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Community Manager
Community Manager

Fusion's Future

Hi everyone,

As we're winding down the year, planning is well underway for the next big releases of Fusion and Fusion Pro.

With me being new to the role of being responsible for the entirety of the Fusion experience, all the way from initial awareness to buying, using and getting support, I'm working on a multi-year plan of how we're going to take Fusion into the future.

I personally think it would be wrong of me to do this without hearing from our users and the community.  I've always wanted to do right by our users, and I hope that giving you a forum to voice your thoughts underscores our commitment to 'do the right thing'.

The world has been changing since Apple first brought OS X to x86, allowing us to do this amazing thing called Virtualization. But with changing times people are using Fusion for a variety of different reasons that we may not have originally thought of.

So, I'd like to use this thread as a forum to get direct feedback from you on what you think Fusion could do next.

Let's hear about how you use Fusion and what else might help make that experience even better.

Let's hear about what Fusion doesn't do today that would make your lives easier.

Let's hear about what Fusion does that drives you crazy!

Do you deploy Fusion en-masse in the office? What can we do better for this use case? (and did you know about Horizon FLEX??)

Do you build software using Fusion? How can we make that a more productive and joyful experience?

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to all of our users.  It's been a great year for us, and for me personally. I'm immensely proud of what the team here has been able to deliver over the years, and we couldn't be more excited to take things to the next level with you by our side.

Happy Holidays!

-Mike

- Michael Roy - Product Line Manager: Fusion & Workstation
81 Replies
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Expert
Expert

Dear Mike,

I saw your note when it first came out, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. I hope it is not too late now. I work from home, but sometimes bring my MacBook Pro to customer sites, where I use VMware Fusion if needed for other (non-Mac) platforms.

I use VMware Fusion for many different functions:

  • Running a business-class firewall appliance in a VMware virtual machine on a Mac mini Server. It serves as the gateway/router/firewall for the home network. Using bridged networking, it is isolated from the Mac mini Server itself. The Mac mini Server uses its own virtual machine firewall to connect to the Internet.
  • Running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server so that I can run a variety of legacy applications (mostly PowerPC) that are no longer supported and will not run on later versions of OS X.
  • Running other versions of Mac OS X and OS X for testing purposes.
  • Running Windows 7 and Windows XP as a user. Certain applications are only available on Windows. They include applications related to vehicle repair and diagnostics (usually from my MacBook Pro), managing access to our neighborhood gate (really!), specialized applications that my customers depend on, and much more.
  • Running a variety of Windows platforms as a developer and Windows admin for testbeds. They include Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2.
  • Running a variety of Linux distros for testing, development, and personal use. This is where I test software before deploying it on cheap VPSs (virtual private servers) on the Internet.

Here are things I appreciate about VMware Fusion (vs. the competition):

  • Not a subscription model. I hate subscription licenses. I won't buy a product if it is based on a subscription license. So far, I have been able to avoid them entirely. The thought of losing access to my virtual machines because a subscription license expires is anathema to me.
  • Generous license - I can run VMware Fusion on multiple Macs in my home.
  • Snapshots and easy-to-backup virtual machines (yeah, big files, but compressing them helps a lot). This is invaluable for testing.
  • Cross-platform compatibility - At my previous employer, we were able to move virtual machines between VMware on Windows, Linux, and Macs for testing and development purposes. This was undeniably useful.
  • In general, Fusion just works. I can run all of the above on my Mac. ... while still running Mac applications on the Mac itself.

Here is where VMware desperately needs to improve:

  • Product Quality
    • It is plainly apparent to everyone that VMware is not investing sufficient resources into ongoing Fusion development and maintenance.
    • This is especially true for QA testing. I have bought every new release since version 3, perhaps earlier (but I can't find the records that far). The last several releases seem to introduce more bugs than the previous version, and I question the value of the features that were added. Many features that used to work are currently broken. This is a huge downer for me, because I contribute every year when a new release comes out, only to find that it is worse than the previous version.
    • Time to fix bugs. Bugs happen, and they are hard to fix. Simply put, it takes too long for VMware to fix acknowledged bugs.
  • Support
    • Getting VMware support to acknowledge a bug is not always easy, even when multiple people report seeing the same bug in the forums. Support people sometimes demand a lot of information that I cannot deliver for legal and privacy reasons. Sometimes it feels as if it is used as a way to discourage users from following through with bug reports so they can be closed without further action.

Product Quality Summary: I fear that the VMware Fusion team is caught in the "Sad Graph of Software Death", where the "...demand for fixes and features is rapidly outpacing the supply of development time invested...". See:

The sad graph of software death

Sincerely yours,

vmxmr

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User Moderator
User Moderator

This morning when I woked up the twitterverse was talking about a big change for all VMware, people have been laid off.

Turns out not just people, but apparently the teams for Fusion/Workstation are now without a job.

Haven't seen ANY official word on this, but as several insiders are posting this, there must be some truth in it.

I'm flabbergasted. .. literally without words, still hoping it isn't true.

The product is great, yes I might complain about some details, but that is just feedback for improvement.

What Fusion/Workstation can do still is quite amazing and even while there might be some issues with a particular feature I never did loose a VM.

Will have to wait and hear what will happen with the products, in the future.

Completely removing(replacing?) the development team is not normally a recipe for improving a product.

Any -former- VMware Fusion / Workstation employees reading this.

Thanks for building a great product, still love it and... onwards to other great adventures!

FWIW: A Tribute to VMware Workstation, Fusion, and Hosted UI | ChipLog

--

Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Unfortunately, the rumors are true (unless I'm being trolled really hard by my friends). This comes a few years after the Fusion/Workstation QA teams were laid off (and outsourced), so I think upper management's position on consumer virtualization is sadly pretty clear. Making completely unfounded guesses as an outsider, I would expect support to continue for existing customers, and maybe even compatibility versions for whatever new OSes Apple puts out, but yesterday was a sad day.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

If I am not mistaken, the desktop products is where VMware really got its start.

Yet another company abandoning their roots in search of bigger bucks in the

corporate market.

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User Moderator
User Moderator

Hello Eric,

Yes, I concur it was a very sad day for desktop virtualisation products.

Sure don't expect the products to die, but they did lay off a lot of expertise for the special case of running on top of another OS and dismantled an amazing team.

The love of the engineers for the product did really shine through on how polished it is.

re. no word from VMware on layoff's, there's a bit of it, like this one: VMware confirms layoffs and CFO departs after earnings beat but not seen a statement about the details so far.

--

Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Based on this in the earnings statement:

"In 2015, VMware's End-User Computing business grew over 30% year-over-year,

bringing the total annual bookings run rate to over $1.2 billion."

with Fusion/Workstation part of this group, abandonment seems to be an odd

move.


Then again, corporate decisions often don't make sense.


Perhaps, like everything else these days, product development is being outsourced

to countries with a much cheaper labor force (India comes to mind as many software

houses are tapping that resource like manufacturing is tapping China).

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User Moderator
User Moderator

Hi,

Yes did read some comments online that future development/maintenance on Fusion/Workstation was being moved to China, again no official statements on that.

As for EUC business growing, umm well...: Sanjay Poonen on Twitter: "Delighted that our @VMware EUC is now BILLION $$$ CLUB, on $1.2B run-rate...

--

Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Wonder if these folks are being treated like most engineering people in business,

like mushrooms (fed @#!% and kept in the dark).

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Community Manager
Community Manager

I can't say much at this time guys, but I just couldn't hold back not at least letting you know that I'm still here and I'm listening intently.

It's a crazy week for us, but we've absolutely not given up on the Fusion and Workstation products.

- Michael Roy - Product Line Manager: Fusion & Workstation
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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I just read the headlines this morning, and I keep having the same reaction: Dell?! :smileycry:


RIP Fusion. Smiley Sad

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Contributor
Contributor

How about giving me (us?) a product roadmap of if and when you plan to support Solaris 11.

I realize it isn't a common guest OS, but I would like to know if Solaris is simply not in your roadmap

anymore.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

How about giving me (us?) a product roadmap of if and when you plan to support Solaris 11.

I realize it isn't a common guest OS, but I would like to know if Solaris is simply not in your roadmap

anymore.

With the recent layoffs/re-stucturing, I wonder if there will even be a road map!

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Community Manager
Community Manager

We have never discussed roadmap publicly and that policy is not changing, I apologize.

Please be assured that there is a roadmap!

- Michael Roy - Product Line Manager: Fusion & Workstation
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Contributor
Contributor

I have been using Fusion  OS X and CentOS guests to separate my office from development and test environments for several years now, and it has many more benefits than disadvantages.

* My major pain with Linux guests is poor mapping a special characters - try to find a vertical bar having a German keyboard 😞   This should work out-of-the-box, but if it does not, same graphical tool to browse and correct the keyboard mappings would really help. Clip board used to be a major pain as well - seems to be fixed with CentOS7 and current Fusion Pro.

* I am missing a connection option to the host system via the vm network - I can link only guests, but cannot provide e.g. an HTTP-proxy for all guests.

* I would love to isolate my office environment security-wise into a separate OS X guest, instead of running it on the host. I do not dare yet, because of the increased consumption of battery. Sometimes even finder starts to consume one CPU with 100% until restarted - the MacBook Pro becomes hot. An option set sleep patterns after some inactivity, e.g. sleep after 5 min of inactivity for 30 minutes would be nice.

- Rainer

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Contributor
Contributor

As others have noted copy/paste between the host and guest OS has been flaky for years. I've used Fusion versions 5-8 and they have all had issues with this. Especially in Unity mode. Usually a suspend/resume would clear it up. Sometimes a restart of the VM was necessary. On occasion reinstalling VMware Tools was needed to restore the functionality. It's been an ongoing PITA quite frankly. And that's not a good look considering the fact that Fusion licenses aren't exactly cheap. Now I'm running Fusion 8.1. Copy/Paste between the host and guest OS seems quite reliable in single window mode with my Windows 7 VM. But with my Windows 10 VM it simply does not function at all. No amount of restarting the VM, repairing/uninstalling/reinstalling VMware Tools, rebooting my laptop, etc. has made it work. My feedback? Fix this ongoing issue once and for all! But now I'm hearing that the Fusion team has been laid off and support has been moved offshore. I suspect a migration to Parallels is likely going to be necessary if my Windows 10 issue doesn't get resolved sooner rather than later.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I suppose VMware's platitudes about how they will continue to develop Workstation and Fusion are meant to be reassuring, but I find them extremely hard to believe. After all, they just literally got rid of everyone who made these products.

I expect we will see a decline in quality and an increase in serious bugs until the programs become unusable. VMware beancounters, shocked that firing the entire development staff turns out to negatively impact sales, will then decide to discontinue them.

An unworthy end, but an inevitable one, I fear.

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Champion
Champion

I've a bit of a different perspective, having a few decades in the industry.  This is a typical offshoring move - every large company has done, and is doing it, and their products continue.  Will we see impact?  Maybe.  But I've no doubt that development will continue.  The open question is if Apple makes big changes to OSX 10.12, will Fusion be timely in supporting them?  If they are, then things will be just fine.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I've seen outsourcing done before, and commitment or no commitment, I'm skeptical. There's no shortage of formerly excellent products where offshoring turned out to be a disaster -- even when outsourced to good developers abroad. Executives often tend to think a programmer is a programmer, and assign no value to the years of experience, familiarity and knowledge of the product that they lose in a layoff. When an entire team is laid off at once, the impact is even worse.

I hope I'm wrong. I like Fusion, and I'd like to be able to continue to use it. As you implied with your 10.12 question, we'll find out one way or the other.

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Contributor
Contributor

I agree - programs productivity ranges 1 to 20 between people. And experience is one driver. 

Recently I was not excited to note, that the old copy/paste error sometimes re-appeares in 8.1.0, where the first paste in a guest OS X gest an old value and the second on the current clipboard from the host OS. OTOH my experience with VMWare support is quite good, I received calls from reasonably knowledgeable guys who would fix my problem (unfortunately not clipboard and character sets). This is at least some offset.

My yardstick for the success of fusion will be if they can at least keep the current quality and fix clipboard and character sets in the next 6 months.

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Expert
Expert

This is my first post in this thread since I became aware of the changes at VMware regarding the development team layoffs and VMware's decision to outsource development work to China. Please take the time to read my previous post in this thread.


dlhotka and others make good points about outsourcing development work.


I have had decades in the industry too. I have worked for companies that outsourced software development to China and India, where I had various levels of involvement and experience in the process. There are potential upsides and possible downsides to VMware's decision to outsource some of its development to China. The obvious upsides are a cost savings to VMware and a large pool of resources to draw from. The possible downsides are too many to list, and I sincerely hope that VMware's management has given them the extensive due diligence that they deserve.


It takes a long time for any developer to internalize a large body of highly specialized, complex source code and make meaningful contributions to it. The loss of historical knowledge and institutional memory regarding key design and implementation decisions will be difficult to recover. The place where we are likely to see the most timely and most effective early contribution from outsourcing is in QA, which is desperately needed for VMware Fusion. Of course, it will only help to grow the bug list in the short term.


From my perspective as a VMware customer and user, I worry about the growing number of software bugs that have appeared with each new release of VMware Fusion and VMware's inability to fix them in a timely manner. Despite the product issues, I chose to pay out of my own pocket for upgrades, and much of that was motivated by my desire to underwrite the cost of further development for a product that I depend on. That is especially true regarding my investments in Fusion versions 7 and 8, for which I knew some of the issues and harbored no illusions. Customers of mine are still happily running VMware Fusion 6. I advised them not to upgrade. That advice comes from personal and professional integrity as well as the desire to avoid destabilizing their well-running systems.

I do not expect major product advances in terms of bug fixes or features in the near term. I wonder what we will see if VMware Fusion 9 appears in August or September?