The VMware VOC lets you connect from a Linux desktop to remote Windows desktops managed by VMware View. It is available under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1 (LGPL v 2.1). (Personally I would have preferred to see GPL3.0, but beggars can't be choosers)
According to the release, the VDI client has been optimized for thin client devices and is encouraged for use by thin client partners applications and devices. Partners are encouraged to use this open source software to develop clients fo non-x86 platforms, or operating systems other than Windows XP/e or Linux.
So what does all this mean? For one, it represents a shot across the bow of the Redmond giant Microsoft who is already offering their hyper-v platform free of charge. It also pits them directly against the other "open source" virtualization company -- Citrix, who's main money maker is their proprietary desktop virtualization platform. It is interesting to see if this move forces Citrix to actually finally embrace open source for anything other then their Xen project. It will also be interesting to see if RedHat with their KVM or Ericom follow suit and offer some level of "free" VDI. Until today the only real open source VDI platform was Nomachines FreeNX. This cetainly changes the playing field.
The move also seems to be an attenpt to solidify VMware's position in the potentially huge "cloud" or thin client virtual desktop market. According to Gartner, (not exactly an ideal source of prognostications), they predict;
- That approximately 50 million user licenses for hosted virtual desktops will be purchased by 2013.
- The thin-client terminal will account for about 40% of user devices for hosted virtual desktop deployment.
Many companies including Verizon already have active cloud desktop services under development, who knows maybe in the near future your computer will be provided by your ISP. I know I can't wait for my Comcast Desktop, yikes.