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VMware goes open source

VMware has released open source desktop virtualization software designed to let its business partners optimize thin clients for the delivery of personalized virtual desktops.

VMware View Open Client, available for download on the Google Code site since Monday night, helps further VMware’s strategy both for desktop virtualization and open source. VMware CEO Paul Maritz said last September that the company had considered open sourcing ESX, its server hypervisor and flagship product.

This week’s news doesn’t go that far, but it does introduce an open source component into what is expected to be a fast growing market for virtual desktops. VMware cited Gartner research that predicts 50 million user licenses for hosted virtual desktops will be purchased by 2013.

“We are sharing our source code in VMware View Open Client so vendors can easily optimize devices to create the best virtual desktop solutions,” VMware desktop vice president Jocelyn Goldfein says in a news release. “This brings us closer to our Universal Client vision, where users can securely and efficiently access rich personalized desktop environments, from any device at any time.”

The open source software is complementary to the commercial product VMware View, and will let partners optimize thin clients and other devices for that product, the company said.

VMware View Open Client lets Linux machines connect to remote Windows desktops, but the project Web site says those Windows desktops must be virtualized with the commercial version of VMware View.

Open Client features include two factor authentication and the ability to create a secure tunnel using SSL. The initial release does not support multiple desktop sessions. The open source software is compatible with VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM) 2.0, 2.1, and VMware View Manager 3.0.

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