mind this is closer to Bochs than VMware), I can see MS execs encouraging this buyout to help keep control over the future of Apple.

    • Re:Apple's Switch? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mfago ( 514801 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:46PM (#5338109)
      Ever pay for VPC? $250 -- $200 of that is for the Windows license. MS didn't cut Connectix any deals.

      Of course you _could_ buy the $50 DOS version and install your own copy of Windows. I expect that version to be discontinued real quick. Or to include a "free copy of Windows" -- for $250.
    • Re:Apple's Switch? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:32PM (#5338561)
      I wonder if this is part of an attack against Apple?

      I seriously doubt it. Apple is no threat to Microsoft, not even a remote one. They still make Mac software, including it's only real office suite. How can they be attacking Apple with that state of affairs?

      Microsoft are shielded from Apple by simple economics, which haven't changed in a decade. Windows apps won't run on anything other than Windows - if you happen to run your copy of Windows on a Mac via Virtual PC, what do Microsoft care? You're still using their software, you're still paying them for the priviledge.

      The only thing that is a real threat to Microsoft these days are Wine with Linux. Wine is obviously not really possible without the supporting base of free software it uses, hence the fact that it's a threat.

      Wine on Linux/FreeBSD is basically the only way you can run Win32 programs without paying for Windows itself in a completely legal fashion. If Wine were to run on a Mac, maybe then it'd be an issue, but that's a large task technically. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple tried that at some point in the next few years if Virtual PC dies. Thank god Wine is under the LGPL.

    • Not that important (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gorimek ( 61128 )
      Virtual PC is a nice piece of software that sells a fair number of copies, but doubt it's installed on more than 1% of all Macs. Killing or not killing it simply isn't a big deal either way in any Windows/Apple war.
  • Bad Bad Bad Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:29PM (#5337932) Homepage Journal
    I think MS's biggest problem is they try to clump too many things into one, that and a companies hierarchy can scale only so much. Trying to add something like this that is extraneous for the most part is just going to screw things up. It's not a criticism of MS, I don't think anyone could do what they are trying to do well. It's simply too much.
  • Connectix makes virtual PC for windoze and Mac.
    This sounds like another way to bully Apple.
  • I wonder if MS could make direct hardware access and DirectX support in the virtual sessions. VMware can't do this. With direct hardware access, the guest OS' would be faster

    It would be nice to play some old computer games in an older OS and emulating a Voodoo card with my newest video card.
  • by myov ( 177946 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:31PM (#5337949)
    After all, each copy of VPC represents another Windows license (for the most part). I would think it would be to their advantage to get as many mac users as possible using VPC.

    Or maybe it's just a way to extend the Windows monopoly, and maybe DRM/Paladium/etc. A few years ago, I was in a store where a customer was returning an iMac, complaining that it was constantly crashing. Turned out that the user ran VPC full time, and didn't know what the MacOS was.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:33PM (#5337958)
    A number of things come to mind here.

    1. Clearly this anti-trust stuff does not prevent Microsoft from buying up competitors.

    2. Given this, what is to stop them simply buying ALL the competition? They're rich enough.

    3. Profit for Microsoft.

    The only way that Netscape could compete with them was by opening up their source. That's what gives us Mozilla. Could it be that the economy has got so lopsided that the only way to not get bought (or crushed) by Microsoft is to open your code and hope that all the programmers worldwide won't get indidivually bought off the project?

    Really, all you free-market guys out there - how does this work? When do we get normality again?
  • Coincidentally, about 3 days ago I installed Connectix's Virtual PC product. It appears to be very Windows-oriented; Connectix sells licensed "system images" with various flavours of Windows pre-installed. For the purposes of a uni project I tried to install Mandrake 7.2 on my virtual PC, giving it a healthy 64MB of RAM and a 10 gig HDD. The install did pretty well until the X configuration part, when it asked for my video card -- it totally gagged; I mean, what graphics card was I supposed to choose on this virtual machine? Nothing I tried worked, and the install eventually fell over. Apparently VMWare supplies its own drivers for X; I don't know whether connectix does as I ceased experimenting at that point. Anybody else been more successful?

    On the other hand, the text-mode stuff worked fine...
  • Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:33PM (#5337968) Journal
    This is something that should be integrated with the operating system. I'm dying for Apple to dump money into MacOnLinux, port it to Mac OS X, and make it use a hardware optimized QuartzGL -> NativeOS' OpenGL pathway. Shouldn't even be hard for them. Samuel Rydh just doesn't have that much time in the day.

    It'd make me much more likely to buy an Apple desktop, and I'd certainly shell out an extra $100 for the product itself
  • bundling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pyros ( 61399 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:34PM (#5337978) Journal
    Ok, I have no problem with Microsoft buying Connectix. I do have a problem with them bundling it back into the Windows OS code. It seems like Microsoft's usual tactic to take over a market they see someone else do well in (but competitor, integrate into OS, etc). Who should I write to? Judge Kollar-Kotelly, FCC, my Congressional reps?
  • So far, microsoft hasn't even tried to add any multi-platform filesystem support, much less operating systems. Besides, what would a windows user want to run? Unix is so standardized, and the only real draw is a good stable os (please, dont try to tell me XP is stable), not the apps. MacOS would be a challege to run, because it's a whole different arcitecture, and Apple will raise a stink if M$ tries that.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:36PM (#5338009)
    First it was failover because you couldn't put more than one server process on a Windows box and get 7/24/365 uptime. They fell over far too often. So run 2 identical boxes and WHEN one failed, the other took over. The large Sun, IBM, and HP boxes can run 64 CPUs without a problem and hundreds of server processes for 7/24/365.25.

    But Microsoft wants to say it can do this too. Enter Conectix. Now you can hide those duplicate servers in one box! Yeah, scalable and 7/24/365.25 reliability and your support budget will be really small. I can see the press releases coming out of eWeak and C/Net now.

  • by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:37PM (#5338017) Homepage Journal
    Could this be a move by Microsoft to buy up the rights to Connectix's Virtual Game Station (a PSX emulator) and port it to the Xbox? I'm not sure if it'd be an advantage or a disadvantage, but they *could* conveniently not get the PSX copy protection to work properly.

    Connectix VGS was once the best and most promising of the Playstation emulators, until Sony bought up the company and squashed the project. Does anyone else think this is a factor in MS's decision?
    • Sony bought VGS outright a year or two ago. It belongs to Sony, not connectix or microsoft, and I'm positive none of this has anything whatsoever to do with the merger.

      Besides, it's pretty common knowledge that the money in the console world is made selling the games. Why would MSFT want to widen the PSX's installed userbase?
  • I don't think VMWare has anything to worry about. My guess is that MS is going to use the technology to build a VM-based Terminal Services-type product (instead of the WinStation-based ones that exist today).

  • Trivia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@viate x a s . com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:39PM (#5338031) Homepage
    Sony bought Connectix to bury their Virtual GameStation product, which allowed PSX games to run on Mac and PC. It's kinda scary and sad when the only good commercial emulators are bought by those in which they emulate in order to smash them.

    Or perhaps Microsoft will do something good this time...

  • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:41PM (#5338055) Homepage Journal
    VMWare couldn't ever become another netscape.

    They sell their software, and people actually buy it.
  • I don't know what will happen to this product. I suppose it will be bad for a lot of people if it simply goes away. I know that I used it a LOT when I first switched to OS X, but the good news (for me at least, and I suspect for others as well) is that I've hardly used it at all recently. OS X has matured enough, and enough software has become available, that my reason for needing VirtualPC in the first place (to run apps that had no equivalent on the Mac) isn't really there anymore.
  • Will their virtual machines run operating systems other than Microsoft's?

    At first yes, but with a few bugs which they promise to fix real quick (if you get the Service Pack hotfix to XP, which brings a few other nasties with it, Paladium, Media Player, etc)... but over a year of so they'll quietly drop what they call "support for legacy products" (ie anything not delivering a large profit margin to MS, Windows 95, OS/2 and any OS ending in the letters "ix")... anyone remember the nasty bits of code to deliberately break DR-DOS ??


  • by MWoody ( 222806 )
    Now I can run all those Linux- and Mac-exclusive games in Windows! Gosh! I mean, now I can play... er... hmm...
  • Favorite quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Khan ( 19367 )
    "Microsoft has responded to a need customers have asked for," said one source also familiar with the deal. "It will provide server consolidation, software distribution and better development, and they are moving to address that."

    Obviously, these "customers" have never tried VMware which is one of the best killer apps I have used in a LONG time. I enjoy running W2K in VMware on my Mandrake box here at work. It nice to not have to reboot the entire PC when windows crashes. I can still do other pats of my job while the windows partition is booting. This is just another attempt by MS to own EVERYTHING that they don't already own. Hey MS, leave these guys alone you jerk offs!
  • Big Bucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chunkwhite86 ( 593696 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:46PM (#5338105)
    Obviously this is another ploy to charge absurd amounts of money for a JAWV (Just Another Windows Version).

    If your goal is run many OS instances on the same hardware (in a production server environment), why don't you just get an IBM mainframe? They are MUCH more reliable than tinker-toy x86 servers, and IBM has made a name for themselves lately selling Linux on their mainframes.

    Integrating virtual machine software with the Windows OS sounds like an answer to the wrong question.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:46PM (#5338107) Homepage Journal
    It is kind of curious that Microsoft would choose Connectix's product for its virtualization. For those not familiar with it -- Connectix Virtual PC is a little more elaborate than VMware because it actually emulates the i386 CPU in software. This is why it works, for example, on a Macintosh, while VMware doesn't.

    Now, it should be patently obvious that Microsoft doesn't want you running Linux-on-Windows, Windows-on-Linux, Windows-on-Mac, or anything other than Windows-on-Windows. So you have to wonder what they're up to, here.

    When you don't have cross-OS stuff to worry about, why emulate the hardware? For that matter, why emulate a computer at all? For Linux-on-Linux applications, you probably won't choose VMware when you can instead run User Mode Linux -- it uses the hardware more efficiently, you can share filesystems between the host and virtuals using NFS, and it runs the host OS's native binaries. I would think Microsoft would prefer to go this route.

    Or perhaps Microsoft has finally decided that Itanium is an ongoing disaster and they need an Intel exit strategy? Hmmm...
  • by ekarjala ( 446184 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:52PM (#5338168)
    Having run both Connectix's emulation solution and VMWare's true Virtual Machine solution, I can tell you there is no comparison in performance for the Workstation level products -- VMWare is the clear winner. Also VMWare's ESX server platform (based on RH Linux) is the best x86 based, non-specific-HW Platform solution out there for running Windows and non-Windows Operating Systems. VMWare's only real competition from the performance standpoint is Viruozzo from SW-Soft. The caveat with Virtuozzo is that it supports only Linux.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:54PM (#5338183) Journal
    This stuff is really cool, and I'm glad the industry is starting to wake up to the possibilities.

    I see this as something that's more likely to popularize virtual computer technology, rather than something that's likely to eliminate our options. Obviously, I don't have a crystal ball, and I could be wrong.

    I have a box that I use mostly to run VMware client OSs. Linux is my host OS, I have a very sparse and clean linux from scratch system set up on the box. I've got all kinds of stuff stashed away in various VMs.

    The great thing about this sort of setup is the flexibility. The client OSs are basically just data files on the host os. If you copy the files, you've backed up the system, or cloned it.

    You can move the files to other machines that have different hardware -- you don't have to worry about the sound and video card drivers.

    And you can even replace the host OS without being too disruptive. I used to run redhat as the host OS, but I copied off the data files, set up my linux from scratch system, and brought the data files back in. Everything was fine.

    The result of this is that the chains of dependency that exist between hardware, operating system installations, and applications become much less restrictive.

    Another result is that it's trivial to play with new systems -- I don't run OpenBSD, for example, but everytime they could out with a new one, I install it, just to keep my hand in.

    All this is, at bottom, is just a more flexible way of looking at OSs. An OS becomes a blob of data that's easier to move around from one hunk of hardware to another. And it's easier to keep lots of those OS blobs on a given machine.

    It's a great way to deal with "staging" servers. You can take a production server (which is really a VM), copy it, and do whatever you want to the copy, without damaging anything. When everything is working properly, you can slide the new server into place. If you need to revert, you can just go back to the old data.

    I suspect that this functionality is part of what MS is after.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:03PM (#5338273) Homepage Journal
    Most of VMWare's money maker market is running *windows* 'server clients' in large data centers, regardless of what we would like to believe. ( face it, Microsoft still holds the majority of the computing market, at least for now )

    I really don't think the 'workstation' version is making them a lot of money. its nice, but its pocket change in comparison to selling licenses for the 'big iron'.

    If Microsoft attacks the ESX/GSX server market, in its typical fashion of 'forced migration', then it could hurt VMware greatly.

    I expect citrix to be on the list of people to force out of business too, for similar reasons. ( yes its a different type of product, but similar in concept that its a 'data center' market that Microsoft will want to keep in-house )

  • by Cheap Imitation ( 575717 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:06PM (#5338304)
    What a great thing for him to do!

    He's finally working on a way to port the BSOD over to Linux and OSX for us!

  • by Featureless ( 599963 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:09PM (#5338341) Journal
    First let me say that I really like VMWare. I think they did a fabulous job - it's one of the better-engineered pieces of software that I've ever seen. All the times that I've had the pleasure to use it, it's worked for me without a hitch, despite the subtle complexity required to do an application like that well.

    Furthermore, I hope that one day we'll see a real, meaningful government reform at Microsoft that puts them out of the business of "innovating" away various application markets.

    My needs for VMs have been sparse. Most often I'm testing something (like an installer) that sprays stuff all over Windows, and it's just simplest to roll it back using the Undoable disk when the test is over. Or maybe I've got some code I want to check out that I consider really dangerous. Once in a while, if I'm stuck running Windows, but I need a Unix service on the network for a little while, I can raise a virtual linux server and keep it running as long as I need it. Far more convenient than hauling out another box.

    I can see the attraction in virtual machines. You have so much more control. Bluescreens don't hang everything - only the particular virtual CPU they happen on. And VMWare's code is so freaking efficient, I can play counterstrike with a few of these virtual servers running, answering queries in the background. But it seems silly for virtual machines to become institutionalized in that role. To me, that's evidence of failure in the OS design. You have a reliability problem? Fix it in the OS. You have a control problem - something you wanted a VM and Undoable disks to solve? Add a feature to the filesystem. You have a security problem? Definitely an OS issue.

    VMWare et al are great for ad hoc stuff and I think sooner or later most developers would be glad to have it around, but if you plan on running it all the time, in a server environment for instance, then it's just a big kluge. Your OS wasn't _designed_ to run inside itself... it's a big resource waste. Fix the problems in the OS. Compartmentalize, if that's what the environment demands. But don't do it this way. It's just goofy.
    • by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <bmetzler@lCOMMAive.com minus punct> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:46PM (#5338678) Homepage Journal
      VMWare et al are great for ad hoc stuff and I think sooner or later most developers would be glad to have it around, but if you plan on running it all the time, in a server environment for instance, then it's just a big kluge. Your OS wasn't _designed_ to run inside itself... it's a big resource waste. Fix the problems in the OS. Compartmentalize, if that's what the environment demands. But don't do it this way. It's just goofy.

      It's not goofy. It's not just to work around problems. And it'll probably be only included in Advanced Server or higher.

      There are many uses for virtualizing servers. On obvious reason is internet hosting. This is done on Linux commonly already.

      A second more important reason is for developers. Instead of needing a $2000 workstation for each developer, how about a $10,000 development server. Then the developers can run 98, 2000, and XP. They can test, crash, rebuild, and in general be more productive. Have another one for QA. Sounds good to me.

  • It's for NT4 apps (Score:5, Informative)

    by lseltzer ( 311306 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:16PM (#5338421)
    It's so that customers can run NT4-specific apps under future products like Windows Server 2003. See this eWeek article [eweek.com].
  • by Klox ( 29985 ) <matt.w1 @ k l o x . n et> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:18PM (#5338434)
    Four months ago, our company tried buying a copy of VMware with WinXP licenced to run in the VM. VMware said that they were working out a new license with Microsoft so they could sell XP and that we should call them back in a couple of months. Our purchasing guy has called them once a month since then and we still can't get it.

    Now I know why it's taking so long...
  • by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:46PM (#5339278)
    For all the Mac paranoid out there, here's another conspiracy theory that will undoubtedly turn up on the rumor sites.

    Microsoft really wants to revive, sell, and support an improved version of Connectix RamDoubler for the latest revision of Mac OS 9. Heck, they might even make it into Microsoft RamTripler (MS Ram*er for short)

    Connectix stopped selling RamDoubler and promised to do away with support for it in September 2003. But an killer utility like MS Ram*er will cement the last Mac holdouts to Mac OS 9 and their old hardware.

    The conspiracy has widened! ;-)
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:58PM (#5339350) Journal
    The important question is 'Does anybody care?'. Linux runs just fine on PPC hardware, as do Open and NETBSD (FreeBSD on the way). More importantly a lot of *nix apps compile and run native on OS X. The only real reason for wanting to use an x86 emulator is to run an operating system which doesn't run on your hardware, and software compiled for another platform. i.e. Closed source software. i.e. Windows and windows apps. Does anybody actually use VirtualPC to boot x86 Linux? Are there enough closed source Linux apps (or ones which for one reason or another won't run on OS X / PPC Linux) that this is actually worth anyone's while?
  • by LucidityZero ( 602202 ) <sometimesitsalex&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @07:32PM (#5339587) Homepage
    Almost everyone here seems to be missing the point. This is not for home use. This is not intended for you, Joe Schmoe Windows at Home user to run other operating systems.

    This is for the server market. We have an IBM mainframe at work that is currently running approximately 6 virtual machines. Not so that you can play a Windows game in Linux, but so that the mainframe can offer more services. Although I do believe that one of the virtual machines is a fairly standard installation of Linux of some sort, every other OS on the system is a very specifically tailored OS for a specific job. I'm not the administrator for this box, so I can't say too much. But I know that there are specific Tivoli UNIX versions installed, as well as an TSM/ADSM (backup) specific OS.

    I think that THIS is what the article is getting at. This is not about you playing Tux Racer on your Windows box.

  • by kraksmoka ( 561333 ) <grant.grantstern@com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @08:41PM (#5340069) Homepage Journal
    people. you may have forgotten already, but Connectix also made the Virtual PlayStation emulator for the Macintosh.

    take your heads off of your PCs and see this for what it could really be! yes, m$ wants to run PS 1 roms on the XBOX.

    ok, well, maybe not, but its as good a reason as any for their purchase, unless they plan to fuse virtual server with windows just to make extra bloat. hmmm. i keep thinking back to Cartman's trapper keeper. microsoft insorping virtualization. . . . .

  • Itanium 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @10:10PM (#5340501) Homepage
    I can think of a very important thing that this acquisition gets Microsoft. Right now on the server side there is a push towards 64 bit which is going to become stronger with time due to the 64 gig limit for x86. OTOH one of Microsoft's key advantages is the wealth of Wintel legacy code which doesn't run under Windows advanced server (their Itanium 2 product). Connetix sells x86 emulations software that works so well that Connetix + Microsoft OS will run almost every app runs comfortablely on a PowerPC. The same setup should work for Itanium 2.

    Bundeling in an x86 emulator with the Itanium 2 product will allow Microsoft to ease their customer's switch to 64 bit hardware and not create a situation where people reevaluate their OS line just because they are ready to switch CPU lines.
  • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @12:43AM (#5341175)
    Unless VMWare is planning on stagnating their product, branching out into tons of marginally related ventures, and fucking up standards implementations, I don't see them becoming a netscape.

    While MS may have the foot-in-the-door advantage, I'm wondering if the fact that VMWare also supports Linux may help or not.

    I know that personally, even though I run XP on my desktop, MSDN subscription, yadda yadda, I would only do something like GSX/ESX on a Linux box.

    It will be interesting to see how this goes...I wish them the best of luck.
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Thursday February 20, 2003 @01:02AM (#5341244)
    This is really fucked up because I just authorized the purchase of 179 VMware licenses for the company I work for. This purchase has gone through today. We paid a ridiculous amount of money. I really hope that VMware doesn't go the way of the dodo or that's what will happen to my job. Shit.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser