I think Linux is great… but I don’t to give up my normal desktop for it. I’m a big fan of using cygwin to get a little more oomph out of Windows, but what I’d really like to do is run Ubuntu as if it were just another Windows application. That way I can do things that are easy under linux (like run an ssh server) while not having to leave Vista.
The solution? VMware! VMware creates a Virtual PC – that is it’s a program that emulates a another computer. What hadn’t realized before is that the kind people who make VMware let you run it on your local machine for free.
To get this working:
- Download the VMware server from http://www.vmware.com/download/.
- Get a (free) serial number. The easiest way is to run the VMware Server Console, and go to Help -> Enter Serial Number -> Get Serial Number
- Download the latest Ubuntu image from http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download.
- In VMware, create a new virutal machine (File -> New -> Virtual Machine). Follow the wizard
- Create a “typical machine”
- Choose Linux as the OS, then select Ubuntu as the version
- Give it a name, and a location on your PC
- Us a bridged network. This gives the virtual machine it’s own IP address while sharing your PC’s network card.
- Data Size — your choice. I gave it 80 GB just to be safe.
- Once it’s set up, edit the virtual machine’s settings
- Under Hardware, find the CD-ROM device.
- Change it from connecting to your physical drive to using an ISO image.
- Point the ISO image to the ubuntu .iso file from step 3.
- Start the virtual machine.
From there on it’s just like installing Ubuntu on a new machine. Follow the installation instructions and enjoy! Best of all, it behaves like a new, isolated computer. You don’t have to worry about screwing up and formatting your normal computer. (And I know first hand how embarassing that can be.)