VMWare, developer of virtualization software, is offering several cash prizes totaling $200,000 to whoever can come up with the most interesting and useful virtual applications. Previously developers have use VMWare to embed web browsers, databases and other applications into virtual operating systems, but the company now wants people to push the envelope with a $100,000 first place prize.
VMWare is providing the foundation for the development of the development, which consists of the Firefox browser running inside of a virtual instance of Ubuntu Linux. Since the operating system is embedded in a file on the hard drive and does not touch the main operating system, users can simply reset the application if it gets infected with malware. Both the 258 MB browser environment and the necessary VMWare Player are available free of charge from VMWare’s website.
A $100,000 first place prize will be awarded in the challenge; a second place will earn $50,000 and $25,000 will go to the third place winner. The remaining $25,000 will be divided to five winners of special categories like Best Consumer Appliance and Best Collegiate Appliance.
The entries will be graded by a group of judges which include Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media fame and Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux. Submissions will be judged mainly on what unique value the application gives to the intended audience, but innovation and application size will factor into the judges’ decision, VMWare said.
Entries must be submitted by March 27 and winners will be announced on 14 August 2006.