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Plex86 Lives, As Lightweight VM Technology

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the lightenment dept.

Microsoft 232

Kevin P. Lawton writes "Plex86 has been completely overhauled, and simplified to be a user (application) code only Virtual Machine technology. For running user code, many of the heavy weight x86-VM techniques are unnecessary. But the bonus is, Linux can easily be made to run inside the plex86 VM, so that the kernel is actually 'pushed down' to user privilege level. This has been demonstrated on both Linux 2.4 and 2.5 kernels. Thus, Linux can run in a plex86 VM without the need for any heavy virtualization. My goal is to keep the code base trim, tight, auditable and get to usable releases quickly. And to favor those goals over adding unnecessary complexities. The first milestones have just been reached, so it's still early in development. There are email lists available on the main plex86 site."

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hello hello! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291377)

hello hello! this by iosmart!

In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291389)

Plex86 runs over YOU!

Taking So Very Long (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291390)

Plex86 is taking so very long to materialize, I wonder if it is even worth the effort being put into it. Bochs works fine, even if slow, and virtualization isn't exactly a big market. Where does Plex86 fit into all this?

Re:Taking So Very Long (4, Interesting)

modus (122983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291411)

Funny you should ask. The site talks about using the new plex86 as an acceleration engine for Bochs. So, instead of emulating each x86 instruction, Bochs could leverage Plex86 and get a big 'ole speedboost.

Kevin's posted a very limited test case demonstrating this ability to the Bochs lists a bit ago.

Re:Taking So Very Long (2, Informative)

semaj (172655) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291959)


Funny you should ask. The site talks about using the new plex86 as an acceleration engine for Bochs. So, instead of emulating each x86 instruction, Bochs could leverage Plex86 and get a big 'ole speedboost.

Kevin's posted a very limited test case demonstrating this ability to the Bochs lists a bit ago.


He explains how he got Linux 2.5 running in his bochs-developers [sourceforge.net] post. It explains things pretty well, and it sounds pretty fast already - Plex86 can concentrate on all of the user level code, while Bochs handles everything else.

Re:Taking So Very Long (4, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291478)

Bochs works fine, even if slow, and virtualization isn't exactly a big market.
You might be surprised. Lots of people are interested in virtualization. It's useful for things like software testing, and ISPs are keen on it for giving their customers the "dedicated server" experience while maintaining fewer actual boxes. That said, the most effective type of virtualization is the kind that gives applications a "chroot" type of environment -- where each virtualized process is running on the same instance of the OS. Running all those Linux kernels in virtualized environments doesn't really reduce your infrastructure complexity all that much...

Re:Taking So Very Long (1)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291813)

Do people really run _servers_ in VMs?

Re:Taking So Very Long (2, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291842)

IBM does.

Re:Taking So Very Long (1)

kscguru (551278) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292160)

Look up VMWare. Two of their three main products are designed for just that. And guess which (two) get the big R&D money?

Re:Taking So Very Long (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291581)

Isn't this the same argument thrown against Mozilla a year or two ago? "It's taking to long so it isn't worth the effort." or "We have Internet Explorer anyway - why do we need another browser?"

Software, especially good software, takes a lot of time to produce. Anyone can throw off crappy code quickly but to make something you'll be able to keep secure and stable over it's lifetime takes time and effort. Unless you're the developer what do you care how the effort is being spent? it's not your time or effort so feel free to go about your business doing something you feel your efforts are more useful in.

As for me I find Plex86 interesting because I don't want to spend a fortune on hardware but sometimes I do like to have a sandbox enviroment to run development stuff, test apps, or just open questionable email attachments. Bochs is to slow to run many apps properly and if I was going to spend the money for faster hardware I might as well just buy new computers. It makes more sense to use a virtualized enviroment and save some money (and hassle).

Virtualization may not have as many users as web browsers but it's technology which for the most part will continue to be useful for a long time. The x86 processor has a long history of compatible code so there is no reason to think Plex86/Bochs won't still be useful a decade from now. :)

Re:Taking So Very Long (1)

jagilbertvt (447707) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291664)

Not to mention there are very few people actually working on this project.

I would suggest if you are concerned about the length of time this project has been under development that you may want to consider contributing to it.

Re:Taking So Very Long (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291792)

Isn't this the same argument thrown against Mozilla a year or two ago? "It's taking to long so it isn't worth the effort." or "We have Internet Explorer anyway - why do we need another browser?"

No, that's the argument being used today, validly I might add.

Re:Taking So Very Long (1)

jelle (14827) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292170)

Not for me, I couldn't do without tabbed browsing and popup-ad blocking anymore. And those are just two of the many features that Mozilla has but the exploder doesn't.

Bochs works fine - where fine = doesn't work (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291717)

Bochs, though admirable, isn't complete.

Plan9 won't run inside bochs for instance, as documented here [google.com] .

which is a shame. Plan 9 runs in VMWare btw

Re:Taking So Very Long (2, Interesting)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291838)

Once it's done, you'll have free VMWare, right? Do you have any idea how cool MacOnLinux is for LinuxPPC users? Plex86 should be at least that cool for x86 machines. You'll be shocked how many people will use this every day.

Re:Taking So Very Long (1)

espresso_now (219443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292043)

So how come almost every time someone wants to implement some software to accomplish something that has "Been done before", there's always someone chirping in with "Do we really need another....". Sheesh people, if everyone only used/improved what was already available we wouldn't have Linux, Windows, or PCs for that matter.

I have a few questions (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291392)

What?
Why?
Who?
Where?
When?

Death by a thousand goatses! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291393)

Old ike [texoma.net]

can you still run multiple os's? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291394)

as i remember plex86 allowed one to run freebsd or linux as a base w/windows/linux/freebsd running on top... can it still do this?

UML (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291396)

User mode Linux has been invented and merged to the kernel already, no need for any additional software.

Re:UML (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291573)

User mode Linux has been invented and merged to the kernel already, no need for any additional software.

Yes, but UML uses almost 80% of the processor's MTRR registers as a scratchpad to save state. Therefore, any kernel drivers that require real-time interrupt service (NET, SCSI) have to use cut-through emulation, instead of the much faster native emulation.

The bottom line is UML works fine, and exhibits quite decent responsiveness, until you start trying to push disk and or network I/O.

It's a fundemental flaw of UML. But UML's proponents consider it a necessary evil in the name of portability and lightweight robustness. I'm not sure I disagree with them.

Plex86 vs. VMWare? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291403)

A topic brought up on Slashdot some time ago had some interesting discussion that if Free solutions like Plex86 took off, it would destroy VMWare's business model, and show other businesses that you can't make money developing software for Linux because someone will undercut you with a Free solution. How do you respond to these fears?

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (1, Insightful)

Jezral (449476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291501)

And this is different for Windows or MacOS?

Last I checked APIs were available for both, and so were compilers.
Free software is not just for Linux.

-- Tino Didriksen / ProjectJJ.dk

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291591)

It's different because it happens a lot more with Linux than it does with Windows or Mac. Mac users, for example, are generally keen on paying for shareware. I could not say the same thing about Linux users.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (2, Insightful)

Cyno (85911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291925)

But how can you blame the Linux user? Look what he has to put up with. His OS is nearing carrier grade stability, used all over for science, business and entertainment. Completely free as in no cost and the freedom to use it just about any way you want. And it supports more hardware than any other OS out there. Yet there are how many commercial companies writing software for Linux? How many hardware vendors release drivers or support Linux by actually writing software and releasing documentation? How many businesses support Linux as a viable alternative to mainstream commercial OSs that only look nicer or have a simpler interface.

It should be obvious by now that the computer iliterate control more businesses, more markets and have more control over your freedom to choose than your government ever did. So then I wonder why a Linux user might choose to support a free software developer over a commercial package, which probably includes some form of registration, serial number for authorization or other form of commercial/capitalist tone that clearly shows the greedy in the eyes of all you shareholders.

Its pathetic that we can't play fair and get along and understand eachother. I understand you. But, no, there won't be commercial software for Linux for a long time, if ever. And you know something? That doesn't matter. Because it is not needed. We will write our own. so .!..

OSS == software jobs killer ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291899)

I'd speculate that once enough quality Open Source Software exists, paying software development jobs will shrink considerably. Year 2010 is likely.

That means that there will be much less college students studying computer science which means much much less demand for college computer science courses which means much less demand for college computer science professors.

Does this mean that the anti-MS, pro-GNU college professors are eventually going to reduce the number of paying customers (college students)?

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291505)

response to fears:

plex86 has a heckuva long ways to go before it's even near competing with software like vmware.

provided that it even makes it there, companies like vmware have known it's coming for quite a while, and have surely been looking after their best interests just as if this were a commercial competitor.

competition is part of life, whether it be commercial, opensource, or the kid next door.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (-1, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291521)

Actually Plex86 started as soon as VMWare came out. They totally copied a product which took millions of dollars to develop.

This project was announced a week after VMWare was on slashdot. They should of patented VMWare to protect their company and shareholders. This is part of Freeware's dark side. They are destroying innovation.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (1)

esquimaux (639595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291571)

I know this is a troll, but the original question didn't seem to be. Dosemu predated VMWare by several years. IBM's various VM systems predated VMWare by decades. Intel's VM86 mode for machine virtualization came with the 80386, long before VMWare was a twinkle in its creator's eye. It's not the concept of virtualizing a machine that's valuable. It's the quality of the implementation. VMWare's hard to beat on those grounds.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291740)

I used to run a PC emulator on my Atari ST. I got a whopping Norton SI score of 0.3!

For most things it wasn't very usable. But, my main app was Turbo Pascal 3.0a, which was very very speedy on an IBM PC. Under the emulator, it compiled about as fast as g++ compiles C++ code on my 800mhz laptop today. I used it quite a bit to do classwork in college, and some other programs for myself.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291527)

Its a non-issue. Show me one Free project of any real scope that is complete. The Free version is never completed. Ever. Look at KDE, Gnome, Samba, etc, etc etc..

If you want a virtualization solution, you can get VMWare now, or sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for a bunch of hobbyists to "get around to it".

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291528)

A topic brought up on Slashdot some time ago had some interesting discussion that if Free solutions like Plex86 took off, it would destroy VMWare's business model, and show other businesses that you can't make money developing software for Linux because someone will undercut you with a Free solution. How do you respond to these fears?

Easy, It's not any different than new competition for any company other than the competition in this case is giving away a product for free, so they can't compete on price. VMware will have to offer some additional value over Plex86. It could be improved performance, ease of use, stability, compatibility with more/different environments, tech support, you name it. They just have to offer something that people will be willing to pay extra for. Plex86 has a long way to go before they are a credible threat to VMware, but once that happens VMware will be forced to adapt

Summary: Kevin's a loser (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291610)

The author of Plex86 and Bochs is the same guy who declared that VMWare had "ripped off" his idea and gone commercial after looking at his technology. The failure of Plex86 (and that's what this announcement is, an admission of failure) just goes to show that Kevin is and always was full of shit. He's been claiming that Bochs would have a binary translation system (much like VMWare and VirtualPC use) to speed it up ever since back when he was trying to flog it as shareware. So, in response to your question, there is very little fear that Kevin is going to come up with a product that can compete with VMWare (or VirutalPC for that matter) because he's no good.

Re:Summary: Kevin's a loser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291779)

> He's been claiming that Bochs would have a binary translation system (much like VMWare and VirtualPC use) to speed it up ever since back when he was trying to flog it as shareware.
some bochs release from 2000 had this

> there is very little fear that Kevin is going to come up with a product that can compete with VMWare (or VirutalPC for that matter) because he's no good.
the old plex86 already provided a faster cpu emulation than vmware, the other stuff was lacking

Re:Summary: Kevin's a loser (4, Insightful)

spnbs (264432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292133)

Dude, chill out. I'd like to see your resume before you knock one of the sharpest VM programmers in the business. Not only is Kevin smart, but he knows the x86 ISA better than most people know how to read. Add on the fact that he pumps out code at an insane rate, and you get a programmer I'm grateful is working in the OSS world. Kevin's given us a lot and I'm more willing to forgive him for being a triffle distractable in exchange. People have called Kevin a lot of things (erratic, drasticable, incapable of proper commenting), but to call him shit is unbelievable. Unless you're Linus or RMS, get off the man's back.

VMWare isnt *just* linux (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291620)

It does good business selling windows host versions...

And dont forget ESX server...

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (4, Insightful)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291622)

What *I* say to that is that if VMware can't produce a better product than the OSS community can in their spare time, they don't deserve my $130. If they can't keep their product better, they don't deserve the younger generation's $130. If Plex86 takes off and it kills VMware, it won't "show other businesses that you can't make money developing software for Linux because someone will undercut you with a Free solution" but rather show them that you can't make money selling inferior software for Linux because someone will do it right, even if it's not you.

Why is it that a community that could be broadly characterized as having heavy libertarian leanings encompasses so many, like you, who are willing to set aside those ideals for your pet project? I love VMware as much as the next person - I just think it's so cool seeing Phoenix BIOS show up in a window - but that doesn't mean I'm willing to set aside the capitalist ideals of free commerce and competition just so it will survive. If the Plex86 group can put together a better product and are willing to give it away, they win. If it takes them 10 years, then VMware has 10 years to find a different business model or go under. Businesses fail all the time. That's the way it works. If you can't cut it, you die. Meanwhile, Plex86 gets better in competition with VMware; VMware gets better in competition with Plex, and I win no matter which approach works best.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291677)

if VMware can't produce a better product than the OSS community can in their spare time, they don't deserve my $130.

Which version of VMware costs $130? Some academic version?

I'd love to play with VMware, but it looks like it would cost me $300 per computer.

steveha

$300 is a too high for home use (2, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291731)

it's cheaper to build another PC !

Re:$300 is a too high for home use (2, Interesting)

karearea (234997) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292101)

Ah yes, but it IS cheaper than building 4 PCs.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (2, Insightful)

On Lawn (1073) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291675)

This is easy enough, I'll bite.

Those were interesting discussions. I happen to own a VMware liscence, and I use it occasionaly for particular virtualizing needs. I was anxious for Plex86, and mourned the impeding stagnation of the project when the project founder was fired. After two years, I'm still with VMWare.

Meanwhile, VMWare is being eaten at on a few fronts besides Plex86. The most recent evaluation we did for VMWare, pitted its virtual terminal server product against CodeWeavers' Wine server, Citrix, and good ol' Windows 2000. In the end Windows 2000 won, becuase, well, it was already there. Many window's programs have been decided that way.

I don't particulary see a difference in being undercut by a free solution, or being undercut by a built-in the OS solution (*ahem* Netscape). Nor do I see a difference between those undercuts, and being beat out by a better product from a different competitor.

In the end, its the developers obligation to ensure success with a quality feature full product. I think that is why, in the end, some have felt that OSS development models are better. But as far as interaction between Linux programs and free Linux programs, I see nothing out of the ordinary.

------------------
OnRoad [onlawn.net] : A review of "Piston Envy: The Sociology of Racing Games"

Adapt or Die (2, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291692)

nt

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291888)

That's easy, you just patent everything about the 'idea'. The patent office has a 'guarenteed to issue your patent' special happening right now. All you need to do is file whatever you can imagine with complete disregard for prior art and you can get a patent.

Once the patent has been granted, you can destroy any possible competition with threats of lawsuits, thus being sure to maintain profitability against open source ursurpers.

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291941)

if Free solutions like Plex86 took off, it would destroy VMWare's business model, and show other businesses that you can't make money developing software for Linux because someone will undercut you with a Free solution. How do you respond to these fears?

So if Linux took off, it would destroy Microsoft's business model, and show other businesses that you can't make money developing operating systems for PCs because somebody will undercut you with a free solution, right?

Horrors...

Re:Plex86 vs. VMWare? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5292118)

if Free solutions like Plex86 took off, it would destroy VMWare's business model

Well, there's no chance of that here. What this announcement means is that plex86 can only provide a virtual user mode x86 - i.e. it cannot virtualise an OS and give you Windows on Linux, for example.

Frankly virtual user mode seems pretty pointless to me. Kevin Lawton thinks it is useful because you can modify Linux (and other OSes where you have source access) to be a user mode task and then get Linux on Linux using the new plex86.

So, it's a competitor for User-Mode Linux and the like, and not a competitor for VMWare.

To be honest I don't know how well it compares against UML, but Kevin Lawton seems to have come at this from the route of "gosh, virtualised ring 0 x86 is Really Hard - lets abandon that original objective and do something similar but easier" (see for example this LKML post [iu.edu] ) rather than "what's the best way to do Linux on Linux".

Could be complimentary in the long run (1)

Gerry Gleason (609985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292130)

I second the comments that if VMWare doesn't keep offering some value over what free software can produce, they don't deserve to survive. Besides, Plex is likely to only cover part of any complete solution, which could include commercial components (note that Plex is LGPL). Further, a free version would find applications that nobody would pay for a product to have this feature (often, just get another machine is the option). Testing gets mentioned a lot. You could set up a machine with a number of different versions of OSs, and even completely different OSs just to have a variety of environments to test in (software development QA processes for example). You probably would use the system sequentially anyway, but you wouldn't need to reboot, all the versions are just there. Hell, if you partitioned the I/O, you could run them together, particularly in a few years as the CPU generations roll along.

It really is a different concept than VMWare anyway. VMWare is hosted in one of the OSs (I know they have at least Linux and some versions of Windows, probably more), where this VM runs on top of the hardware (if I understand correctly). One thing I do wonder about, though. By putting it between a hardware abstraction layer and the hardware, a huge part of the job is to support the variety of available hardware.

One of the crowning achievements of Linux is the variety of hardware that is supported. That's always been the biggest problem for any PC OS that isn't from MS, lack of driver support, and this goes for the commercial PC UNIX vendors from the beginning (no doubt, OS/2 as well). Linux has pretty much solved this problem, and it has been a very hard problem (i.e. it takes lots of resources in the Linux community). So, aren't they taking on this problem with Plex86, or do they somehow piggyback on Linux drivers? That's certainly what I would try for if I were designing it.

Server seems slow... full text here (0, Redundant)

soorma_bhopali (643472) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291409)

Welcome to the new plex86 web site. I have rehashed/revitalized the previous plex86 architecture to offer a very lightweight Virtual Machine (VM) for x86. Rather than implement a full and heavyweight VM which can run all guest Operating Systems (OSes) as-is, the new approach only runs guest OSes and application code at user privilege in the VM.
This new strategy yields two interesting uses of plex86:

Plex86 can be used on its own for running Linux as a guest. It has recently been demonstrated(1) that the Linux kernel can be executed inside the plex86 VM at user-privilege, with only minimal changes to the kernel source Makefiles. The aim is to allow multiple guest Linux VMs to run concurrently on the host machine, even of different kernel and distribution versions. Check out the boot verbage from my maiden voyage or the other successes like an X Windows application running on a Linux 2.4 guest displaying its window on my Linux host machine if you're so inclined.

Or plex86 can be used to accelerate bochs, by executing user code inside the plex86 VM, while letting bochs execute kernel code and IO functionality inside the emulator. This is useful for executing binary-only OSes, and ones without the simple mods noted above. This was also demonstrated recently(2).

This new incarnation of plex86 is just getting kicked off. But for now, here's some points of interest and related goals:
Plex86 is Open Source (LGPL).
Because of the new lightweight VM strategy, plex86 is quite small in size, and thus there is big potential for auditability of the VM technology. This is important as the VM monitor runs as a device driver in the host kernel.
Plex86 uses the existing x86 port of the Linux kernel. It does not use a separate port. Thus, Linux as a guest enjoys all the global testing/development that Linux on x86 hosts receives.
The guest Linux will communicate to hardware such as the disk and network via a Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL). Vanilla guest drivers for Linux will be created to effect these guest to host communications. Thus, plex86 will offer a very clean Linux VM implementation, without all the heavy overhead and baggage necessary to virtualize/emulate IO hardware. The end-goal is a true completely virtualized Linux resource, with completely OSS componentry.
With the exception of a few necessary kernel Makefile mods noted below, the goal is to run Linux distributions as-is. Plex86 needs a kernel compiled to run in the VM. This is just as well, as it's beneficial to configure out all the unnecessary IO devices which are irrelevant inside a guest Linux VM. A goal of mine, is to have the main Linux distributions offer a configured Linux kernel for plex86, on the distribution CDs.
Performance potential is quite good. Because of the new strategy of "pushing" Linux kernel code down to user privilege, it along with user code can run at native speeds inside the VM (at least in between "virtualization events" such as IO). There are some logical phases for the development path to follow, with the current phase favoring rapid prototyping and bug finding, and later moving components of the virtualization into the VM monitor after they are flushed out.
I will fight very hard against requests for unnecessary complexities and features. There should be a series of usable and stable releases, rather than a never-ending flow of "almost usable" code. As well, plex86 should remain auditable.
-Kevin

Hopefully this is fast, hehe (0, Troll)

superman53142 (595405) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291412)

Woohoo! I've been looking for a faster alternative to bochs, and this may be it! The last incarnation of Plex86 didn't work correctly for me; I couldn't get it to completely boot from any media :-/

Hopefully it's better now :)

hI THIS IS me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291415)

I'm drunk and I don't give a shit. /. is lame screw you all. why don;t you get a proper job.

PS I didn't read the article (as required)

in other related developments (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291416)

Ford has completely overhauled their latest model car. It no longer has wheels, so you can't really drive it on any real roads. However, if you have a suitably modified cheese wedge, you can use the new model to slice cheese automatically. This has already been demonstrated with modified swiss and cheddar cheese. They hope to improve reliability and release it in the next year.

Slow news day? (-1, Offtopic)

v3rb (239648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291419)

Talk about a worthless article. How did this get posted?

Re:Slow news day? (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291519)

Kevin Lawton is the article submitter, the author of the program and bochs, and is really well known and highly regarded for his skill at this. Virtualizing a bios and all the devices is about as low level as you can get.

Features? (1)

Slartibartfast (3395) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291420)

I seem to recall reading something about the current release over at http://kt.zork.net; IIRC, it lacks some features that the older version had that allowed easier use with "any" OS; OTOH, it also seemed to be a -much- simpler codebase with vastly less "code for exception" stuff. I'll be interested to see how it works performance-wise, as it's always fun to have machines under machines under machines... especially if it means I can finally stop VNC'ing to Windows boxen to run my Oracle client. ;-)

How To Get Your VA Career Off To A Flying Start (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291443)

How To Get Your VA Career Off To A Flying Start

When you have a crime to investigate, and you have no suspects, where do you start? Obviously you begin by looking at the person or persons who have the most to gain by perpetrating the crime.

This is why we must consider: who had something to gain from the disasterous crimes of September 11th? Obviously not Osama Bin Laden [afghan-web.com] , who would net no financial windfall from the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Although he has loudly applauded the "terrorist" acts of September 11th and even tacitly taken credit for them, there is no reason to believe that he is anything more than a bandwagon jumper. Being blamed for the destruction of the World Trade Center has done more for his image than any amount of militant Islamic rhetoric.

But if not Bin Laden, then who?

It so happens that on December 11th, "coincidentally" 2 months after the tragedy, Credit Suisse First Boston quietly agreed to pay out US$100 million in order to settle an 18 month old investigation into its handling of certain high-profile technology IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). One of the most controversial amongst these being the IPO of VA Linux Systems, Inc. (LNUX) [valinux.com] .

VA Linux Systems, Inc. [valinux.com] , now known as VA Software [vasoftware.com] , is widely derided as a poster child of the dot-com bust, though inexplicably still in business. At the time of the IPO, VA Linux (Software) [linux.com] shares opened trading at nearly 10 times their $30 offer price, closing the first day of trading at $239.25. This meteoric rise made many early investors rich, strangely on account of a company which purports to sell a hobbyist operating system which can be obtained for free on the Internet [aol.com] . "The VA Linux [msn.com] initial public offering is a prime example of market manipulation in an IPO by investment banks, their customers and the issuing firm," said Steven Schulman [jpfo.org] , a partner in the law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, which specializes in filing shareholder suits.

"Because certain favored customers of the investment banks agreed to buy shares in a new issue at inflated prices in the aftermarket (in return for getting an allocation of the shares at the initial offering price) the share prices to which the IPO eventually soared were actually driven by artificial market forces," continues Schulman.

But what does the VA Software (Linux) [valunix.com] IPO have to do with the attacks on September 11th, and what has that to do with the Credit Suisse settlement? Well, considering that VA Linux (Software) [windows2000.com] got CSFB into trouble in the first place, it stands to reason that the VA Linux (Software) [vaginux.com] Board of Directors were complicit in the stock fraud from beginning to end. As the investigation progressed against CSFB, the unscrupulous VA Software/Linux executives, their pockets bulging with filthy lucre plundered from trusting, hard-working investors, must have realized that their days in the country club were numbered if the SEC discovered their wrongdoings.

The SEC, or Securities Exchange Commission [sec.gov] , is a federal regulatory agency, and cannot be bribed. Therefore, with a possible stint in federal prison looming large [goatse.cx] , Larry Augustin and the rest of the crooks, including outspoken gun violence advocate Eric S. Raymond [tuxedo.org] , decided to undertake more active means to halt the investigation.

The Plan

It so happened that all the evidence in the CSFB/VA Linux [linuxsucks.com] investigation was held at the SEC Northeast Regional Office in Manhattan. More specifically, 7 World Trade Center, Suite 1300. The board decided that a simple burglary or arson attempt would not be satisfactory to destroy the evidence; anything so simple had a significant chance of being botched, and regardless of success would leave too many witnesses or living accomplices.

It was then that Eric S. Raymond [nra.org] suggested something he had read in a book by Tom Clancy. Crashing two planes into the World Trade Center Plaza would guarantee the destruction of the SEC offices, killing the operatives and possibly a number of SEC investigators at the same time. The plan seemed flawless, and would cost little more than the price of a few plane tickets. In a secret session, the board voted unanimously in favour of Eric's suggestion, and began to put it into action.

VA Software/Linux [vashaftware.com] , at the time of planning the attacks, had no shortage of H1-B visa workers, who they employed for the purpose of writing and improving hacking, encryption, and other terrorist tools for the Linux operating system. It had been decided that a hand-picked few of these foreign H1-B workers would be used as the "patsies" in the operation. A contest was held, and the most zealotous Linux advocates were chosen for this secret assignment, direct from the board of directors. They accepted their mission after being told that, if successful, it would guarantee the adoption of Linux in the desktop market.

Alan Cox [analcocks.com] was brought into the fold to provide some planning and logistics for the mission. It was he who determined that since there was no adequate flight simulator software for Linux, the patsies would need to train at a flight school in order to pull off the plan successfully. It was also his idea to hijack a third and fourth plane for the purpose of crashing them into Washington D.C., to express his extreme rage over the DMCA [napster.com] , or Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The board of directors agreed with this addition to the plan in the hopes that it would help divert attention from the purpose of the WTC attack.

The H1-B workers were given false identities by using Linux hacking tools [gnu.org] . Once they had attended the necessary flight training, they stayed at the Massachusetts home of Richard M. Stallman [stallman.org] for a brief "faith building" retreat. During this time spent at the house of Stallman, between the nauseating stench of patchouli, Stallman's incessant, pitiful recorder playing, [gnu.org] and Stallman's droning seminars on the grammatical and syntactical accuracy of various statements by Microsoft representatives, the H1-B workers were effectively hypnotized to the point that they were ready to lay down their lives for Free Software. It was then that they departed for Boston's Logan International Airport to board the planes.

(The preceding inside information has been obtained from a credible source close to the VA Linux/Software Board of Directors. He/she is in hiding for obvious reasons in light of this damning evidence, but has presented hard, physical evidence of VA Software/Linux's complicity in the events of 9/11 to federal investigators.)

Troll 68 of 208 from the annals of the Troll Library [slashdot.org] .

um, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291467)

so what the hell is plex86, because that site doesn't say anything about what it is

Portability? (1, Interesting)

Chester K (145560) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291492)

Because of the new lightweight VM strategy, plex86 is quite small in size, and thus there is big potential for auditability of the VM technology. This is important as the VM monitor runs as a device driver in the host kernel.

VMware doesn't need a device driver, if I'm not mistaken. Wasn't plex86 originally supposed to be a clone of VMware?

Re:Portability? (1)

user32.ExitWindowsEx (250475) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291533)

You're mistaken...VMware uses a device driver.

VMware ESX Server is an OS in itself, though, so it doesn't need one. :P

Re:Portability? (3, Informative)

Kashif Shaikh (575991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291684)

You should check that again.

VMware under Windows, loads up several device drivers to bridge/route network traffic between the virtual machines and your local NICs.

And when I installed a demo VMware on my Linux box, it needed a kernel headers to build the vmware kernel modules(don't know what for). So, Vmware also needs modules/device drivers for operation.

Kashif

Re:Portability? (1)

kma (2898) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292123)

VMware doesn't need a device driver, if I'm not mistaken.

Actually, we do. ls -l /dev/vmmon

The virtual machine monitor itself must run on the bare hardware, so we need help from the kernel.

Keith Adams (VMware engineer)

VM? (0, Flamebait)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291496)

Well, _anything_ is faster than BOCHS (BeBochs, specifically). Plex86 certainly sounds interesting, I'll have to look into it.

I just have one question:

Couldn't they have called it Flex69?

OT. (Windows port?) (1)

SuperCal (549671) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291503)

I remember reading that a windows build would be availible eventaully.... Any news?

Plain english please (1)

skeedlelee (610319) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291506)

Having trouble wrapping my brain around this one. Could someone explain it a bit? Yes I read the article, didn't help at all.

What does Plex86 run on top of? If it's a VM would it run on top of say Windows or something, allowing you to run your OS of choice within that? Or is it a way of allowing programs compiled for this quasi-x86 architecture to run on other different architectures (ie it vituralizes the hardware directly)? Or something else entirely?

Re:Plain english please (3, Informative)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291614)

Plex86 is a VM that requires that it be run on an actual x86 chip, it virtualizes the code that is running inside the VM so that the code thinks it's got access to it's own machine when in fact it does not, but is running as a user process in linux.

So you can run Windows inside linux, or linux inside linux. They all have to be for the x86 though. But I don't know how well it works.

Bochs is the emulator that runs code for the x86 on ANY processor, PPC, Sparc, whatever it will compile on. So that you could run Windows on a Sparc or a Mac. Though I don't know if it works THAT well.

User Mode Linux? (1)

Jim Buzbee (517) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291540)

Compare and contrast to User Mode Linux [sourceforge.net] ?

Someone?
Someone?
Bueller?
Bueller?

Re:User Mode Linux? (3, Informative)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291752)

User mode linux is a linux kernel that runs in userspace

plex86 is an x86 virtualizer that lest you create multiple virtual x86 machines to run whatever you want on them.

Question... Bochs/Plex86/MandrakeSoft (1)

joestar (225875) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291549)

Wasn't Kevin Lawton employed for several years by MandrakeSoft to work on Plex86? Didn't MandrakeSoft bought the Bochs proprietary sources to release it in GPL?

What did happen? It seems that all mentions of this MandrakeSoft support has been dropped from the Plex86 pages !?!

Just found... (2, Informative)

joestar (225875) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291593)

A reference on Slashdot:

MandrakeSoft Buys Bochs, LGPLs It
Linux MandrakePosted by Hemos on Thursday March 23, @00:50
from the good-things-are-happening dept.
Direct from the mouth of Gael Duval, we've gotten word that MandrakeSoft (Yes, the folks who make Mandrake-Linux. No, it has nothing to do with Mandrake of Enlightenment fame. ) have purchased Bochs and hired Kevin Lawton. Now that Bochs is LGPLed, the Plex86 development can be speed up as well.


http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/03/22/185124 7&mode=nested [slashdot.org]

Re:Question... Bochs/Plex86/MandrakeSoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5292179)

He was laid off from MandrakeSoft around 2 years ago, the project seemed to go into a bit of a tailspin after that.

When will it be useful? (4, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291551)

There are two things I would like to do with plex86:

0) multiple virtual Linux servers, each in its own chroot jail.

1) run Win98 under Linux, to be able to run Win32 apps for testing purposes or backwards compatability.

Sounds like it will do multiple Linux servers very well, soon. But do they still have any hopes for plex86 running non-Linux OSes as guests?

P.S. According to reviews I have read, Win4Lin does a decent job of letting you run Win98 under Linux. It's not free software, of course.

steveha

Re:When will it be useful? (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291814)

If they keep it lightweight and user-mode like they say they will, and Plex86 won't allow 2 or 3 instructions to execute, then running binary-only OSes might be a problem. A linux kernel can always be compiled to not use these instructions - they aren't necessary.

If Win uses these instructions, then Plex86 won't work, but maybe the Plex86/Bochs solution that's mentioned on the site will.

Re:When will it be useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291905)

I wonder if someone could write a recompiler that can take already compiled code and recompile it to "do the right thing" with these 3 instructions?

Re:When will it be useful? (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292072)

take already compiled code and recompile it to "do the right thing" with these 3 instructions?

That's called Plex86-accelerated Bochs.

User-Mode Linux? (4, Interesting)

Doc Hopper (59070) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291553)

With the changes he's made in the goals of Plex86, it sure seems as if he's targetting the same approach currently in use by User-Mode Linux. I understand it may be quite different under the hood, but will that matter to users? It doesn't matter much to me if the task is accomplished using a ptrace thread under kernel system calls or actually virtualizes hardware -- if I can run several virtual GNU/Linux systems on top of one physical system, at a reasonable speed for the load, using free software as much as possible, I'm happy. The technical details of how it's done are irrelevant to me -- what matters is the result.

If the Bochs/Plex86 combination is actually faster than Bochs by itself on X86 hardware, and can approach the speed of VMWare, well, that sounds interesting to me. Virtualization technology is a large and growing market, funding a lot of IBM's recent growth in the mid-range server market with quad and 8-processor systems running VMWare to aggregate systems, improve manageability, and reduce personnel management costs. There's no denying the need is there; VMWare posted their first profit ever last quarter because of these strong sales, with more big money coming down the pipe.

Competition among free software projects is a good thing. I'm glad to see Plex86 come out with something new that may work better than the old. But what most people wanted was to run multiple copies of Microsoft Windows on top of Linux, or to run MS Windows in VMs alongside GNU/Linux, and if that doesn't work easily & quickly, it may be a potent obstacle to widespread adoption.

Re:User-Mode Linux? (2, Interesting)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291618)

The problem with User-Mode Linux, as I understand it, is that the virtual machine is not that much isolated. It doesn't guarantee as much as it seems in terms of access control, security etc.

This virtualisation technique, however, could probably be much safer.

Re:User-Mode Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291639)

Virtualization technology is a large and growing market, funding a lot of IBM's recent growth in the mid-range server market...

Ehhh, recent?
390 is a virtual machine. I wouldn't call it recent. :-)

Can someone clarify (1)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291577)

I am confused, can somebody explain to me.

Is this a super-bochs should I feel like running windoze on linux?

Or is this an excellent way to test out a linux kernel someone hacked, but didn't want to risk their system?

Details in Kernel Traffic (2, Informative)

bstadil (7110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291587)

There is a detailed discussion of this in the Linux Kernel Traffic [zork.net] from the Jan 22-27 issue.

One step forwards, two steps back... (0, Redundant)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291590)

Is it just me, or are they saying that they've tailored Plex86 more towards Linux, so you can't use any other OS as a guest anymore? If so, then this sounds really useful. I can now run Linux on top of Linux! Oh, wait, I could do that already with KML. The advantage of a VM would have been to allow me to run Linux/*BSD on Windows or vice versa. Being able to run Linux on Linux just seems like rather a pointless duplication of effort.

Re:One step forwards, two steps back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291682)

You miss the point. Read about Sun's 3800, 4800, 6800, and E15,000 systems, eg. Domains.

Linux on top of linux enables this sort of enterprise functionality to be built: a host OS running several copies of itself, with dynamic hardware reallocation, permits insane levels of uptime (5 nines) and solves the problem of having too much CPU in one place, and not enough in another. Just move a couple around, and away you go.

And its very useful for developers building kernels...

Oh yeah, he also said that there would be the ability for binary only OSs to run. So running Windows will be possible. He just wants it to be a lighter, cleaner implementation that does it.

This is just like a microkernel, just less clean (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291594)

If you are interested in something like this you should check out the L4 microkernel which, when combined with the NomadBIOS user mode program, is able to host multiple Linuxes very efficiently (faster than VMWare), and even migrate them between physical hosts with different hardware in about 1/100th of a second.

Check out http://www.l4ka.org, http://os.inf.tu-dresden.de/fiasco/
and
http://w ww.nomadbios.dk

All my respect to Plex86, but I don't think their design will ever be as clean or effecient as that of L4. All software mentioned above is GPL.

Cool Bootlog (1)

imscarr (246204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291596)

> Linux version 2.5.59 (kevin@spud) (gcc version 2.95.4 20011002 (Debian prerelease)) #8 Mon Feb 3 10:44:50 EST 2003 ...
> Detected 4043.977 MHz processor. ...
> CPU: Intel Pentium III (Coppermine) stepping 01

**** WOW! a 4 GHz PIII *********

Two Plex86? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291600)

I'm confused...

http://plex86.sourceforge.net
http://savannah.n ongnu.org/projects/plex86/

Which one is the real thing?

That's nice... (2, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291608)

But.. Can I run UML as a KML process within a Plex86 session on a FreeBSD box, which is executing within a VMware running inside a VirtualPC?

Re:That's nice... (1)

Xunker (6905) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291667)

EIEIO.

What's the purpose? (0, Redundant)

WhaDaYaKnow (563683) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291613)

And I don't mean this as a flamebait AT ALL.

The thing is, I only read about one OS, namely Linux. Originally the purpose of a VM was to run several OSs concurrently. I probably misunderstand the explanation, but the way I read it, the VM will run as a Linux driver. The VM will then allow you to boot an other copy of the Linux kernel in a VM, in user mode.

What are exactly the applications for this, and are there any ideas for other OSs (of course the M$ products come to mind, but maybe the focus would be on BSDs?). Like for example, could the VM actually be a Windows driver which then allows the boot of a Linux kernel in user mode?

Re:What's the purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5292157)

> What are exactly the applications for this, and are there any ideas for other OSs (of course the M$ products come to mind, but maybe the focus would be on BSDs?). Like for example, could the VM actually be a Windows driver which then allows the boot of a Linux kernel in user mode?

It's a lightweight VM targeted for use by/with OS kernels such as Linux or *BSD that can compensate in their build sequences for some x86 defects in virtual interrupt handling (2 or 3 instructions; see http://plex86.sourceforge.net/ for details). You'd use it to provide a farm of virtual systems with good isolation between them. Also good for kernel debugging.

Running binary-only OS kernels would be via hooking it up with Boch so that those VMI defects get handled by a full x86 emulator, and the userland code gets handled by the much faster Plex86 VM.

iono (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291626)

mad dastard, a sad rat - saddam.

What would really be neat ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5291683)

Is for Intel to make a virtual X86, Pentium X in hardware. That would simplify and speed up things a lot, ie trap all user mode accesses to privileged registers, etc., etc. yadda, yadda, yadda. That would make it more practical to run any guest OS.

Difference from UML? (1)

Euphonious Coward (189818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291701)

Would somebody who knows please explain the details of how this (the "VM" mode, not the bochs acceleration mode) differs from User-mode Linux?

When would you use one, when would you use the other? Does each have gotchas the other avoids? What fundamental operations, at the system-call level, do they use? What kinds of software is each good for or useless for testing? Which bits of the kernel (aside from actual hardware drivers, duh) never get exercised in each?

Re:Difference from UML? (0)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291846)

UML works now, Plex86 doesn't, already have three UML servers for different jobs, all run on 8mb ram, slight slow at times but pretty good overall.

Project Management (5, Interesting)

N1XIM (159082) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291714)

All I have to say is that I hope it all actually works this time. I've been trying desperately to maintain the old Plex86 code for the last year and haven't been able to get much of anywhere. "WHY?" you may ask? I can say that right here, and I don't mean it in poor spirits either:
Kevin's code is obfuscated and doesn't mean much to you unless one or more of the following is true--
1) You are an equally enlightened coding genuis as Kevin is;
2) You have been programming for 25 years and still don't know what a comment line is for;
or
3) You always work alone and therefore the more disorderly the code the better for you.
This has been a real problem. I hope that his fork of the code works better than what I've been trying to document for the last year.
--Drew Northup, N1XIM (former, I guess) Plex86 maintianer

Re:Project Management (1)

spnbs (264432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292114)

Hey Drew,
I was a long time subscriber the plex86 mailing list (never posted, though) and I'm familiar with the stuff you struggled with with after Kevin left the project. It was a bold effort, and I appreciate your work. But don't get too down on Kevin. His new plex86 addresses most of your issues. In essense he ripped all the tricky bits (read, the unreadable pieces that only someone as familiar with the x86 ISA (like Kevin) could read). In theory, the project is much simplier and smaller. Granted, I haven't looked at his new code to see if it's any better commented... but it IS smaller! Anyways, Drew, thanks for your effort and go ahead, at least look at the new plex86!

I don't get it. (2, Interesting)

DdJ (10790) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291734)

The whole thing that makes x86 virtualization a difficult problem is that the x86 CPU has some non-user-mode instructions that can't really be virtualized. By saying "I'm only going to try to do this for user-mode instructions", isn't that turning the problem into something an average CS undergrad could solve in a few weeks? I mean, what am I missing here? What about this whole thing is now nontrivial?

Re:I don't get it. (4, Informative)

spnbs (264432) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292083)

If you read all the mailing list discussion, he answers this quesiton. It turns out pretty much every instruction used by linux, with the exception of pushf and popf work under PVI (x86's system for virtual interrupts). 99% of the ridiculously brilliant, yet unreadable code in the original plex86 was there solely to support these and perhaps a few other (wasn't totally clear about that) instructions in the x86 ISA. For open operating systems, you can just modify the source to avoid these instructions. In fact, he's got a tiny and completely non-invasive linux kernel patch that just does some ASM substitution to replace the rare uses of pushf/popf in the kernel. The patch is floating on the LKML and enables the linux kernel to run in the new Plex86 VM. Not only run, but run fast. So actually, just virtualizing the virtualizable stuff a very reasonable solution. Plus, for non-open Operating Systems he just offloads the ring 0 code to bochs and suffers a bit of a slowdown. It's a slick system.

How about vserver? (3, Informative)

rigolo (416338) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291799)

For those people that want to run several linux instances completely seperate from each other on top of linux they should take a look ath this [solucorp.qc.ca] project called Vserver.
The VServer Virtual Private Server and Security contexts allows you to easlity split your main linux server in to an (infinite?) number of server that use the same kernel, but for the rest are completly independent. Each server has it's own init, users, passwords etc etc. Also the networking is seperated creating intresting setup possibilities. Also think "shared virtual linux" servers instead of just Shared web hosting.

One possible application of VM technology... (1)

Breakerofthings (321914) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291837)

Here is what I envision eventually (am probably not the first to think of it):

You assemble a cluster of machines, that "looks" like one big SMP box (beowulf?). Using your VM software, you provision servers as necessary.

See? You can add resources (processing power) incrementally, independently of adding actual physical hosts.
You don't need to make each critical server redundant, because the redundancy is at a lower level; the VM is running on redundant hardware already. You can lose multiple machines, and still be up and running, at reduced capacity. Compare that to my cluster, if I lose 2, and both happens to be my db servers, I am screwed.

You need a web server? here, lemme cp you an image, and there you go, there's your web server.

Hardware version? (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 11 years ago | (#5291961)


I havent tried this but, from what they claim, sounds great. This is just what is needed till developers produce code for Linux and Windows. I wouldnt mind doubling my ram given theres no CPU overhead running just one OS.

On a related note, if transmeta or AMD introduced a new runleve or execution mode 'multiplex mode' in their chips to simplify switching OSes, and automatic remapping of memory so even the interrupt table, DMA and device memoryIO are mapped appropriately for each OS, I'm sure I'll buy one.

Anyone wanna patent THAT idea? Or even better, criticize it?

Re:Hardware version? (1)

vinsci (537958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292024)

On a related note, if transmeta or AMD introduced a new runleve or execution mode 'multiplex mode' in their chips to simplify switching OSes, and automatic remapping of memory so even the interrupt table, DMA and device memoryIO are mapped appropriately for each OS, I'm sure I'll buy one.
It's not like they are not aware of the idea. They, however, want to sell as many chips as possible, not fewer. As usual, customers loose out. The first chipmaker who implements the necessary functionality for full virtualization of x86 chips should make a fortune though (one can dream) and force others to follow.

running linux as a user process on windows (3, Interesting)

hopeless case (49791) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292026)

Silly as it sounds, one of the more intriguing possibilities with User Mode Linux is running linux as a user space process under the windows.

This would mean a number of things, but one of them would be that a windows user wouldn't even need to reboot to be able to run a full distribution of linux on their windows box.

I wonder if plex86 has a route to acheiving the same end?

I just couldn't resist... (1)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5292041)

My goal is to ... get to usable releases quickly...


What software project doesn't have this goal?

More importantly, which projects succeed?
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