FirmwareDesign is distributing the newest version of Connectix Virtual PC, a software package that emulates the hardware of a system, bypassing the problems involved with cross-platform stability. Virtual PC runs guest operating systems and all their files as a single file on the system, so users can run multiple operating systems simultaneously, as well as being able to connect the USB devices normally associated with that system.
The software also offers networking capability, either by sharing IP addresses or as a virtual switch - to the user it appears as if two separate systems are being run. Virtual PC also includes support for DVD software and includes features such as undoable drives, whereby users can revert back to a previous configuration if there is a problem.
The software can be used by organisations that require legacy system support, such as call centres. It has also found success in the Web development community, where design is often done in a Mac environment, and coding in Windows.
Since users can run operating systems such as DOS, Linux, Solaris, OS/2 and NetWare, it also provides an answer to OS migration or desktop consolidation, said Connectix Asia-Pacific sales director Hisa Naito.
"As long as the machine is powerful enough, you can run as many operating systems as you like," Naito said. "The only limiting factor is memory and hard disk space."
FirmwareDesign's alliance business manager, John Gilmore, believes the software presents a range of opportunities for resellers, particularly in the education sector, because it allows students to use applications or sit tests regardless of their system.
"There is still a lot of growth left in the reseller area, certainly among education resellers. It's a good package with a nice, healthy margin and it doesn't need to be discounted because there is no competition."
Virtual PC for Windows retails for $599. FirmwareDesign also distributes the Connectix OS Pack, a pre-configured operating system bundle that includes all the drivers and options for particular environments. Virtual PC for Mac is also available with different operating systems pre-configured and installed.