I like Linux, it appeals to the tinkerer and geek inside of me. I like playing with things, and I like to be a little bit different. Ok, Linux is going mainstream, and with the rise and rise of Android, people are starting to realise there is more to like than what the shops throw at you all the time. My problem is that there are some things I just need windows for, mainly for graphics editing. I can’t quite get away with GIMP, I just can’t use it as effectively as I can other programs having used them for years. I had read a lot about virtual machines, and even tinkered a little with them in a windows environment, but decided I was going to play within Ubuntu and get the VM up and running. The Ubuntu Virtual Machine Page details a little different virtual machine options. As I like the idea of something for nothing (don’t we all?) I decided to go for the first option on the list, Xen.
I wondered how easy it would be for someone with little experience in these things to follow the instructions and get things up and running. I followed the instructions down, and even got as far as going through the ‘make’ process for xen, but then I came up against errors. Errors which, after about an hour of googling, I couldn’t find a way out of. I did have all the steps for what I did written down on this post, but when I went to update Ubuntu, and that failed, I gave it up as a bad job.
I thought to myself, if I am wanting to do the whole virtualization route, and have Windows as a minor part of my computer home life, I should wipe the computer, stick an up to date version of Linux on, and go from there. At this point I decided to go a different route, and back to Fedora, which I preferred anyway. I gave up on Fedora last time because it wouldn’t install properly for me, but that was early summer, and a lot of headaches, so I would give version 16 a go. It all installed fine, so I was happy there and I got logged in first time with no issues. Excellent.
After that I decided to check out the fedora installation page, and the process that advises, at which point I realised that most people dabbling in these sorts of things really don’t want to be playing round in a terminal to do it. Newbies to the environment are generally going to be used to point and click, so I opened up “Add remove software” by clicking on “Activities” in the top right, and clicking “Applications” and then “Add/Remove Software” (for the record, I’m using the GNOME 3 interface). I then searched for “xen”, knowing that it was available on Ubuntu, and therefore should – in theory – bring back some results in this instance – and selected pretty much everything with “xen” in the package name (the name which appears under the title), and the Virtual machine manager. After clicking “Apply”, the system went away and found a list of everything else which was needed to make these work (dependencies) and told me they were needed. A click of “OK” later, and after putting in my password it started downloading and installing for me. Nice and easy.
A little while later, it was all done and I was ready to play. As I have an old Windows XP disk and a Windows Server 2003 disk from my days at university where I got them free as a student I decided to install those. I’ll post those steps in a different post, either Friday, or over the weekend.
Ultimately I found that these things can be really easy to do, and you shouldn’t be afraid of trying, or indeed using the graphical interface. At the end of the day “hardcore” Linux users might use the command line, but sensible ones will probably want to use the interface. That’s what it is there for after all. Well, except for starting and stopping services, then the terminal is so much faster in my opinion.