Those who've been following my del.icio.us bookmarks
know that I've been recently looking at laptops and desktops with Linux pre-installed
. My interest in a new computer coincided with my old computer starting to fail. But wouldn't you know it! Turns out a new power supply and keyboard solved my problems, and I was still left with a serious case of Linux envy.
Once I got my computer running again, I decided to look at installing an Ubuntu image under VMPlayer for Windows XP. (This is the free virtualization software from VMWare that allows you to run one operating system under another one.) I was surprised how well it worked, although there were some issues that I had to look up on various newsgroups. Here's the process I used:
- Download the latest Ubuntu 6.10 image.
- Download and install the evaluation version of VMWare Workstation. (This includes VMPlayer plus VMTools, which you need for getting screen resolutions above 800x600.)
- Run Workstation, start the Ubuntu image, and "install" the VMTools (located in Workstation's menu). Confusingly, this just drops a virtual VMTools DVD image on your Ubuntu desktop; you have to then open up the image and run its installer.
Now you can change your screen resolution to something higher, set VMPlayer to run full screen on startup (and unpin the annoying toolbar)
, and you're all set.
If you want, you can also uninstall the eval version of VMWare Workstation, and then download and install the smaller (and free) VMPlayer. Your image (with the VMTools install) will remain intact. This is also perfectly legal
Having this image has satisfied my Ubuntu lust for the moment. I spent some time downloading lots of cool Python libraries using the Package Manager (even easier than using easy_install!). I'll still probably get a Linux friendly laptop at a later point, but Doris' VAIO is still chugging along, and it's hard to justify a new computer when we're still furnishing our basement.
Labels: desktops, laptops, linux, ubuntu, vmplayer