VMWare is planning to give away 1,000 copies of the Windows version of its Virtual Machine Workstation product at the upcoming Microsoft Tech Ed conference in Atlanta, and while the retail Workstation package includes two pre-installed Linux distributions, the Microsoft-only giveaways have had a tux-ectomy, even though a VMware representative originally said the CDs would include SuSE and Turbolinux.
VMWare company representatives have now stated that the company will not distribute SuSE and Turbolinux packaged with the special Microsoft Tech Ed conference version of the Workstation 2.0 product, adding that the conference attendees are Microsoft users and wouldn't be interested in virtual machines with Linux pre-installed. Earlier, company officials said Linux would be included.
Last month, NewsForge reported that members of the Suncoast Linux Users group were chased off by building management for handing out Linux CDs and magazines in front of the conference building. Microsoft employees told the SLUG members that they couldn't "pass out free software" at the event.
In an ironic twist, Linux and Open Source community supporter VMWare first said it would give Linux to Microsoft .NET developers and other conference attendees, apparently with Microsoft's blessings, on June 17 at the MS Tech Ed conference. Anyone who shows up at the booth at 6 p.m. that day is free to snag one of 1,000 copies of the software that allows a user to run multiple operating systems without partitioning or dual-booting.
According to a press release dated June 15, VMWare says its Workstation "can be a critical tool in the development kit of .NET developers." VMWare is attending the conference, it says, in order to demonstrate the abilities of the Workstation software to attendees.
The software giveaway is a "special edition" of the Workstation product for Windows normally sold at the VMWare website, but the sales department of VMWare confirmed that it does include SuSE Linux and TurboLinux.
VMWare is a well-known Open Source supporter. The company sponsors several Linux Users Groups, donates VMware products, and has contributed code to Samba, Wine, XFree86, KDE, and other projects.
The company claims three Operating System partners: Microsoft, SuSE, and Turbolinux. While it has an OEM agreement with MS to distribute several Microsoft operating systems with VMware,the company also includes virtual machines with pre-installed SuSE and Turbolinux in the same package, which, it says, "removes a significant barrier to many users getting started" with either of the two distributions.
Microsoft's public relations department said it was not aware of VMWare's plans.