Technology Rants

Well, maybe more like tidbits than rants. This is all Linux or ani-Windows stuff, so everyone else you get the clam-hand*.

First, from Linux in Exile we have a discussion of virtual desktops. Virtual desktops, to me, make a GUI computer usable. GUI computers without them suck. Linux has them. Windows does not. Shut up and go read this.

But sometimes you need to run Windows in a virtual machine (or some other thing must be run in a virtual machine). I’ve been playing around with this and its fun. Have a look at this.

This is a cool new Linux-ready netbook that will run all day without a charge. Supposedly.

And check out this new game (that you need to buy, but it’s a real game, so what can you do)? … Out of the park

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* See this for hand signals. See this for a demonstration of the clam hand.

Comments

  1. #1 Mal Adapted
    April 16, 2010

    Greg, I’ve been using Sun’s VirtualBox to run WindowsXP in a virtual machine on my home rig (Fedora 12 on a quad-core with 8GB RAM) for about a year now. I can recommend it highly, although now that Oracle owns Sun there’s concern for the future of VirtualBox.

    -Mal

  2. #2 IanW
    April 16, 2010

    I know this is a rant and therefore you needn’t explain anything, but at some point you might want to actually blog about how having three apps open, one in each of three virtual desktops, is any better than having three apps open in three windows on one desktop. Maybe?

  3. #3 TechSlave
    April 16, 2010

    What I need to figure out is pinning a Windows XP virtualbox to a single virtual desktop, full-screened. So I can easily switch to that virtual desktop if and only if I for some reason want to burn my brain with more WinXP ‘goodness’.

    For some reason, Virtualbox and my laptop disagree on what ‘full screen’ size is, every darn time. Bah!

    I do love the expanding size hard disks, though, since I rarely want to waste a large chunk or file space on my Linux machine just in case I need XP.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    IanW: Oh, it is, it just is!!!!

    There are all kinds of ways to navigate through and among various windows. Anyone who is accustom to doing this with one desktop will, when they get multiple desktops, not automatically find the multiple desktops to be useful.

    But then one day you use the technology. You’ve got a writing project, with a text file, a spreadsheet, a file manager, a web browser with some tabs open, and it’s all somewhat complicated and yuou’re in the middle of a productive period.

    Suddenly you are interrupted by a phone call. Someone wants to know if you got a certain email, and if you know what the traffic is like (the call is from a person in a car calling via cell) in a certain part of town.

    You swap to an open desktop, check for the email and look at the traffic map, and while you’re there open up a couple of other web pages, etc. Dicking around.

    When that interruption is over, you go back to the untouched desktop with your work on it. You don’t have to close, adjust, reopen, anytihng. It’s all like you left it.

    And over there on this other desktop .. that’s where you’ve got the taxes you’ve been working on but ignoring, but there they are.

    Anywya, yes, yes,you can navigate across all these issue without the different desktops. Or, you can use the desktop.

    And I promise you that a significant number of people who use the desktops for a while have a very hard time going back. This is one of those really hard things to do for people like JH (at LIE) …. who have been using multiple desktops in Linux and are forced to use that other system. It’s one of the main things you miss.

    Think of fit like that button that minimizes/unminimizes everything on your desktop, but there is a different set of buttons for each set of applications, as you wish. Project 1, Projegt 2, Personal. Or browsing, email, data crunching. However you want.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    April 16, 2010

    TechSlave… yes, there Virtualbox uses, out of the box, a limited set of screen configurations. There’s a think you must add to it to give you more. Then, there may or may not be one that matches your laptops, and maybe/maybe not you can change your laptopl screen resolution to something acceptable.

  6. #6 Patricia
    April 16, 2010

    I love the clam hand.

  7. #7 Bill James
    April 16, 2010

    So does the clam.

  8. #8 Roland
    April 17, 2010

    LXDE, XFCE, and other light-weight X window managers in current use all have multiple virtual desktops. Going back to the 90′s, FVWM (a win95-lookalike) had it. Ditto TVWM, a form of Tom’s window manager. Even the original Motif window manager had it. I haven’t used MS OSes since Win3.1–they still haven’t caught up?

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2010

    You hung on to 3.1, did ya? No, no, they’ve not caught up.

  10. #10 MadScientist
    April 17, 2010

    Like Mal I run XP on VirtualBox. I’m forced to, thanks to horrible clients that I can’t afford to just shoo away. I haven’t made much use of the virtual desktops for the past 2 years though, but I can’t do without them when I need them.

  11. #11 Tony P
    April 17, 2010

    I still use WinXP Pro, but have VMWare 2 installed on it. So for example I have my Debian 5 install, Ubuntu, Chrome, and Win7 test installed in the VM.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2010

    Wait, you run Linux IN the virtual box which is running in windows? You’re doing it backwards, dude! Run the GOOD operating system on the hardware, and the BAD operating system in the fake little box!

  13. #13 Julius
    April 17, 2010

    Hmm, I never managed to get into virtual desktops. I used Linux for a while around the early 2000s (KDE 1 and 2 based, mostly) and never got into the habit of using them. Then switched to Mac, and since they introduced it a couple of versions ago (10.5, was it?) have never used Spaces – in fact, when I read the term virtual desktops just now, I didn’t immediately remember that my Mac does in fact have that feature.

  14. #14 Comrade PhysioProf
    April 17, 2010

    This virtual doohickey dealio will let me run Windows applications natively on a Linux machine? Hmm…..

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2010

    CPP: Not exactly. It lets you create, in a “window” a virtual hardware world in which “Windows” (or some other operating system) can run. It will have full functionality once you teach it how to communicate with the available devices (some will be automatic, some will have to be tweaked) but it won’t necessarily interact just like some other program with other programs you have running. It’s a different computer. Or, to be more exact, it “thinks” it is a different computer. It is somewhat more conveniently interactive than if they were actual different computers.

    Of course, “wine” is getting better and better all the time, so if the applications you need work under wine (and I recommend the paid version, Crossover) then that is more like having the actual software running.

  16. #16 Comrade PhysioProf
    April 17, 2010

    I wish Adobe would make their fucking shit work on Linux.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2010

    Applicatoins supported by Crossover:

    * Microsoft Office 2007, 2003, XP, 2000 and 97
    o Microsoft Word
    o Microsoft Excel
    o Microsoft PowerPoint
    o Microsoft Outlook
    o Microsoft Access *1
    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 6
    * Microsoft Project
    * Adobe Photoshop
    * Microsoft Visio
    * Lotus Notes 5.0 and 6.5.1
    * Quicken
    * FrameMaker
    * Various Web Browser Plugins
    o QuickTime
    o Shockwave Director
    o Windows Media Player 6.4
    * and more…

    Here’s the Photoshop page:

    http://www.codeweavers.com/compatibility/browse/name/?app_id=8

    Crossover is a commercialzed version of wine. To make wine work, one has to fiddle. Crossover is a barrel of geeks you pay 40 or 70 bucks to do the fiddling in advance, and there is some value added (though at the moment I’m not sure what, you’d have to check the site: http://www.codeweavers.com/products/ )

  18. #18 Bruce Clarke
    November 17, 2010

    I do not run any virtual computers ,nor do I run windoze on my main computers .The poor nearly forgotten XP languishes in the office and rarely gets used, Hmm I wonder how long it has gone without being cleaned ,defragged ,and dusted.I wonder if it even works since we do 99.99% of our things on Mint.But the only time it is used is for Mediaface for making good quality DVD covers and labels too bad this is a proprietary program without support from Linux.Come to think about it that is the only thing we use the tower for LOL.It is however dual booting with Mint 9 KDE (default OS for it).

  19. #19 Bruce Clarke
    November 17, 2010

    In this house we run one of each distros…Mint Julia on a Dell Inspiron 1525,Mint Isadora on an eMachines E625 and linux mint KDE /XP on a HP desktop pc.(this one is so old I think it was here BEFORE the Pilgrims LOL