After casually announcing its plans to develop desktop virtualization software for the M1 Mac, VMware is giving fans a detailed look into its development progress. The good news is that VMware Fusion will arrive on M1 as a Public Tech Preview this year. The bad news is that it won’t support Windows 10 or Windows 10 on ARM.
Michael Roy, VMware’s Product Line Manager, explains in a blog post that VMware Fusion will not support x86 virtualization. He sates that, while x86 emulation is possible, there “isn’t exactly much business value relative to the engineering effort that is required, at least for the time being.” Without x86 support, VMware Fusion will not support the standard version of Windows 10 on Apple Silicon devices.
But what about Windows 10 on ARM, the version of Windows specifically designed for ARM-based systems like the Surface Pro X and the M1 Mac? Roy says that Windows 10 on ARM virtualization is off the table due to Microsoft’s convoluted licensing. VMware would need to use Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview Builds for virtualization, but Microsoft does not allow people to run Insider Previews on unlicensed Windows devices.
For the time being, VMware will focus on virtualizing Linux operating systems for Apple Silicone. Progress on Linux virtualization is going well, and according to Michael Roy, early builds of the M1 VMware Fusion software can run 7 VMs at a time. An impressive feat—especially on a MacBook Air!
If all goes according to plan, a VMware Fusion Public Tech Preview should arrive on Apple Silicone this year with ARM Linux support. Windows 10 on ARM emulation may come in the future if Microsoft changes its licensing terms or decides to sell Windows 10 on ARM licenses for virtual machines.
Source: VMware via TechRadar