A few years back VMware used to have a VMTN Subscription which was their equivalent of Microsoft's Technet scheme. The purpose of it, like with Technet, was to provide industry professionals with a mechanism of running legitimately licensed software for testing and educational purposes.
Sadly it was discontinued in 2007. The following is taken from the End Of Life (EOL) FAQ that VMware published at the time:
VMware VMTN Subscription has been a successful, award-winning offering,
providing software developers and QA professionals with access to VMware's
powerful suite of virtualization products. However, since its introduction in June
of 2005, VMware has announced two free products, VMware Server and VMware
Player; enhanced its Technology Alliance Partner Program; introduced the
Community Source program; and made many other technologies fully open,
including the VMware VMDK disk format, our VMware Perl toolkit and the VMware
SDK. As a result, VMware feels there is no longer a need for the VMware VMTN
Subscription and will no longer sell or renew VMware VMTN Subscriptions as of
February 16, 2007.
Last week Mike Laverick launched a campaign to get the VMTN Subscription re-instated on his site. Things moved into VMware's Community Forums and have picked up significantly, even gaining it's own Twitter hashtag. Add your views there, tweet your support and use the hashtag #VMTNSubscriptionMovement.
I support this campaign. Although as a vExpert, VMware Partner etc. I have access to plenty of legitimate licenses, it hasn't always been that way and repeated software evaluations are tedious to use.
As I write this, I've seen confirmation that the campaign has attracted the attention of VMware and they are looking into it. Hopefully there's good news coming, we'll see.