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Is one of many questions that you’re likely to hear from us if you’re an operating system purveyor or evangelist. Or if, like Zimbra, your build process is prohibitively complicated.

Obsessed as we tend to be at RedMonk with lowering barriers to entry, this is perhaps an overdue request. We’re certainly not unfamiliar with VMWare over here, having used it ourselves in the past with experiences positive (Windows on top of Linux) and not so much (a vmware-player .deb completely hosed my Ubuntu instance a while back). But with Cote and I both now up and running with VMWare, that’ll probably be our default testing platform for the foreseeable future (Michael Dolan‘s pointer to these awards notwithstanding).

As much as I enjoy installing and running operating systems – and I’m just gone enough to enjoy it quite a bit, it takes too damn long. Plus, I only have so many free machines back at the office – and none here in the summer office, with a mere two laptops and workstation.

So this week I finally got around to using drake for the purpose I’d originally envisioned: virtualization testing platform. VMWare Workstation 6 – which Sarah Shvil and the folks from VMWare were kind enough to get me a comped license for – installed on Ubuntu Feisty with very little complaint.

Unfortunately, Workstation wasn’t able to power on any of the images I brought down (Fedora Core 7, Nexenta Alpha 6, etc), kicking out a “Unable to change virtual machine power state: Failed to connect to peer process” error. Fortunately a quick Google turned up this thread, and sure enough a quick “apt-get install ia32-libs” fixed the problem. From there I was off and running – pulling down images from here, among other locations.

Anyhow, we’ll have more for you on some recommendations for lowering barriers to entry next week, but in the meantime might I suggest a VMWare image? Will make it far easier for me to take a look.


  1. I’ve been doing a bit more OS installation lately than I thought I would, but finally got Ubuntu Feisty (desktop) running OK on the old clunker next to me. One of these days I’ll get me a decent box for Linux, and when I do, VMWare or XEN will get a guernsey …

  2. Don’t forget VMware Server is also free (as in beer) now – no need for Workstation for the budget conscious. If you add the Ubuntu commercial repo you can literally apt-get install vmware and get it.

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