The Virtual Blog

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Microsoft Making Moves for Softricity

Microsoft is preparing to pounce on Boston-based Windows application virtualisation solution provider, Softricity. They're hoping to buy them out (in true Microsoft style), so that they can pluck Softricity's most prized asset - their technology. It's common knowledge that Microsoft hoovers up inovative companies making decent products, and either reduces the technology/product to rubble, or releases it in a state that's unusable, and as soon as it's installed, sinks it's claws into the already antiquated pile of mush that is the Windows kernel so that it can't be uninstalled... But we'll have to wait and see...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Why I Won't Be Giving Windows Another Chance

Some time back (I think a few months or so now), I'd switched my desktop OS from Microsoft's abominable Windows XP (eXtra Polish/eXtra Plasticky, add your own jibe here), to the rather more enjoyable Ubuntu 5.10. Some of the things that I've noticed about this Ubuntu (it's the 1st one I've ever used), is that unlike XP, the TV card works streight away, without any drivers, in fact, the only thing that it needed was XAWTV, which installed without a hitch. Bluetooth also worked perfectly, without any drivers required. Normally what I'd do is to install KDE, or set it as my default (it doesn't come in the regular flavour of Ubuntu, only in KUbuntu, by default), I've noticed though, that unlike the demented Red Hat Linux 7.2 that I once tried to install (with which the audio support didn't work, neither did USB, or even the motherboard's onboard 8-bit speaker, or onboard NIC, GNOME put my graphics adapter into a resolution that was hardly usable, and was 'speckled' - the graphics adapter being the ATI Radeon 9000 that I've had installed for ages, KDE was much easier to use though), Ubuntu properly supports my graphics adapter with pretty much all of the obscure desktop environments I've thrown at it, actually works with my USB and onboard AC'97 audio chip, and vitally, Ubuntu actually works with my onboard Ethernet NIC (a pretty much bog-standard Realtek Fast Family (or whatever it's called) onboard NIC), and also the 3Com NIC that I replaced the WinModem with, not knowing at the time that the onboard NIC hadn't been damaged after the brilliant blue spark, that I saw from it's port.

With XP, I would have needed, after a fresh install from the i386 folder that sat on my primary NTFS partition, to dig out the set of 6 CDs containing the drivers for my system, look through the various self-extracting archives, that HP lovingly tossed randomly onto each CD (which made it difficult to find the drivers for the onboard USB 2.0, so that it would work at full speed, and not at the USB 1.0 speed, it also takes a while to find the rather obscure DLA packet writing DVD+RW/CD-RW driver, which will produce a disc that won't work in Linux, leaving me to either find a system running Windows XP and a copy of DLA (of which there's only one in the house), or set up a VMware virtual machine on Linux, with a copy of XP and DLA, just to read a DVD+RW that I've recorded, in order to actually have a music collection.) I would also need to install the drivers for the USB Bluetooth adapter that I have, twice (once, whilst installing the supporting software, and once again, after connecting it). I even had to install the graphics adapter drives, along with the useless extensions that it adds to the 'Display' control panel, and also had to install the AC'97 drivers, in order to even get audio. In fact, the only thing that I couldn't get to work without additional drivers, was the HP OfficeJet all-in-one that's lying around.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Microsoft to sell Windows in Vietnam - in installments!

It's nothing to do with virtualization, but it's something that I thought would make an interesting 1st post after a while away from my blog.
According to a news article that I saw today, Microsoft are to try and legally sell their product on the streets of Vietnam, where piracy is extremely high, and copies of Windows can be purchased for as little as about 50p in UK currency. One of their plans is to try and sell Windows in 'installments', in the hope that it will be come more affordable.
But in my opinion, 'Windows' and 'affordable' are two words which don't go together in any way that you could try. So why can't people in Vietnam, and for example, China, switch to using an operating system that is stable, free (as in speech), much faster than Windows, doesn't crash every 30 minutes and is durable enough to run a server farm, or just the PC on your desk, without needing to constantly reboot - for example Linux or BSD.
But I don't think anyone would buy a Microsoft product in installments, when Linux and other free software have much more desirable qualities. My 2 cents :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

The VMware Company Store is Open For Business

I first noticed that the store was open, about 9 am (GMT), although it may have been open some time before.
Some of the products in the store include the VMware Gift Card (available in increments of $25, $50 and $100), whilst it's not the Parasol, that I was after, they have a nice brolly. They also sell USB pen drives, various items of clothing, VMware pens (here & here).
See the full range at

And if you spend $50 or more, you can get a free VMware Poster (whilst stocks last, of course)

Quick screenshot here:

VMware Server Beta 2 is Out

It's finally here, VMware Server Beta 2. Let's hope it fixes the problems that I've been facing with USB in the most recent build of Beta 1. Some of the new features include connection to and configuration of GSX Server 3 hosts, and a glimpse of the shiny new VMware Server C API.
I'll post progress on Beta 2 as I start the upgrade process.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

NEXTSTEP 3.2 Installer Boots in VMware Server

I've also found that the NEXTSTEP 3.2 Installer boots in VMware Server, and gives a kernal panic whilst doing anything involving devices.

Get your NEXTSTEP disk images here.

As usual, there's a screenshot.

OPENSTEP 4.2 Installer Boots on VMware Server (Well, kind of)

I'd discovered something that I thought was quite interesting.
After exploring Apple's FTP site, I'd picked up a few disk images from the "upgrade" section.
If you create a new VM, give it just 16MB of RAM, take away the CD-ROM drive, and give the VM a NIC, you too can attempt to install the little piece of history that is OPENSTEP 4.2.
I've found that it works as far as the the attached screenshot, after messing with a load of disk images (all containing different sets of drivers).
I'm leaving a challenge open, so that anyone can report their success (and failure) with OPENSTEP. Get the disk images here.

The screenshot shows that there's some sort of GUI (if a little rudimentary one), in the installer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

rPath To Offer Extra Incentive for VMware Entrants

rPath is to offer additional rewards to the winners of the $200,000.00 VMware Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge - if, and only if the winning entries were built with rBuilder Online, can the additional prize(s) be claimed. Claiming for the rPath incentive prizes is via e-mail only.
More details are here.

VMware to launch online store - March 3rd

This is going to be good for those that simply must have a VMware pencil, travel mug, hat, or nearly anything that can have a VMware logo printed on it. I haven't got exact news as to what's going to be decking the virtual shelves.
As usual, screenshot time! Here's one of the VMware Store placeholder page (click the image to view larger):

I'm still waiting for my VMware Parasol :)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

VMware Server Beta build 22009 - What will it do for me?

The upgrade was very easy, and took about 5 minutes (including uninstalling the old build, and restarting the host).
The only changes I can notice, is that a few things have been moved around in the VM Settings screens, a few new
menu items have been added (e.g. a new "Shut down guest", "Suspend after running script", "Resume and run script", "Power On and run script" and "Restart Guest" options in the VM Power menu (so mostly duplicates of pre-existing commands in that menu), and a new "Connected Users" command in the VM menu, that displays a list of usernames and IP addresses connected to VMware Server). Server's Preferences window has been reworked slightly, with some options removed, and a few tweaks, but it's mostly cosmetic. A few new options for supported guest operating systems have been added, including Sun Java Desktop, Novell Desktop Linux 9 for the Linux options, and the addition of NetWare 4 support.
In this build, the list of supported operating systems has been removed from the help files, and in addition, there's no new version of VMware Tools.
I've also noticed a slight speed increase whilst booting Windows in a VM, and strangely enough, it seems a bit more responsive than the previous build, whilst performing general tasks.

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