VMware Fusion goes ‘release candidate’

Virtualization software maker VMware has offered a “release candidate” version of Fusion, its virtualization software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows and other x86 operating systems.

The RC1 build is available for download; users can pre-order Fusion for US$39.99.

Similar to Parallels Desktop for Mac, VMware Fusion enables Intel-based Mac owners to run Windows side-by-side with Mac OS X, rather than having to restart to run Windows and Windows applications as is necessary with Apple’s Boot Camp software.

The RC1 build features improvements to “Unity,” Fusion’s ability to run Windows applications from within the Mac environment. Drag and drop now works from the Finder; you can control-click or right-click the Fusion dock icon, select a virtual machine and get access to the Launch Application window and the Programs menu for that machine. Unity works with more versions of Windows, and other changes have also been made.

Better Mac integration is now offered, with system-wide keyboard shortcuts (enabling you to use Fusion with software like Quicksilver and LaunchBar, for example). Disk performance when using a Boot Camp-based virtual machine has been improved, as well.

“Experimental” 3D graphics support has been restored for Macs that depend on Intel GMA 950 graphics, such as MacBooks and Mac minis, and experimental support is also provided for the WWDC build of Leopard (Mac OS X v10.5).

USB problems associated with Mac OS X v10.4.10 and later have been fixed; resume from suspended state has been improved; and you can now optimize memory usage for your needs.

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