Virtual Bridges this week launched version 5 of its Win4Lin Desktop desktop virtualisation system, with performance increases that it claims beat the likes of VMware Workstation and other competitors in the growing desktop virtualisation market.

Win4Lin Desktop 5 is based on code that has been re-engineered since 2005, when the assets of the former company NeTraverse were acquired to form Win4Lin, now renamed Virtual Bridges.

The current product is based on Qemu, a processor emulator that is also used by other virtualisation projects such as Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and VirtualBox.

Win4Lin Desktop also uses a Linux kernel module called KQemu that accelerates x86 acceleration on x86 hardware platforms by running some code directly on the processor, while using processor emulation only for kernel code and real mode code.

The new verison includes support for 64-bit Linux and its architecture capable of interfacing with KVM, according to Virtual Bridges.

Win4Lin has broader application support than its competitors, Virtual Bridges claims, with the ability to run applications developed in-house.

Virtual Bridges is targeting smaller businesses with simplified interfaces, and has formed a partnership with Canonical, whose Ubuntu Linux is similarly designed for ease of use.

Virtual Bridges is offering a lower-priced edition of Win4Lin for Ubuntu, priced at $29.99 (£15). Professional Edition is priced at $49.99.

For enterprises, Win4Lin offers the ability to run customised and vertical Windows applications on Linux as well as centralised management and corruption recovery features.

Windows can be run as a complete desktop displayed in a window on Linux, in full-screen mode or as floating application windows mingled with those of Linux applications, Virtual Bridges said.

The new version supports Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva and other Linux distributions.

The company also released Win4Solaris 5, based on the same code.

Win4Lin 4.5 users qualify for a free upgrade to the new product, with the update downloadable from Virtual Bridges' website.