Legality of using free VMware Workstation Player for alpha and beta testing of Ubuntu?

Thomas Ward teward at
Mon May 16 17:57:41 UTC 2022

If you are in doubt for any reason, this is where you need to work with 
a lawyer in your own jurisdiction to determine the legality.

None of us are lawyers, so any advice we give should be taken with a 
grain of salt.  I don't think VMware will come after you though for 
using it to test Ubuntu or Lubuntu.

(sent without my because GMail addresses are involved)

On 5/14/22 21:42, Aaron Rainbolt wrote:
> Thank you for taking the time to reply. This is sort of what I was 
> thinking when I asked the question, but it's still close enough to a 
> problem that I'm worried about it. In addition, I intend on using 
> Ubuntu for commercial use in the not-too-distant future, so I'd rather 
> not risk getting myself on the bad side of a multi-billion dollar 
> company. For now, I have virt-manager, I can get Virtualbox (the 
> open-source version, not with the proprietary add-on pack), I've got 
> some good physical hardware, and you guys have VMware licenses for 
> testing that part of things, so I think I'll just use what I've got 
> for the time being, and possibly buy a VMware license at some point in 
> the future.
> On Sat, May 14, 2022 at 11:21 AM John Chittum 
> <john.chittum at> wrote:
>     Not a lawyer, so grain of salt.
>     Ubuntu, the OS, is not a commercial product by itself. Ubuntu is
>     offered as a free and open source OS. If you are testing
>     non-commercial offerings of Ubuntu, as part of community work,
>     then it should be fine to use VMWare Player, Virtualbox, or other
>     items for non-commercial work. Community work is, by definition,
>     not commercial.
>     If you are working on a commercial product, for instance, testing
>     Ubuntu Pro features offered by Canonical, or an appliance that
>     will be sold to a customer, then you may be in violation. If you
>     are an employee of Canonical employed to work on the OS, things
>     get dicey _but_ there are options available (we have licenses
>     available). Or if you are using it as part of your job (say,
>     you're a sys admin, and part of your job is to vet Ubuntu, and you
>     just happen to also contribute upstream when you find a bug). Then
>     you should talk to your workplace about getting you a license.
>     TL:DR if it's solely community work, it shouldn't be a breach.
>     Other things would be case by case.
>     On Sat, May 14, 2022, 10:50 Aaron Rainbolt <arraybolt3 at>
>     wrote:
>         Thanks, that's what I needed to know! Virt-manager is more
>         than sufficient for my needs, and I can always cough up the
>         $150-$200 if I really want to do VMware testing.
>         Thank you for your time and help!
>         On Fri, May 13, 2022 at 3:51 AM Shane O'Sullivan
>         <hitsuji at> wrote:
>             It's a breach of the EULA. I would highly recommend
>             installing virt-manager as a suitable alternative.
>             On Fri 13 May 2022, 08:17 Aaron Rainbolt,
>             <arraybolt3 at> wrote:
>                 I am digging deep into the world of Ubuntu development
>                 and am trying to make sure my alpha and beta testing
>                 is as effective as possible. I also don't want to cash
>                 out an arm and a leg for expensive software to do so.
>                 I've been using virt-manager (QEMU/KVM) for testing on
>                 virtual machines, and while things seem to be going
>                 well, I'd like to test on other hypervisors too for
>                 the sake of catching as many bugs as possible.
>                 VMware provides their Workstation Player product for
>                 free, *for non-commercial use.* Problem is, I can't
>                 figure out if using VMware for Ubuntu testing would be
>                 considered commercial use. One one hand, I'm not a
>                 Canonical employee, nor am I using VMware for
>                 employment purposes, so that would be non-commercial,
>                 but on the other hand, I'm helping a large enterprise
>                 build an OS that is used for commercial purposes, so
>                 that seems like commercial use.
>                 Do any of y'all do QA testing in the free version of
>                 VMware Workstation Player? Does anyone know if this
>                 is a legal use of VMware?
>                 Thank you for your help and time.
>                 (Note: I /think/ these kinds of questions are what
>                 this mailing list is for, but if I'm misguided and
>                 should have sent this to ubuntu-devel-discuss, please
>                 let me know and I'll direct these kinds of questions
>                 there instead.)
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