With the recent release of VMWare Fusion 4.1, we noted the improvements brought to the table by the update, such as improved animations, fast screen resizing, improved startup time, better graphics performance, and support for Lion’s full-screen mode. MacRumors reports, however, that it also allows the virtualization of Leopard and Snow Leopard.
Upon the release of OS X Lion, Apple updated their licensing agreement to allow virtualization of OS X in such programs as Fusion and Parallels. This allows users to deploy different installations of OS X on a single machine. It was believed this applied only to Lion, and not to previous non-server versions of OS X.
When the Lion-optimized version of Fusion was released, it allowed only virtualized copies of Lion, and prohibited any older version of OS X. This has now changed. Version 4.1 of VMWare Fusion, which was released on Friday, no longer prohibits the virtualization of desktop version of Leopard and Snow Leopard.
When attempting to install non-server versions of Leopard or Snow Leopard, Fusion prompts the user to verify they are licensed to run a copy of the operating system. Upon confirmation, the user is allowed to install and run either version of OS X.
Macworld’s Jason Snell did question Apple about the change, but they simply stated that virtualization is allowed for Mac OS X Lion, Snow Leopard Server, and Leopard Server.
One happy advantage of the change by VMWare is that users can run older PowerPC-based applications if needed. Apple had removed the Rosetta PowerPC emulation in Lion, causing problems for users who depend on legacy applications. By running Leopard or Snow Leopard in a virtual machine, users can continue to run their PowerPC applications, while still being able to use Lion.