Feb 102012

Game changers that show up in life often do not show up in the way and the when we expect them.‭ ‬That often leads us to not accuracy see them for what they are.‭ ‬This is going to be a year of game changing in‭ ‬2012,‭ ‬and most of us do not yet see it.

One company we can thank for the change is,‭ ‬Microsoft.‭ ‬Windows‭ ‬8‭ ‬will be out sometime this year.‭ ‬You won’t have to touch it to feel its impact.‭ ‬The Redmond,‭ ‬WA company put a muzzle in the mouth of its marketing department about its bottom of the barrel Hyper-V a few years ago and quietly improved the code.

They will make it a standard feature in Windows‭ ‬8‭ (‬NT V.6.2‭)‬.‭ ‬Keep in mind they have added ARM CPU support to this NT version.‭ ‬We can get devices with multiple ARM in a single package in several smartphones and tablets now.‭ ‬This means…

Virtual Machines will be something your mom will be using,‭ ‬if not knowing it.‭ ‬VM usage is about to become so commonplace the next generation of ARM chips will have what I call‭ ‬2‭ ‬and a half CPUs.‭ ‬2‭ ‬of them are real bit busters.‭ ‬The‭ ‘½’ ‬CPU will stay alive while the other‭ ‬2‭ ‬are OFF.‭ ‬It will perform functions in a low power state,‭ ‬extending battery life.

While Windows is not an open source offering,‭ ‬it does impact the field of computing.‭ ‬It’s inclusion will have the impact the GUI had on the command line.‭ ‬That being,‭ ‬making it more commonplace.

In the Open Source world,‭ ‬we’re not the poor stepchild,‭ ‬thanks to Virtual Box and others such as Ulteo.‭ ‬The latter has not responded to my query as of press time,‭ ‬so I’ll focus on Virtual Box,‭ ‬which we will call VB from here.

When Oracle picked up Sun Microsystems it got VB and found a way to make Larry more money while still kicking some digital ass.‭ ‬It’s open source and free to download and use for non-commercial usage.‭ ‬Commercial use is‭ ‬$50‭ ‬USD.‭

I’ve been playing with all the VM offerings I can find and can honestly report they are all pretty good now.‭ ‬All of them,‭ ‬even the formally crapware,‭ ‬Hyper-V.‭ ‬So now it’s like getting a pair of shoes.‭ ‬A matter of matching your needs and budget.‭ (‬Even your time of learning is a cost‭)‬.‭

Assuming you are new to the VM game,‭ ‬if I had to pick one to learn,‭ ‬I would go,‭ ‬hands down with VB.‭ ‬It isn’t as efficient or as feature laden as Parallels on the Mac or VMWare on Windows.‭ ‬And setting aside the no cost of entry,‭ ‬it has two features it’s commercial cousins cannot touch.

Sun is maturing VB faster than some folks change underwear.‭ ‬And unlike it’s‭ ‬tors,‭ ‬you don’t experience lock in of your images.‭ ‬This makes is the clear choice for your first VM experience,‭ ‬since your investment of time in creating images can be brought forward to a work environment where they may have standardized on VMWare or Parallels.

Another beauty of VB is,‭ ‬from a technical standpoint,‭ ‬the sheer flexibility.‭ ‬It’s the only one that can can sit on top of a NT-based Windows and run the OSX stuff.‭ ‬Apple says that’s a big no-no.‭ ‬And I have met a few developers that wanted to be sure there stuff didn’t make the Big Cat based OS users strike out with claws of anger.

It also can be a life saver to firms that are locked to DOS based products,‭ ‬often found in embedded applications such as PBX and elevator controls.‭ ‬Yes,‭ ‬there is the openDOS project for that,‭ ‬however that is another topic for another time.‭

The bottom line is no matter what your host OS wants or needs are,‭ ‬VB is the ideal platform to get started‭ (‬and maybe stay with‭) ‬the VM game.‭ ‬Debian users just query Virtual Box in synaptic package management.‭ ‬Be sure to add fuse if your going to make BSD or FAT/NTFS based images.‭ ‬RPM folk look for a yum load.‭

Windows‭ (‬W2K or‭ >) ‬and Big Cat‭ (‬Mac OSX‭) ‬people should visit https://www.virtualbox.org‭

Article by Tcat Houser editor-in-chief of TRCBNews.com

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