[CoLoCo] Ubuntu feature question

Kevin Fries kfries at cctus.com
Thu Sep 10 16:11:24 BST 2009

I agree with everything that Ian says, but would like to add on to that.

Sometimes programs are written in a very sloppy way.  This practice is common in the Windows arena.  Many of these programs to not have a Linux equivalent (heck, if a programmer does not follow Microsoft's lax rules, what makes you think they would follow Linux's must stricter ones), and do not work correctly in Wine (can anybody say Visio... I knew you could).  For those programs I generally run VirtualBox from Sun Microsystems.  VBox has some very neat features.  One is called seamless mode that allows the Windows VM to run without the window.  So, you get the Windows toolbar at the bottom of the screen, without the rest of the desktop.  As an example, this allows you to go "Start->Programs->My Badly written app" and have it run in a window on the screen along side all your Linux apps.  You can also configure VBox to use a directory on your Linux host, as a file share within you Windows guest.  Again, an example.  I create a folder in my home directory called ~/winfiles.  I then use the VBox console to say I want that shared with my Windows VM.  Next I run the windows vm and map the share to the L:.  Now anything stored in L: from a windows app, shows up in a folder in my home directory.  I do not share my home directory directly because I do not want bug or virus issues that Windows is so ripe with, to effect my well running Ubuntu desktop.  The last feature that I really like is that VBox allows you to run a VM directly from the command line.  I know, I know, your a Windows guy and say, "but I don't want to use the command line".  But hold on, if I can run it from the command line, I can also create a launcher on the Gnome desktop, and launch Windows, only when needed from a double click of an icon.  A Windows instance that runs in seemless mode, and shares files with my Linux host.

My recommendation is to use the full version from Sun despite not being "open" as its features are much better than the ODE version that comes in the Ubuntu repositories.   To do that is really easy.  
  $ sudo -i
  # echo 'deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian jaunty non-free' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list
  # chmod 644 /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list
  # wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | apt-key add -
  # apt-get update
  # sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.0
  # exit

That should do it.

(NOTE: be very careful running these commands, you spend time as root, and can do damage to your system.  Here is an explanation of the above commands.  First become root.  You want this file to be root owned, plus only root can write to the directory required as a security measure.   The second command adds the appropriate repository location to a file in the config directory.  Then we insure that only root can write to the file, but anyone can look at it.  Next, we add the key so that apt can verify packages are from the legitimate sources.  Once the config changes are done, you can add the new packages to the catalog of packages by doing an update [alternatively, you can go into Synaptic to do this and the next command].  After the packages have been refreshed, you should be able to install the latest version of VBox.  Finally, and I can not say this strongly enough... GET OUT OF ROOT MODE!!!)

And, coming from the Windows world, this may be foreign to you... But VirtualBox is free for personal use. :-D


Kevin Fries
Senior Linux Engineer
Computer and Communications Technology, Inc
A division of Japan Communications Inc
(303) 708-9228 x326
From: ubuntu-us-co-bounces at lists.ubuntu.com [ubuntu-us-co-bounces at lists.ubuntu.com] On Behalf Of Chomafin [chomafin at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2009 5:47 AM
To: Ubuntu Colorado Local Community Team
Subject: Re: [CoLoCo] Ubuntu feature question

Ubuntu, like most any distribution, supports wine which is an emulated windows environment. Find out more about it at http://www.winehq.org/about/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_%28software%29.  You can view the growing list of supported applications at http://appdb.winehq.org/. Keep in mind, for a lot of windows applications, there may be a *nix alternative already that runs native within Ubuntu.

Hope this helps.
- Ian

On Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 12:53 PM, Farjam Majd <farjam_majd at yahoo.com<mailto:farjam_majd at yahoo.com>> wrote:
I don't know if this is the right email, and sorry if I am spamming u.  I am new to linux and am doing some basic research about it.   does ubuntu support, (e.g., via VM or emulation or ...) exisiting windows programs? any such options available?  Plz let me know or point me to the right resources.


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