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VirtualPC 2004 Versus VMWare 4.5? 250

BackNBlack writes "Ars Technica has an interesting comparison shootout between Microsoft's VirtualPC 2004 and VMWare Workstation 4.5. Has VirtualPC improved since Microsoft bought it from Connectix? It looks as though VMWare is really the choice of those who can afford it. I'm also a little surprised that Microsoft is not as compatible as it could be, given the competition."
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VirtualPC 2004 Versus VMWare 4.5?

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  • Features (Score:5, Informative)

    by mstich ( 222924 ) <.mike. .at.> on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:32PM (#9863896)
    I've used both and I have to say that Microsoft's Virtual PC is ASS-slow. VMWare is actually usable and has far more features and compatibility.
    • Re:Features (Score:3, Informative)

      I have not had problems with either program. I had Connectix VPC when it was out and it rocked really hard. It was compatible with almost everything I did. I tried VMWare and it was slow. I tried installing multiple OS's on it and installing them were slower than Connectix.

      When Microsoft bought out Connectix, it was a good deal. Microsoft, IMO, made it better. I read at one point that you could not install Linux on Microsoft's product, I did and it worked. I am using M$'s product and it is faster th
      • Microsoft doesn't provide support (read: technical support) for running Linux under MSVPC, but it works fine.
        • Microsoft doesn't provide support (read: technical support) for running Linux under MSVPC, but it works fine.

          It probably will continue to work for a while, too... Let me tell you about a case where Microsoft was "strategically incompetent".

          Word 6 (and the rest of Office) for Mac was total garbage. Running a PC emulator on the Mac and use the Win version of Office was literally as fast -- and more stable.

          This is also the point when i lost all trust in the computer media. The Mac press didn't give t

      • Re:Features (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Malc ( 1751 )
        It took six hours to install Windows XP Pro SP1 under VPC. It probably took an hour under VMWare. VPC just seems to take a long long time to do anything, although it doesn't hit the CPU and hard drive as hard as VMWare does.

        VPC is all eye-candy. This review was very poor - the bias of the author was clear from the start.
      • Re:Features (Score:3, Informative)

        by AstroDrabb ( 534369 )
        I guess you didn't read this article? VMWare spanks the pants off of MS Virtual PC for speed. Look at the benchmarks. Also, the latest version from MS has problems with Red Hat 9 and Fedora Core, so it is only a matter of time before MS Virtual PC only runs MS OSes. VMWare also runs on far more platforms and runs _far_ more platforms then MS Virtual PC. The broader OS support and the _far_ superior speed of VMWare makes it a no brain-er on which to pick.
    • Re:Features (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As far as running windows is concerned, I'm going to disagree with the poster. Microsoft's virtual PC does an excellent job running all versions of windows I've thrown at it. What impressed me most, however, was how it was used at a Microsoft seminar I attended. The presenter had 4 copies of server 2003 running simultaneously, creating a little virtual network on his laptop to demonstrate features in exchange server. Granted the laptop had 2 gigs of memory but all instances of 2003 server were quick and res
    • Re:Features (Score:3, Interesting)

      by agallagh42 ( 301559 )
      "I've used both and I have to say that Microsoft's Virtual PC is ASS-slow. VMWare is actually usable and has far more features and compatibility."

      Actually, once you set the priority on VPC properly it's pretty close to the same performance as VMWare. The most important differences are as follows:

      1. Memory support goes to VPC. VPC supports 4GB of RAM in the host machine that can all be assigned to virtual machines (but you have to keep enough free for the host machine to run, of course). VMWare can onl
  • VMware runs on linux (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:32PM (#9863897)
    For me, that is all that matters.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It will finally put an end to these 3rd party client apps
    • When they bought VirtualPC, that's exactly what I thought they would do. And I still think so.

      They're going to wait for Longhorn, though, as being able to run other operating systems from within Windows would be a major coup for them. There'd be no reason for people to install over it...People interested in trying other operating systems will simply install inside the VM, and most probably won't get around to wiping off the host OS.

      On the other hand, if Microsoft software becomes tied to the hardware ti
      • by riscthis ( 597073 ) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:00PM (#9864031)
        They're going to wait for Longhorn, though, as being able to run other operating systems from within Windows would be a major coup for them. There'd be no reason for people to install over it...People interested in trying other operating systems will simply install inside the VM, and most probably won't get around to wiping off the host OS.

        On the other hand, if Microsoft software becomes tied to the hardware tightly enough, the fact that users can run other operating systems from within Windows would be a significant defense for the next time they wind up in court on charges of antitrust or the like.

        Not only that, but they can run previous versions of Windows -- or at least some of the sub-systems -- under Longhorn, thereby allowing backwards compatibility without having to design it directly into Longhorn's own APIs. (Like Apple did when they went to OS X, I believe).

        They could also the technology for sandboxing "untrusted" applications and isolate them from the main system.
        • Not only that, but they can run previous versions of Windows -- or at least some of the sub-systems -- under Longhorn, thereby allowing backwards compatibility without having to design it directly into Longhorn's own APIs. (Like Apple did when they went to OS X, I believe).

          Just to clarify, what Apple did was make these available:

          1) A complete API set called Cocoa, derived from NeXTStep (which GNUStep is also based on)
          2) Another complete API called Carbon, derived from the classic Mac OS Toolbox with some things taken out (e.g. stuff that directly touches the hardware) and some new things added in
          3) CarbonLib for classic Mac OS, which is the new things added as mentioned above. Carbon applications can, in theory, run completely natively on either Mac OS X or Mac OS 9 with CarbonLib.
          4) Classic is an emulation environment that runs on Mac OS X and boots Mac OS 9 inside the emulator. It's integrated into the OS so it doesn't run inside a window (except while booting), things like drag&drop between native and emulated apps works, and the Mac OS 9 Finder doesn't run. Any classic Mac OS apps that aren't Carbon-compatible, and don't try to touch the hardware too much, should work fine inside Classic, because it's really a hacked up Mac OS 9.

          Owning VirtualPC would allow Microsoft to implement an emulation layer similar to Classic on Mac OS X. To make it appear seamless to the user would require quite a bit of hacking, of course.
        • The sandboxing functionality is, in my opinion, the most important, and likely the excuse they'll use in court when VMWare tries to go after MS for integrating something like this into the OS.
    • Choice.

      Integrating the connectix product into Windows would mean the death of VMWare, which is IMO a much more superior product.

      Its about choice. Its about avoiding vendor lock-in.
  • VMWare + Xinerama (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Television Set ( 801157 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:34PM (#9863909) Homepage Journal
    I really like VMWare. I have a dual monitor setup with Gnome on X.Org with Xinerama, and VMWare works quite well in that setup for running a virtual Windows XP box. I do alot of my Dreamweaver stuff on that. What it ends up looking like, with VMWare/XP running in full screen mode, is two computers, with Gnome on one and XP on the other. All I gotta do is ctl-alt and move the mouse over to deal with stuff on the host machine.
    • Re:VMWare + Xinerama (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saeger ( 456549 )
      I run VMWare under my SuSE 9.1 desktop primarily for webdev as well. However, I do the actual dev under linux with vi and Quanta [], and then use the WinXP guest OS for checking browser compatibility with all versions of IE (installed at the same time []), FireFox, Netscape, Mozilla, and Opera. Can't test for the Mac though.

      Also, as the previous poster said, once you've installed the VMWare Tools, you don't need to press and release Ctrl+Alt in order to change the VMWare window focus; you can seemlessly move yo

    • I have a dual monitor setup with Gnome on X.Org with Xinerama, and VMWare works quite well in that setup for running a virtual Windows XP box.

      Something very similar here. I have a Linux Laptop with dual-head setup in X. I use KDE.

      The most recent VMWare (4.x) works very nicely in Fedora Core 1, and has tabs for VMs. With 1.5 GB of RAM in the laptop, I can run 3-4 VMs simultaneously, and switch between them with the ease of tabs in Moz on the host OS.

      It's easy, fast, stable, and secure. What's not to lik
  • by Dejohn ( 164452 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:34PM (#9863913) Homepage
    VMWare is superior in all regards. I've had significant problems running Linux under Virtual PC where VMWare handles it without any problems at all. Also, I've found that VMWare has drivers for most host operating systems to enable drive sharing, video, and sound. VirtualPC's guest os driver set is pretty bad. Virtual PC is a lot cheaper (free for us, as Solution Providers) but if I ever really need to get something done, VMWare is the only way to go.
  • VMWare (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JohnGrahamCumming ( 684871 ) * <slashdot@jg[ ]rg ['c.o' in gap]> on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:36PM (#9863919) Homepage Journal
    Personally use VMWare with the following Virtual Machines:

    1. Windows 2000
    2. SuSe Linux 8.0
    3. Solaris 9 for x86

    And my real OS is SuSE Linux 8.0. With that configuration in my laptop I can go anywhere with the major operating systems that my company has to support.

  • My personal review (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@sto[ ]t. ... t ['nen' in gap]> on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:38PM (#9863929) Journal
    Ok mine's slightly different, I've used the previous version of Virtual PC and VMware 3.1. I found Linux easier to install on Virtual PC. First of all since Virtual PC emulates a real video card (s3 Trio64 iirc) the Vesa framebuffer works. You can use the bootsplash kernel patch or just have a high resolution console. The network card was a DEC Tulip as well which is well supported. For whatever reason the fake video card in VMware always seems to have some issues working in my experience. The network card is an AMD PCnet32 card which seems equally well supported (even solaris picks it up). The feature that is in VMware that I really missed in Virtual PC was the ability to boot from real hard drives. If you dual boot windows and linux, you could boot into windows and then boot up your linux partition as well. Both offerred excelent performance provided you had enough ram. VMware 3.1 though seems to crash with 2.6 series kernels but I suspect that has been fixed in newer versions. So if I were VMware, I'd offer VESA compatable video card rather than their made up one.
  • by bwhaley ( 410361 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:38PM (#9863935)
    I have used both of these extensively. I have had more problems with VMWare than with Virtual PC, but both have issues. Both have stability problems, and vmware is full of inconsistencies; what works in one version may or may not work in another. For example, RedHat EL WS v3 will install only in text mode in VMWare 4.5.2, but 4.5.1 will install only in graphical mode. SuSe 9.1 Pro simply won't install, at least when I first tried it 2 or 3 months ago, right when SuSe 9.1 pro came out. VMWare customer support is TERRIBLE; there is supposed to be 30 days support included. I emailed them several times and never got a response at all. The community forums are semi-useful, though it has far more questions than answers.

    I would love to see a new competitor in this market.
    • I would love to see a new competitor in this market.

      I would love see Bochs [] get to a point where it can seriously challenge these products. Waiting for VMWare to fix some stupid bug is very very aggravating. Virtual PC's are too much of a PITA in my experience.
      • Bochs is a full-out emulator; these products are virtual machines (e.g. they run almost all code natively). Bochs will NEVER match them in terms of performance - the rule of thumb is that emulation = 10x speed drop at least, and Bochs is running ~15-20x now. Virtual machines run at almost native speed. And anyways, I've dealt with the Bochs codebase; it's already incredibly tuned, rather unextensible, and doesn't have support for anything beyond a 486-class machine. (Yes it emulates higher processors, b
  • by march ( 215947 ) * on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:42PM (#9863960) Homepage
    I've been using VMWare for years now. Been through some rough times, but basically, it really rocks.

    I run VMWare on a linux box so I can have access to the dreaded windows apps. What I would really like to see is something akin to Exceed, where X windows come up on my Windows desktop as Windows windows. In other words, free the Windows windows from the VMWare container and let them roam free on my linux desktop. Sort of like wine, but more stable.

    (Heh... let's see how many times you can use "windows" in one sentence!)
    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:10PM (#9864097) Homepage Journal
      In other words, you need cygwin. Run the cygwin installer from [] and set the "X11" part to "install", go into editors and turn off all the emacs packages :) and then click install. Good luck finding a fast mirror, it is possible however. Once you have cygwin installed, run a cygwin shell to set up your environment. Now create a shortcut which runs the following:

      C:\CYGWIN\usr\X11R6\bin\run.exe XWin.exe -multiwindow -clipboard

      This runs the X server in a rootless mode that does not require a window manager (Windows is your window manager - this instructs the X server to in turn instruct windows to draw decorations around your X client windows) and which performs clipboard integration. There are some other switches you can set, see man XWin for more information. In particular people with multiple displays will want to set another switch to support that, and there is also a switch to specify that all clipboard contents should be 8 bit (no unicode support.) It's not the fastest nor the best* X server out there, but it certainly does the job. If you are going to be running X clients locally, which you probably will if you install cygwin, you will want to add "DISPLAY=localhost:0" to your environment.

      * Actually, cygwin's X server might have recently become the best X server around. It uses directdraw to draw windows, it properly handles the clipboard now which X-Win32 still can't seem to get right after an update they explicitly claimed would solve my clipboard problem, and it uses standard X tools like xhost for management.

      • Yes, when I am forced to use Windows, cygwin is right there with me. But, my point was that I'm using linux and I want to display my Windows apps in X windows. Similar to wine, but with the stability of VMWare.
        • Oh, I see. Well, there is no such thing, but you can use rdesktop to access a windows desktop in a window from linux. Then again, you're doing that already, with vmware :)
        • Hate to reply twice to one comment but, I just now reread your original comment and you specifically said you wanted a system in which "X windows come up on my Windows desktop as Windows windows". Then you contradicted it later but I didn't read that far down. It looks like you meant to say something like Exceed, where X windows come up as windows windows, but the opposite, but you didn't :)
          • Sorry it was confusing... I was looking for the linux anology of exceed for windows which is what I said. But, it is confusing with the word "windows" so many times in one paragraph. In any case, since I use windows too, your tip for run.exe (which I didn't know about) is definitely useful.

            Sometimes, confusion is good. :-)
    • You can share single application windows with VNC []. rdesktop [] has potential to support that if it doesn't already. But that's the beauty of X11, network transparency is built into the protocol.
    • Try Citrix, their application publishing works good.
  • I need to run a very short list of apps under Linux, namely Quickbooks Pro 2002 (don't say Wine - not even Codeweavers has gotten this particular program to work). I'd like to use a Free solution, but I'd settle for a non-Free program since it would be replacing a non-Free Windows 2000 machine that I keep around specifically for this purpose. Vmware seems to work pretty well, but at $189 it's a little too non-gratis for my purposes.

    Win4Lin is no longer for sale. I base this on the fact that I wrote to them two months ago to ask about an educational discount so that I could buy a copy for my kids to use to play Reader Rabbit. A week later, I got a trouble ticket notification but it said that I have to be a registered user to access it. I've since written to and Cc:'ed sales@ and education@ as recently as July 19 but have still received to reply whatsoever. In other words, Netraverse is no longer accepting solicitations to buy their product, so I'm writing them off as dead (and at this point I would refuse to buy from them anyway).

    So, are there any Free or reasonably-priced emulators that can get, say, a Windows 98 image running at a speed useful for office-type applications on a gigahertz class system? If not, I may bite the bullet and buy Vmware, but my budget is really hoping for something cheaper.

    • VMWare is available with an educational discount, can't remember what I paid for it a while back, but it was considerably cheaper than the list...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Win4Lin is dead

      What the hell are you talking about??? What's wrong with the BUY link on this [] page? It's $89 bucks, you can't even get the educational version of VMWare for that price. Beisdes, they're rolling out support for W2K this fall without resorting to CPU intensive hardware emulation.

      Anyhow, Bochs [] is your only "free" option to get W98 running. I don't know what the performance will be like, I've never used it.
    • Win4Lin is no longer for sale. I base this on the fact that I wrote to them two months ago to ask about an educational discount so that I could buy a copy for my kids to use to play Reader Rabbit.
      They just sent the email entitled "no soup for you" to the wrong address.

      Lots of companies would ignore similar requests, or at best send a polite refusal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:45PM (#9863973)
    The article is incorrect in stating that VirtualPC 2004 does not support using ISOs as optical drives. It certainly supports this functionality and I use it all of the time. There is a menu item called Capture ISO which lets you select an ISO and mount it like a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.

    I've used both products a good deal, mostly for the purpose of beta testing operating systems and development software. I've not noticed any serious speed differences. VMWare is most definitely more configurable. However I get VirtualPC 2004 for "free" with my MSDN Universal subscription so I can't really beat that.

    It should also be noted that while VMWare does run on Linux, VirtualPC runs on Macintosh. It is still supported, although a hardware difference causes it to fail on G5 CPUs because these CPUs do not permit little-endian mode. A new version will be out shortly to accomodate.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:55PM (#9864003)
    that comment about compatibility in the lead-in kinda surprised me. After all, didn't they purchase VirtualPC because server consolidation was hurting Windows Server sales? They made tons of money when people realized they needed a seperate BOX for each server process run on Windows( they sold more OS licenses ) but now the cats out of the bag and TCO cost are killing them.

    So, why would Microsoft care about anything but how this works on Windows and targetted apps? They don't. IMHO.

  • Inside the Bochs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theGreater ( 596196 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @02:57PM (#9864013) Homepage
    Just curious as to why Bochs [] wasn't even mentioned? I understand it's Beta quality, but it CAN run a significant subset of hardware.

    • Re:Inside the Bochs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:04PM (#9864057) Homepage Journal
      Bochs is an emulator, not a virtual machine. The x86 processor is emulated even on x86, rather than being virtualized as it is under vmware or virtual PC. There are reports of plex86 being used with bochs to provide virtualization instead of emulation, but I've never seen anyone package it up or even explain how it is done.

      Also, configuring bochs is a major pain in the ass. I have a 2.6 kernel and (I misremember some details but) I tried to use the method recommended for 2.6, had all appropriate support compiled in as far as I could tell, and it still wouldn't work, but the method recommended for 2.4 worked fine. Bochs may fit some needs, but anyone willing to look at virtual pc is surely not someone who will be using bochs.

    • Re:Inside the Bochs? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jhoger ( 519683 )
      The problem with Bochs is not just that it is beta quality. It is useful for a subclass of things people use VmWare for, like kernel development, some debugging stuff.

      But for running windows, and windows apps under Linux on a daily basis it is not your best bet. Bochs is too slow and will probably always be too slow given the attitude I see from folks on their mailing list. They say the focus is on accuracy over usability. But their other problem is they are stuck under the weight of an implementation with
    • Bochs emulates the x86, instead of handing the code off to the x86 a la VMWare.

      This makes Bochs slow -- not nearly as usable as VMWare -- but useful for producing an environment for debugging low-level code.

      You wouldn't just install Bochs to run software (well, maybe if you wanted an old DOS machine where speed isn't an issue).
  • by twalls ( 789774 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:04PM (#9864056) Homepage
    If you want to run anything but Windows on an emulated PC, you will most likely want to avoid using software... sold by the makers of Windows.
  • Has anyone used either in a tech-support area? We write windows desktop software, and I'd like to give users the ability to double click on the computer they want to open. Then (here's the tricky part), I want all changes to the computer wiped clean -- no ability for the user to choose to save the changes.

    Anyone created something like that using this (or other) products?
    • by 511pf ( 685691 )
      VMWare - Nonpersistent Disk Mode Changes to disks in nonpersistent mode are not saved to the disks, but are lost when the virtual machine is powered off or reset. Nonpersistent mode is convenient for people who always want to start with a virtual machine in the same state. Example uses include providing known environments for software test and technical support users as well as doing demonstrations of software.
    • I cant say much about it since it's unreleased, but i beleive its public knowledge. Virtual Server has a feature called "differencing disks", where you have a base virtual server image and then any changes to that image are written to a separate file - a difference disk.

      This would let you do what you suggest.

      Personally, i love virtual server, and i do all of my development and test work inside of virtual server images. Our product has an atrocious number of pre-relased platform requirements and rebuildi
    • I see that others have already noted that VMWare and Virtual Server 2005 allow this. Virtual PC 2004 also allows this. "Rolling back" changes is one of the neater capabilities.
  • VirtualPC is Slow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by waldoj ( 8229 ) <waldo.jaquith@org> on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:09PM (#9864087) Homepage Journal
    I just got Virtual PC 6.2 for my Mac OS X box (1GHz G4 PowerMac, MDD, 512MB RAM) last week, and I'm disappointed. The business justification is that I need to be able to test development websites for clients in Windows, but my personal reason is that I want to run all of my old Sierra games. :) I can run Firefox and IE in Windows XP -- they're sluggish, with slow screen redraws and irritatingly long pauses for page refreshes, but it works.

    My shock is in how badly that Sierra games run in DOS 6.22. I'm about a quarter of the way through KQ4 (I just got the damned golden bridle and delivered the unicorn, only to be sent off to get the golden goose from the ogre), and it's tough to even walk around. Rosella tiptoes along at one step every few seconds and then hauls ass across half the screen before slowing down again. I'm going to downgrade to DOS 5 and see if that makes any difference. Still, the fact that Virtual PC cannot properly emulate a decade-old DOS box is pretty pathetic.

    I'm going to get another 256 or 512MB of RAM and see if that makes a difference.

    -Waldo Jaquith
    • The fault might be XP. I'm running it on my 1.25Ghz Powerbook. I've tried some old games under Windows 95 and they run too fast - no Sierra games, but Ultima VI, Sam & Max, Scorched Earth, Battle Chess 2... I never tried them under XP. Once XP was running I copied over an old 95 I've had since Vpc 1 and installed a fresh 2000 Server for work which generally runs fast enough, even with a SQL server active. (Heck, even with the 2000 Server running games run too quickly in 95.)

      I suggest if you're t
    • that ram is going to make a huge difference. 512 meg is basically the minimum for mac os x. you'll definitely want more if you're emulating another system inside that.

      also, i've experienced better speeds with windows 2k.
  • I've installed Win 3.1, 95, 98, NT4 and 2000, Linux (Slackware 9.1, then 10), Solaris 10, FreeBSD and Plan9 -- and I've never had a problem with any of them. I don't know why he couldn't get Fedora to work. Guess maybe it helps to know what you're doing.

    This guy [] installed every operating system out there on his Mac OS X using Virtual PC. His website includes screen shots of each OS, plus what he had to do to get it working. I would like to see a public archive of OS images people can download and try

  • Surprised? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dj245 ( 732906 )
    I'm also a little surprised that Microsoft is not as compatible as it could be, given the competition.

    Microsoft....not compatable.... as it should be?

    And you're surprised you say?

  • by Utopia ( 149375 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:18PM (#9864146)
    I have used both Virtual PC & VMWare.
    Installing Operating Systems is faster on Virtual PC than in Vmware.

    Surprisingly Windows XP Professional was the slowest install I had in VPC.
    I have successfully installed FreeBSD, Mandrake 10.0 (KDE), Red Hat, Fedora on Virtual PC & VMWare with full networking support.

    All my old LucasArts games (the primary use of emulation for me) work with Virtual PC.
    I had terrible luck with VmWare w.r.t. running games.

  • Wait a second.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zetta Matrix ( 245803 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:20PM (#9864165)
    Isn't this an apples and oranges comparison? (Not that anyone cares, necessarily...)

    IIRC, VirtualPC is essentially an emulator. VMWare is actually a virtualization layer that only emulates the hardware interfaces, but the non-privileged application code can run directly on the CPU like it would "natively".

    This by itself should explain the speed differences, as well as why VMWare requires x86 hardware to run Windows, while VirtualPC can run on a Mac (which would be impossible given VMWare's design).

    I'm surprised that no one is mentioning this.
    • Re:Wait a second.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by typhoonius ( 611834 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @04:16PM (#9864450)

      IIRC, VirtualPC is essentially an emulator.

      The review's introduction says that the Mac version is an emulator but the PC version is simply a VM like VMWare.

      Microsoft's VirtualPC site [] calls the PC version "a powerful software virtualization solution" (not that these sorts of blurbs are noted for their technical accuracy, but take it for what it's worth).

  • Misinformation fixed (Score:5, Informative)

    by grotgrot ( 451123 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:21PM (#9864171)
    Both products can boot off raw hard disks. I even setup a new Gentoo system that way. VPC does however have a 137GB limit on raw disks which VMWare doesn't. Both products run quite slowly when installing an OS - they have to run in a maximum compatibility mode because of all the probing and other stuff OS installs do. Once the guest OS is installed they run faster.

    Both products allow you to modify the virtual hardware (adding/removing ports, drives, images etc) after installation. Both products have undoable disks and various forms of networking (host only, share real NIC etc).

    The last Connectix version of VPC had VNC access to your guests which was really neat. Microsoft removed that for VPC 2004 on "security" grounds. Technically that is true (VNC is an unecrypted protocol) but I suspect they would have removed it for marketing reasons anyway.

    VPC does have a restriction that access to the host from the guest has to be done from kernel mode in the guest. That means for example that the Additions (VPC speak) / Tools (VMWare speak) have to be loaded into the OS in the guest. This prevents random user space programs in the guest from getting host access. I don't know if VMWare does something similar or not. It is however something to consider if untrusted software will be running in your guest.

    The 2.6 kernel used in some distros doesn't work on VPC 2004 due to some self modifying code allegedly used in conjunction with the X server. Of course the VPC folks claim it is a Linux problem and the Linux folks say it is a VPC problem. Just remember that Linux is not a supported guest for VPC even though it usually works and MS haven't done anything (yet) to prevent it.

    I have never had a response ever to a support issue raised with VMWare. I have had way more compatibility issues with VMWare. For example I have a bootcd that works on every real machine (I have tried over 10) and in VPC but fails in VMWare. With VPC I haven't had to raise support issues since it just works. There is a Microsoft newsgroup for VPC that works well.

    Fundamentally both products work well. VPC is simpler and cheaper and does what it does well. VMWare is larger and more complicated and has lots more knobs for fine tuning and is also available for a Linux host.

    We can thank MS for buying VPC as it resulted in VMWare dropping their price by almost 40%.
  • by iantri ( 687643 ) <iantri@ g m x .net> on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:21PM (#9864174) Homepage
    ... this article does bring up an interesting point on the first page.

    If you want to run Windows XP in a virtual machine, appearantly you are expected to buy two copies of it because of the product activation.

    Does this seem a little unreasonable to anyone else?

    • appearantly you are expected to buy two copies of it because of the product activation.

      Yes, but... with VMWare, your hardware is virtual. Perhaps the person doing the first install had to do the product activation, but as long as you don't hork about with the ram allocated to the VM it can be passed from person to person without *ever* dealing with that crap again. Never having to re-activate is not the same as being licensed to use it, however...
    • I installed win XP pro on my machine first. I dual boot with Gentoo. Then I booted into gentoo and installed win xp pro again in vmware. It asked me to activate the product. I called up tech support for activation and explained them that I am not going to use my previous installation and I need one activation code. They gave me one without any more question. I have been true to them by not using my first installation after that. I just use the virtual xp any time I want to do something in xp.
  • ESX (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jmoen ( 169557 ) <<jmoen> <at> <>> on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:23PM (#9864187) Homepage
    I find VMWare quite superior to VPC any day. We now run 25 virtual servers (win2k3/2k and linux) on two IBM X445 boxes with the latest VMWare ESX version connected to a IBM Fastt SAN and it works just greate. I've tried VPC several times but it just don't "scale" the way VMWare do today, also since the management OS is linux with a very rich perl API available it's easy to work with if you're into that. I don't find VMWare ESX Server to be that expensive at all, with SMP support (on the virtual client) it's like $5000 or something.

    The only thing that has been a problem so far is getting the VMWare client utils installed if the virtual OS is running the 2.6.x kernel.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And I like VPC because it is more lightweight, faster to configure, etc. I don't use the extra features in VMWare, I just need the ability to roll-back the OS.

    However, I am of the opinion that Microsoft bought VPC just to kill the project. They DO NOT want this technology out in wide distribution, easy for anyone to set up in 5 minutes because it calls into question their licensing model (e.g. I have 1 processor, 1 user, 10 copies of windows 2000 running, why should I pay 10x licensing?).

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @03:54PM (#9864330) Homepage Journal
    I use VirtualPC in MacOS X 10.2.8 on a PowerBook G4 (1 Ghz; 15"; 512 MB of RAM), and it is a slower than VMware v3.2.0 (P3 1 Ghz; 512 MB of RAM; Windows 2000 host) and v4.x (Windows XP Home host; P4 3 Ghz; 512 MB of RAM). I used Windows 2000 SP4 as guest OS' with about 128 MB of RAM. VMware beats in loading, GUI drawings, and everything else.

    VirtualPC seems to dislike Windows Updates in my Windows 2000 SP4. Sometimes blue screens after updating and required reboots [] and updates failing to install [].

    Also, VMware can do a lot more OS' than VirtualPC! :)
  • I love VMWare for running really old DOS stuff. I even works with QEMM. If I could find sound drivers that work with it, it would be "perfect."
    • by demon ( 1039 )
      Go download Creative's DOS drivers for the SB PCI128. VMware 4.5 provides a virtual ES1371 chip, which is the chip that the SB PCI128 card is built around. That should get you going.
  • People run VirtualPC to run windows on their macs.

    People run Vmware to run alternative operating systems on their pc's.

    There is a difference in markets. I think virtualpc can be used only on a pc but I do not know of anyone who uses it on that platform. I am sure their are exceptions but this is just what I observed.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but since VirtualPC is Microsoft, I imagine that it only support Windows as the host OS.
    If that's the case, the comparison is over as far as I'm concerned.
    I have use for something that can run Windows under Linux, but not the other way around.
  • ..which is a crock of shit...if your going to Virtualize spend the extra $60 bucks and get VMWare workstation.

    Its better supported (they update several times a year)

    It Supports NON-MS OS'es offically.

    Its more robust.

    Has a Linux Version which actually cuts the requirements by 25%-50% over the windows version.

  • I bought a copy of VMWare at LinuxWorld NYC ('00? '01?) back when it was 1.0, and got it at a special enthusiast pricing ($80?). While they were good enough to give 1.0 license holders a free upgrade to 2.0, after that, they abandoned this pricing scheme. It's a shame... $80 was fine. $200 isn't. Not for a home user who isn't making a living off of the product.

    VMWare, bring back enthusiast pricing!
  • Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

    by rnd() ( 118781 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:25PM (#9864928) Homepage
    Strange that this article should come out now. The other day I tried both products in order to figure out which one would work better to 1) host a windows OS instance to work as a print server for the winprinter that I bought real cheap, and 2) to host mythbackend.

    To keep things simple I settled on KnopMyth as a quick way to install MythTV. I had the opposite experience of the reviewer: Microsoft Virtual PC installed KnopMyth seamlessly, while VMWare 4.5 crashed when the image tried to boot (KnopMyth is based on a hybrid Debian distro, and I used the straight Linux optimization on VMWare).

    It turns out that neither VMWare or Virtual PC were able to access my Hauppauge card, so I had to figure out another option, but I figured I'd add my $.02 to the issue.

    Also, VirtualPC actually seemed a bit more zippy to me during the post phase, although I never got KnopMyth installed on it so I didn't really run any benchmarks.
  • Will VPC ever support the G5?
  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @05:37PM (#9865042)
    I use the Linux version of VMWare, and because of remote X, I simply run Windows under Linux displayed on my Mac. It can't run full screen, but it does allow for seamless mouse movement off of Windows to OSX. VMWare even popped up a couple of helpful messages when it detected that it was running remotely.

    For this reason alone makes VMWare worth it over VirtualPC. Remote X + VMWare + Linux rocks!
  • Has anybody tried bochs? How does it compare to VMWare and VirtualPC?

Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?