Laptop Diaries, 64 bitness & VPN
By DaveLevy on Jan 26, 2009
Over the last couple of days I have been struggling to get my new laptop build up to the minimal level of functionality I require, using Vista 64 as the host operating system. I calculated that I installed 19 applications on the previous minimal build, of which only Scmapp could be considered unnecessary. My colleague, Kar Yang Ho recommended Windows Vista 64 bit as the host and after some experimentation, we chose Virtual Box as the VM manager, primarily because its much cuter about how it takes and reserves disk space.
We use CISCO's VPN solution to access certain services and have been struggling to get this to work from behind my Linksys Wireless-N ADSL2+ Gateway; the connection was failing. It needs to be installed within a supported 32 bit VM, so either Vista or XP. Firstly, we discovered on purchase, that one has to use a TCP carrier without NAT. I am seeking to install the VPN client inside a 32 bit virtual machine; CISCO don't have a Vista 64 implementation. Ho says that no one else with this router has the problems I had with it, although we have now fixed the connection by specifying the guest network interface as a “Host Interface” and not the default “NAT”. It seems that the Linksys only wants one NAT function in the configuration.
I am pleased that we have fixed it, as I can now use Virtual Box to boot up Linux and Opensolaris images for experimental work and demonstrations. I also use them as X Server's for remote systems work and I have a Windows 32 bit image for that software that can only run in 32 bit windows such as the CISCO client.
I installed the AMD64 version of Virtual Box on my Toshiba Tecra M10, with 4Gb of RAM on Vista Business SP1. I stuck with windows for short term financial considerations, and also it gives me rock solid suspend and resume, massive peripheral choice and good, if not the best desktop power management functionality. I am sure that ZFS will become a compelling part of the choice over the next few months as Opensolaris aquires new and appropriate desktop functionality.
I may write about the 19 applications, but they're not that exciting. If you follow me regularly you'll have some idea, there's a couple of development and language implementations that I wouldn't require if I used Solaris, Opensolaris or Linux VMs.