March 19, 2001, 2:02 PM —
Shortly after I wrote about Win4Lin a few weeks ago, I was bombarded with questions from readers asking how it compares to VMware. Win4Lin is a product that allows you to install and run Windows 95 or Windows 98 under Linux. With VMware, you can also install and run various other versions of Windows under Linux. (See Resources for links to both.)
They may sound similar, but I don't believe a comparison between the two is appropriate, at least not as the products stand. Currently, Win4Lin has one specific purpose: it provides a fast, stable Windows environment under Linux so that you can run Windows productivity applications without having to sacrifice Linux as your default environment. In contrast, VMware is a general-purpose virtual machine that, among other things, runs Windows productivity applications under Linux.
In other words, VMware goes way beyond the capabilities of Win4Lin. In addition to Windows 95 or Windows 98, you can run Windows 2000 in a virtual machine under the Linux host operating system. VMware is also available for Windows; with that version, you can run Linux in a virtual machine under Windows. You can also run other operating systems, such as FreeBSD, in the virtual machine. And you can run multiple virtual machines simultaneously.