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All borders between operating systems are being erased!

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libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04

I am pretty amazed by how far has digital technology come, both due to hardware and software advancements. At this point a modern computer with GNU/Linux can run multiple operating systems at the same time without rebooting and with none of them running from within a single window (the way virtualization is usually done).

With VirtualBox, which has a Freedomware version (OSE edition), you can easily run a number of GNU/Linux, UNIX and Windows based operating systems on GNU/Linux, Windows and since the newest version Mac OS X as well. If your machine is strong enough (basically, a good processor with preferably virtualization support and at least a gigabyte of memory (I have 1.5 GB)) this pretty much erases all borders between operating systems, which is especially apparent once you enable the seamless mode.

The seamless mode is described here and it basically frees the guest operating system from the window container and sets its applications loose across the host OS making it appear as if your OS is running both OS's native applications.. natively. Essentially, this is truly like you merged the two OS's in one, except that it is just one running within another.

Pretty impressive I'd say. Smiling

Considering that performance is excellent (slow down of the guest OS is practically non-existent here) this immediately becomes a perhaps better option than WINE for those who must run some Windows programs on GNU/Linux (not that I recommend it, choose better Free alternatives instead Eye ).

It is also an excellent way to try new Freedomware OS's which are aplenty and if something runs on one and not another, now you can run it anyway!

Did you try this yet? Which guest OS did you use? How was your experience?

Joined: 2007-08-07
I firstly tried qemu, but I

I firstly tried qemu, but I couldn't configure it (I remember something like my processor isn't supported by the acceleration module or something) so it was painfully slow, I thought all virtualization solutions will be the same, then decided to try out VirtualBox.
It's amazing really, I use it without noticing any lack of speed.
I use it in my college on my laptop to run Windows XP inside Ubuntu, for Visual Studio.
Someone saw me booting Ubuntu and told me, this is linux, I said yes, I'm going to launch windows now, he said "aha, virtual, but it's slow" I said "just watch" Laughing out loud
When these courses are done , I can simply delete that Virtual Image with no worry Smiling
In a recent talk about VirtualBox after Sun's acquisition, It was mentioned the proprietary licenses for Modules outside OSE may be revisited.
I think I'm going to try OpenSolaris in VirtualBox soon.
Maybe Haiku too Eye

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Awesome. I forgot about

Awesome. Smiling I forgot about Haiku. I loved what that project is doing and am also curious to see where it is now. Thanks for a reminder. Smiling

I hope it works well in vbox.


Joined: 2006-03-28
When running in seamless

When running in seamless mode, does it support copy and paste from the host to the guest and vice versa? That, in my opinion, would be an interesting feature.

As mentioned in my blog I use virtualization quite a lot.
I use Xen and QEmu/KVM for that.
I currently run the following systems/distros in those:

  • FreeBSD (KVM)
  • OpenBSD (KVM)
  • DesktopBSD (KVM)
  • Debian (Xen)
  • Engarde Secure Linux (Xen)
  • Fedora (Xen)
  • Mandriva (Xen)
  • Windows 2000 (Xen)

(I may have forgotten one or two here. I'm in the office, so I can't check.)

I plan to install the following some time soon:

  • FreeDOS
  • ReactOS
  • Nexenta

Also I will use a virtual environment to test the upgrade when Fedora 9 is released.

I can live without seamless mode, but wouldn't mind if Xen and/or QEmu/KVM would add it to their feature-list.

So far I have no reason to switch to VirtualBox, especially as it does not seem to support 64-Bit guests, which I need for EasyLFS64-development.
And with Xen, with a paravirtualized guest, I also get performance which is near equal to native speed. With full virtualization it's a bit slower, but still enough good to work with.

Joined: 2007-08-07
When running in seamless

When running in seamless mode, does it support copy and paste from the host to the guest and vice versa? That, in my opinion, would be an interesting feature.
It supports copy/paste between guest and host with and without seamless mode. I only tried plain text though Smiling

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Yep, a feature called

Yep, a feature called "shared clipboard", which is set to "bidirectional" by default, can be set in machine settings, general section, advanced tab.

Joined: 2006-03-28
Okay, I just checked again

Okay, I just checked again and VirtualBox is really not suitable for me.
I have it installed on Windows, along with VirtualPC and both don't support 64-Bit guests, which also is stated on Wikipedia.

When I try to start the Fedora 64-Bit CD in either of those it complains that I have no 64-Bit CPU, but a 1586...

As said, I need the 64-Bit support for guests for the development of EasyLFS, and I want it as my CPU has it; although it's not that important for virtual environments, except for my development.

So, in conclusion this means that VirtualBox is not suitable to my needs and that currently I have no virtualization according to what I want on Windows (although this doesn't really matter, as I hardly ever see Windows).