VMWare has announced Fusion 2, the latest release of its flagship Mac virtualization app. Like competitor Parallels, Fusion allows Mac users to run Windows applications alongside their normal Mac OS X apps.
Fusion 2 packs in a host a new features and current Fusion users will happy to hear that the upgrade is free. Among the standout new features are an improved “Unity” mode, multi-display support for virtual machines, improved 3-D graphics and easier-to-use “shared” folders for moving documents between your Mac and the guest OS.
We’ve been using the Fusion 2 betas for some time (see our earlier coverage), but the final release fixes some lingering bugs and polishes up the new features. Unity 2.0 has received a nice makeover from earlier versions and now works with multiple monitors — it even gives your Windows apps a spot on the Dock, so switching from a Mac app to a Windows app is dead simple.
In Fusion 2 the seamless integration of Mac and Windows apps is extended with the new “Mirrored Folders” feature, which provides easy access to all your Mac files from inside any Windows application. Mirrored Folders maps special folders on your Mac to their counterparts in your virtual machine. For instance, all your images in OS X’s Pictures folder will be available in your Windows virtual machine inside the “My Pictures” Folder. The same is true of the Mac folders Documents, Music and Desktop.
Also new in Fusion 2 is multiple monitor support — even your “Unity” windows can be dragged between monitors and expanded and minimized just like your Mac application windows. That means you can, among other things, move all your virtual machine windows to a second monitor so that you can have one monitor for Mac apps and one for Windows or Linux apps.
The multiple monitor support also means that any Windows-only apps that require more than one display will work without a hitch.
Gamers, Fusion 2 has quite a few features that will make your Windows games a bit faster and more impressive on a Mac. The new version offers full support for 3D video acceleration in games (and other apps) that use DirectX 9.0. There’s also support for 1080p HD video playback and more.
WHAT'S NEW Version 2.0.2:
* Allows importing Windows virtual machines from both Parallels Desktop 4.0 and Parallels Server for Mac.
* Supports mounting unencrypted .dmg file format as a CD/DVD disk image, in addition to .iso file format.
* Supports Mac OS X 10.5.6 as a host operating system.
* Provides experimental support for Mac OS X Server 10.5.6 as a guest operating system.
* Supports Ubuntu 8.10 as a guest operating system, including features such as VMware Tools with prebuilt kernel modules, Easy Install, and Unity.
* Ships with a 12-month complimentary subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009 antivirus software, with localization support for French, German, Italian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese.
* Provides performance improvements when browsing mirrored folders and shared folders in Windows virtual machines.
* Supports display of Windows applications in Unity view as 48 pixel x 48 pixel icons.
* Resolves issues with "Optimize for Mac OS application performance" preference option for Mac OS X 10.5.5 and later.
* Contains bug fixes described in Resolved Issues.
Intel Mac, Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.