Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

Unity: Definitely Real!

Just yesterday, I was asking if Unity—the Coherence-killing feature that was soon to be added to VMware Fusion—was real or rumor. (Of course, yesterday I was also getting updated by the Fusion developers that this is indeed not rumor and is definitely real.) Now I’m here to tell you that I have experienced it with my own eyes.

VMware Fusion Beta 4 has been released (get it here), and with it comes Unity. In a word: Wow! It’s pretty disconcerting to see Windows applications (like a command prompt, Internet Explorer, or Visio) running side-by-side with Camino, Mail.app, and NetNewsWire. Interleave windows? Not a problem. Drop shadows? There. Minimization effects? Yep. Aside from the window decorations, you would be hard-pressed to tell which applications were running natively in Mac OS X or in virtualization.

And that, my friends, is the heart of what I described ages ago (OK, perhaps it only seems like ages ago) as application agnosticism. With virtualization technology and UI integration like this, who cares what OS an application is written for? Of course, we still have a ways to go to fully realize application agnosticism, since Unity is only available for Mac OS X (not Linux or Windows), but this is a powerful step in the right direction.

My hat is off to the Fusion developers. Well done! A lot of people were predicting that Parallels had too much of a lead in Mac virtualization, but all of you have definitely proved them wrong. Keep up the good work!

<aside>Boring technical question to any VMware developers, Fusion team members, etc: Is Unity debuting on OS X because of some advantage within Mac OS X itself, or simply because of the timing and the competition? I am a Mac fan, after all, and was curious if my favorite OS had a leg up on the competitors that made it easier to create Unity.</aside>

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