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Which OS Makes the Best VMWare Host?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the better-than-a-multi-boot dept.


astrojetsonjr asks: "A few days ago, Trillian_1138 asked about running Linux on a laptop. Yagu started a thread suggesting the use of VMWare to allow running multiple flavors of Linux and Windows at the same time. Lots of readers then posted their success stories using VMWare . My primary machine is an IBM laptop and I'm getting ready to move to using VMWare to allow me run Linux, Solaris and Windows at the same time. First, what is the OS/distro with which you have had the best success hosting VMWare? Finally, what host OS install and setup tips do suggest?"

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Priorities first. (5, Informative)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15373992)

Pick whichever supports most of the physical hardware, since whatever it can't see the emulated OS can't either. If you're left with more than one choice there, narrow it down further depending on which matters to you more: speed, stability, security etc. Of course in a perfect world you wouldn't need to choose between those, but then you wouldn't need a virtual machine either.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374085)

In his case he's going to be pretty well covered with his IBM laptop, unless he's got one with the ATI video chipset, which is most of them. That's a bitch to get acceleration working in some, if not all, Linux distributions.

On the other hand, I run Debian on my T30, no acceleration on the video at all. It used to be working just fine, but somewhere along the way it stopped working and I never noticed it. VMWare runs just fine on that laptop.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374143)

That's a bitch to get acceleration working in some, if not all, Linux distributions.
No, getting 3d acceleration is quite easy.

The problem is that the card and/or drivers are very finnicky, so it's hard to get 3d and suspend to work at the same time. Unfortunately, the workarounds provided in the Windows drivers don't work for Linux, and the vendors of Designed For Windows hardware refuse to give us Linux people any love.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375219)

While 3d acceleration works fine under linux how are you getting it working under VMware? If VMware supported 3d hardware I'd think about using for games that cedega doesn't support but currently they don't touch it with a 30ft pole. Even being able to switch control of the video card between the host/guest OS for full-screen support would be a step forward.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375848)

No, it is NOT easy. For example, did you know that the T30 ATI chip is NOT supported by name in the Linux kernel? You have to guess which on it really is. Then, after you've tried everything, you discover that there's a special patched hacked up driver just for that card. What a pain in the ass.

On the other hand, getting everything working with the NVidia drivers was trivial. Even suspend.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376651)

Then, after you've tried everything, you discover that there's a special patched hacked up driver just for that card. What a pain in the ass.

Do you have any more info? I'm afraid my google-fu isn't quite as good as I'd hoped.

Re:Priorities first. (2, Informative)

Deorus (811828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374413)

> That's a bitch to get acceleration working in some, if not all, Linux distributions.

All ATi chips before and including the r250 (ranging from the RADEON 7000 to the RADEON 9250) have open source drivers bundled with Xorg and the Linux kernel. All other ATi chips can be used with the binary drivers from ATi. The thinkpads I know have RADEON MOBILITY 7500 chips, so they are perfectly supported.

> On the other hand, I run Debian on my T30, no acceleration on the video at all. It used to be working just fine, but somewhere along the way it stopped working and I never noticed it.

Maybe this is the right time to switch to Gentoo. ;-) And no, this is not a question of fanboyism, I'd just hard-guess (because I didn't bother to actually check) that Debian, Ubunto, and other dpkg/rpm based distributions are suffering from the same problem as the Kororaa Live CD [] : distributing precompiled binaries of the kernel modules required to load the ATi and nVidia drivers violates the GPL (a similar problem happened with the old Sun Java license which those distributions weren't allowed to support because they couldn't redistribute the software). On Gentoo the installation scripts and patches are completely independent from the distfiles thus allowing developers to provide portage support for software without redistributing it.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375833)

No, it's not a good time to switch to Gentoo. Gentoo would have had the same problem, because in 1998 I doubt that Gentoo had a good ATI driver setup. It's time to get a proper installation of the ATI drivers. How about a decent driver.

The driver's just fine. It's the installation that's a bitch. Pretty much your only tool is a HOWTO that's not entirely helpful when your working with an ATI laptop chip which identifies as two different (non-laptop) chips with different tools. And the only diagnostic is a single line in glxinfo that says YES or NO. It was hard to know what piece was wrong. I just hand to try every combination until it worked.

Re:Priorities first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15376012)

To carry on the gentoo line.. Installing the proprietary drivers for ATI r350, r300, r250 and r200 chipsets consists of typing one line as root. "emerge ati-drivers && echo fgrlx >> /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6". If you want the ATI adjustment tools, then "emerge ati-drivers-extra" As mentioned earlier, the older chipsets are in the kernel.

No muss, no fuss. It just plain works. The only problem Gentoo, and any other distro, has with ATI is their support for 64bit systems sucks just slightly less then Macromedia/Adobes Flash.

In the end, use what you're comfy with.

To bring this slightly on topic. If you can, run Linux or Solaris as your host and Windows/OS-X etc as your virtual machines. That and start agitating for the vm folks to support hardware 3d in the VMs.

Re:Priorities first. (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375071)

I'm quite happy running Vmware on Ubuntu 5.10. My main goals were to get a certain Lexmark X125 printer/scanner to work properly and to access a remote network on a MS-only setup of VPN.

The printer driver hangs all the time under native windows XP, and watching the same happening inside the virtual machine was the last drop. It was cool to see that printer working (sort of) under linux after my failed attempts to get it to work using the normal drivers. All that Ubuntu needs to do is detect that there is something attached to the USB port, and then the windows drivers will do their work normally - sweet :)

The VPN affair is stranger, as PPTP is supposed to be supported by other OSs. In my case I just couldn't make the connection to my host, regardless of using OS X or Ubuntu.

In the end, setting up my SOHO has been a very interesting learning experience, and Vmware player on Ubuntu Linux were the key things. Now I'm adding more tasks for that small server, and I trust it more than I would trust a windows box to do some of them... I unloaded some tasks from the main workstation by setting up shares on that headless Ubuntu/TinyXP [] server, CD writing is made there as well, as will be using Skype, playing MP3s and setting up a VPN of my own.

Frist Sopt!! (-1, Offtopic)

Observador (224372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15373994)

my life is now complete?

Re:Frist Sopt!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374028)

Nope. Second. Alas, you must remain unfulfilled.

Re:Frist Sopt!! (-1, Offtopic)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374092)

Ha! Then I now have third post! So there, consecutively numbered trolls!

Let me answer your question with a question (5, Informative)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15373995)

Which OS Makes the Best VMWare Host?

Why do you want to run VMWare? I have used both VMWare and qemu (as well as Xen, but I don't think that will work if you are interested in running Windows), and have found qemu to be the superior of the two. Sure, there is no built in GUI, but there are external 3rd party GUIs available if you want. Seriously, qemu makes networking much easier thatn VMWare does. No need to mess with modules (unless you want the accelerator, which I recommend), no need for services or daemons running like with VMWare. Additionally, it is open source, which I consider a huge plus. You can also emulate other CPUs. Want to emulate a PowerPC so that you can test compiling your app on FreeBSD on a PowerPC processor? How about Sparc? The *only* way in which I would see VMWare as being superior is if you are using one of their server consolidation products (GSX or ESX, I think). For workstation-level stuff, qemu is the way to go.

Don't forget coLinux (4, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374030)

If Windows is the host, coLinux [] is a worthy solution. It runs almost as fast as a native install. And you can download a preconfigured Debian or Gentoo root image from the website.

Basically, it is a Linux kernel patched to run under Windows.

Re:Don't forget coLinux (2, Interesting)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374097)

Is colinux still alive? It is far from a complete project, and has had only a single 0.0.X update in the last year.

The project is cool, but doesn't work very well and seems quite stale.

Re:Don't forget coLinux (3, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374172)

The project is cool, but doesn't work very well and seems quite stale.

Worked great last time I used it, although the configuration involved editing text files.

The last release came out in February. That's recent enough to indicate that it's still being developed.

Re:Don't forget coLinux (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375635)

Worked great last time I used it, although the configuration involved editing text files.

Yes: it's very tough to get up and running (I tried and gave up two or three times before I eventually got it all working to my satisfaction), but once everything's configured, it does exactly what it says on the tin.

The last release came out in February. That's recent enough to indicate that it's still being developed.

And the next release is imminent; version 0.6.4-pre2 was released for testing just five days ago. I'd say it's not quite dead yet.

Re:Don't forget coLinux (2)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375339)

You're mistaken, it's coBSD that is dying...

Re:Don't forget coLinux (2, Informative)

LoveTheIRS (726310) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376881)

Pragmatically, colinux hasn't needed any new updates. The only feature missing is native X support, and it has been taking a very long time to get that done. Colinux works fine for any non-gui purposes in it's current form.

Re:Let me answer your question with a question (2, Informative)

Zephiris (788562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374220)

Don't forget that now with Qemu 0.8.1 and the 1.3.x-pre acceleration module, kernel-mode acceleration of the target is also supported.

Re:Let me answer your question with a question (4, Insightful)

inflex (123318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375155)

>>Why do you want to run VMWare? I have used both VMWare and qemu (as well as Xen, but I don't think that will work if you are interested in running Windows)

What is it with people and their desire to try and disseminate your reason for having or wanting to, God forbid, purchased a software package. Mostly I hear it from people who -

- don't use VM's for business work
- don't like commercial software
- don't understand that time == money
- have more time on their hands than pending tasks

It's one thing to not want to purchase software, fair enough - but let's not try and stone people.

Fact is, vmware out of the "box" runs and runs very well. It's a dead simple system to use even with an unsupported distro like Slackware linux. It's $199 USD (for workstation) and the cost of the purchase is long forgotten after the ease of use has saved you many times more. There's a lot more "messing around" with other solutions. You can burn up $199 in wages in half a day.

The difference between a functional package and a usable -and- functional package often isn't a lot but it's a small difference that a lot of people are more than happy to pay for.

1st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15373999)

First Post!

OS/2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374007)


Re:OS/2 (1)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375737)

That may have been a joke, but possible nonetheless:

Serenity Virtual Server []

Allows you to run Windows, Linux and OS/2 as both a host and guest OS, and FreeBSD as a host-only OS.

vmware server or workstation? (2, Interesting) (10499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374015)

Windows is probably the best host for workstation, mostly because the current state of video drivers makes windows better for any app that needs graphical output. I haven't run GSX/server, but given my experience with ESX I would assume that linux is superior for those kinds of workloads.

Under Linux (3, Insightful)

yhetti (57297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374022)

I've been using VMWare Workstation and GSX (now just "Server") very successfully under Linux. I have two virtualized Linux and three virtualized 2003 Server instances on a 2x Opteron 240. It works wonderfully.

However, to be honest, on a laptop it likely makes more sense to run the host as WinXP. With Linux hosting and XP in Vmware, you don't get hardware graphics acceleration (perhaps in either OS.) Linux and laptops are still not there yet, so you may as well use XP as the host OS and get full hardware support.

Re:Under Linux (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374103)

Actually, I've never had any problems with Linux on any of the laptops I've used. Although then again, my new laptop was made around 1998... either way, I've used both VMware and QEMU on various different machines of mine, and have had no problem with either running under Linux on a P233/96MB Latitude CP. Don't use it very often on the laptop, of course, but it is useful if I want to play with something like OpenBSD and don't have a spare system to try it "natively" on.

And if your laptop's a more modern one, you definitely won't have any problems :-)

Linux host on T42 (1)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375823)

I've been running various incarnations of SuSE for the last two years on a T42 without any issues. The only hardware not supported is the Winmodem (and I'm reasonably confident I could get it working if I felt like devoting some time to it). I have VMWare Workstation running with two different XPPro guests and a Slowaris for Intel guest as well.

Your point about framebuffer acceleration under Windows is well taken. However, the only thing I really need the XP VM for is IE...some wag built the corporate intranet pages in such a way that they will only show the header graphic in Firefox (or Opera, or...). Seriously. Fubar. But, that's another story.

This .sig available for lease. Will type to suit.

Linux can be stripped down (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374042)

I have a Linux desktop machine that runs Vmware workstation, and basically nothing else (the window manager is TWM, pretty minimal). I run several FreeBSD and Linux VMs so that I can do development.

I've never used it under XP, and never on a laptop, but you might want to consider that with Linux you can tune everything (filesystems, kernel, etc), remove stuff you don't use (printer daemon, etc), etc.

VMWare ESX (3, Informative)

danpat (119101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374046)

VMWare ESX runs without an underlying OS (it provides one of its own). It might be overkill for your needs though.... []

Re:VMWare ESX (4, Insightful)

OiBoy (22100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374169)

And would be absolutely useless on a laptop since ESX requires SCSI.

Re:VMWare ESX (1)

chiasmus1 (654565) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374184)

The underlying OS just happens to be Linux. I think it is Red Hat 7.x or something like that.

Re:VMWare ESX (3, Informative)

swmccracken (106576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374243)

Does ESX Server Run on Linux? On Windows?
ESX Server runs natively on server hardware, without a host operating system. The ESX Server virtualization layer is a highly compact and efficient operating system kernel entirely developed by VMware for optimum virtual machine performance. This allows ESX Server to fully manage the hardware resources and provide the highest levels of security and performance isolation. ESX Server also incorporates a service console based on a Linux 2.4 kernel that is used to boot the ESX Server virtualization layer. It also runs ESX Server administration applications.

-- []

So, yeah, Linux might be used as the bootloader and/or system console image.

Re:VMWare ESX (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374263)

ESX Server also incorporates a service console based on a Linux 2.4 kernel that is used to boot the ESX Server virtualization layer.

I'm reasonably sure this is marketing-speak for "ESX server is an application that runs on the Linux OS". Would it really be reasonable for VMWare to deal with all the low-level hardware driver crud when there's Linux right there?

Nope (2, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374334)

ESX is an OS in itself, not derived from Linux. However, ESX includes a "Linux-compatibility layer" that provides compatibility with Linux on some level (drivers, for instance). The console OS is a linux derivative I believe, but the COS is just an interface to the ESX Server OS.

Re:Nope (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374476)

Definitely. ESX may look like Red Hat when you're installing it, but when the service console fires up the VMKernel it is entirely separate from the console OS. The hardware supported by ESX is very limited as well so it's best to plan the purchase of it along with new hardware. We've had excellent results with IBM servers for instance since they're partners. Of course, you're going to pay a premium for the hardware, but consolidating 20-30 servers onto one quad processor server box is much nicer than having to deal with all those separate physical machines.

Re:VMWare ESX (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376863)

No; ESX has its own kernel and is its own OS. The official name of the OS is VMNX or something like that. The service console that is based on RedHat runs the same as other guest OS's however it has escalated privileges with respect to what it is allowed to see and do to the running ESX kernel. If it were the case that Linux was actually providing the hardware support you'd be able to run ESX on a whole lot more than you currently can!

Re:VMWare ESX (1)

lordvdr (682194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375878)

And would be useless because ESX includes no way to get to your virtual hosts on the local console.

So obvious (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374047)

Either BeOS or AmigaOS...

Re:So obvious (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376689)

Clearly it needs to be run under Palm OS, Win CE, PS2, and on a Furby.

It depends... (2, Interesting)

222 (551054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374058)

I've run GSX Server on both Win2k3 64-bit and Suse Enterprise 64-bit, and neither one really presented any issues. The linux configuration is slightly more complicated, but its nothing to really shake a stick at.

The core issue is which OS are you more familiar with? If that isn't an issue, then there are some benefits to the *nix side of things.

It's possible to get a linux install down to 200~ megs while only using 64 megs of system memory, which is a strong advantage. If I understand correctly ESX Server is essentially a very very thin linux distro. That should say something ;)

I've also read of a perl script that can make hot backups of a Virtual Machine; while this is possible under Windows using commercial products, it's another thing to be taken into consideration.

Hope this helps ;)

Re:It depends... (1)

yuriismaster (776296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376177)

You are correct about ESX essentially being a very stripped down RedHat install. It has some stringent hardware requirements, however (SCSI, limited NIC support, requires 2 physical cores minimum), so not really good for the consumer market. I know ESX comes with a pl script called VMSnap, which performs a hot backup to a remote linux host (or anything that understands scp, really). I wodner if the same script can be hacked to work with GSX.

Which reminds me, is there any specialty linux distro in the works that has wider hardware support (maybe not Knoppix-level) and just runs vmware-server. That could be a killer app for the hobbyist, ploppin down some VMWare Servers like that...

Re:It depends... (1)

ion (18545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376499)

There is a thread above this one that explains this as well but I'll reiterate.

ESX is not a linux distribution. ESX is its own kernel (VMkernel) that uses the ESX Service Console as a glorified boot loader. Once the VMkernel is loaded it takes over the hardware and turns the Service Console install into a semi-virtualized Linux install. What ESX does have is a Linux like environment to manage it and interact with it.

Re:It depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15376467)

It's possible to get a linux install down to 200~ megs while only using 64 megs of system memory, which is a strong advantage. If I understand correctly ESX Server is essentially a very very thin linux distro. That should say something ;)

You can run linux with very little memory but if you're going to run vmware workstation (or server) you're going to want as much memory as possible.

At my computer at work (756MB ram) I'm running a linux host with vmware workstation and always have one win2k and one winxp guest running. Quite okay setup but starting more guests makes me wish for at least double the ram.

Same goes for the vmware server, I'm running it off 1GB of ram at a linux host at home and it chugs away quite happily with three or four guests running.

And yes, esx is a stripped down redhat as another poster replied. Memory wise the ESX is by far the coolest and most powerful. Having guests running with shared memory makes it possible to overallocate the existing ram and not lose performance at all. Very, very cool product.

If You Need to Ask... (0, Flamebait)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374064) probably shouldn't be running VMware. Period.

On my laptop.... (2, Interesting)

Trelane (16124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374071)

I run Linux, and have VMware around for the (thankfully very very few) times I need to run Windows. With attached storage, I'm thinking about also doing a SuSE image, to help walk my parents through how to do things on their computers.

So, as a Linux user, I run Linux as the host, and Windows XP & 98 as the guests.

That's my situation anyway. Things work fine on my laptop under Linux, and I hope my next laptop will be even better (since I'll be ditching ATI on the laptop for Intel (and a linux pre-install, which should give the "works with linux" guarantee even if I don't keep the original install around (plus, I get to give a distro money!)), which will likely make things even easier.)

Re:On my laptop.... (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374151)

I should also mention that I had great success with vmware workstation 5.5 running through at least one, if not several suspend-resume cycles. It was without the ATI driver (fglrx) in the kernel, and as is well-known, all bets are off when ati starts mucking about in your kernel. It just kept going like nothing had happened.

Re:On my laptop.... (1)

munpfazy (694689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376719)

So, as a Linux user, I run Linux as the host, and Windows XP & 98 as the guests.

That, it seems to me, is key: if possible, make the host OS the one you are most comforable or happy using, and the one where you're likely to do the most diverse set of random, general purpose computing tasks. If you love windows and resent having to use linux, pick a windows host. If you love linux, pick a linux host.

As a linux nut who both dislikes and is almost completely inept at using the windows interface, the choice was obvious for me: linux host running vmware with a windows client for the few occasions that I can't escape windows. (Sharing CAD files with collaborators, in my case.) That means I spend most of my time in the OS I prefer, and I get to depend on my favorite OS for security, hardware, and networking tasks - which is a great benefit.

One further note: the VMware site lists a hand full of very specific approved linux distributions. But, it's total popycock. I've run it without a hiccup on unsupported distros. It runs like a dream in slackware. (Although on slack you do have to touch a couple of the more eccentric redhat style init directories in order to keep the installer happy - a google search will provide full instructions.)

Linux - don't waste RAM and CPU cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374091)

I use Linux as my host OS because I don't interact much with my host OS, or use it for much of anything at all except running VMware, so I can run a streamlined Linux installation with only lesstif as my window manager. By not using a heavyweight GUI such as Gnome or KDE, and not running a bunch of unnecessary services, this is a Linux installation that could easily run on a 486 with 16MB of RAM. Even the most streamlined Windows installation needs much more memory and CPU than that just to run, so compared to running Windows as my host this leaves more memory and CPU left over for my virtual machines, which are what I actually *use* all day, every day.

I must admit I haven't actually compared and measured the performance difference.

I also believe Linux to be at least a bit more stable than Windows, and naturally I want the most stable host OS possible.

Depends on your hardware. (3, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374099)

VMWARE on Win32 will only be as stable as Win32 of course. So from that perspective, most people here would agree that Linux makes a better host.

On the other hand, if you're running a laptop or have some high end video or hard disk that requires drivers not available for linux, you may find your performance better under Windows (again, depending on many things, like how you configure vmware and its use of hardware).

There's no perfect answer to your question. My plans for new LAPTOPS will be to run the native drivers with Win32 as the host. Custom build desktops, however, I may well run the opposite way.

Re:Depends on your hardware. (2, Insightful)

bheer (633842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374211)

> VMWARE on Win32 will only be as stable as Win32 of course.

The days of 'unstable Win32' died with Win9x and ME... 2000 and XP on supported hardware is just as stable as any other OS. Linux fans who claim otherwise (usually on the basis that they saw a friend's Windows system crash) have about as much credibility as the idiots who reflexively claim all kernel panics to be 'linux bugs'.

Re:Depends on your hardware. (3, Insightful)

jazir1979 (637570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374714)

Yes windows stability has improved over the years, but it asks you to reboot for the most trivial changes. What a crock.

Re:Depends on your hardware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374841)

Most reboots aren't really necessary. Sometimes it means you have to restart an application, or usually you have to logout and log back in. I usually stay logged in for months at a time, usually terminated by a power failure or overheating.

It doesn't matter, though, because your Linux partition doesn't get affected by host reboots. You just save the state, reboot, and start the Linux VM back up where it left off.


Re:Depends on your hardware. (2, Funny)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375036)

Thats fixed in CVS!

Re:Depends on your hardware. (1)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375014)

XP is stable in the absence of external factors. Yes, it doesn't randomly blue screen most of the time now.

HOWEVER...if you start actually using it day to day, you become vulnerable to many 0-day exploits (see the recent Word/rootkit issue) and so in practice you can end up with many problems through no fault of your own. If you think this isn't an issue for you, please note the many infections that have occured through non-obvious vectors (viewing .jpg and .wmf files, playing a Sony audio CD, installing games with various loony anti-piracy schemes that install dodgy drivers *coughs*Starforce*coughs*). It even comes rooted, as the EULA explicitly states that MS can enter your computer in both the Windows and Windows Media Player EULAs.

Due to this, it just isn't reliable enough for me to trust it for storing the serious data that my main OS must - the APIs just were not designed for that.

Do you disagree with this?

Re:Depends on your hardware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15375588)

Yes, it doesn't randomly blue screen most of the time now.

Actually, it didn't randomly blue screen most of the time ever, but lets not let any facts get in the way of your argument.

Re:Depends on your hardware. (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375637)

Most Windows users (especially those doing anything serious) on their machines know the security landscape and have taken steps to mitigate the problem with a defense in depth strategy (including, importantly, not running as admin). As for zero-day exploits, I'd love to know how anything is immune to specially crafted/0-day attacks.

Also, if someone demanding 'reliability' is going to view jpg and wmf files -- as a privileged user -- and listen to CDs with Autoplay=on (which was how the Sony rootkit spread), then he deserves whatever he's getting on his machine.

> the APIs just were not designed for that.

I disagree-- Windows is designed to be reliable enough for most enterprises to do their file/print, mail, database and app server. (Most IT folk running Windows are quite happy with the 2003 line of servers, for example). But the level of reliability is key here -- getting 5 or 6 9s reliability on Windows is devilishly hard if not impossible (it's much easier on Solaris, IMO).

But then, if you're comparing the reliability of a Windows workstation vs a Linux workstation used by an *average* user-- *shrug* that's a meaningless comparison because the average Linux user is far more sophisticated than the average Windows user.

> It even comes rooted, as the EULA explicitly states that MS can enter your computer in both the Windows and Windows Media Player EULAs.

I assume you're talking about this [] . Ignoring the tinfoil-hattish tone of that, it was amusing-- reminded me of "Reflections on trusting trust" [] for some reason. If you cannot trust your OS vendor (especially these days when internet-based binary patch distribution is common) then you're in trouble -- you'd better switch to ports or emerge (and audit every line of code, especially kernel code, before patching anything).

Anyway, the scope of that section in the EULA is to disable software that specifically subverts Windows Rights Management protections. But yeah, if you don't trust Microsoft to do the right thing, you ought to think twice before letting their code run in ring 0 of your CPU.

Linux and XFS (4, Informative)

jtatum (164201) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374104)

I've run Workstation and GSX (Server) on Windows and Linux. The best performance by far was Linux with XFS. Ext3 does not cut it (regardless of writeback option used). XFS support is a little tricky to find in VMWare supported distros. For less critical servers, I prefer Centos 4 with the Centosplus kernel (see the Readme [] ). Centos isn't supported by VMWare but Red Hat is.

VMWare Server supports Ubuntu as a host. It's a little easier to setup XFS and VMWare on Ubuntu. VMWare server claims experimental support for Ubuntu Dapper. I am running it on two servers for testing and it is performing very well. As Ubuntu gains popularity, the choice may be clearer. For right now, Google University has more help for VMWare on Red Hat^W^WCentos than Ubuntu.

If your system is AMD64/EM64T, you may be tempted to load a 64-bit OS. Resist the temptation. VMWare now claims official support for x64 host operating systems, but in practice these are more trouble to get working than they are worth (MUI, authentication, and even stability can be problematic IMO). With hardware that supports 64-bit virtualization (many new Pentiums and Opterons), 64-bit guests can be run on both 32- and 64-bit hosts. Determining whether your CPU supports it is so difficult, VMWare made a tool to do it for you called the processor check utility. (It's about halfway down this page [] .) Down the road when 4GB+ is standard on laptops, VMWare's x64 support will probably be a lot better.

Re:Linux and XFS (2, Informative)

Trelane (16124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374159)

a word of warning about xfs: make sure you can always shutdown cleanly, or data loss and/or filesystem corruption can easily result. With that caveat in mind, however, XFS totally rocks.

Re:Linux and XFS (4, Insightful)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374196)

Which is exactly why I quit using XFS. For production systems that reboot semi-often and cleanly, XFS is good. When XFS is up for quite some time (On 2.4.x at least, it can tend to get messy after 1yr+ of uptime with heavy writes. Eventually you'll have to umount and do an xfs repair just to get it back to normal.) it's not too good.

Even worse story for crashes. I've had to go to backup many times because a heavily used system locks up and XFS gets into it's unable to find superblocks or another one of it's infamous cryptic, non documented bugs/errors. I don't recall ever having to do this on a ext3 system unless the disk went bad or it crashed multiple times without a fsck.

That said, XFS is an excellent choice is some areas, such as realtime (soft guarentee) systems, etc.

Re:Linux and XFS (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376260)

--Suggest you try JFS instead. I switched all my big Reiserfs partitions over to JFS and haven't had a problem; except that sometimes you need a (very) quick fsck before mount. YMMV.

Re:Linux and XFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15375067)

a word of warning about xfs: make sure you can always shutdown cleanly, or data loss and/or filesystem corruption can easily result. With that caveat in mind, however, XFS totally rocks. To summarise - apart from occasional unrecoverable dataloss XFS is the best filesystem ever!

Re:Linux and XFS (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375342)

Apparently that is not really true anymore with the 2.6.x kernel, whereas XFS was a little flaky with the 2.4.x kernels. I had several ex-SGI employees on the local LUG link to a ream of data showing that the flakiness has been fixed for the 2.6 kernel series. I had thus switched my ReiserFS 3.6 partitions to XFS and they benchmarked a little better and I've had zero problems with them even after a bunch of unclean umounts due to playing with laptop suspend/resume.

Ubuntu runs workstation and player fine too (1)

denjin (115496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374347)

Good suggestions, btw. :)

I use the latest VMWare on the latest Dapper release from Ubuntu and have XFS for the filesystem. No issues at all, the install just has to compile a custom kernel module so you have to make sure you have gcc, make, and kernel headers. Otherwise, works great!

Re:Linux and XFS (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376247)

--I've had good results speedwise with JFS filesystems, even after a crash. I'm a reiserfs fan for the small file tail-packing feature (makes it good for root filesystem and Squid cache) but speedwise, JFS is much better - especially for Writes.

--For a drop-in vmware solution, I'd recommend Ubuntu. Vmware has precompiled kernel modules for it; and it's debian-derived, which means all the apt-get goodness.

Depends on what you need... (5, Informative)

ID10T5 (797857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374113)

Having run VMware (I'm assuming workstation) on both Windows and Linux hosts, I have seen plusses on both.

VMware needs kernel hooks to provide its virtualization services. Under Linux, there are only a few supported Linux distros (and specific versions at that) that have pre-built modules installed as part of VMware. I run my personal VMware on an FC5 Linux host, and had to download an unsupported "patch" (from one of the VMware developers -- not even hosted on the VMware web site) to allow the script to build the necessary modules for my specific kernel. Every time I upgrade kernels, I must then rebuild the modules to get VMware working again. Also, under FC5 with SELinux enabled, I had to manually change the context of one of the VMware files after install before SELinux would even allow VMware to run. Under Windows, all of the above "just works".

Under Linux, I get better performance when running multiple VM's at the same time. I have had three 384MB VM's running at the same time, and because of memory management under Linux I only saw an increase of approximately 600MB vs. not running the VM's (no swap increase either). I also have better I/O performance as well. When installing the 3 VM's above, I had the CD's mapped to ISO files on the same disk that my VMware files were being created on. During the install, my load average was constantly around 15 and my system was definitely slower, but it was still functional. I have brought a Windows host (with enough memory to host both VM's fully in RAM -- no swapping) to its knees trying to install just 2 VM's simultaneously in the same way (ISO files on the same disk as the VMware files). It was so unresponsive, it took almost 5 minutes to bring up Task Manager to see what was going wrong -- and Task Manager didn't really show me what was wrong, just that the CPU was pegged and the VMware processes were doing all the work.

Emacs! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374132)

determining which OS is best to run emacs in is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Emacs! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374586)

You would naturally want to use the emacs bootloader, and run VMWare and it's guest OS's as macros.

The best is Linux (0, Flamebait)

domc (11897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374144)

Don't be retarded.

Linux more responsive in my experience. (1)

stripe42 (845170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374176)

I've enjoyed using VMware at home and the office. I haven't had a chance to try Xen or qemu. Briefly, here's my experience:

At the office, I work with 5 quad processor (dell) servers with Gentoo Linux as the host running VMware GSX and 1 running VMware Workstation -- all guests are Windows 2k or 2k3. At home, I run VMware Player on Kubuntu, and VMware Server on a W2k3 server and a Gentoo server -- some guests are Windows, some are Linux.

Usually everything works great. The Linux host systems seem more responsive than the Windows host systems. At home, the w2k3 server crashes every once in a while limiting me more than I'd like. Not sure why as it's just a file and dns server. One of Linux servers at the office had too small a partition for /tmp causing problems, but otherwise been relatively maintenance free.

Over the past few years one of my favorite things to do when I need to rebuild my workstation is to image it into a VMware session for later use as needed. Only done it about four times, but sure comes in handy. I'm about to do that to my w2k3 server.


VMWare on a laptop will choke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374179)

I tried installing the newest vmware trial on a 2.8Ghz box with a gig of ram, with WinXP as the host OS and Fedora 5 as the parasite. It completely choked. Far too unresponsive to use for day-to-day tasks. It was like RDP over a modem.

Re:VMWare on a laptop will choke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374245)

A gig of RAM isn't enough. You need at least 2G RAM and lots of swap space besides, and even then it's no speed demon. But I agree that a Windows laptop isn't a great host for VMWare.

Re:VMWare on a laptop will choke (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375332)

I wouldn't necessarily concur. I run VMware on a XP Pro host, on my laptop with a 1.86 GHz Pentium M (2MB L2 cache, and I suspect this helps immensely) with 2GB of memory, and an XP Pro guest - I like the idea of having my core, essential apps only on the host, and anything likely to 'crud things up' can be thrown on the guest. Performance is quite near native.

Re:VMWare on a laptop will choke (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375358)

I ran VMware Server on my 2.2GHz Pentium 4-M laptop with 1GB RAM with SuSE 10.0 as the host OS and Windows XP as the guest. It installed and ran cleanly, but yes, my 4-year-old laptop wasn't that fast. The Windows guest ran about like it was on a PIII-800, but the entire computer was still usable, inside and outside the VM. Now, my 2.2GHz dual-core Athlon 64 desktop with 2GB RAM runs the same guest OS and host OS and it runs far faster and the computer is far more responsive inside and outside the VM. After looking at the CPU usage, RAM usage, and hard drive I/O, it appears that the responsiveness is mostly due to the HDD speed once you have >= 1GB RAM. A 10,000rpm HDD sure works a lot better for running 2 OS's requests off of versus a 5400rpm one.

Re:VMWare on a laptop will choke (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376296)

--Best speed I've gotten is LVM'ing (2) 120GB IDE UDMA 133 drives [7200 RPM] into (1) Striped ~240GB volume, and formatting it with JFS. 32MB+/second SUSTAINED WRITE speeds. And Read speed is phenomenal.

--Economical and practical also, from a $$/time POV. If you don't already have one, google for a Silicon Image IDE 133 PCI board and hook the drives up to that. ;-)

Re:VMWare on a laptop will choke (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376276)

(ahem) Bullshit. I run Vmware Workstation 5.5 on a P750 Dell Latitude, with 384MB RAM ad 20GB HD == NO problems. XP + Ubuntu, dual-boot.

You know what you doing.
Move all "zig".
For great justice.

Re:VMWare on a laptop will choke (1)

RDaneel2 (533639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376879)

Performance evals with pre-release software can be problematic in general... and in the case of the current VMware "Server" pre-releases, you just need to look at their support forums to see that a) a number of users complain about disk performance, and b) that the product's DEBUG settings are forcibly in the ON state, which (it is claimed) is causing skewed performance results.

And then there is the notorious laptop disk [non]performance...

Parallels Workstation on Mac OS X (0)

ebooher (187230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374200)

It's a personal opinion, of course. But I think Parallels Workstation is going to be a major plus. It is available for more than Mac too, by the way. Currently, I'm running VirtualPC 6 on a 1.25 Ghz G4 eMac. So maybe I'm not the best person to ask, I think I might be a little biased.

Re:Parallels Workstation on Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15376621)

They've changed the name to Parallels Desktop for Mac, as they felt that Workstation was too 'Windowsy'.

QEMU on Gentoo Linux (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374230)

The latest release 0.8.1 of QEMU (along with 1.3.0 of KQEMU) achieves a surprisingly fast and stable emulation for a free (as in beer) tool.

You can save yourself the money and just use QEMU. It emulates a PC just fine and can run most anything as a guest. I use it for a Windows guest so I can write my book. Granted my workstation is a "bit" high end, but when I full screen it, it's just like running a real Windows box (shudder).

Trick is to make sure the KQEMU accelerator is loaded and running correctly. Which isn't really hard if you know how to run ./configure && make install


Debian (2, Informative)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374534)

VMware Workstation runs nicely under Debian Testing, with ReiserFS filesystem.

Re:Debian (1)

ce (98666) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375299)

I've used VMware on both Debian testing and stable recently with ReiserFS ,and it works very well.
  For the application we were testing it actually performed a lot better than using ESX-server or Vmware Server.

Re:Debian (1)

EricFenderson (64220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376119)

I have to use VMWare Workstation on my machine at work. I run Debian testing, and must disagree with the parent poster.

Unfortunately, the VMWare propritary kernel modules don't come with binary version prebuilt for Debian kernel. Ok, fair enough, there are installation scripts that build them for you. But they don't work with the Debian kernel versions either.

The vmware-any-any patch [] helps a lot. This gets you working kernel modules. But I still have weird problems. If I shutdown my machine, vmware thinks that it is uninstalled when it comes back.

Once you get it going, it does work great. But getting and keeping it going isn't free, so I think this disqualifies it for "best", even if it is what I personally choose.

syntax highlighting yes, IDE no (-1, Offtopic)

nadaou (535365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374555)

It is cruel not to provide syntax highlighting before the eye can spot punctuation problems, but a full IDE will mask over areas you are trying to teach in the first place.

I highly recommend Nedit []
There are versions for Mac, *NIX, & Windows.

vi, emacs -- Too much for the lower half of the class. Mention them, offer links, maybe spend 1/2 a class demonstrating the basics and some power-examples of why these blasts from the past endure & remain so popular with professional programmers.

Re:syntax highlighting yes, IDE no (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374953)

FYI, your comment went up ending at the wrong article. Might want to post it again. :-)

Linux as guest (1)

David Muir Sharnoff (73602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15374665)

Regardless of what you use for the host, when you run Linux as a client there are a couple of things to be aware of. First, include AMD ethernet and Buslogic SCSI drivers in your kernel. Second, if you're running a 2.6 kernel, they'll eat a lot of extra CPU when idle unless you redefine HZ and recompile the kernel.

The VMWare web site has info on this and on fixing other clock problems: hp?p_faqid=1420 []

Re:Linux as guest (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376310)

Which HZ do you recommend, personally?
[ curious ]

Linux. I have no choice. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15374834)

Just to share some experience. I have just bought a new computer but with no floppy drive (to save money). Therefore, I could not load the SATA driver during windows install from floppy and could not install Windows XP.

After struggled for 1 week (trying to rebuild the windows install CD to include the driver, etc), I installed VMWare Server in linux, installed XP in a virtual machine directly accessing the harddisk, installed the SATA driver and eventually got a working windows which boot from BIOS. [] :P

vmware with Ubuntu as host (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15375021)

I'm running Vmware player which is free (thanks Vmware) under Ubuntu 64 bits. I'm using [] to built my VM configurations. Ubuntu is a very nice Linux distrib.

As guest I run Windows 2000 to test web based applications under IE. Windows 2000 is lighter than Windows Xp to run and fine for my needs. I have also run FreeBSD, WinXp, Minix and different Linux flavor VMs.

Vmware player installation is clean, easy but you need a compiler under Linux to link the network layer. Speed is good under my system AMD64 3200+ with 2GB RAM, 512 MB are dedicated for the guest.

Before I used Qemu with the Kqemu accelerator which was fast and open source. But when I upgraded my system to Ubuntu 64 bits I ran into compilation issues so Vmware player was the only good solution.

ObSlashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15375149)

CowboyNeal host my vmware!

Linux makes for a better host.... (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375289)

VMWare was originally designed to run under linux, and there are still some advantages to running it this way:

If a usb device has no driver under linux then it can be passed straight through and driven by an os running under vmware (you have to unload native linux drivers for any device you want passed to vmware), the windows version works differently in that you must have a native driver installed before you can pass a device to vmware. This issue has manifested itself many times when we've been at customer sites and presented with a random usb device (usb to serial adapters mainly) for which windows requires extra drivers (and linux includes drivers in the default kernel).

Performance - networking runs much faster when vmware is running atop linux, this is especially important for me as i`m often doing pentesting which involves lots of network scanning...

Security - you can nat your windows images behind your base linux install, your base linux can have everything turned off to minimise the chances of it being exploited (windows will often not let you turn some services off)

And finally, try vmware server as opposed to workstation, you can run it headless and only attach a gui when you want one..

the real trick to any virtualization (1)

m1ndrape (971736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375294)

The real trick to any virtualization is how you utilize
your processor, gobs and memory and fast storage.

In VMware
Under Linux you would go to Edit -> Preferences -> Memory (tab)
and choose Fit all virtual machine memory into reserved host ram.

this will greatly boost speeds as nothing is swapped to disk

to speed up your resuming of virtual machines you would go to
Edit -> preferences -> priority (tab) and uncheck Take
and restore snapshots in the background.

this one is significant for those vm images with more 512MB.

also a fast hard drive helps as well, if you got a laptop with
a 4800/5400rpm drive, it's going to be a lot slower than a 7200
rpm drive.

inside of your guest environments, trim it down
      * disable 3d screensavers
      * disable unneeded services
              e.g. do you really need apache or iis running
                        in the background

if you are not using your host environment for anything,
trim it down as much as you can.
If you want to be able to access external storage
inside your vmware guest, use usb, forget firewire,
vmware doesn't support those kinds of devices.
Laptops that support disabling HyperThreading is often
there for the reason it WILL overheat, disable it when
using VMware, cuz it WILL overheat.
if your clock is running slow in your linux guests, try the following link hp?p_faqid=1420 []

better yet, before you even try that, make sure you install vmware-tools

for window guest os, also install these tools, but you won't have the same
breakage problem.
Performance of NAT vs Bridging, NAT is slower and if you try to run security
audit tools such as nessus or nmap, you will start getting network time-outs
until a slot becomes available.
Another tip, once you build your guest environment, run all your apps at once
and check your memory. If you find that you aren't utilizing all that memory,
adjust it accordingly in the VMware guest settings.

some example VMs I run on a daily basis are 384MB ubuntu drapper drake OS for
personal work station (email, gaim, browsing, open office), security auditting
vm (384MB|bridged networking!) and Windows 2003 Enterprise + Visual Studio 2005
+ SQL Server 2005 + BizTalk 2006. I run all 3 simultaneously without any
real hiccups on a laptop whose host os is ubuntu.

Re:the real trick to any virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15376336)

Parent +4 Informative

VmWare (1)

d3matt (864260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375634)

I have one bone to pick with VmWare right now (I'm running Workstation 5.5 on top of Fedora Core 5). Whenever a virtual machine hangs (a la windows), it hangs the vmware process; thus you cannot totally kill the vmware process. Not sure if it is the same in windows, but I would be surprised if it was any better. So my beef is: why can a virtual environment kill the host environment?

My experience is either (1)

nmullerny (976243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15375986)

For work I had an IBM T41 laptop with 2GB ram. It ran XP.
    On it I ran 2 virtual machines, one with a full blown oracle installation on Linux running a 10GB database. The second VM was running W2K with apache/tomcat/jboss. I used this machine to teach loadtesting classes with this as the web/database server taking the load and it performed spectacularly.

    At home I moved off of XP because I got tired of having to call Microsoft for reactivation keys and started running Linux. When I NEED XP I use VMware and also use it to check out new distros.

    In both situations I felt as if VMWare were hardly running and also sheilded my main OS from dying when things like Oracle got really busy. I had the option of running Oracle on my main OS but just found it much more conveniant to run in the VM. The T41 was no dog when it came to performance but I was very surprised how well it handled 3 OSes.

    The most important thing with VMWare is RAM. 2GB was fine. At home I have 4 and that's nice. People ask "WHY do you need 4GB?!" and I try to explain VMWare and the many wonderous benefits of it but usually wind up with a response of "Why don't you just use Lilo or Grub?".

I concur, but favor the Linux host (1)

The Last Gunslinger (827632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376163)

I work for Big Blue and have a T41 Thinkpad as my primary workstation. It's loaded with 2GB RAM and runs the standard OpenClient build, based on RHEL 3 Workstation.

Because I use a couple of apps that only run on M$IE, I loaded VMWare WS 5.5 and setup an XP guest...never saw ANY discernible performance impact. Later on, we solved the app dependency using the native Linux Citrix ICA client, but I still use VM for demos and training modules. This past week, we held a 3-day product training session that used 3 images: a Win2k3 AD Domain Controller guest (512 MB), an XP guest (384 MB), and a Win2K Pro guest (256 MB), all running simultaneously.

My T41 never stuttered, not even when using my native apps in the host OS...including our Workplace Client built on Eclipse running the Notes7 plugin, which has a 600MB footprint.

Re:I concur, but favor the Linux host (2, Informative)

nmullerny (976243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376662)

Here are two examples with empirical data to support them. Either the T41 is an extremely exceptional machine (It is nice, but I wouldn't go that far) or VMWare runs on both operating systems with what could be called "acceptable" results.
    To get more accurate information you would have to look for (or perform) some well designed and run benchmarks. Determine which is your prefered Operating System. Also, find out if there are any functional limitations to VMWare on either of these platforms.
    I have read in these replies about a number of limitations with VMWare running on both Linux and windows. Some I can confirm like having to run services for network support on windows (Is this really that bad?) and others I cannot such as not being able to use the high definiton VMWare graphics driver on Linux.

    I have run VMWare on both operating systems for a while and although I consider it to be fully functional in both environments these are the things that I found to be worthy of mention:

VMWare on Linux Negatives :
1) To get the vmware-tools fully installed with the highres graphics and fast network support you must have the kernel source for your exact kernel. I know this will get me flamed but there are real people running distros that do not have the kernel source and do not know how to compile one.
2) There is no GUI tool to configure the virtual networks. This can be complicated, involving port forwarding for NAT networks, configuration of DHCP properties, assigning free IP addresses, etc. These are things that an experienced UNIX admin who is familiar with networking could do but many people will have trouble even with the provided documentation.
3) I experienced problems with the VMNET module on Slackware not being able to do anything but bridged networking. (I'm sure was a stupid thing but stumped me)

Negatives with Windows :
1) Umm. I'm sure there are some but I didn't notice anything worthy of mention. There is the fact that the network services have to run as services, but I don't consider this really a negative.

    I think the most important factor to your decision is this: Linux support of your laptop's hardware. This is going to sound like I'm trying to scare you out of Linux on a Laptop but this is a purchase that deserves the level of consideration I will describe.
    Find out as much information as you can about the available Linux support of the brand of laptop you are considering. Consider the brand of the laptop and the vendor and model of it's components. I know that there are several laptop oriented modules ("drivers") available to compile in the kernel. I remember power saving, CPU frequency management, battery management, and more. But laptops often have many vendor specific hardware devices and system management software and something may not be supported.
    You should research what hardware features are important to you and if they are supported in Linux. Also find out what system management sofware the vendor provides and see if there are equivalents in Linux. An example of management software would be a program that allows you to control energy consumption when plugged in vs when running on battery.
    Make sure the manufacturer of the various laptop devices have "drivers" for linux. Check things like the Ethernet card (even if it's builtin), modem, infrared (if you use), sound device, video device, USB device, 1394 device, and card readers. If you do find a problem remember that many of these devices can be replaced with a PCMCIA device that does the same job.
    You want to check things that you'd think should not be a problem like the CD/DVD reader/burner. If linux has a problem with making the CD hardware work the you are in trouble. It is probably unlikely that the vendor has an alternative brand of reader that can be used. And do you want to lug around an external USB drive?
    Don't get distracted by the unimportant things though. The Thinkpad has lots of little custom buttons at the top of the keyboard for support, backup/restore, volume control. I wonder if they work in Linux? If they don't are you likely to need them anyway?
    The previous writer mentioned that he ran linux on a T41 so I'm sure that the support for Thinkpads is at least good. But unfortunately hardware vendors typically give deference to Microsoft and some don't care about Linux at all. This could result in forcing you to use XP.

    Finally an important note about installing various Linux distributions under VMWare. I had trouble with SCSI virtual disks in my Linux virtual machines. I'd recommend to use IDE disk devices if possible. If you must use SCSI, then make sure when you create the virtual machine you choose BUSLogic as the SCSI adapter type. After creation the only way to change this is by editing the VMWare .vmx file. I found many distributions that do not easily install with the other (I forget, is it LSI?) SCSI driver.

A related question. (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376155)

I tried VMware on Windows and i wasn't impressed with the speed Ubuntu ran on it, as well as the lack of graphics acceleration.

I was wondering if there are any solutions that let you switch quickly between OSs without all the overhead, sort of like hibernating one OS and dehibernating another?

VMware is free now! (1)

ManyLostPackets (646646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15376835)

I don't know how this was missed, but VMware GSX has been free for a few months now, to compete with MS virtual server. Havn't tried qemu or xen yet, but VMware runs rings around MS virtual server disk I/O wise (that and it runs on Linux)

Just when I was running out of rackspace! (and electrical outlets) []
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