Getting VMware Fusion
Fusion is a virtualization software for Mac. Meaning, you can install other operating systems like Windows and Linux on Mac using Fusion. Current Macs come with an operating system called OS X. Once Windows is installed on a Mac using Fusion, Windows applications like MS Office can be run on your Mac right next to the Mac applications.
So, an iMac would be able to run MS Office 2007 for Windows, Visual Studio, SQL Server, etc. Similarly if an Ubuntu (Linux) virtual machine is created on a Mac using Fusion, then Linux applications like OpenOffice (an open source office application suite on Linux) and Eclipse (the Linux edition) can be run on the Mac hardware.
Figure 1. The product bought and installed is VMware Fusion 2.0 for Mac OS X. As shown in the diagram below, the price for this virtualization software is US $79.99, with US $30 off for competitive upgrade.
As shown above, VMware Fusion virtualization software is priced under $80 (at the time of this writing). Needless to say, this price doesn’t include the operating system software that you would use to create the new virtual machines. So, you would need to acquire Windows Vista, for example, separately. This would cost anywhere from $200 for Vista Basic to $320 for Vista Ultimate. So, creating a Windows Vista Ultimate virtual machine could cost you up to $400 (80 + 320). In addition, the software that is going to be installed inside the Vista virtual machine (MS Office, etc.) need to be purchased/acquired separately.
On the other hand, creating a Linux virtual machine would cost you nothing (over the price of Fusion). Unless you donate (e.g. acquire a paid CD), you can download free Linux software from sites like Ubuntu, who compile and distribute Linux and a set of applications.
You don’t need multiple copies / licenses of Fusion for creating multiple virtual machines on the same Mac. One copy will create and manage as many virtual machines as your Mac hardware can handle. The OS software and the applications that go into those virtual machines need to be purchased separately. Obviously, running multiple virtual machines at the same time would require a lot of resources (RAM, processor power, etc.); whereas running them individually (one at a time) would not require as much of the above resources (only that extra hard disk needed to install and save those virtual machines).
Figure 2. Size of VMware Fusion 2.0.1 dmg file is 246MB. This dmg file can easily be mounted on OS X operating system. Installation requires 431 MB of diskspace for Fusion, which of course does not include the guest operating systems (like Windows Vista, Ubuntu, etc.)
The extension of the downloaded file is .dmg (full name is VMware-Fusion-2.0.1-128865.dmg). The extension .dmg stands for Disk Image. This is a popular way of distributing software on Macs. After this .dmg file is downloaded, the Mac OS X / Finder will automatically mount and open the .dmg file as a drive and we are ready to install VMware Fusion.
This version of Fusion is for Intel based Macs only.
Figure 3. The opening screen from the dmg file of VMware Fusion. This software helps create and manage virtual machines with various operating systems like Windows and Linux.
Installing VMware Fusion
It’s more than likely that the brand new Mac you bought is barely being challenged by the applications you are running. I bet there is plenty of memory and hard disk on that Mac. Installing couple more operating systems (say, Windows and Linux) will open you up to a whole bunch of new applications and games (you got to pay extra for the Windows stuff, though).
Ideal usage of Fusion (virtualization software) in a personal scenario is for:
- Using applications that are available only in certain operating systems
- Developing and testing for multiple operating systems without buying lots of hardware
Say, you like your Mac, but want to use Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows (say, for MS Access that is not available on MS Office for Mac; MS Office for Windows is generally more powerful than MS Office for Mac), then creating a Windows virtual machine is the best way to go. Similarly, if you are a developer, testing and developing for various operating systems is much easier with the virtual machine route.
Figure 4. Starting the VMware Fusion Installation. As mentioned below, many operating systems can be installed on top of this on a Mac. Broadly speaking, most of these operating systems fall in to two categories: Windows and Linux.
MacFUSE (Mac Filesystem in USEr space) lets a developer develop new filesystems. This is an open source program developed by Google.
Figure 5. Installing MacFUSE – it stands for Mac File system in USEr space. This is an open source product from Google.
You can find the MacFUSE.framework installed in the /Library/Frameworks/MacFUSE.framework folder.
Code Listing 1. Location of the MacFUSE.framework
Headers MacFUSE Resources Versions
Figure 6. Location for installing Fusion. As you can see, the 431 MB disk space requirement is just for Fusion. You would need additional space for guest operating systems – Vista, Ubuntu, etc. to be installed on the Mac.
After entering the serial number (or not - if this is just a test installation), the installation will be successful.
By default, the virtual machines will be installed in the ~/Documents/Virtual Machines folder. For example, if you have set up three virtual machines named Windows Vista, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu Server, you will find those three file packages in the ~/Documents/Virtual Machines folder.
Figure 7. Successful installation of VMware Fusion. Now the virtualization software is there and the next step would be to install the guest operating systems like Windows Vista and Ubuntu.
As you can see, VMware Fusion is installed on Macintosh HD in the Applications Folder. The Fusion icon can be simply dragged on to the dock (for ease of use).
Figure 8. VMware Fusion.app application package is in the Applications Folder. Like other Mac .app packages, inside this you will find libraries, resources, executable, etc. needed for that program to run.
Figure 9. VMware Fusion on the dock. This is, obviously, a Mac program. Once you install the guest operating systems (e.g. Vista, Ubuntu), you can manage them from this program.
You can get to the Welcome screen below from Help - Welcome to VMware Fusion menu item.
More Fusion Articles
This article series on Fusion goes through a couple of virtual machines created with Windows Vista and Ubuntu operating systems. These articles also go through using popular applications like Microsoft Office, SQL Server, and Visual Studio on these virtual machines created with Fusion. They also discuss the pros and cons of virtual machines, graphics, sound, video, and Internet connections in them.
Article Series: Fusion on a Mac