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“Virtually” Windows

For many of us avid Windows users, a change from Windows to Linux is no easy task. As if we are junkies seeking our next fix, we have feelings that we “need” to return to Windows for some particular program. Linux offers WINE to run many Windows programs, but to me that is just another short term fix that will not help us slowly move away. That’s where virtualization comes into play. Virtualization allows you to create virtual machines running any OS.

There are many different virtualization programs available (VMware, Parallels, Qemu) for free or purchase, but I settled on an open source application called Virtualbox. VirtualBox is easy to install and even easier to use. Since running VirtualBox for a few months now, I’ve only run into two problems.

The first problem was the way it would read my CD burner, which means it actually would not read the burner. VirtualBox understands that I have a CD drive, but the burner capabilities do not exist. According to the documentation, this is the way VirtualBox currently runs. For a work around here, I found a program that would allow me to create virtual CDs that I could burn and rip. I needed this functionality because I run Napster in my Windows box.

The second problem was an error I received asking me to recompile a certain driver. After a few google searches, I discovered this happens when there is a kernel update and VirtualBox is still set to run off the old kernel. I did a simple uninstall of the kernel and VirtualBox returned to working normally. A configuration file in VirtualBox could probably be changed and download the latest driver for VirtualBox, but I have not had the time yet to track this problem down further. I’m happy not running the latest kernel at the moment. I’ll need to fix this problem later, but that’s later and this is now.

For more information concerning VirtualBox and a few more vm applications, Techthrob.com has a good article comparing four different virtualization applications.

Posted under Linux

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