Open Source Overview
VMware has a long history of support for open source software in its products. In addition to collaborating with the open source community, VMware works closely with major Linux vendors to ensure high quality support for Linux guest operating systems running on VMware hypervisors. As an active participant in the open source community VMware has open sourced the VMware Tools as the Open Virtual Machine Tools project, contributed the VMI (Virtual Machine Interface) paravirtualization code under the GPL, collaborated with the Linux kernel community and others in the development of paravirt-ops, and sponsored OSDL's DCL F2F.
Support for Linux has been of primary importance starting with the very first product, VMware for Linux 1.0, which only ran on Linux (kernel versions 2.0 or 2.2), and included support for Red Hat 5 , SuSE 6, and Caldera OpenLinux 1.3 as guest operating systems.
Over the years VMware has continued to provide top tier support for Linux in its products, and has added support for FreeBSD, and a wide variety of Linux distributions. Currently, VMware supports over 60 versions of Linux and other open source based OSs across its product line, from a wide variety of vendors including Ubuntu, SuSE, Novell, Red Hat, and Mandriva.
In December 2005 VMware introduced the VMware Player, a free virtualization product targeted at end users. There have been over 1 million downloads of the Linux version of the VMware Player since then. The Linux version of VMware's entry level server virtualization offering, VMware Server, has had approximately 750,000 downloads to date.
In June 2005 VMware launched the VMware Appliance Marketplace to facilitate the distribution of preconfigured virtual machines called virtual appliances. The Browser Appliance was the very first virtual appliance that we shipped. It enabled users to securely browse the internet without worrying about adware, spyware, etc. The Browser Appliance was built using Ubuntu and Firefox and has been downloaded by over 1 million users.
Since then the VMware Appliance Marketplace has grown to become the preferred channel for distribution of Linux based virtual appliances and hosts over 550 Linux virtual appliances. The ability to easily configure and modify Linux OSs, coupled with the lack of restrictions around redistribution make Linux the preferred platform for development of virtual appliances.
The release of the VMware ACE Management Server in April 2007 as a JeOS based virtual appliance marked another milestone in the evolution of virtual appliances. The JeOS, or Just Enough OS, consists of a stripped down Debian Sarge system from which unnecessary applications, services, and libraries have been removed, and is less than 1/3 the size of the smallest Debian standard installation.
On January 24th 2012 we introduced the VMware Solution Exchange– a single destination site for partners to share their compatible VMware applications and cloud infrastructure products.
- Visit the recentrly launched VMware VMware Solution Exchange and download a virtual appliance.
- Learn more about the VMware Solution Exchange.
The Virtual Machine Interface (or VMI) was developed by VMware as a mechanism for providing transparent paravirtualization - the ability to run the same paravirtualized kernel on the hypervisor or on native hardware.
The VMI interface was proposed in 2005, and this was followed up by the release of an open specification for VMI in 2006. Subsequently VMware worked with the Linux kernel community, IBM, Red Hat, and others, to develop a source level paravirtualization interface called paravirt-ops which would allow Linux to support multiple hypervisor specific paravirtualization ABIs (in VMware's case VMI).
VMware Workstation 6.0 (April 2007) was the first virtualization product to support Linux guests using paravirt-ops along with a VMI backend. VMware collaborated closely with Ubuntu to enable support for VMI in Ubuntu's Feisty Fawn (7.04) release which was the first Linux distribution to support the VMI interface.
- Learn more about Paravirtualization