OS question

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OS question

Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 1:42 am UTC

I have Windows (go ahead, flaunt superiority of whatever OS you prefer, I don't care) and I have a dual screen setup, so I was wondering if maybe I could get some kind of Linux (emulator or Linux itself if possible (not quite sure how it works (I have no experience with anything but Windows))) that I could run in my left screen so I could familiarize myself with it and experiment and stuff, or at least some way to use it without completely compromising windows.

If someone could at least explain to me the basics of Linux or at least point me to a good source of info for it, that would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby EvanED » Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:00 am UTC

You could run VMWare, and maximize it on one of the screens. This site describes how it interacts with multiple monitors, though I don't know what versions they apply to. You can download VMWare Server (misleading name -- it's not really for servers) for free.
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Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:27 am UTC

That sounds cool (like something I could use with games and stuff too (I hated running them maximized in windowed mode just to be able to switch between screens to my music/internet)) but I guess my question is more along the lines of "I want to run Linux on my Windows, so how the F do I do it?" ^_^ but thanks for the VMWare thing, I will definitely check that out
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Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:38 am UTC

hmm...can't get edit to work...oh well...

On second thought I looked at the Wikipedia page for VMWare, and just got confused...uhhh so yeah...
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Postby EvanED » Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:39 am UTC

Minirogue wrote:That sounds cool (like something I could use with games and stuff too (I hated running them maximized in windowed mode just to be able to switch between screens to my music/internet)) but I guess my question is more along the lines of "I want to run Linux on my Windows, so how the F do I do it?" ^_^ but thanks for the VMWare thing, I will definitely check that out


You don't. With one computer, you need some sort of virtualization, either VMWare, VirtualPC, or, if you have hardware support for virtualization (only been available for a couple years, and not even all current chips have them, though most Core 2s do), Xen would probably work.

You could even download a live CD and load that into the VM, and that way you wouldn't even have to set up a virtual hard drive. Or for that matter you could just burn it to CD and boot off of that, though that doesn't satisfy your running in multiple screens requirement.

Depending on what you mean by trying Linux, if you mean playing around the with command line, you could try Cygwin and/or MS's Services for Unix. You'll get basic programs like Bash and GCC and whatnot, and you'll have some X programs, but you're not going to have Gnome or KDE, you're not going to have any of the system administration experience, and not everything will work.

EDIT: testing edit button
Last edited by EvanED on Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:26 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:58 am UTC

EvanED wrote:
Minirogue wrote:That sounds cool (like something I could use with games and stuff too (I hated running them maximized in windowed mode just to be able to switch between screens to my music/internet)) but I guess my question is more along the lines of "I want to run Linux on my Windows, so how the F do I do it?" ^_^ but thanks for the VMWare thing, I will definitely check that out


You don't. With one computer, you need some sort of virtualization, either VMWare, VirtualPC, or, if you have hardware support for virtualization (only been available for a couple years, and not even all current chips have them, though most Core 2s do), Xen would probably work.

Ok, I think I'm starting to understand, my computer is new within the last few years, so it might have virtualization support, but I'm not sure (AMD athlon 64, I'll check it out)

so...this raises an interesting question/realization for me: I have heard the words "virtual machine" before in Java. Would this be why java is a multi-platform language? because it creates a virtual machine that runs beneath the OS? or am I just completely wrong.
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Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:02 am UTC

wtf is wrong with the edit function? I hate double posting...i guess I will just have to do my research before I hit submit (soooo not my style, but oh well)

Ok, my chip can run Xen. Is there any one that you would recommend in particular? I really don't know what I want to do with Linux because I have 0 experience with it, and I won't know until I start messing around with it. Mostly I want to see why so many hardcore nerds and geeks seem to consider it to be so good.
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Postby EvanED » Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:26 am UTC

Minirogue wrote:so...this raises an interesting question/realization for me: I have heard the words "virtual machine" before in Java. Would this be why java is a multi-platform language? because it creates a virtual machine that runs beneath the OS?


Well, sort of. The JVM is (in terms of effect and means) a qualitatively different animal from the sort of virtualization that VMWare does. (For the most part, whatever I say about VMWare is equally applicable to VirtualPC on Windows, and to a lesser extent Xen, and probably Parallels on OS X.)

The JVM is essentially emulating a fictitious set of hardware that runs Java bytecode; during execution, there's a JIT compiler and bytecode interpreter that translate the Java bytecode into native x86 (or whatever) instructions. I think this is all done as a user process.

Something like VMWare is trying to present an interface that is indistinguishable from the underlying hardware, which lets you run unmodified OSes and such. Because full software emulation is way too slow to make this practical (as opposed to Java bytecode, which was designed to make it easy), VMWare installs kernel device drivers that implement a lot of the functionality. In fact, while the guest OS (the one running in the virtual machine; in your case, Linux) is running, the host OS is for all intents and purposes entirely stopped. In addition, emulating x86 on x86 can be made about as fast as it sounds. When the virtual machine is executing in user mode, VMWare doesn't do anything at all; the processor is executing along the same as it would if the guest OS were running native. VMWare only comes into play when the virtual machine switches to supervisor mode and executes kernel instructions.

(The picture gets more complicated because when I say VMWare I'm talking about something like Workstation or Server. They also have ESX Server, which works differently still, because there is no host OS.)

So while the JVM is the reason that Java is a multi-platform language, the second part of your comment about it putting a VM below the OS isn't right. It sits entirely on top of the OS, and both the JVM and VMWare need to be ported to work on each system they want to use as host.

Minirogue wrote:Ok, my chip can run Xen. Is there any one that you would recommend in particular?


One = Linux distro or VM?

If VM, then I whole-heartedly recommend VMWare.

VirtualPC (I think) doesn't run Linux very well because of differences in how they handle kernel operations. (VirtualPC interprets instructions run while in supervisor mode; VMWare does something much more along the lines of the JVM's JIT compiler.) I'm also not sure if it's free... I think it is... I think that's what spurred the release of VMWare Server.

I haven't used Xen, but from what I understand, it's hard to set up and manage and such. Also, it's one of those systems that works a lot differently in that it doesn't sit on top of an OS; it in some sense IS the bottom-most layer. So I'm not sure how easy it would be to get it set up to work with your existing Windows installation; I would guess you would need a spare partition/hard drive, which might be difficult. Neither VirtualPC nor VMWare has that problem, because they can just a normal file as a virtual disk.

VMWare is easy to use, it's free, it works pretty darn well, and it will do what you want.

(P.S. Editing works fine for me. What happens when you try it?)
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Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:06 am UTC

I suppose I didn't really think JVM was actually below the OS, but I can dream right? but thanks for the explanation.

I guess I will download VMWare and see how it goes, thanks.

And I guess my editing is fixxed now, but it was just giving me a blank white page when I tried to edit, it was wierd (and yes it had finished "loading" because it said "Done" in the status thing in the lower corner)
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Postby zenten » Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:08 am UTC

I've used VMware in Linux to run Windows, and it was super easy to set up and run. I can't see it being much harder in Windows to do the opposite.
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Postby Minirogue » Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:19 am UTC

OK, nevermind about the editing thing being fixed. It seems to go out after I post...oh well
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Postby djn » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:47 am UTC

VmWare in windows is quite easy. Start it, create a new "virtual machine" (basically just a setup file), give it a decent chunk of HD space (it uses a file to simulate a hard drive), tell it what to boot from (an ISO image of a linux install CD works fine), and press play. You now have a window showing the activities of your virtual computer.

Installing the appropriate graphics drivers in linux makes things faster (since it will just pass the work on to the windows graphics system, instead of having to emulate a graphics card), but isn't necessary.
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Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:13 am UTC

http://www.cygwin.com/

might be another option
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Postby torne » Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:58 am UTC

coLinux is yet another choice; it is far, far faster than VMWare. It doesn't support running as a seperate 'screen' - you just run a Windows X server and have your Linux apps connect to that (so they just appear running side by side with your Windows apps). It's pretty easy to get going.

For the techies, coLinux is not virtualisation, it just runs the Linux kernel in the real ring 0. It's effectively context switching for supervisor mode :)[/url]
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Postby evilbeanfiend » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:25 pm UTC

o and there is mingw as well
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Postby davean » Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:25 am UTC

There is no theory here.
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