>1. Can users realistically expect to see Aero and DirectX 9 by the time Fusion ships or shortly afterwards?
I'd doubt this. This part requires a completely new virtual video card - and one which most likely needs to be backwards compatible with all older OS's which VMware virtualizes. There supposedly is a team working on a newer virtual video card, but there's been no mention of anything public yet. And, traditionally, new features are introduced in the Workstation product.
>the upgrade to Fusion 1.x will be free for users who ordered or pre-ordered Fusion 1.0.
Actually, any minor version changes are considered updates[/i], not upgrades. And, yes, they are free. Major version number changes are upgrades[/i], and are typically not free (unless you have a current support contract, or purchase the prior version within a few months of a new version becoming available).
Well...you basically have already given yourself the possible best answer I guess. As you know, VMware does not disclose any information about availability, pricing or future feature sets. This also includes any indication about a timeframe for features most likely available at some time.
Having said all this...you still can answer your questions on your own to a certain degree by looking at the target market. It is most likely that:
\* DirectX 9 and Open GL will be available
\* Unity gets sorted out and works on more than 32-bit Windows XP
\* Snapshot management will be available
Now...I certainly doubt that all of these features are necessarily available with Fusion 1.0. Whether they will available shortly after that...probably. Nonetheless, I would rather look at the feature set once they announce 1.0 and then decide whether you want to buy it or not. If not, wait for the next release. Whether it will be a free upgrade or not is dependent on many factors such as the market itself, the competition etc.
And even in the Mac virtualization area the initial competition at the moment is even tighter thus lips are even more closed...
Do not get me wrong....I understand your position, I am just trying to point out that you most likely will not get a completely satisfying answer...
1. Probably not. Fusion works on the Workstation 6 codebase, and Workstation 6 only supports DirectX 8.1 last I checked.
2. I would bet that it would work now if you disable the default, translucent theme and if VMware flipped the code switch to let it. I'm thinking that that is probably the big problem. After all, they already have non-square window support, and Vista's window manager should actually make this easier, since it builds each window in its own, off-screen space, then composites them later. The difficulty I see is how to get translucence to interact with Mac OS windows. Then again, I don't work for VMware.
3. Maybe. The current implementation is good enough for home users, and VMware has stated several times that that is their target market with Fusion. Parallels has a snapshot tree now, though, and they've heard quite a few of us saying that we want one, so they might, they might not. I'm still thinking not, because the featureset now is looking like it'll be somewhere between VMware Server and VMware Workstation. Two of the major features that Workstation has which are missing from Server are snapshots and teams.
Basically, what I'm expecting is something similar to VMware Server in general functionality along with a few Mac-specific features like Unity.
It's already got pretty much everything I \*need*, so I pre-ordered. I plan to keep pushing them to add things like the snapshot tree, but I'm satisfied for now. Its current featureset is worth $40 to me (probably more, actually) as long as they get the more annoying bugs squashed before 1.0. Knowing VMware, they will.
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