>Linux / VMWare / Vista / Useful ?

>OK, I’ve got two laptops. The one I’m typing on which has no hard disk and is currently just booted from an Ubuntu Hardy Heron CD Rom and a Vaio VGN-FE41Z. Now I tried sticking Hardy onto it the other day using wabi and it works. But it ain’t slick. And there’s a list of things as long as your arm which don’t work properly. And even if I do get it booted into Linux I’m going to lose iTunes (which I’m trying to DRM myself out of but is a slow process). And don’t even talk to me about trying to make multiple monitors a painless process.

In short – it’s a Vista laptop. Not even a bad Vista laptop since I took the abomination which is the Sony default install and gave it a clean OEM Vista install.

So I’ve been trying to use Hardy in VMWare as a desktop client and it sucks. Sorry, sucks is too strong a word. It’s not seamless though – even with the VMWare client. I only want one desktop and having a desktop within a desktop is not good for asthetic, productivity and performance reasons.

So then I went off on a Cygwin trail. I’ve used Cygwin before but it doesn’t take long for the wonder of what it gives you to be offset by the pain of what it doesn’t give you. Example – you want pysycopg installed – you have to compile it. That’s not trivial. You want terminal windows that are not the brute ugliness of DOS circa 1990? Not trivial. you just want to “apt-get install foo” ? Not possible.

So I want VMWare at the backend, but for the windows to appear in Vista as normal windows. The answer is simple and you already know what I’m going to say. You want Xming running under Vista and talking to your X apps which are launched from a server only install of Ubuntu. That makes Ubuntu reasonably lightweight and gives you the X apps fully integrated into your desktop environment.

That’s what I’m trying now and will be trialling over the next couple of days. If it works and works well I’ll document a little more about what I’ve done and how it fits together.

In the meantime, I might just cave in for the sake of getting some done and go and get a MacBook as well.

2 Comments

  • 1
    Roger Lancefield
    May 14, 2008 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    >Ha, ha! Why not? Shuttleworth Sensei has ‘fessed up to being a Mac owner, if only for video editing 🙂

    http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/142
    (See the note he added to one of the visitor comments)

    It sounds like you need Vista badly to have to go through such a palava. Ahhh, the joy of not having to connect to Microsoft systems or deal with clients who assume you’ve got Windows on the screen in front of you 🙂 I have the luxury of being able to get by with XP in VMWare for occasional, reference use, and a dedicated partition on my second desktop for those increasingly rare occasions when I actually need it for something substantive, mainly Photoshop, Fireworks and the occasional game (although these days I generally just GIMP/Inkscape and whose got time for games?).

    The Xming solution sounds very interesting. I’ll certainly be checking back to see how you
    got on with that.

  • 2
    Ian J Cottee
    May 14, 2008 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

    >I honestly have no need to run Vista apart from the fact this laptop works with Vista and not with Linux (at least, not without an investment of time I can’t give at the moment). The other issue is (whisper) I really don’t mind Vista. It’s not set my world on fire – neither did XP etc. But it does the job for me. My main issue is trying to make it useful for development. Xming working well so far, but … well … Apple here we come

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