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VMware Fusion users can now install Leopard, Snow Leopard in VMs

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When Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) was first released to the public, it became the first client version of Mac OS X that Apple expressly allowed to run within a virtual machine—on Mac hardware, of course. The big names, Parallels and VMware, immediately updated their Mac virtualization software to support the installation of Lion, but now, a recent update to VMware Fusion has begun allowing the installation of previous versions of Mac OS X (hat tip to Macworld), despite the lack of Apple’s OK on the matter.

VMware released its 4.1 update to Fusion on Thursday last week with relatively benign release notes. The highlights include native full screen mode when running under Lion, the return of the automatic-on option when starting Fusion, and a plethora of performance improvements. What wasn’t documented in the release notes was the software’s newfound support for non-server versions of Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) and Leopard (10.5), allowing those versions of Mac OS X to be installed in their own virtual machines on Mac hardware.

Previously, Apple made it clear that it would only allow the installation of Snow Leopard Server and Leopard Server within virtual machines until this July—at that time, Lion and Lion Server joined the list of acceptable virtual Macs. Those attempting to install regular client versions of Leopard or Snow Leopard were previously stopped at the outset, but VMware has apparently decided to start being more liberal with its Mac OS X installation policies as part of Fusion 4.1. Now, users trying to install either of the two operating systems are met with a confirmation screen reminding them to “verify that the operating system is licensed to run in a virtual machine,” but there are no other checks in order to make sure Apple’s agreement is enforced.

Now, the onus is entirely on the user to confirm whether their license agreements would allow them to perform such an action. And as confirmed by Macworld, Apple appears to be remaining steadfast on its own policy regarding Leopard and Snow Leopard running in virtual machines—that is, the company only “permit[s] properly licensed copies of Mac OS X Lion, Snow Leopard Server and Leopard Server to be virtualized on Apple-branded hardware only.”

Whether Apple will take any action against VMware for its recent update is anyone’s guess. Considering that Leopard and Snow Leopard are already “outdated” versions of Mac OS X, however, Apple may end up letting the update slide.

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from Ars Technica http://arstechnica.com/index.php http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/11/vmware-fusion-users-can-now-install-leopard-snow-leopard-in-vms.ars?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Technica+-+Featured+Content%29

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