VMware has launched open source code that it said would let its partners optimise devices for creating virtual desktops. The VMware View Open Client, available under the GNU Lesser GPL 2.1, enables IT managers to host and manage user desktops in the data centre.

VMware View Open Client features secure tunnelling via SSL, two-factor authentication in the form of RSA SecurID, Novell SLETC Add-on RPM package, and a command-line interface.

Analyst house Gartner predicts that by 2013, companies will purchase some 50 million user licences for hosted virtual desktops and that about 40 percent of user devices will be thin clients within hosted virtual desktop environments.

Offering further evidence that virtualisation is increasing on the desktop, last week Citrix Systems invested in startup Virtual Computer, which makes NxTop software for provisioning, publishing, and patching desktop and laptop operating systems.

And a trio of vendors are set to announce on Wednesday what they claim is the world's largest desktop virtualisation deployment. Userful, ThinNetworks, and Positivo will detail a deal under which they'll create 324,000 virtualised desktops for schools in Brazil, a move the companies claim will turn single PCs into 10 individual workstations and, in so doing, save the Brazilian government $47 million (£32 million) in upfront costs, $9 million in power expenses, and reduce annual CO2 emissions by 140,000 tons.

Jocelyn Goldfein, vice president and general manager of VMware's Desktop Business Unit, explained that VMware View Open Client "brings us closer to our Universal Client vision, where users can securely and efficiently access rich personalised desktop environments, from any device at any time."

The company said that the source code distribution for its latest offering is available at the VMware View Open Client community.

Want to learn more about virtualisation? Take a look at our short video that gives a rundown of the technology in just a few minutes.