Saturday, April 3, 2010

Modern computers, VMWare, and OS joy

My development machine at my day job is quite amply provisioned with the two resources that no programmer ever gets enough of: memory (8Gb) and disk (2Tb). I've been periodically checking the display that shows my overall usage of disk space, waiting for the gauge to think that I've used enough disk space to be worthy of mention. With 2Tb, that may take a while...

But one wonderful thing that can be done with a computer like this is to run VMWare. Specifically, I have VMWare Fusion 3 on my Mac. It's hard to overstate what an amazing piece of software VMWare is.

So I've been building additional virtual machines, since programmers (especially programmers like me) love to have as many operating systems available to them as possible.

So far, I've got a fairly short list:

  • Mac OS X (Snow Leopard)

  • Windows 7 (64 bit)

  • Ubuntu 9.1 (32 bit)

  • Open Solaris 2009.6

I'm confused by OpenSolaris version numbering: am I running OpenSolaris 9? Or 10? VMWare Fusion considers OpenSolaris 9 to be "experimental" while it thinks version 10 is "stable". However, when I actually boot the OpenSolaris VM, it seems to think I'm running version 5. Hmmm... Much more to learn about OpenSolaris.

Meanwhile, the question is, what to install next?

I'm intending to install FreeBSD version 8 next week, partly at the suggestion of my co-worker, who feels that there is a lot to learn from the FreeBSD implementations of various OS-level behaviors (networking, memory management, etc.).

Here's the current list of supported guest operating systems. It seems kind of old to me, but there are definitely some ideas here.

What about Chrome OS? What is involved in getting it running under VMWare Fusion? I see a few intriguing blog posts, but it all still looks a bit sketchy.

Of course, you could say that 5 operating systems ought to be enough for now, and I think you're right. But if you know of other operating systems I should take out for a spin, drop me a line!

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