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In its ongoing efforts to leap beyond the monitor, Socialtext unveils its Virtual Edition. The solution lends users more flexibility in taking advantage of what Socialtext does best: wikis, knowledge sharing and collaboration.In short, the Virtual Edition is meant for developers and customers to evaluate Socialtext without having to make a major commitment to the software. Using their own hardware and their own sites, the understandably uncertain can access an image of the Socialtext open-source software. This isn't just your average jpeg, and it ain't your average limited-use demo either. The Virtual Edition actually enables users complete access to a full install of Socialtext Open. This is possible through a VMware vehicle running Ubuntu Linux and PostgreSQL, which is why no actual installation (read: commitment) of Socialtext is necessary. The process of floating a kind of pseudo Socialtext in order to try the real thing is a form of virtualization, which has seen a recent revival in Parallels. Virtualization affords consumers greater freedom in accessing applications they want, in the way that they want, without having to build a hardware platform, integrate OS and app components and fine-tuning the solution on their own. Users who'd like to try the Virtual Edition need merely have a copy of VMware player, a download that won't cost you anything. With that condition satisfied, Socialtext Virtual can be deployed in mere moments with minimal use of system resources. While unintended for large-scale production use, the Virtual Edition is handy for demonstrations of how wiki can operate best within an enterprise. (We also like any opportunity to see virtualization put to good use.) Download a copy here. It is free!

Palo Alto, CA-based Socialtext, Inc. focuses primarily on enterprise wikis as well as other types of enterprise social software for collaboration. Socialtext is bundled as part of the Intel-branded SuiteTwo, announced in late 2006. From its inception in 2002 over 2000 organizations have joined the Socialtext network. Investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, SAP, and Omidyar.