Virtualbox on the run...

More details later, but I wanted to scribble a quick note on this one. I was able to get Jumpstart and JET running within Virtualbox. Some might ask (and rightly so), "Why?".

I am a paying customer of VMware Workstation. I bought a personal license with my own hard earned dollars (euros, drachma, baht, etc.), and use the heck out of it on my desktop workstation at home. I tried Parallels, but ran into a couple "issues" running with a Windows host that annoyed me to the point that I removed it. After all, my VMware Workstation was running just fine. When Sun acquired the VirtualBox stuff (now xVM Virtualbox), I downloaded it and used it quite a bit. Big wins for me, much smaller install size (great when you are hanging off the end of a EVDO wireless broadband link), very active user and developer base, and the fact that it is a release based on an OpenSource project.


My VMware Workstation license has finally run out of free upgrades. I'm running on a 32bit XP machine, so VMware Server (the free license) won't work for me. Throw in the 450+MB download size, the Microsoft licensing costs to upgrade my road warrior laptop, and this really wasn't an option. Virtualbox, here we come.

In theory, I could have converted my existing VMware Workstation VMs to Virtualbox (good reviews and details here). I did my research, saw some good how-to instructions and was fully prepared to go that way. Turns out, for my stuff, it was just as easy to run a quick ufsdump and stick a backup of my "working space" out on my Windows XP host. I just did a ufsrestore to get my goodies back under my Virtualbox VMs. Another neat feature of this method, I can use "ufsrestore -i" to pick and choose what exactly I want restored (I tend to get a bit of clutter in my workspaces).

But wait. You work for Sun. Why aren't you running Solaris native on your laptop? Yeah, I hear that alot. I was one of the hardcore Solaris-only laptop road warriors going back to Solaris 2.5. When Sun decided to un-fund laptop related Solaris work, a bunch of us continued in our spare time to keep things working and even slightly improving for road warriors. When Sun decided to do away with x86 support (only for a short time before reversing the decision with a vengeance), we kept the builds going, and used our own machines for testing.

Truth is, I'm old. I don't have the time and energy to muck around with my desktop/laptop these days. Windows (and probably Macs) just work when you plug them into hotel ethernets. They just work with cellular based broadband. Customers generally have a tools CD sitting around with their VPN software and configs ready to install under Windows. So my "primary hypervisor" is Windows XP. It works great for plugging me in, setting up hardware and networks, (playing my favorite Windows based games) and then running Solaris under Virtualbox so I can get real work done.
:)

Next entry, taming the beast... getting JET to work under VirtualBox (and why).


bill.


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