Friday, May 25, 2007

Ubuntu, VMware, Windows - the ultimate laptop?

OK, for work I have a new Lenovo T60 (IBM Thinkpad) 15.4" widescreen with 60GB HD, 3GB of RAM and an Intel Core2 T7200 chip at 2.0Ghz. Needless to say, it is a very nice laptop. So, the question is, what do I run on it? Normally this would never come up, install Windows Vista and be done with it. But two of my colleagues run Ubuntu and I felt it was time to learn something new again. So, I have Ubuntu up and running (7.04 - feisty) and I have installed VMware Workstation 6.0 on it. I have built a VM for Windows XP Pro and will be building another for Windows Vista (I am thinking of doing Windows Server 2003 also).
At this point I have gotten everything working that I expected. I have been very impressed with the performance and ease of use of Ubuntu and how robust the feature are compared with Windows.
There are still a ton of special apps I need on Windows but that is the point of the VM - I don't have to give it up yet. Also, I get to run XP in a full sized window on one screen while still being able to switch screens to my Linux environment.
I think for a lot of folks it is time to check out some of the Linux distros again and see if one works for you. They have gotten more and more desktop friendly and the ease of upgrade and management is very remarkable (especially in light of what it was at a few years ago).
Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend - my hats off to all those who have served our country.
- Ed


moon said...

I'm interested in a similar setup, i.e. Win XP running in VMWare, running on Ubuntu. I have a year+ old T43 and have just been using the standard Win XP install. I'm ready for a change though.

Did you backup your Windows system, and then restore that into your VM? If so, what has your experience been with all of the customized IBM software tools running under VMWare? Does the fingerprint reader still log you on to Windows? Does the Fn-F5 still turn on and off your WiFi and Bluetooth radios? Does the active disk protection system still try to stop the disk? There are some of those IBM programs that run the hardware, and I would assume they wouldn't work, because Ubuntu would take care of that.

Also, did you worry much about the Rescue and Recovery partition, or did you just blow it away?

I don't want to jump in head first and do something irreversible and find out I'm not happy with it.

Thanks for your help.

Howfunky said...

Sorry for such a delay in response. I had a T43 but didn't feel it had the horse power to run XP as a VM for day to day use. That is why I moved up to the T60. If you are only looking to run XP occasionally then the T43 will be fine.
The custom tools I don't bother running in VMware. I use the Ubuntu tools for managing things in linux and then pass through network interfaces to the XP image so it really can't do much except what I tell it to do through Ubuntu.
I blew away everything to maximize the drive space. You can leave it there if you decide to roll back to XP as the main OS you still have the functions available through it.
I haven't looked back, I have been using this for several months now and I can only think of one time that I wished I had XP or Vista natively.
- Ed

David Vazquez said...

Hello there I have a Dell Latitude D620 same specs and have my dual boot for XP and Ubuntu working fine, haven't actually tried running VMWare on Ubuntu although i run Citrix (no big deal), I´ve tried it on XP and works so so, not really fast, I'm gonna give it a try from Ubuntu.

Brad Smith said...

By far the *COOLEST* thing about the T60/T61p is the size. I didn't want to fit it in my new Peak IP messenger bag anyway... ;-)

Anonymous said...

I run Ubuntu 8.04 with Virtualbox 1.62 which runs a built from scratch Windows XP SP2 VM. The best thing is that Virtualbox allows you to run the XP as "Seamless" which means I can run Windows based applications in Ubuntu as opposed to an XP desktop. I began with a VMware converted version of my work XP machine [Virtualbox reads vmdk files] but I got much better performance when I rebuilt the XP VM from scratch in Virtualbox.