Sunday Mar 15, 2009

VirtualBox bug fixed: clonehd works in version 2.1.4

Not too long ago, I blogged about a workaround to a bug in VirtualBox.  The problem is fixed in VirtualBox version 2.1.4, available for download here.

Here's where the bug fix comes in handy: suppose you use VirtualBox to create a virtual machine that you want to use again and again; maybe it's a test environment of Windows, Linux, OpenSolaris...whatever you like.  An easy way to make copies of that test environment is to type "VBoxManage clonevdi WindowsXP.vdi copyOfWinXP.vdi" (or whatever you call your VirtualBox hard disk images).  But the "clonevdi" command wasn't making copies correctly, so there was a workaround.  It's not a big deal, but having the bug fixed makes it just that much easier to make perfect copies of the environment you worked so hard to create.

I discovered at DrupalCon that a lot of people are using VirtualBox.  I have been a faithful VMware user for well over five years and have liked it, but I've also been using VirtualBox for about six months now and I find it good enough for my personal needs that I've switched from VMware to VirtualBox.  One nice little benefit: it can be a host on all the operating systems I use (Ubuntu Linux, Mac OS X, OpenSolaris; I tend not to use Windows as a host OS, only as a guest, because I'm too concerned about viruses infecting my Windows environment and I'd like to be able to just blow it away and start from scratch easily; VirtualBox lets me do just that).


Friday Oct 17, 2008

For Linux Users: Why Solaris? Here's One View.

A funny coincidence happened to me this week: I was talking with one of my colleagues about Linux and Solaris, and why somebody would pick one over the other.  Personally, I use several operating systems on a regular basis: Solaris at work, Mac OS X when I'm mobile, Ubuntu Linux at home, and Windows XP (Service Pack 3) to track my spending with Quicken.  (I currently run that inside VMware Workstation on the Linux box, which I started using years before virtualization became the "it" term it is today).

(okay, I can't resist this side note: the first time I used Quicken virtualized, it was over ten years ago on my Sun system using WABI at first, and later the x86-based SunPC card.  Sun's been doing some kind of virtualization stuff for a long, long time.)

Anyway, the topic of "Why Solaris?" was on my mind...and then I saw this blog posting, entitled "Why I like Solaris".  It's written by a former Sun employee who tells of his experience learning Solaris after having been a Linux user for a few years.

The blog post makes some interesting points from a developer's point of view about what was missing from Solaris that put obstacles in his way, but were later fixed (the release of Solaris 10 a few years ago fixed a lot of inconveniences, for example).  But what I got out of the blog entry was the general feeling that if you develop for the platform, things are going to work for a long time to come.  Oh, also that ZFS as a development tool is pretty cool, because it takes the risk out of trying an experimental change: you just create an instant snapshot, make your changes and test them, and if you don't like the result, go back to the previous snapshot.  That's a nice debugging tool.

You can see more context by reading this blog entry on ZDNet, which addresses yet another article attacking the viability of Solaris.  It's interesting writing, worth taking a look.

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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. What more do you need to know, really?

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