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Thread: Simultaneous Windows and Linux with VMware

  1. #1
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    Simultaneous Windows and Linux with VMware

    OK maybe this is a pipe dream... but work a lot with VMware and I've been wondering if there is a place for this in the CarPC?

    Imagine if you will, a minimal bare-bones Linux (read: fast) host O/S, running (free!) VMware workstation with two guest O/S' loaded: Say WinXP and Ubuntu or a different car-friendly Linux distro. For those that don't know VMware, all guest O/S' run concurrently. You can switch between them (almost) as easily as ALT-TABing between Windows apps.

    Now, there are loads of issues with something like this. Like which O/S is bound to which USB devices, for example. Also, the guest O/S' (Windows and Linux) need to use separate partitions to avoid corrupting data and creating a rip in your CarPC's space-time-continuum.

    Just thought I'd throw it out there.

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    justchat_1's Avatar
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    why?

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    And then I was mod. Tidder's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are describing VMWare's ESX (or free ESXi) server. I see no benefit to this at all, but interested to hear why you think this is a good idea.

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    Mostly because I like Linux - blazing fast startup/shutdown, it's free, open source, and cool (in a geeky sort of way)

    But I hear that the Windows frontends are nicer looking and more feature-rich, however I have not built my CarPC yet, so I don't know.

    I suspect that what happens to me with my home PC will happen with this one. I will use Linux most of the time, but now and then I'll find some app that is Windows-only and I'll have to use Windows. What I do at home is run VMware with a Linux and a Windows guest O/S. I have dual monitors (one O/S on each, maximized) so I literally have both in front of me. I can move the mouse from one to the other seamlessly --- although of course there's no dragging objects from one to the other.

    I think it might be very handy to have in the early stages, when I'm experimenting with the various apps and choosing an O/S and a FE. I suspect that I'm going to run into all kinds of driver issues under Linux, with GPS, sound cards, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. In which case I might get pushed into Windows. Either way I expect I'll be spending a lot of time in this forum over the next year

  5. #5
    And then I was mod. Tidder's Avatar
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    Wait, so at home you load up a linux box, then vmware on top of that, then another linux VM box on top of that? Seems kinda... crazy to me.
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    Timbo, I'm also an avid VMWare user; I use it all day at work and on all my systems at home. I can think of plenty of instances where this would be a benefit. The first scenario that comes to mind is the ability to have one system that runs multiple terminals throughout a vehicle (i.e. run a primary dashboard system and an independent interface for two headrest monitors each with its own inputs/OS instance). Another would be if a linux/unix-based front end was desired but certain accessories were windows only; you could easily drive the accessory with a windows host OS and script network based-access from the front-end running in a virtual machine. I guess the only catch is that you have to have a decently powerful system to drive it or really lightweight virtual machines.

  7. #7
    And then I was mod. Tidder's Avatar
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    Not to mention hardware acceleration will be severely lacking for all kinds of uses...

    I can see a lot of issues with today's current state of virtualization. Maybe this will be a viable solution in a few years.
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    You will need a far more powerful (and expensive and power hungry) system then you described to run 3 OSs at once. You can forget an atom.

    I use VMWare quite a bit for work and development but it has no place in a car. Startup/shutdown times are going to be 2-4x slower then either OS on its own. VMs are terrible at sharing external hardware (they don't-you can only map external devices to one VM) and would have 0 advantages in a car. I suggest looking through the forums, and planning out your software before you buy hardware that won't work or will be overkill for your final setup.

    Oh and you can have independent zones without the overhead of 2 entire OSs...

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    first, ask yourself if you really need windows or any of the purported features the windows frontends have. Then try out LinuxICE and see if it meets your needs. If not, slap OM on top of LinuxICE or your favorite distro. If that isn't pretty enough or doesn't have feature X that you really want, load up windows and suffer through windows and CF's abysmal startup times like the rest of us.
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  10. #10
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    All good points. Agreed, right now VMware has no place in the "final deployment" in a car. But it might be helpful during tweaking & app eval. Of course, I suspect that I may *always* be in a tweaking/eval mode....

    On another note, does anyone use a small, cheap SSD (like 20-30Gb) for the O/S to attain fast startup, and put media on any old traditional drive?

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