By mduigou on Feb 02, 2009
I have been doing a lot of work using virtual machines (the simulates-a-computer kind not the Java kind). Since all of the virtual systems are NATed or have no networking and because I'm mostly doing driver development I am generally logged in as root and not using a password. Obviously, this has usage and security implications. For one thing, I can't assume that there is any kind of safety protection. If I screw up then the machine is screwed up. This applies to the security as well. If I do something stupid like download random software or go to arbitrary web sites then I could easily screw up the virtual machine. So far I haven't managed to corrupt, infect or otherwise damage any of my virtual machines. I've found it kind of interesting how the direct knowledge that I have no "safety net" when operating these machines has impacted my thinking and choices. I've found I am a lot more thoughtful and cautious about the actions I take. I spend more time considering implications before hitting return. I'm coming to think that perhaps working in this way is possibly a good thing. Having to be certain before committing to actions has actually saved me time. I've made fewer repairable mistakes and frequently changed my mind as to how to correctly proceed rather than just barging ahead. The moral of the story is (as usual) make good backups, play safe and be brave.