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VMware 2.0: Virtually Magnificent - page 2

Two OSes, One Machine

  • April 10, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

VMware's base system requirements are a Pentium II/266 MHz processor and at least 96 MB of RAM. We tested the software on several configurations, ranging from a machine at the very lowest end of the recommended specifications to a Pentium III/500 with 128 MB RAM. Performance is clearly helped by devoting plenty of RAM to the virtual machine. A computer with 160 MB or more is closer to ideal, unless you run X with a conservative window manager and few applications.

In addition to the hardware, a copy of the operating system to be installed on the machine is required. Though VMware and Microsoft have recently made a deal for versions of Windows to be shipped with the product, users are required to have a copy of the guest OS. This bears repeated mention. VMware provides a virtual PC devoid of any software but the BIOS itself.

VMware makes MMX support available to host operating systems, and it also supports SMP configurations by allowing the host operating system to assign a processor to the guest OS. SMP is not supported within the virtual machine itself. The product does not support 3-D graphics accelerators or MIDI devices.

According to the corporate website, VMware has been tested on a variety of distributions including Red Hat 5.x, 6.0, 6.1; Caldera 2.2, 2.3 ; SuSE 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3; and TurboLinux.

There are reports that VMware will not run on Corel's distribution, which is a problem for the product. Corel Linux is aimed squarely at the vast market of users transitioning from Windows who could use the security blanket VMware provides in the form of favored Windows applications.

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