VMware Workstation 6 RC2

Release!

Well I dropped the ball on this one, but we released VMware Workstation 6.0 RC2 last week. This is our second release candidate, and for those using our betas in the past, you should know that that means a final release isn’t too far away!

Not much has really changed in RC2, aside from more bug fixes. We’ve taken care of a lot of critical issues that have affected some users and ourselves. If you used the Workstation betas in the past and haven’t tried an RC release, you should notice a huge speed increase when using the guest. Feels a lot more native with all that debugging turned off.

The betas are of course free to use, but Workstation 6 itself must be purchased. If you’re in school, you should be able to get a nice academic discount, and if you’ve bought Workstation 5.5 since January 1, 2007, you can get a free upgrade.

Desktop Integration

One of my personal goals has been to improve integration with the GNOME desktop. I feel we’ve made a lot of progress since Workstation 5. The big highlight of 6 has been the Tango icons (I’m biased, as I made most of them). Even the product icons on Linux are in Tango style now. This definitely cleans up the look and feel of the product and helps it to feel like it’s just any other GNOME app, rather than some big proprietary product half-ported to Linux (of which there are many).

There’s more that we could do, though. I’d like to hear from GNOME developers and users about other ideas to better integrate with the desktop.

7 thoughts on “VMware Workstation 6 RC2

  1. (Seamless)RDP instead of slow VNC and a “text mode” would be cool (like on VirtualBox), rather than Tango icons 😉

    For private, I found VirtualBox more user friendly (VMware Player vs. VirtualBox Full Version)

  2. I don’t want to mock you, but

    “The big highlight of 6 has been the Tango icons”

    New icons are the biggest improvement? Get me out of the box copy and paste clipboard between host und vm, get me drag&drop support between host and vm. THAT would be a highlight! Sorry, new icons a just cosmetics…

  3. Christopher: The “big highlight of 6” involving Tango icons was in the context of GNOME desktop integration. Not featureset. Hence the section it was under and the sentence before it.

    We do have clipboard copy and paste between host and guest. We’ve had this for some time.

    We also have drag-and-drop between host and guest.

    We have a whole lot of things in this release. I’ve detailed a few in the past. You can find more in our release notes.

  4. @ Christoph Langer – I seem to have out of the copy and paste between the host and vm, as well as drag and drop support. I am running Windows XP Pro inside Feisty and I didn’t do anything special…

    In general I think it’s come a long way since the early betas and HUGE leaps since 5.5. Congrats on good work. Really, I can’t personally think of any desktop integration issues with Workstation anymore. With 6, all of my complaints from 5.5 have been answered (USB 2 and “detaching” running VMs were my big two). Now, integration with Server and the MUI are another story. For instance, if I try to open a console connection to a server from the MUI, the webpage make me download a file called “vmware comsole” (or something similar) that seems to have part of a command-line for the vmware console in it. It’s not terribly useful. Also, being able to access the “Options” tab in the MUI without enabling direct access with the root account (ie- how Ubuntu works) would also be nice. I know Virtual Center allows all sorts of access granularity on this front, but my manager is cheap… :-

    But yeah, back to Workstation, 6 is going to be awesome… 😀

  5. Hi Chip,

    Just a couple of my thoughts

    1. A better installation package for the big distros. This is a proprietary paid for product, so its unlikely to be available from native repositories. The current install of running installation and configuration perl scripts at the shell puts a lot of people off.

    2. Can anything be done, so when users update their kernel, Workstation doesn’t just stop working? At least better error handling. A look in the major distro’s forums show this to be one of the most common problems faced. I realize that changing your kernel from a ISV point of view (especially something like hosted virtualisation) is huge. However for a lot of users, it is a very simply thing – they are prompted that there are new updates, they install and reboot. After a kernel change can Workstation not realize this, tell the user that there maybe a delay in starting Workstation while things get recompiled and then sort it out. At the very least, tell the user that an update has occurred which prevent Workstation from starting and open their browser to a page explain how to fix it or how to download a patch. Hunting down the latest any-any-update off a non-VMware site never fills me with confidence.

    3. Make VMware tools easier to install in Linux guests of the major distros.

    4. Push major distros to make their own VM images available through their own repositories (as vmdk packages), i.e. make it trivial to go to add/remove programs and download the latest test versions or say offer their different desktop/server “flavours”.

    5. Support for XGL/AIGLX in the VM hardware. Be a great way to easily pimp Linux to Windows users.

    Maybe these aren’t GNOME specific enough …

    6. How about some nice tango icons for the major OSes and applications (use Coherence-style launching from the menu/desktop).

    7. Show the vmx files or VM folders with screenshot thumbnails in icon view in Nautilus.

    8. Could automatically place shortcuts to your favourite VMs into the Places menu (once that gets sorted out desktop wide).

    9. Tighter integration with workspaces, i.e. have a VM fill fullscreen on one workspace, but still show the workspace switcher “always on-top” of the guest VM, so its easy to flick back.

    10. Have your favourite search tool beagle/tracker able to index the shared folders of guest VMs.

    That’s all I can think of for one sitting.

    Keep up the great work, forbes.

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