[lug] Recommendations For Older Hardware?

Maxwell Spangler maxlists at maxwellspangler.com
Wed Aug 4 22:31:16 MDT 2010

On Wed, 2010-08-04 at 15:53 -0600, Robert Racansky wrote:

> I'm looking for a light-footprint host operating system, that would
> then use VMWare Player to run a Windows guest operating system.

> (1)  if something goes wrong, I can re-install the VM from a snapshot.
>  I've never trusted Windows System Restore.
> (2)  as a way to introduce users to non-Windows operating systems, by
> having other guest VMs installed on the same system.  "If you just
> need to get on the web to check your e-mail, or Windows is too slow,
> try  using this _____ Linux virtual machine instead."
> (3)  If something goes wrong with Windows, and it inevitably will, the
> host operating system can be used to test/verify network connectivity.

I think you idea might be a little ahead of its time.  But it's a good

The theme here is overcoming problems with Windows but I wonder if the
added complexity of Linux and a hypervisor and the reduced performance
of running Windows in a VM will leave your users more or less satisfied?

I started experimenting with virtual machines using VirtualBox on Fedora
11 in on an old HP Laptop.  It runs, but it's not comfortable and any
time I needed to do real work in Windows, I'd reboot.  How fast is your
target hardware?

Now I'm using an HP desktop with twice the Ghz, four cores and hardware
virtualization support.  I run Windows in a VM regularly for Visio,
iTunes, or anything Windows only.  It's comfortable and very much the
experience you're describing.

This hardware is "inexpensive" now at $750, but will be second-hand in
2-3 years.  Virtualization software will have improved and if someone
can make a simple, very easy to manage host interface, you'd have the HW
and SW you need to reach your goal.

But right now I think any typical Linux installation requires
specialized expertise to resolve problems when they occur.  I'm always
happy to hear about non-technical users succeeding with Linux but these
days I recommend those who can and want to avoid Windows simply get a
Mac.  As my passionate Linux supporting yet Mac using friends say "It
just works."  I wonder if that might be a more effective path to
overcoming Windows problems?

Maxwell Spangler
        Linux, Unix and Database Administration
        Currently: Boulder, Colorado
        LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maxwellspangler


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