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Lower cost alternates to VMWare?

I need work in a Linux environment occasionally for school projects, so I'm looking for a low cost alternate to VMWare.  I've got a dual boot setup now, but it's a real pain in the @ss to reboot every time that I want to switch over. Also, I recently tried installing cygwin, but for some reason it brought my system (running Win XP Pro) to a crawl.

Any suggestions?

yet another anon
Thursday, May 13, 2004

2OS2. Its free for evaluation, I think.

KayJay
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Microsoft recently bought Connectix's Virtual PC. If you have MSDN access, it's included there. If not, it's $129.

(Though Linux is not officially supported by Microsoft, it was when Connectix owned Virtual PC, and I can attest that the MSDN version runs Linux great).

Ziktar
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Win4Lin may be a good alternative for you:

http://www.netraverse.com/

Here's an article comparing Win4Lin to VMWare Express:

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=4707

I believe Microsoft's next release of Virtual PC, coming later this year, will remove official support for any Linux or BSD distributions.  Not that they won't work, just that they're not officially supported.

Herbert Sitz
Thursday, May 13, 2004

I'm a big fan of the CoLinux Open Source project  http://www.colinux.org

It's still very much a work in progress but it does everything that I need and it works in an extremely efficient way that requires practically no virtualisation.

r1ch
Thursday, May 13, 2004

"I believe Microsoft's next release of Virtual PC, coming later this year, will remove official support for any Linux or BSD distributions."

That would be odd, wouldn't it?

After all Microsoft promote Virtual PC for Windows as a tool to run "legacy" platforms inside Windows.

So presumably they have an interest to support GNU/Linux and BSD on Virtual PC (for Windows) if only to make it possible for the product to do what it is meant to do and to point out that the platforms in question are legacy platforms and will naturally be replaced by more modern Windows versions.

Leauki (Andrew J. Brehm)
Thursday, May 13, 2004

If you're looking for a *nix environment on Windows XP (you say you tried Cygwin), then Microsoft's Services for Unix is definitely worth a try. I have it on my laptop which runs XP and have found it pretty good. It's a free download from msft, and then you can go to www.interopsystems.com and download many of the open source products which have been ported to SFU.

hello world
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Don't want to turn this into a VMWare versus Virtual PC debate but I find that VMWare runs Linux much better than Virtual PC because of the optional drivers (VMWare Tools) that you can install to accelerate graphics in the Linux guest O/S.

VMWare has halved in price in recent weeks to make it competitive with Virtual PC.

What sort of things are you needing to do in Linux?

_
Thursday, May 13, 2004

"Legacy platform" to microsoft means NT 3.51 and NT 4, not Linux and *BSD.

Besides, it's not like they're explicitly making Linux not work, it's just that you can't call them for help if it doesn't.

Chris Tavares
Thursday, May 13, 2004

"Besides, it's not like they're explicitly making Linux not work, it's just that you can't call them for help if it doesn't. "

Well, it seems to me like it's hard to teel what the drop of support for Linux means.  I don't think they will purposely change it so that Linux won't work (but who knows?). 

But even if MS doesn't purposely create incompatibilities with Linux, dou you think they'll be doing rigorous testing of new Virtual PC versions on the now unsupported platforms?  Seems like you've got to wonder about that, at least.

Herbert Sitz
Thursday, May 13, 2004

>>What sort of things are you needing to do in Linux?

Right now, run SimpleScalar ( http://www.simplescalar.com ).  Other than that, it's just typical school-type stuff, so I could do most of it in Cygwin if it weren't giving my system fits.  But, I know that in my OS class we'll be hacking the Linux kernel, so I might as well run full-on Linux anyway.

yet another anon
Thursday, May 13, 2004

If you can afford it, bite the bullet and get VMWare or Virtual PC. Try to get an academic license or pick up an old version on ebay.

_
Thursday, May 13, 2004

On Ms's site it explicitly says that other x86 OS's will work, but that they only support getting Windows to work as that's their OS. They discuss it in an FAQ and it seems perfectly reasonable to me.

I have VMWare on my PC and VPC6.1 on my Mac. I like both, and they both work great. If I were to buy one now, I'd probably by VPC for the PC.

  --Josh

JWA
Thursday, May 13, 2004

You might want to take a look again at your Cygwin setup.  I use it on a regular basis with no issues on several machines.

Some other possibilities if you do not run Linux often would to be a bootable Linux CD or something like that.  Not sure if it works with XP but Slackware used to have utility where you could luanch Linux from the DOS prompt and run from a fat directory.

Bill Rushmore
Thursday, May 13, 2004

No one giving a link to, bochs ( http://bochs.sourceforge.net/ )
?

MyNameIsSecret();
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Be sure to check out Knoppix:

http://www.knoppix.org

It is a 780MB ISO image that runs a full fledged Linux distro with KDE (maybe KDE and Gnome) and most everything you would want to use. You can boot it from CD, and it will run, but you can also install it.

Another cheaper option is to just buy a second HD (maybe 15 or 20 GB), install Linux on that, and just modify your bootup to allow you to choose.

Finally, you could modify your partitions to allow you to install Linux on your existing machine. Not always the best option, but most people have good luck as long as you remember to *BACKUP* and defrag your hard drive first. See this URL for more instructions:

http://blug.brown.edu/pipermail/discuss/2003-September/001151.html

CF
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Have a look at QEMU, from http://bellard.org - It's getting ready for prime time, and offers relatively decent performance for running anything on anything (e.g., SPARC on x86 or x86 on x86 or x86 on PPC, etc). It's quite amazing, technically (read the source luke!) - a JIT recompiler for machine code that builds on the platform's native compiler for translation, and thus can be ported to new architectures _very_ quickly.

Recently, a faster x86-on-x86 mode was added, that gives -- in some cases -- speed comparable to VMWare.

Ori Berger
Friday, May 14, 2004

Since you are a student chances are very high you or your institution qualify for one of the special MS programs that will get you MS sofware for peanuts. E.g. if you aree in higher education check out wether your school is enrolled in http://www.msdnacademicalliance.net/ . Virtual PC is part of the package and in that case you can probably get it for free (or for a small administrative charge) form your institution.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, May 14, 2004

I've weighted the options of cost (e.g. VMWare) vs. time consumption for setup (open source) and have opted to just stick it out with the dual boot setup.  Thanks for all the responses, though.

yet another anon
Friday, May 14, 2004

Why not get another PC? You don't need a particularly fast one, you can skimp on the RAM and graphics card (because you'll be running the X server on Windows), and you won't need a monitor or keyboard. I'm sure you could get a second hand one pretty cheaply, or blag on old one from somewhere.

Tom
Friday, May 14, 2004

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