Thursday May 01, 2008

Laptop Diaries, Goodbye to dual boot

A month and a half ago, Sun & Innotek, the authors of Virtual Box, an open source desktop virtualisation solution announced that Sun was buying them Virtual Box is a free type II virtualisation solution permitting the configuration of a number of popular x86 operating systems to act as guests and hosts. I have just today configured a Linux VM running on my Windows XP Laptop, here's how it looks, when its not full screen.


Dave's Ubuntu Desktop screen shot


I used Ubuntu 7.04 and this is how I did it. Firstly a friend cut me an ISO image on CD and I loaded it into the cd reader.

  1. I then created a VM. This has hardware virtualisation enabled, I created a new .vdi file. This must be big enough, and defaults at 8Gb. This is a limit on the file size. It does not reserve this space at install time, however if you make it too small, the install fails. The boot device order is floppy, cdrom and then hard disk. The cdrom has to be enabled in the 'settings -> CD/DVD' panel. I also defined the VM as a host of a Linux 2.6 image.
  2. I then started the VM using the virtual box control panel. This then boots a live cd of the cdrom, and I selected the 'Install' option. This then installs Ubuntu and offers you the opportunity to restart the system, i.e. the VM.
  3. I then used the update manager to update the software. It downloads, works out dependencies and then installs the new software versions. At the end of this stage, I then rebooted the VM. This took some time, over an hour and half, but I was using a wireless connection to a not very quick BT broadband line.
  4. At this point in time, it only offers 800x600 screen resolution, which is a bit pants, so, I used the VM window menu option, 'Devices -> Install Guest Additions'. This opened a nautilus window on the CD which exposes a script called "". I ran this from a terminal session command line in bash using root privilidge (see below). At this point, I then rebooted the VM again.
  5. I then needed to check that the xorg.config was configured correctly. In order to amend it, one needs a root user shell. Its been a couple of years since I used a Linux, so I tried to 'su' to root, but it was having none of it. A quick google found me this article this article about default passwords for the ubuntu super user. So a quick 'sudo gnome-terminal' and we're away. This artilce at, about guest additions, and this article details the checks and changes required of xorg.conf to permit full screen mode on a larger screen. The Toshiba M5 I am using has 1400x1050. I only had to add the additional resolutions. The device name agreements worked and the virtual devices had been inserted.

I should also thank the Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, who posted an Ubuntu 7, install walkthrough, which while not difficult, helped me debug the initial install failure.

I have downloaded some backgrounds and installed them, but it seems as I shall not be trying to build dual or triple boot solutions again; I have also got opensolaris nevada and indiana VMs. I just wish it had all been installed on  a single partition. I can run whatever OS I want on the laptop now.


Thursday Dec 14, 2006

The Future for HP/UX is dull

I have been researching Sun's competitive position against HP. It's clear to me that HP, when they think about IT as opposed to ink, agree with Nick Carr and his thesis "IT doesn't matter". Mark Hurd (HP CEO) in the highlights of his keynote speech [.mp3] to Oracle World earlier this year (November) stated that their IT would contain

no proprietary infrastructure...... consisting of proliant and "c" class blades, linux, network storage, dynamic smart cooling, integrated racks

No room for HP/UX! Nor for Itanium! No wonder the HP/UX roadmap is so ephemeral. My colleague Matias Alonso, has also written about this direction from HP and finishes his article with the comment that even HP prefer the cost of open source to their own proprietary fees, which presumambly they rebate, so the TCO must be pretty poor.

It's already been damaged as a platform by the requirement to recompile or develop in order to transition from HP PA RISC to Itanium, and neither HP/UX nor Itanium have the volumes to retain and recruit developers. This discontinuity is a true tippining point; if you have to spend money on the application, you'd prefer (as Hurd himself says earlier in the speech) to spend it on improving the business logic, not extending its life.

HP-UX 11i v3 has slipped again to next year [1] and is now over 2½ years late. Given it only runs on HP's Itanium, perhaps the demand's not there! A prediction of this sorry state of affairs was made Sun when it published over 15 months ago an article "Reality Check: HP-UX has no future!", on its web site.

The chart below has been built from an article at IT jungle, analysing HP's most recent earnings call. Now that HP/UX is only available on Itanium, it is part of 'Business Critical Systems' (which is the extruded segment.)



HP's results last quarter 


Business Critical Systems (BCS) earned $987m during the quarter selling Itanium, PA-RISC, MIPS and Alpha based systems The Itanium revenues grew (representing 45% of the revenue) but HP do not publish the Linux/HP-UX breakdown any more. These earnings represent a year on year decline because the growth in Itanium systems is insufficient to compensate HP for the decline in the older proprietary PA-RISC and Alpha systems. The one thing we do know is that HP-UX only represents a part of the BCS revenues. Is this enough to keep HP interested? Is it enough to keep the ISVs interested? ISV's that want an Itanium port, will probably choose Linux. I think HP-UX's future is destined to add to HP's growing reputation as the IT industry's operating systems undertaker and join Ultrix, True64 and VMS in the hospice.

Hurd's Oracleworld speech streaming audio [.mp3]: the quote is at 3:10, you can find the whole speech with other keynote speakers on the Oracle World 2006's keynote speaker page. We can see HP's historic delivery of their roadmap,  HP's recent release history.





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