>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.