From: kevin lyda (kevin at domain suberic.net)
Date: Fri 21 May 1999 - 11:27:15 IST
note: dunno if this could be an article for the web page, but
if so, feel free to post it up.
First Impressions of VMWare 1.0
Wow. Just downloaded and installed the new version of VMWare. Not simple
to install, but that's the only weak point I see. Before I go into how
the install went, let me first say why I'm using it.
I'm mainly a unix developer. I find it much easier to develop on unix
systems, and most of my career has been spend developing unix apps.
My last few companies however seem to think providing NT workstations
is an improvement. Worse still the corporate applications run under NT.
So NT must be dealt with.
Enter VMWare. It allows me to run NT applications, test the portability
of my unix related code, and still run unix (linux) under it all. Ah,
back in the comfy open pastures of the command line.
So I now have a nice NT install squeezed onto a 400m file on a linux
filesystem with full access to the network. How hard was it to set
First you need a license. You can get an evaluation license or buy
one. It's just $75 (about £55) for a personal use license, or $199
for a full license. The evaluation license is free, and as far as
I know it's full featured (but expires).
The next step depends on what you'll use it for, but in my case I
downloaded the vmware application, the X server they've tweaked
(and passed the changes back to the XFree86 team) and the VMWare
Untar the application and install it (there's an INSTALL file that
explains how - it's rather easy but an rpm option would have been better).
Install the Xserver for your system (again, a README in the Xserver tar
file explains how). Then install Windows NT. Even this is relatively
painless. The VMWare web pages provide excellent support here, but
the quick version is to slap in a bootable NT install CD, run VMWare,
answer the VMWare configuration wizard's questions, and then "boot"
the virtual machine into an NT install. I used bridged networking by
the way, and NT acquires it's IP address via DHCP.
After NT is installed a final performance booster is to install the
VMWare tools on the NT install. I mounted my home directory on my linux
box via samba from the NT machine and ran the install process that way,
but you could just as easily download the VMWare tools from NT directly.
Either way the install is pretty straight forward though a bit manual
at the end when you have to get the Display Control Panel to load the
VMWare video driver. A clearly written Notepad file (the setup program
quits leaving that open) holds your hand though.
The result is a rather peppy NT box running on your Linux box. I use a
Pentium II here, so I'm not sure of it's performance elsewhere. Those of
you who do s/w testing on NT might want to look into the non-persistant
disk options (install a virgin NT system once and then never have to
do it again). If you like to do kernel development or try out linux
distributions, VMWare seems quite capable (though it does have problems
with weird floppy geometries ala Toms rtbt disk).
One of the things that impressed me the most was the hint screen I got
on startup. VMWare detected that I was running Enlightenment and a
3.3.1 Xserver. It then let me know that the combination of those with
VMWare would exercise a bug in the Xserver and that it would implement a
workaround and suggested I download their version of the Xserver (with
the bug fixed).
Also their hint system itself is impressive. You can turn them all off,
or just turn them off as they appear. Simple to configure but allows
for very personalized systems.
So if you need access to NT apps from your linux box, or if you have
any other intel based OS's you'd like to run on your linux box, this
is most definitely the way to go. Oh, check the web pages at
www.vmware.com because it does have a few OS's it doesn't support
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