VMWare Fusion 12 update for macOS Big Sur has free personal tier

Posted:
in General Discussion
VMWare on Thursday announced Fusion 12, the next major update to its virtualization software with support for macOS Big Sur and a host of other changes.

Credit: VMWare
Credit: VMWare


The virtualization software maker originally announced a "tech preview" of its platform in June, and suggested that a future version of its app could be compatible with ARM-based chips. Among other changes, macOS Big Sur lays the groundwork for a switch to Apple Silicon.

Fusion 12 doesn't add support for Apple Silicon chips yet, but the update phases out VMWare's use of kernel extensions by using new Apple APIs to support its containers and virtual machines. VMWare Fusion 12 will continue to use extensions on macOS Catalina, but will use the hypervisor and other APIs on macOS Big Sur -- allowing support for the operating support as both guest and host machines. Apple is also currently in the midst of phasing out kernel extensions.

Additionally, Fusion 12 introduces compatibility with eGPUs, support for DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1, and support for Kubernetes containers. There are also improvements in sandbox security and accessibility controls, among other changes.

The company is also changing how it charges for VMWare Fusion, opening up the base tier version of Fusion 12 to make it free for personal use. A commercial license now costs $149, or $89 as an upgrade from Fusion 10 or 11. Fusion 12 Pro will cost $199 for a new license, or $99 as an upgrade.

VMWare hasn't announced a firm release date for Fusion 12, but said that the update will debut later in 2020.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,647member
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
  • Reply 2 of 9
    rob53 said:
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
    I so hope you’re wrong, even though I suspect you may not be. So many of us are able to use a Mac because of its x86 support. My days of running Windows in a VM are much less frequent after changing jobs this year, but I’m almost always now running at least one container for tools that are unlikely to be ported to ARM. If there’s no easy and performant method to run x86 software, I’ll have little choice but to switch to Linux.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,732member
    rob53 said:
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
    Perhaps, perhaps not.  I think so long as x86 Macs are sold, people needing Windows will continue to buy them.  I think there will be a big rush to buy the very last x86 Mac refresh.  VMware will continue having my business.  I hope they don’t stop improving it after the AR macs arrive.  There will still continue to be millions of x86 macs out there for the foreseeable future.

    I went big for my last x86 IMac for this reason.  Waiting for my 10-core i9 128GB, 8TB IMac to  arrive soon!  
    edited August 2020 rezwitsAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 9
    rob53 said:
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
    Microsoft has had ARM versions of Windows since at least 2017 and they've iterated every successive year.  The Surface Pro X using the MS/Qualcomm SQ1 chip is already on offer.  Other vendors are slowly offering devices.  MS still has a loooooooong way to go with getting ARM devices up to snuff imo, but it won't take forever for them to have an ARM version.  They've had one for a while now.  

    I said it before on a different article; I think MS and Apple have been working behind the scenes for a while to ensure ARM based bootcamp will be a viable thing.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    marc gmarc g Posts: 39member
    I to will be buying this final version of the iMac as I want to make sure that everything I need for doing my job in the Covid 19 era will continue to work. I’ll be going with i7, a single terabyte, and only 8GBs of RAM that I can upgrade myself for a much more reasonable price. There was a time I would have been first in line for Apple Silicon but I need a machine now. 
  • Reply 6 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,822member
    The specifics about the "free" version are a bit confusing at this point, at least for long time VMWare customers, and VMWare's current product naming convention only adds to the confusion. VMWare had a free version of their Windows "VMWare Workstation" product that was called "VMWare Player." The key differences for the free "Player" version was that you could not create new VMs but could run existing VMs, multiple at the same time. VMWare went to some lengths to create a library of pre-built VMs for free/open source operating systems, an appliance model of sorts. Now it looks like the "Player" version allows you to create VMs but you can only run one VM at a time. It's still free, but only for non-commercial use. If you want to run multiple VMs at the same time or hook into VMWare's multitude of other enterprise offerings you have to upgrade to the "Pro" version. The non-pro "Workstation" version went away. In essence they dumbed down the "Workstation" version into the "Player" version, added some significant limitations (for some folks) and provide additional enticement to upgrade to the "Pro" version. 

    I think that Fusion may follow the same path. VMWare Fusion has been offered both as a paid base version with no limitations on running multiple VMs at the same time, but also in a "Pro" version that has more features and bindings into other VMWare products. It sounds like there will be a "Player" version of Fusion and a continuation of the "Pro" version. I cannot determine whether the 'Player" version will be limited to running a single VM at a time. We'll see. If VMware dumbs down the base version so they give it away for free then some existing customers will have to upgrade to the "Pro" version to keep the features they rely upon intact. Sure, they'll now a have a goody bag of new features, some of which they may not need, or at least were not willing to pay for in past versions. It's not a big deal I guess. For (non commercial) users who are able to live with the limitations of the free version, it's a nice present.

    If nothing else, VMWare Fusion allows you to create VMs of macOS workstations which can be very handy if you have some legacy software applications, e.g., 32-bit only, that will not run on the latest macOS version. I've been using VMWare on both Windows and Mac for as long as these products have been on the market. For the past several years almost all software development in the organization I've been part of has been done almost exclusively on VMWare virtual machines. It's much easier to keep a tight reign on the entire software stack, including specific OS versions, apps, and drivers, when you can containerize everything into a virtual machine. VMs are a godsend for testing your apps on multiple client and server versions. I cannot imagine developing software without using virtual machines for code development, and I'm not even talking about the vast number of VMs in the build and automated testing server clusters/clouds.

    On the customer side, some software development organizations (one's I've been a part of) have teamed up with VMWare to deploy entire application suites via virtual machines. There is no app installation, everything is preinstalled on a VM. Some industries, especially regulated ones, life sciences, and process control systems have extremely tight configuration management requirements and/or run the same basic software stack for 10-25 years with no significant changes. If you support these systems you may have to build and test changes on 20 year old operating systems using 20 year old build tools. The notion of "breaking changes" in an app due to a language, compiler, API, or OS change (like no longer supporting 32-bit apps) is not an option in some industries. Shipping the app in its own dedicated VM is one option (not the only one) that can be used to work around these issues, especially if the app is part of a highly distributed and connected architecture.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 9
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,690member
    rob53 said:
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
    Microsoft has had ARM versions of Windows since at least 2017 and they've iterated every successive year.  The Surface Pro X using the MS/Qualcomm SQ1 chip is already on offer.  Other vendors are slowly offering devices.  MS still has a loooooooong way to go with getting ARM devices up to snuff imo, but it won't take forever for them to have an ARM version.  They've had one for a while now.  

    I said it before on a different article; I think MS and Apple have been working behind the scenes for a while to ensure ARM based bootcamp will be a viable thing.
    Yeah, but isn't the main reason people use Windows on Macs is to run x86-based software? Getting Win/ARM running on an ASi Mac doesn't solve that problem.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    rob53 said:
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
    Microsoft has had ARM versions of Windows since at least 2017 and they've iterated every successive year.  The Surface Pro X using the MS/Qualcomm SQ1 chip is already on offer.  Other vendors are slowly offering devices.  MS still has a loooooooong way to go with getting ARM devices up to snuff imo, but it won't take forever for them to have an ARM version.  They've had one for a while now.  

    I said it before on a different article; I think MS and Apple have been working behind the scenes for a while to ensure ARM based bootcamp will be a viable thing.
    Yeah, but isn't the main reason people use Windows on Macs is to run x86-based software? Getting Win/ARM running on an ASi Mac doesn't solve that problem.
    No, the main reason people use Windows on Macs is to run Windows software, so this depends on how easy it is to port Windows apps. Most modern apps shouldn't be a problem because .NET and whatever came after it are fairly portable anyway. The question really is whether or not its worth doing, and that can only be answered by individual companies.


  • Reply 9 of 9
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,690member
    Rayz2016 said:
    rob53 said:
    The free version is because VMWare knows they’ll lose most Mac customers because X86 won’t be supported and Microsoft will take forever to have an ARM version. The only use will be for free versions of Linux software that run on ARM. 
    Microsoft has had ARM versions of Windows since at least 2017 and they've iterated every successive year.  The Surface Pro X using the MS/Qualcomm SQ1 chip is already on offer.  Other vendors are slowly offering devices.  MS still has a loooooooong way to go with getting ARM devices up to snuff imo, but it won't take forever for them to have an ARM version.  They've had one for a while now.  

    I said it before on a different article; I think MS and Apple have been working behind the scenes for a while to ensure ARM based bootcamp will be a viable thing.
    Yeah, but isn't the main reason people use Windows on Macs is to run x86-based software? Getting Win/ARM running on an ASi Mac doesn't solve that problem.
    No, the main reason people use Windows on Macs is to run Windows software, so this depends on how easy it is to port Windows apps. Most modern apps shouldn't be a problem because .NET and whatever came after it are fairly portable anyway. The question really is whether or not its worth doing, and that can only be answered by individual companies.

    I think you misunderstood. I meant "isn't the main reason people use Windows on Macs is to run x86-based Windows software which is not compatible with Windows on ARM". Whether those get ported to ARM is another problem entirely as even Microsoft hasn't done that with all o their products.
    FileMakerFeller
Sign In or Register to comment.