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VMs for everyone!

Today, as part of our VMworld 2005 festivities, we announced our VMware Player. This is a freely downloadable tool that, as you might guess, plays virtual machines. People who’ve been participating in the Workstation 5.5 beta programme will have already seen it in its bundled form, but now you can get it as a stand-alone product. We’ve also released a special Browser Appliance virtual machine that’s based on Ubuntu Hoary featuring Firefox, so if you’ve been waiting for an excuse to checkout our virtualisation technology, grab the player and the VM and try it out. There are also a number of other VMs hosted at VMTN, and that collection should grow with time. If anyone has, or wants to, put together a VM and have it show up on VMTN, give me a yell. Obviously, you do need Workstation or one of our server products to create VMs.

On a personal note, the Linux player has been my primary project for the last few months, so this one is near and dear to my heart. :-) It’s been a lot of fun to work on and I hope you all take a chance to check it out; there are a lot of obvious comparisons with Acrobat Reader, but I hope that the player won’t provoke the sort of reviews that the latest version of Acrobat Reader did :-)

For people paying attention to libview, the player is also a little bit of a showcase as it uses the Drawer, Tooltip and Spinner widgets.

Although the language hasn’t been finalised yet, do expect to see sane redistribution terms show up by the final release; this is actually a beta, even though the website seems to neglect to say so, which was a bit surprising.


Edit: I’m getting a flood of comment spam on this post, so I’m disallowing comments to it. (2/2/06)

{ 28 } Comments

  1. John | 20th October 2005 at 00:26 | Permalink

    The browser appliance is cool. Any chance of getting a root password on it so that I can install more stuff?

  2. Dave | 20th October 2005 at 01:20 | Permalink

    @ John: I was able to guess the password for the user account on my 6th try: “vmware”

    With that you can use the sudo command to do administrative stuff and set a password for root–Ubuntu doesn’t ordinarily. If you want to use the root account, just issue the command “sudo passwd”, enter the user password, then pick one for root.

  3. eddie303 | 20th October 2005 at 02:39 | Permalink

    Try the “standard” way, if there is a grub menu, press “e” and edit kernel command line. On the end of the line enter “init=/bin/bash” , press “b” to boot, then passwd root :D

  4. Aegir | 20th October 2005 at 03:51 | Permalink

    Did you try guessing for the most obvious one of all?

    I got it, literally in my first try (I was going to have a few guesses and then leave it alone).

    Come on, just guess…

    Oh sod it, its VMWare

    Have fun, I’m going to bend this thing into a neat little package to put on my iPod.

  5. Aegir | 20th October 2005 at 03:53 | Permalink

    Actually, scratch that one, its in all lower caps.

  6. Rick | 20th October 2005 at 04:02 | Permalink

    Good stuff about the Ubuntu player! ubuntu is definitly my favorite distro.

  7. root | 20th October 2005 at 04:08 | Permalink

    You can go to recovery mode and change it.

  8. root | 20th October 2005 at 04:12 | Permalink

    Wow this is *exceedingly* cool :)
    Great job!

  9. meastp | 20th October 2005 at 04:27 | Permalink

    Ubuntu uses sudo. sudo #command# password is the same as primary user.

  10. polarizer | 20th October 2005 at 04:52 | Permalink

    That’s cool stuff. My wire is glowing while downloading it. I think this is a first step of vmware to deploy smaller virtualization solutions for free, as Xen[1] offers such functionality for linux and a bsd derivat already. With the upcoming Vanderpool(Intel) and SVM(AMD) build in virtualization technology XEN will play with most other OS, too.


    polarizers 2 cent

  11. Lode | 20th October 2005 at 04:53 | Permalink

    John: one of the things about Ubuntu is that you don’t know the root password. You can perform root actions (or switch to root) using sudo. The first user is by default a sudoer, so (s)he is capable of performing root actions.
    In the VMware browser appliance you can open a root terminal by opening a normal terminal and doing sudo -s, or by selecting “Root terminal” in the system menu, In both cases you will be prompted for the password of the user “vmware”, which is.. vmware.

    Hope that helps..

  12. madcrow | 20th October 2005 at 05:12 | Permalink

    You don’t need the root PW to use root from Ubuntu. Just input the same password that you use to log in to start with. The first user created can do all root activities because Ubuntu is smart about using “sudo” While I generally prefer more traditional distros like SuSE or Mandriva, in this case Ubuntu gets it right IMHO.

  13. habana | 20th October 2005 at 05:21 | Permalink

    Even if a free version would have been still better, i must admit this image player is great. Are there limitations for the redistribution of vmx and vmdk files. In other words, i suppose everyone can make a vmdk repository ?

  14. Morgan | 20th October 2005 at 05:58 | Permalink

    John, The browser appliance is apparently based on Ubuntu 5.04. Ubuntu uses sudo for access to root commands, and sudo asks for the user password, not the root password. So try sudo su to get a root shell.

    The root password is not set by default but you can set it with sudo passwd.

    (I am downloading but haven’t tried this yet on the browser appliance.)

  15. Philip Langdale | 20th October 2005 at 07:12 | Permalink

    Well, I think that question is comprehensively answered. I have moderation turned on, so no replies showed up last night. :-)

    To answer habana’s question: no, we do not impose any redistribution restrictions on VMs; we’d be happy to see them everywhere.

    It is, however, pertinent to note that you should be sure that you have redistribution rights for whatever software you put inside your VM. :-)

  16. habana | 20th October 2005 at 08:22 | Permalink

    Thanks for the answer, Philip.

  17. dontwannagetDMCAed | 20th October 2005 at 08:30 | Permalink

    Is it intended to be able to boot from ISO or PXE and overwrite the browser appliace with your own install? You can also edit all of the virtual machine settings in the VMX file.

    I thank you guys for this program, just don’t see how VMware player restricts you from doing very much when you can make virtual machines with dd and vi easily. Is the idea that you don’t get all the advanced features like VM grouping and whatnot?

    Love VMware workstation BTW, most value per dollar I’ve ever spent on software.

  18. John | 20th October 2005 at 10:38 | Permalink

    Is this player a cutdown version in terms for features and speed?

  19. Philip Langdale | 20th October 2005 at 12:27 | Permalink


    We’re well aware of what people could potentially do, and we’ll live with the consequences. As you observe, Workstation has a lot of features that no amount of vi and dd hacking will replicate and these are what make Workstation worth buying (eg: Teams as you mention, or snapshots). I suspect that most people who go to the trouble are one’s who haven’t bought or wouldn’t buy Workstation anyway.

    John, you can look at the website to see a feature comparsion, but there should not be any performance differences.

  20. Jürg Billeter | 20th October 2005 at 12:55 | Permalink

    Congrats to the nice product. You’ve written that we can expect sane redistribution terms. Does that mean that Linux distributions will be allowed to redistribute the vmmon and vmnet kernel modules specifically built for distro kernels? Is this already ok for the current player release or when can we expect a redistributable release?

  21. Philip Langdale | 20th October 2005 at 19:11 | Permalink

    I’m not privy to the exact details but I know that we do not want to inhibit redistribution, and that definitely includes having it included with distros; we’d obviously have to allow kernel module redistribution to achieve that.

    The EULA with the current release does not include this language but, as I said, it’s a beta and the final language will explain how redistribution will work.

  22. Kamil Kisiel | 21st October 2005 at 12:40 | Permalink

    Does the VMWare player require local administrator access to be used on a Windows machine? I checked out the manual and searched around the net but could not find an answer.

  23. sito | 26th October 2005 at 01:13 | Permalink

    I’m new to VMware. I tried the VMWare player with the browser-appliance provided on the VMware website. It works wonderfully. Thanks for that!

    Question on that front is what is the amount of disk space that I have available for the Ubuntu OS running as a VM? I noticed that the vmdk file came as around 800 MB, but “df -h” shows the full 10GB free on my windows partition. Does the vmdk file grow in size automatically if I download stuff from the net? Or should the vmdk size be increased prior to me doing large downloads? If it must be increased beforehand, are there any tools to do that?

  24. Philip Langdale | 26th October 2005 at 07:46 | Permalink

    sito, the disk is configured to grow automatically and it will max out at 10GB. Don’t you think it sounds ridiculously unfriendly to expect the user to have to manually resize the file to match the logical size? :-)

  25. sito | 26th October 2005 at 08:58 | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for the answer Philip. I know it may seem like a basic feature to folks who have been using virtualization for a while, but I’m a newbie and I’m feeling increasingly happy :)

  26. John | 27th October 2005 at 06:05 | Permalink

    I wrote a short step by step guide in case anyone wants to try to use Windows XP Pro with the VMware player:

  27. Peter | 31st October 2005 at 05:00 | Permalink

    A (hopefully simple) question:
    The Browser Appliance works great. However, I seem to be unable to copy/move any created/downloaded files to anything other than the recognised DVD/RW.
    No USB-device gets noticed/mounted while running the BA. In fact: even the detection by the host OS (WinXPPro) of the usb-device gets delayed until shutting down the VM.
    Anyone any (easy) suggestions?? No knowledge of Linux I must shamefully admit. Hop eto improve on that, though.
    Thanks in advance.

  28. Psycho | 1st November 2005 at 03:53 | Permalink

    very nice actualy runs faster then the workstation ( althoug i must admit my system is a complete disater right now)

    but you guys forgot to include the man directory in the linux build (which gave me a nice error)

{ 4 } Trackbacks

  1. [...] VMware Player – Think of it as the Acrobat Reader of virtual machines. More info here and here [...]

  2. [...] Great News from VMWare (via Wubble): Today, as part of our VMworld 2005 festivities, we announced our VMware Player. This is a freely downloadable tool that, as you might guess, plays virtual machines. This could really lower the barrier for people who want to try linux. An immediate example is the special Browser Appliance virtual machine that’s based on Ubuntu Hoary featuring Firefox; great way to spread the word about Linux, and the wonderful distribution that is Ubuntu. Another great consequence is many vendors realesed pre-built virtual machines of their software stack, available on the Virtual Machine Center; a wonderful example is SpikeSource Core, an interoperable combination of open source components, this greatly simplifies software packaging, distribution, and deployment. I forsee also a nice costs cut for those labs using VMWare to provide Linux and Windows on the same computer. (off topic: posted using flock, more on this later). [...]

  3. [Catchy Blog Name] | 21st October 2005 at 12:42 | Permalink

    VMWare Player

    This is awesome. I’ve got to get a USB enclosure and an hard drive ASAP and be able to run my environment of choice on any computer I come across. This will be particularily useful on the lab machines at school. Very sweet. I thought VMWare ACE …

  4. brainbug | 23rd October 2005 at 13:59 | Permalink

    VMware Player als Windows Dienst

    How to run VMware Player as service on Windows Server 2003.