After many months of delay, VMware has finally made some progress towards delivering a PC-over-IP View client for Mac OS X. Given VMware’s constant affirmation that we are entering a post-PC world, it has been difficult to understand quite why VMware has failed to embrace the Apple Mac as fully as it might. The most visible aspect of this shortcoming has been VMware’s failure to provide support for the Teradici PCoIP remote display protocol in its View client for OS X. VMware is finally taking steps to address this deficit by releasing a Tech Preview of its View Client with PCoIP for Mac OS X.
The Tech Preview provides support for the following features:
- PCoIP protocol optimized for VMware View 5
- Full screen support for Mac OS X Lion users
- Copy and Paste plain text between View 4.x virtual machines and Mac
- Copy and Paste text, formatted text, and graphics between View 5.x virtual machines and Mac
- Support optional RSA authentication
- Enhanced certificate checking
- Add up to 4 VMware View server shortcuts in VMware View Client
The Tech Preview does not support use of multiple displays, smart card authentication and lacks USB and local printer supports. These features are officially labeled as “under consideration for future major client release”, along with support for full-screen mode when running on Mac OS X Snow Leopard. I would however suggest that it will be difficult to gain any level of acceptance amongst enterprise customers unless all these features are promoted into the initial release.
Initial testing shows that the tech preview still has a few rough edges that need to be addressed before it is ready for release. When used in conjunction with Spaces (the Mac OS X feature that was introduced in Leopard to provide multiple independent desktop views (I hesitate to follow Apple’s preferred naming convention and call them Virtual Desktops) with the View client in full screen mode on a desktop running in the background, a right click to the foreground Spaces desktop will be processed by the View client. A similar issue has also been reported using applications in full screen mode with OS X Lion.
VMware has not publically committed to a release date for the PCoIP client for OS X. Given the lack of severity of the problems that have been reported with the tech preview it looks as if the final release could be delivered early in Q1 2012. However, the lack of support for what are really essential features will open up VMware to criticism from revivals and it may be better of delaying the final release until these shortcomings have been addressed.