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Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is free // use for Linux testing

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:31 am
by daddydave
New information has been added to the bottom of this post

Long time no post. (me)

I thought I would pass along something of interest to developers who have one box, running Windows, but need to build and test for Linux also. I don't know if this has been mentioned here yet.

Microsoft decided to make Virtual PC 2004 freeware, which will make it easy for Windows developers to also work in Linux easily without having to dual boot. (In a way, this kind of makes LiveCD's obsolete. You can use any Linux CD) Each virtual PC starts off with a blank virtual disk, and you can format it and install whatever OS you want. The virtual machine can even boot from an .iso image without having to burn it to CD or DVD.

Memory and disk space have to rationed out, but as for the rest of the hardware (maybe except USB--see http://www.robertmoir.co.uk/win/vpcfaq/ ... ndTri.html) , each machine sees it as its own, so for example, a single network card means each virtual machine sees a network card and can pick up its own IP address. So to communicate between machines, you should be able to network the virtual one to the real one, or the virtual ones together.

Each virtual machine uses a virtual disk. From the host OS's point of view, however, the virtual disk is just a file, so it seems a whole lot safer than booting from a LiveCD and giving Linux full reign over your NTFS partition.

DOWNLOAD
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/default.mspx

CORRECTION (added 9/21)
The hardware virtualization in the virtual PC's is a little more nuanced than I indicated above. In particular, no matter what graphics card the host machine has, the graphics card in the VPC will be seen as a S3 Trio64. If your X server detection doesn't work during the install, set the monitor to 800x600 @ 60hz and the card resolution to 800x600 16 bits per pixel. I had to do this with Mandriva 2006, but I actually found this as a tip for a different distro.

SOMETHING I LEARNED THE HARD WAY: (added 9/21)
To make the VPC's let go of the mouse and keyboard, the trick is to hold the Right Alt key down while moving the mouse out of the virtual machine window. (The Virtual Machine additions software doesn't seem to do anything for Linux afaik)

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:16 am
by priyank_bolia
This is a 6 months old story, I checked this with my IT manager at that time, and they verified the license, to find out that you need Windows Server 2003 license to use it legally, The license is not free for XP. Also all the Microsoft products that are free like VS Express have note that it should not be used on other system like running program using wine.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:17 am
by priyank_bolia
better use Qemu to create disks and use VMware free player.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:24 am
by daddydave
If it requires a Server 2003 license, then the wording on Microsoft's site is very misleading:
Virtual PC Is Now Free!
Whether Microsoft virtualization technology is an important component of your existing infrastructure or you're just a Virtual PC enthusiast, you can now download Virtual PC 2004 absolutely free.
Linux in a VirtualPC is not supported by Microsoft, but it still works.

And it may be a six month old story, but I didn't see anything posted here about it, although I had seen posts expressing interest in using a Linux LiveCD for testing, and this seems like a better alternative

QEMU

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 6:28 am
by daddydave
Didn't know of QEMU, will take a look at it. I played with the "eval" version of VMWare a while back and was impressed with it.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:00 am
by jms
You know, VMWare Server is free as well, and despite its name can be used to run desktop OS basicly in the same way as with VMWare Workstation.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:53 pm
by jb_coder
This may be obvious but how about

"Linux is free // use for Linux testing"

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:55 pm
by priyank_bolia
daddydave wrote:And it may be a six month old story, but I didn't see anything posted here about it, although I had seen posts expressing interest in using a Linux LiveCD for testing, and this seems like a better alternative
I am sorry, I was confused about the license with Virtual Server 2005. Also I tell you that it virtually impossible to run Windows Vista or Open Suse 10.1 on VMware or Qemu (My personal experience failed), but both installed smoothly on Windows Virtual PC 2004. It looks like M$ is really worth every $ what you pay.

For interested peoples

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:03 pm
by priyank_bolia
You can download your favourite Linux Distribution and install it on the MS Virtual PC 2004 using the iso file and the winxpvirtualcdcontrolpanel_21.exe. So that you don't need to burn the CD's. Enjoy!!!

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:36 pm
by jms
priyank_bolia wrote:Also I tell you that it virtually impossible to run Windows Vista or Open Suse 10.1
FWIW, I'm running Suse Linux 10.1 in VMWare Server, and its fine after some tweaking. Though I'll probably need to check out Virtual PC too.

Re: For interested peoples

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:29 pm
by daddydave
priyank_bolia wrote:You can download your favourite Linux Distribution and install it on the MS Virtual PC 2004 using the iso file and the winxpvirtualcdcontrolpanel_21.exe. So that you don't need to burn the CD's. Enjoy!!!
That's interesting, but I already didn't have to burn a CD (or DVD in my case) because Virtual PC 2004 can boot from an .iso all by itself. (From the Virtual PC menu, CD > Capture ISO Image...)

In Linux I really fall back to being a user rather than a power user, so for the first few days after installing it, I always work with blazing inefficiency until I get settled in. I figured while I was at it, I would make a two minute task out of checking to see if my greasemonkey script for ma.gnolia.com works in Linux. So I go to install Greasemonkey and I can't because the distro comes with Firefox 1.0something, which isn't compatible with the new version of Greasemonkey. And 1.5 shows up in rpmdrake or whatever but it hangs when I try to download it. Two hours later, I find there's not really an rpm, you have to unpack it, and I think I screwed it up by unpacking it in Archive Manager instead of tar -zxcv or whatever it is, and so I waste another hour and still didn't get it working. I'll figure it out eventually, but I have got to pace myself. I feel like a complete idiot. OK, that's enough off topic venting for me.

Anyway, I added some new info to the bottom of my original post that may help people avoid some VPC-related problems I was able to work around.

Marked accepted -- didn't mean to post as a question

Re: For interested peoples

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:06 am
by priyank_bolia
daddydave wrote:(From the Virtual PC menu, CD > Capture ISO Image...)
Unfortunately that didn't worked for me, that why I loaded the virtual drive.

Re: For interested peoples

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:56 am
by upCASE
priyank_bolia wrote:Unfortunately that didn't worked for me, that why I loaded the virtual drive.
Yep, there is a known limit for the size of the ISO. VPC won't load ISOs bigger than 2.2 GB. And the S3 issue is really a stupid one. The original card would support 24 bit, but the emulated only 16. No wonder automatic detection leads to a wrong setup.
Anyway, after having a bit trouble my Fedora runs nicely now.

BTW: It does not have to be the right ALT key to get out of the client. I use the "menu" key. You can set it in VPCs options. Look for "host key".
The "additions" you mentioned are only for Windows versions like 98. IIRC this has something to do with easy folder sharing between host and client OS.