VMware has just released a virtual machine player that allows you to run a pre-created VM image on any machine. This means that you could have a VM image of a particular OS, send it to someone (customer, tech support situation for example), get them to run the session and use the image.
What this means is that I can install, Quake4, into a VMware guest running FC4, take out all the stuff I do not need in that environment, pare down the OS to the barest possible minimum and tweak it to the max for Quake to work best and then “finalize” the image. Run that VMware image in the player and viola, you have dedicated “hardware” for the Quake server.
I have also the option to setup a VMware guest OS and install w98, apply all the patches, put all the wingames my sons have and lock down the whole thing and let them play the lot on any other machines.
Will this change things? I think so. I can already image the possibilities. What is sad will be to see the spammers and virus creators to send out VMware images full of malware (aka windows :-)). But I think given the sandbox security of the VMware player, it probably is less of a problem. I hope the player can be setup to turn off networking or else instead of machines being taken over, the VMware sessions could be the zombies-from-hell for system administrators.