VirtualBox - A Recommendation

Tomorrow's World was a show on BBC TV about innovations and tech stuff and I thought a good name for our computing and tech section.
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Muddypause
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VirtualBox - A Recommendation

Post: #76230 Muddypause
Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:56 pm

From time to time the subject of Linux crops up in this section. For those of you in two minds about it, or don't want to give up on Windows completely, I thought I'd give a mention to VirtualBox, which I've been experimenting with for a few weeks.

This is a very clever program which can be run in either Windows, Linux or Macintosh and enables you to create a 'virtual' computer within your existing operating system. You can then install a different operating system on that virtual computer. Put simply, this means that you can

Run Linux from within Windows

OR

Run Windows from within Linux

You can even run either of them from within a Mac.

So, without having to reconfigure your Windows or Mac computer, without risking any data, or having to fiddle around setting up partitions, you can try out Linux. In fact you could try several different versions of Linux side by side to compare.

It also means that if you are like me, and have a couple of applications which you can't do without, but which only run on Windows, you can install Linux as your operating system, and yet still access those applications.

It's quite a strange experience - I have trouble getting my head around the idea that I have Linux as my operating system, but at the click of the mouse I am in Windows without actually being in Windows. It looks like Windows, it behaves like Windows (oh dear), and it runs programs that only run on Windows. You can even run it 'seamlessly', which means that the Windows programs appear to be sitting on your Linux desktop, and you can share files and peripherals between the real 'host' system and the virtual 'guest' system.

This is definitely a recommendation - once a few set-up wrinkles were ironed out, it does work extraordinarily well.
Stew

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Re: VirtualBox - A Recommendation

Post: #76288 Stonehead
Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:06 pm

Muddypause wrote:You can even run either of them from within a Mac.


Only if it's an Intel Mac.
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Post: #76294 wulf
Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:35 pm

I haven't used that software but regularly make use of similar products. It perhaps doesn't have a huge self-sufficientish angle but it does make it easier to test things out without completely breaking your system (freeing up some time get on with other things) and does avoid having to have so many machines cluttering up the place.

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Post: #76306 Muddypause
Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:54 pm

wulf wrote:It perhaps doesn't have a huge self-sufficientish angle


Well, actually...

To someone who deals in computers at a higher level than me, that's probably true, but I'm definitely a low-end computer user.

The whole point of me running on Linux is so that I can step off the consumerist treadmill that Microsoft obliges us with. My computer is really old - I mean at 8 years it is absolutely archaic isn't it? Works perfectly, has all the computing power I need, but as far as Windows is concerned is now obsolete. Win98/2000/ME is no longer supported - security upgrades stopped a long time ago, most virus scanners, firewalls, etc, are no longer supported, various hardware drivers are no longer available... This is inevitably going to get worse as time goes by. Even if I wanted to upgrade to Vista, it wouldn't run on my machine - the Windows route turns a perfectly good machine into scrap and obliges me to buy a whole new computer.

Linux isn't like that, and so I think it absolutely fits in with self sufficientish aspirations. The major flaw in the plan which had me flummoxed was that I have some important spreadsheet files which run on Lotus 1-2-3 (a deeply lovely spreadsheet program). I went to considerable trouble converting them to run on OpenOffice so that I could have equivalent spreadsheets in Linux, only to find that OO is not (yet) a patch on 1-2-3, and really couldn't handle my larger spreadsheets. VBox means I can run Win2000 as a virtual machine, and hence still use 1-2-3, but within an up-to-date Linux environment. Perfect, I say.
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Post: #76307 Martin
Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:14 pm

excellent tip! - thanks Stew! :cheers:
Coming at you (wirelessly for £5.49), thanks to virtualbox, "Puppy" and Seamonkey..........tried Ark, and Ubuntu, but both just bogged this tired old laptop to a crawl, and then I found Puppy in my downloads, and fired it up - running like a dream! :cheers:
Like you Vista is a step too far for me too - if I can get my head round it, and get it to do what I need, I think I'll be happy! :dave:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

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Post: #76418 Martin
Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:25 am

having set off down the Linux path with the above, I found there was no way that I could use Virtualbox with anything more complex than "Puppy" - thanks to the heavy load of Windows it was horribly slow, so I rootled about and found "Wubi"-
http://wubi-installer.org/ - the total eejits way of installing linux! :cheers:
Be forewarned, the first download is minimal, but once you fire it up, it downloads some 690mb of your chosen flavour of Linux -(which even on a fast connection took 3 hours), then it installs it (another good half an hour of "installation") - then with very little input, you have a full linux system up and running, co-existing side-by-side on the hard disk with windows - you have a choice on boot up
of either......... :dave:
Works an absolute treat - I chose "Xubuntu" which is better for older machines, as it runs "leaner" programmes than some of the others, and initial trials show it's fast, stable, and incredibly easy and intuitive to set up (I tried Firefox, no connection - clicked on "networks", ticked the wireless link box, and it connected - first time!)
Very highly recommended! :wink:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.

Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!


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