VMware launches an open source VDI client

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By now it should be more than clear that the battle for the enterprise market between VMware and Citrix is no more played on the server consolidation playground, but rather on the VDI one.

The are a lot of component in a virtual desktop infrastructure where the two companies (and their additional competitors) can innovate: the consolidation ratio provided by the server-side hypervisor, the connection broker intelligence, the speed of the remote desktop protocol, the provisioning of the thin client OS, and very soon the efficiency of the client-side hypervisor (needed to achieve the much wanted offline VDI).

A notable move in this long-term game was made by Citrix which just two weeks ago announced a groundbreaking agreement with Intel to develop a client hypervisor which will be distributed through all the major OEM partners.

VMware answers today releasing an open source VDI client: VMware View Open Client.

Available under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1 (LGPL v 2.1), this source code (binaries are available as well) can be integrated on any Linux distribution.
So far VMware tested it against SUSE  Linux Enterprise Thin Client (SLETC) and Debian 4.0r3.

The company hopes that playing the open source card, it can conquer a large number of thin client providers, which could prefer to adopt and customize View Open Client rather than developing their own connectors.
If so many new upcoming devices on the market may feature out-of-the-box connectivity to VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM) and VMware View connection brokers.

It sounds like a good plan, assuming that the LGPL license and the VMware Contribution Agreement aren’t too restrictive for partners.
Nonetheless the mass-adoption may require some time as this first version of the product is missing some key enhanced features:

  • USB redirection
  • Multiple desktop sessions
  • Multimedia redirection