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Which software to use to run VMware images depends on the operating system you will run the image under. (It does not depend on the operating system inside the VMware image.)

VMware on Windows and Linux

A free VMware player is available for Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems from VMware. You will need to register to download it. There are multiple versions. Be sure to download a version that can run on your laptop.

VMware on Mac OS X

Participants can also bring newer Macs with Intel processors. The Intel processor is a requirement for all the packages discussed below. There is no free VMware player that runs directly under Mac OS X. However, there are several other options, all of which require an Intel Mac:

VMware Fusion

VMware Fusion ($80/corporate, $40/Academic) allows you to run VMware images (as well as Windows and Linux) under Mac OS. We recommend this option for Mac users. There is a fully functional, 30 day free trial version of VMware Fusion available for download.


VirtualBox is free and open source, and runs on Intel Macs (and Windows, Linux and Solaris too). It claims to be capable of running VMware images, but we have not tested this with our images.