Ubuntu on VMWare Fusion Makes Me Oh So Happy

My initial impression of VMWare Fusion is just, wow. While Parallels was the first out there, VMWare is now bringing their deep virtualization expertise to OS X now. The latest public beta really delivers on the Linux side. While Parallels seems to have their focus on the Windows market, VMWare has been building for the Linux market as well.

I started off by installing my favorite Linux desktop environment, Ubuntu. The first thing to note is the ease of installation. Creating a virtual machine was simple, quite similar to the Parallels experience. Feisty Fawn installed easily from an ISO image. I found the system to be very responsive.

Then I noticed the install VMWare tools option under the “Virtual Machine” menu. selecting this resulted in a vmware-tools image on my Ubuntu desktop with a gzipped file on it. After unpacking it, I opened a terminal and used sudo to launch a perl-based installer that asked a lot of questions. I would suggest using the -d option to use the default answers.

Once this was installed, I had many of the great options that I enjoyed with the Windows virtual machines under Parallels. I could move my mouse between OS X and Ubuntu without it getting locked into the virtual machine window. Now that I have this feature available, I could never go back.

The other thing that surprised me was that when I resized the window, Ubuntu adapted its resolution to what I set. I had enough trouble just getting X Windows to to work at all under Parallels, I never would have thought it could be this seamless.

It is not without its problems, and this is still a beta. I have had a few issues with my network interface dropping, but a quick /etc/init.d/networking restart got things going again. I do find that when operating in full screen mode there is a conflict between the Ubuntu menu bar and the OS X one that pops down.

Overall, I am impressed and look forward to spending more time with this. I would have to think that in the end, VMWare is going to have the edge over Parallels. They have a more established base, and the amount of pre-built virtual machines makes for a compelling offering.

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