OK, Here’s a weird thought…

Well, it’s a little bit weird and a little bit cool. Just another lil (seriously meaningless) VM game to take my mind off current events. You can move along now. Nothing going on here today but a lil bit of play time.

So, I have WinXPPro-64 running inside Ubuntu 8.04 using VMWare Server set up to use a bridged network connection so my network (as well as comps on the interweb) “sees” the VM as an entirely separate machine with its own IP address.

Well, that’s fun. I also have Win2K, Win98 and PCBSD virtual machines configured similarly inside the same host machine.

Soooo, how about accessing one of the VM clients from the host machine using VNC or Logmein or whatever? *lol* Kinda around the barn, eh? No real sense to it (and the lil Logmein utility doesn’t seem to like WINE all that much–maybe I ought to tweak my WINE config in the PCBSD machine), but it’s interesting. *heh*


OK, so Logmein is slow, what with all the refreshes and whatnot, but it does give me a little practice using it for folks who have trouble installing VNC for remote sessions. (Logmein doesn’t seem to think anyone but Windoze users would find their service useful…. and that’s probably pretty close to TRW) VNC’s a lil lot faster over the local network, of course (though remote computers don’t see any real speed/responsiveness benefit over Logmein), and for those times when I want to really access things here at twc central, that’s the key (really: using a keyfob USB drive with Portable VNC. Only ).

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VMs Under Ubuntu 8.04

After several weeks of trying out different distros of Linux (heck, different “flavored” distros of Ubuntu 8.04, for that matter) and four different OSes under two three different virtual machine schemas, here’s a waypoint.

Settled on plain vanilla Ubuntu 8.04 as my OS on this machine.*

Under all of the Linux distros, Virtualbox provided the slickest, easiest install and the best implementation of some things (sound) and spotty implementation of others (USB). Does NOT allow 64-bit client machines on a 64-bit host. That killed it for me.

VMWare Player? So-so ease of installation (some command line stuff but notaproblem). Extremely kludgy getting network functionality on clients. Way too many hoops to jump through and flaky networking when it did work. DOA.

VMWare Server. Ahhh. Screwed up, overly-complex installation procedure, but aside from some peripherals and such, almost all essentials work in client machines, certainly enough for almost all my needs in the various Windows client machines (for some of the remote computing tools suitable for some clients, for example, a Windows XP/2000/98 VM session works “good enough”). “Good enough” is good enough for now. Works fine testing new-to-me or upgraded Windows programs, Windows updates sees no difference to ordinary Windows machines, etc. It just (mostly–still would like sound) works. Do note that each of the VMs is allocated no more than 256MiB memory and all seem to run a lot snappier than any similarly-configured Windows system. Nice. Heck, I wouldn’t even attempt to install a typical WinXP (32) on a real machine with only 256MiB of RAM.

[Update–for whoever cares. *heh* I had a Q via email. No, I haven’t yet tried out Xen. Gimme some time, ‘K? And next time, feel free to use the comments section here to ask. πŸ™‚ ]

Note: “[T]esting new-to-me or upgraded Windows programs… ” Tried out the updated a-squared anti-malware in a fully-licensed, full-featured installation in a WinXPP 64-bit VM and… if you’re one of the folks I sent a “here’s a freebie” email to, you might want to toss that freebie in the Recycle Bin. Crashes the VM every time it scans. Methinks it needs a bit of work before being ready for prime time. (Of course, it may also have something to do with the fact that the a-squared product is a 32-bit app, and M$’s WoW implementation of 32-bit apps in XP64 isn’t absolutely perfect, so it may still be fine for 32-bit Windows. I guess I’ll try it one another installation as well, then.)

Other freebies like this one (a nice standalone defragger) and this one (for CD Burning) have seemed to be fine, causing no problems and working well.

N.B. The CD-burning program, CDBurnerXP, requires the .NET framework be installed. No biggie. If you don’t already have it installed, the program will lead you through getting it when you invoke its installation routine.

For those of y’all running 64-bit OSes, I continue to like Opera browser. The 64-bit Internet Expploder 7 is really no improvement over IE7 32-bit; Forefox has too many extensions and plugins that aren’t 64-bit compatible to be competitive with Opera, either, IMO.

Of course, any more, since the primary face of any OS for me is the Web Browser (with email client a close second), having a stable, secure, capable browser that looks and acts the same (and has the same plugin/extension/widget behavior) in all OSes is a big plus for me. Hmmm… wonder what it’d take to install Mac OSX in a virtual machine? Never really thought about it since I don’t have an installation DVD for it sitting around and the thought of shelling out some $$ just to buy a copy and try to find out doesn’t appeal to me much. *heh*

Next? Need to see about installing a BSD in a VM. Just some more fun, cos I know NO ONE who’d need any help with something like PCBSD, the thing is so easy to install/use.

Time to stop rambling on? Mayb…

*“this machine”=AMD 2X64 5200+, 4GiB RAM, 400GiB primary hard drive, etc.

Linux Fun (Cont)

Well, I’m back at re-configuring midi, again. Just need to find my notes-around here somewhere… πŸ˜‰ [Done. Was as easy as I thought, just a fuzzball, latenight brain. Once again, starting an upgrade or an OS install or a troubleshooting session right before bedtime: dumb. *heh*]

Oh, and how in the heck did I get the flash plugin installed before? Notsomuch a problem with 32-bit OS/browser, but Adobe’s twiddling its collective thumbs on releasing a 64-bit version that works–or even a 32-bit version that works with a 64-bit OS and browser (Yes, Opera 9.5X comes in 64-bit flavors, and I’m using 9.52, and yeh, I know the latest release ver is 9.51. So sue me, willya? :-)) Heck, Opera comes with its own 32-bit wrapper for plugins, and the darned thing is in the usr/lib/opera/plugins folder where it belongs AND Opera knows it, so what’s the deal? Oh. wow… not. Sound works in flash files on the web, but not video. I’m sure it’s something simple I did that my brain’s just too fuzzed to recall right now. [Haven’t even given this a thought today, really. Lovely Daughter did send me a link to something requiring either flash animation or iTunes installation, but I just don’t feel like messing with either, right now… ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… ]

The above (except for those parts in “[ ]”)was written about 2:00 this a.m., when I really, really ought to have been asleep. Figures. Spent the day answering other folks’ tech questions (one doozie was someone wanting to bypass product activation in Vista, cos their UNLICENSED copy wouldn’t activate and would no longer fully boot. My answer: “Buy a legal copy. *Duh*”). Now, maybe I’m rested up enough to tackle re-enabling midi on this box.

Nah. Taking a break, instead. I think it’s time for a nap.

That’s the ticket!


Post nap UPDATE: I decided to visit http://grc.com and check the built-in Hardy firewall (iptables) with Shields Up! Here’s the score from Steve Gibson’s Shields Up! for Hardy w/no configuration of the invisible-to-the-user firewall:

As good as any other hardware/software firewall combo I’ve had/used for the past 10 years or so.

Once More Unto the (Ubuntu) Breach…

Well, I decided that before my Evolution inbox became too full to fit on one DVD, I’d like to try another Linux (Ubuntu based, still) distro: OZOS. So, saved my inbox mail and most of the rest of my Home folder (all the documents, music, etc. that I’d generated and downloaded, etc.) to a DVD, downloaded and burned the OZOS iso and formatted/partitioned my hard drive on this computer for the third time in three weeks.

Pretty soon it’ll take more than one DVD to do that and I’ll have to think a little longer/harder before soing such a thing. (Or maybe not. I have scads of terabytes of storage available with my hosting service, after all… *heh*)

So far, a few observations about the OZOS distro.

All the standard Ubuntu stuff one might expect is there, except for OpenOffice, which was strangely AWOL.

No messing with arcane procedures for getting my nVidia chipset working properly! YIPEE!!

OTOH, the default colors/desktop background, etc., were all so dark, and the screen resolution set so high that I could scarcely see a thing. 1024 X 768 is about max for this 19″ CRT–at least for the font size to be large enough to read from further away than 10″-12″… And with the wallpaper and system colors so very dark, it was like falling into an unlit cave with a few fireflies caught, flickering and dying.

Not to worry. Was a snap to take care of (especially as compared to the torturous issues with the normal Ubuntu 8.04 screen rez/monitor corrections)… after I figured out the menuing process. (No system tray, panel bar, etc. CLICK on one of the desktops–there are six virtual desktops by default, each individually customizable.) Well, acually, I am still figuring out how to access things the OZOS way. Uses Enlightenment (e17) as the desktop management system. Slick. Loads and loads of eye candy stuff.

I used e16 on a PCBSD system last year for a while, but the processes didn’t stick with me very well, and some few things seem to have changed between e16 and e17 (and then there’re the differences between PCBSD and Ubuntu Linux… ).

Still, I think I may like this distro. Liked the last three Ubuntu distros I tried out on this machine pretty well (I installed Linux Mint, which is based on an Ubuntu dstro, in a virtual machine and liked it well enough).

We’ll see how this one works for me.

Off to import my mail back into this installation of Evolution.

Done, sorta. *sigh* (Really only mostly–some were missing, but I imported it all into an Opera mailbox, exported from there and finally got ’em. Whadda mess… *heh*) Why, oh why, don’t email clients communicate well with themselves, let alone with their various different “cousins” in the email world?

Oh, the nice stuff about OZOS being much easier to tweak visually may just be in compensation for the fact that it’s completely crappy where sound is concerned. Looks like anything from several minutes to several hours beforeI can have sound fully functional on this installation. Weird, since it uses all the Ubuntu repositories.

Oh, and what’s with WINE installation packages being “broken” now? No WINE until the

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
wine: PreDepends: dpkg (>= 1.14.12ubuntu3) but 1.14.5ubuntu16 is to be installed
E: Broken packages

…problem can meet its match in stubborn third world county pigheadedness… or stubborn third world county pigheadedness is finally overcome by repositories with unrepairable broken packages. *sigh*

Oh. Joy.


UPDATE: Well, too many issues actually getting anything done in OZOS using the Enlightenment window/desktop managment. Lovely eye candy, but I actually want to do things, not just look at “Gee whiz!” graphics. Besides, what’s with all the problems installing WINE in OZOS?!? Deal breaker.

So, scrubbed that. Installed Linux Mint. Again, purty. Lousy time getting to things and getting things done. And. Nope. WINE a no-go here, too. (Dumb, really dumb.)

So, back to regular old plain vanilla Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit. Hmmm… strange. Was able to set screen rez right away after installing from the same CD I’d installed from several weeks ago that gave me fits. Knew enough to be glad was easier getting around in it and just immediately downloaded the REAL nVidia drivers (not the one Ubuntu offered to install!) and ran the display config utility (must run from command line cos Ubuntu’s not smart enough to install a GUI link to it by default, anywhere).

Nice. Now all I have to do is get the Alsa mixer to use the SBLive! Platinum card…

Piece of cake.

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