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Ease of DSL Installation

Virtual PC continued to install DSL, and all virtualized hardware items it provided were recognized by DSL. I can run a 700MB instance that's responsive and easily expanded through the use of apt or via the GUI tool synaptic.

On the other hand, VMware was unable to boot DSL reliably. If it did boot, the DSL hard drive installation process abended (abnormally ended) at odd inconsistent points, and VMware itself abended. It would consume increasingly massive amounts of memory. Regaining control required a forced power-down.

I tried fiddling with the myriad VMware options, but nothing worked. I tried to build an IDE disk instead of using a SCSI disk. I found no option for this approach. Not sure why the wizard built a SCSI disk—actually, there are many options I'm not sure about. I didn't see a disk "wizard" like Virtual PC's that would let me do what I wanted or allow me to get to the configuration options more directly.

In VMware's defense, it has many Linux templates set up for several popular distributions. Going to these flavors would require a lot more hard disk gigabytes per instance, though, which gets a bit trying on an 80GB hard drive used for security video production. I've set up White Box Linux quite well with both products, but that's overkill for my needs.

I wish I could report that Virtual PC is the perfect match, but it isn't. USB drives are only mountable directly if you install the Additions package. The Additions package doesn't support Linux directly. There is a workaround of sorts, but only if the virtual instances are configured to network with each other. The physical Windows instance will share out the USB drive as a shared drive. The DSL instance will use SAMBA to mount the drive. It's a lot like my car—it works, but it ain't pretty.

Oddly enough, Virtual PC's Additions package supports the world's worst brain-dead operating system, OS/2, an OS that became DOA in the face of the vastly superior Windows and Windows NT. My only hope is a recent announcement indicating that Virtual PC will support Linux installations more directly.

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