VMware giving away Workstation Pro, Fusion Pro free for personal use

A nice gesture among the sh!tshow of Broadcom's acquisition

VMware has made another small but notable post-merger concession to users: the Workstation Pro and Fusion Pro desktop hypervisor products will now be free for personal use.

The cloud and virtualization biz, now a Broadcom subsidiary, has announced that its Pro apps will be available under two license models: a "Free Personal Use" or a "Paid Commercial Use" subscription for organizations.

Workstation Pro is available for PC users running Windows or Linux, while Fusion Pro is available for Mac systems with either Intel CPUs or Apple's own processors.

The two products allow users to create a virtual machine on their local computer for the purpose of running a different operating system or creating a sandbox in which to run certain software.

In an upcoming post announcing the latest move, VMware will note the special role that its desktop hypervisor products play in familiarizing users with its technology.

"For many in our community, Workstation and Fusion are the first VMware products that they've ever used, and it's an important tool for understanding virtualization as well as the fundamentals of vSphere," the company says, adding that they are widely used for development and testing of apps.

According to VMware, users will get to decide for themselves if their use case calls for a commercial subscription. There are no functional differences between the two versions, the company states, and the only visual difference is that the free version displays the text: "This product is licensed for personal use only."

"This means that everyday users who want a virtual lab on their Mac, Windows, or Linux computer can do so for free simply by registering and downloading the bits from the new download portal located at support.broadcom.com," VMware says. Customers that require a paid commercial subscription must purchase through an authorized Broadcom Advantage partner.

The move also means that VMware's Workstation Player and Fusion Player products are effectively redundant as the Pro products now serve the same role, and so those will no longer be offered for purchase.

Organizations with commercial licenses for Fusion Player 13 or Workstation Player 17 can continue to use these, however, and they will continue to be supported for existing end of life (EOL) and end of general support (EoGS) dates.

As with other changes since the acquisition, Broadcom claims it is simplifying licensing for VMware customers, in this case reducing down to a single SKU for users that require commercial use licensing.

The company also said it has partnered with e-commerce outfit Digital River as a new reseller to support customers without a pre-existing commercial account. The VMware Desktop Hypervisor subscription costs $120 per year and can be purchased from the new online store. This compares with the current $194.99 for a perpetual license for Workstation 17 Pro quoted online.

There had earlier been some concerns that Broadcom might divest or discontinue VMware's desktop hypervisor products, as the company has done with the end-user computing (EUC) remote desktop and app virtualization portfolio. These are being sold off to private equity operation KKR and will be rebranded "Omnissa," as The Register recently reported. ®

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