(?) Virtual LINUX

From Imrahil O'Belalas

Answered By Dan Wilder, Rick Moen, Jim Dennis, Heather Stern, Huibert Alblas, Jason Creighton, Jimmy O'Regan, Ben Okopnik

>Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

(!) [Heather] eeek! I hate stomping out all these little extra = and =2E thingies :( Unless, of course, you're really defending some foreign letterset from destruction by mail programs. Then it's kinda useful.
Don't do this. Here's how not to: http://expita.com/nomime.html#outlook5

(!) Dear Sir,

(!) [Heather] We're "The Answer Gang" :D We answer Linux questions, and crossover stuff like this is cool too.

(?) I'm using Windows XP Pro on my home workstation. Which 3rd party applications would allow loading & "running" Redhat8 from RAM as a virtual machine? If none which 3rd party applications might emulate Redhat8? Are any shareware (freeware)?

(!) [Heather] RedHat 8 fits in RAM? Wow. I want your computer. It must be really expensive. No wonder you can't afford more commercial software for it ;P I'll translate that as "need to run Linux without ruining my copy of Windows", hope that's ok.

(?) I'm studying network security and need to run or emulate Redhat8 on XP (preferably without partitioning NTFS for dual boot) to pass the tests.

(!) [Heather] Ok, that clarifies why you want to make sure it's Red Hat that you run. The instructor wants it?
They don't have their own live-CD as far as I can tell, but somebody put some extra effort into basing one off of a Red hat 7.3 distro - perhaps that will be close enough. Or maybe the live flavor isn't handy because RH just released 9, and haven't finished up a demo disk yet. Who knows. Anyways, you can try this one: http://sourceforge.net/projects/emergencycd2
If you really just need a Linux of some sort and your instructor was thinking of RedHat because it's the only distro he knows, perhaps you'd like one of the flavors which can install into your Windows disk space without repartitioning. Look at http://old.lwn.net/Distributions under the heading "DOS/Windows install".
Or, it can be noted that while RedHat really soaks up the disk space on older hardware, is someone has a paperweight computer around, you could boot it off of one of the many floppy based distros easily. Nearly all Linux flavors have similar networking abilities, though only the fancier ones will have cool stuff like samba support.
I hope the extra stuff below is helpful too, and makes your road to network techieness a little more fun.
(!) [Dan] Vmware
But it'd be a lot cheaper, not to mention faster, to purchase a spare hard drive and install Red Hat on it.
(!) [Rick] As Dan Wilder points out, you may have asked the wrong question.
(!) [Heather] While I agree with the guys that it seems like you may be looking for the opposite answer, I'm gonna go out on a limb and answer the question you actually posed. It's probably overkill, but heck, we specialize in that around here :) Mostly 'cuz the juiciest bits get pubbed in Linux Gazette for the world to read. So forgive me if I shoot off on a few tangents.
(and for some repeated info, as a few of these products can live in Windows, carrying Linux on their shoulders, or the other way around.)
The company "VMware" makes a reasonably good virtual machine product. I haven't kept track of whether they can run in winXP as the host yet but it seems likely. 'Course they sell their host for Linux, as well, and you would be able to host MSwin or many other OS' under that. It may interfere with MS' nefarious plans for your computer a little, but it's really great for rolling back the damage from any virii that come after you. They do have a trial edition, at least, so I guess that counts as shareware: http://www.vmware.com
...Brief pause while I check whether winXP has joined their extensive list of OS' that can be successfully hosted this way. My own experience shows that win98 can be hosted just fine - but it runs a little slower under this emulation, than the apps themselves do under WINE's direct binary support for MSwin apps. Not that this is perfect mind you, but it's gotten pretty damn good, and there's a handful of commercial vendors helping give WINE a booster shot if you need that. http://www.winehq.com and boatloads of useful links from Rick, below.
Oh yeah, VMWare's current Workstation product can host all that stuff:
Wow, they've got an SMP edition now too, that is, where the fake PC you get is an SMP box. Scary.
(!) [Halb] It is not free ( costs about $300 ) but a 30 day fully working demo is availble. It emulates a harddisk, networkcard, SVGA card, in short a whole PC. But unlike BOCHS it does not emulate the CPU.
I doubt that you will be able to run VMware with a 2 Gig harddisk completely from ram, but I doubt that you meant running the _complete OS from RAM anayway.
(!) [Heather] 'Course if you were asking this from the point of view of a Macintosh user I'd have to recommend VirtualPC. (warning: Connectix' website isn't clean if you're not running javascript. Dratted bogus redirectors. Grrrrrr.) Doesn't look like they do a Linux edition, but they have it for Windows(tm) too: http://www.connectix.com/products/vpc5w.html
(!) [Jimmy] They have a free trial. I've used it. It's quite nice.
(!) [Heather] At least last time I looked at it 'twas a bit better at hosting Linux than SoftWindows, its competitor, was. Heh, back in our own issue 32 someone asked The Answer Guy if there was a Linux port of it. Well, it looks like Insignia went and sold that off to somebody else, so if someone out there with a PowerMac wants RealPC look for the current vendor: http://www.fwb.com/html/realpc.html
If I believe this news item (http://www.nwfusion.com/newsletters/servers/2003/0303server2.html) then Microsoft is in the process of purchasing either Connectix, or at least its virtual machine stuff. I hope they don't screw up a decent product. It did mention one more commercial competitor though, SW-soft. Their "Virtuozzo" looks like it's on way too grand a scale for what you need to do. I doubt they have much to fear from MS: http://www.sw-soft.com/en/products/virtuozzo
However, you wanted something free as in bucks. Or cheap anyway. I can assure you these vendors have put some effort into the goodies, but let's look at that.
Frankly, TUCOWS is a much better place to look for MSwin shareware than the linux-questions-only folks: http://www.tucows.com
Normally I'd leave you to your own homework there, but I'm curious if anything new has cropped up that would let the MSwin-bound run Linux. Unfortunately surfing their site has become more painful than it used to be; I seem to recall being able to find small product blurbs, on the order of the paragraph or two found at freshmeat for projects listed there. Even one-liners would have been nice. I mourn the demise of more pleasant interfaces like the "program manager" style icon map that winfiles.com used to have before zdnet inhaled them. Hitting up Google for the "windows virtual download" idea finds me an easier to use shareware trove - maybe you'll find it handy. I didn't find more virtual machines there, but I stopped looking after awhile. At least this one's search widget looks in the descriptions as well as titles: http://www.sofotex.com
Linux, of course, is free if you want to spend some time downloading it, or pretty darn cheap if you choose the right place to buy your ISOs and don't need a manual. So perhaps we can look at virtual-machine projects under Linux.
For Linux under Linux, there's User Mode Linux, usually abbreviated to UML. A few of the folk on the lnx-bbc project use it to test the builds. Looking for it via Google! finds me both http://user-mode-linux.sourceforge.net (hey cool! It's available as debian packages :) Even better, this page has a lot more content and organization than most SourceForge hosted sites) and http://usermodelinux.org (a PHP-nuke community board, looks like it's got lots of juicy links too). Also, the white paper "Know Your Enemy: Learning with User-Mode Linux" at http://project.honeynet.org/papers/uml might serve as a nice quick Howto for getting it spun up and useful.
See Nick Webwer's article this issue about UML. -- Heather
(!) [Heather] Maybe some of the free and opensource projects listed on Freshmeat will work on MSwin environments too? Well, what the heck, can't hurt to look. Both this and a search on TUCOWS for "virtual machine" are likely to hit a few extra links for Java stuff, numerous other OS emulators, and some bytecode-modelled programming environs. Oh well, comes with the buzzword...
Wow. I didn't know there was a liveCD flavor of Linux for hosting UML sessions - the ADIOS project. That's more like it: http://dc.qut.edu.au/adios
While I'm tipping my hat to the Mac folk there's a virtual-machine for running MacOS under Linux/PPC. Basically it seems to be a shim allowing access back to the Mac hardware so you can run another OS ... even more flavors of Linux/PPC, if you like: http://www.maconlinux.org
The analogous project for the PC-compatible platform is currently named Plex86, used to be called FreeMWare. Of course GNU's savannah project is roughly similar to SourceForge, so if a project doesn't wanna make it easy to find their FAQ or other docs, you'll have to thrash around on your own. Anyways it looks like their win32 port isn't terribly useful yet: http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/plex86
(!) [Jimmy] A patch is available (http://savannah.nongnu.org/patch/?func=detailpatch&patch_id=238&group_id=869) which allows you to use it as an NT host, but AFAICT you'll need Visual C++ to compile it.
(!) [Heather] The folks there recommend "bochs" for emulating a 32-bit PC on non-PC hardware. (I know, they haven't made Windows for non-PC hardware in a coon's age. Oh well.) As far as I know bochs runs on PCs also, so that might very well do the trick. http://bochs.sourceforge.net
It seems likely that it would be much easier to set yourself up with a runs-from-CD setup, if you want it in RAM simply 'cuz you don't want to ruin a local hard disk while experimenting a little. Many Linux vendors offer "live CD" editions of their stuff to whet your whistle. I can't blame you for asking us, since my own quick glance around their website doesn't seem to reveal Red Hat as one of them.

(!) [Rick] ...how to preserve access to the few legacy proprietary Win32 applications...
(!) [Jason] It's interesting you should mention this, I was just thinking about legacy applications for Linux the other day.
(!) [Rick] Once or twice, just to make sure it can be done, I dig out a source tarball from the vanished world of 1992 Linux, and see if it can be still made to compile and run. The answer is usually "You bet". 11 years of compatibility is pretty good, esecially given that the OS was brand-new back then.
(!) [Ben] Interesting; seems we have a habit in common. I do that myself, occasionally.
I've managed to compile - with either no or minimum tweaking - stuff that K&R wrote way back (found it on the web page where one of them is reminiscing about the Good Old Days.) It's been a few years, but I still remember being pleasantly shocked.
(!) [Jimmy] Maybe you two would be interested in this: http://www.southern-storm.com.au/v7upgrade.html
- a project to make Unix V7 work on Linux
(!) [Rick] Hey, cool! I'll have to install it, fire up teco, and UUCP you some mail about it.
(!) [Ben] Pardon me, I'll just go to the corner and retch quietly...
(Great Ghu, what a sick idea. Worse yet, there's a "teco.el" for Emacs... talk about coming full circle.)
(!) [Heather] I'm afraid I have to take full blame for that one. I asked RMS if the original macros worked under the teco emulator for emacs. He was suddenly just like a little kid -- he just had to know where he could get it, was it free, would they enjoy joining the gnu project, would...
I had to slow him down enough to say that I'd heard of it so I just wondered. I figured he probably had the originals around for old times' sake. He later made sure it got into the standard emacs distro somehow. And yes, he said... they do.
Now that is full circle. Or maybe full toroid. Hmm, donuts...
(!) [Heather] Well, only almost full blame. I didn't write it, I just enabled it to delight/torture/confuse an unsuspecting modern emacs audience.
(!) [Jimmy] I found the sources of the original teco (along with the sources of ITS - Great Gnu indeed!) somewhere, but misplaced the link.
(!) [Rick] Just remember the magic word: "Retrocomputing"! http://www.pdc.kth.se/~jas/retro/retromuseum.html
I personally think that making a teco with ANSI terminal support is cheating, robbing you of that cutting-edge ASR33 experience. (I suppose it would be arch to exclaim "curses!" at this point.)
Kids, these days! Spoiled rotten with their fancy gnome-teco contraptions, I say. The terminal that's not terminal makes you stronger.
(!) [Jimmy] The sources of IBMs OS/360 are out there too - AFAICT in the public domain, because they were published without a copyright notice before some law came into effect.
(!) [Rick] USA copyright law was amended in 1978, to comply with treaty, removing the prior requirement of copyright notices. Until that point, it was possible to lose copyright through omitting notice. _Starting 1978, covered works became subject to automatic copyrigh -- under proprietary terms by default.
Typically, binary-only applications have almost the same longevity of backwards compatibility, if you take care to furnish old support libs (http://linuxmafia.com/wpfaq/downloadwp8.html#FIX 8), and both source and binary interfaces have if anything standardised.
And this (along with adherence to public standards and documented interfaces) is why we tell people that Linux can help them escape the forced-upgrade treadmill.
(!) [Jason] If/When the next big open source OS comes along (Supposing it isn't a UNIX. If it was, we'd just recompile everything.), we really don't have to worry about supporting our old Linux apps on it as long as it has a terminal emulator and an X11 implementation. Then you could just set up a Linux PC specifically to run programs for other computers on the network.
(!) [Jimmy] You probably wouldn't even need that - Next Big Thing OS would probably have a Unix compatibility layer a la Cygwin written for it. There's already a linux emulator for Cygwin (LINE - http://line.sourceforge.net) and for SysV (LxRun - http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~steven/lxrun) as well as the in-kernel stuff that the BSDs have. And you can assume that Bochs and VNC will be ported to this OS.
(!) [JimD] It's possible that the next major non-UNIX OS to take a look at would be EROS. It has a vitally different security model from that of UNIX - a true capabilities system, of which the "privs" in the latest linux kernels are a mere shot in the right direction, and where virtual spaces are part of the basic environment. (http://www.eros-os.org)
(!) [Jason] I'm hoping, that as Microsoft's market share slips, they'll actually have to make their OS compatible with other OSes. Windows 2000 uses Kerberos for network security. Of course, they had to add their own extensions to it, but still, when Microsoft is using a standard protocol, you know something is up.

(!) [Rick] I'm actually more used to answering the reverse question of yours, that of how to preserve access to the few legacy proprietary Win32 applications one might still need after upgrading to Linux.
Accordingly, my stock answer to _that question follows, and you may be able to use some of its suggestions despite your through-the-looking-glass perspective on the problem. E.g., you could use the Win32 version of VMware, running RH9 within its virtual session.
The text below is cited from my WordPerfect on Linux FAQ (http://linuxmafia.com/wpfaq/future.html#ALTERNATIVESWIN32):
8.6. What alternatives to WP exist involving Win32 apps on Linux?
Such alternatives are outside the scope of this document, but include
  1. the numerous ways of running Win32 applications on Linux in some
%-% -) VMware, Inc.'s VMware, http://www.vmware.com (simulation in a virtual environment of a particular theoretical x86 box's hardware, which then can boot various OSes including Win9x/ME/NT/2k/XP within the emulated environment, necessitating a copy of that OS, as well),
-) NeTraverse's Win4Lin, http://www.netraverse.com (an MS-Windows 9x/ME emulation environment for x86 Linux, requiring a copy of MS-Windows 9x/ME to work)
-) WINE, http://www.winehq.com (an LGPLed library and program loader implementing on x86 Unixes the Win32 and Win16 application interfaces)
-) ReWind, http://rewind.sourceforge.net (an MIT/X11-licensed fork of an earlier WINE release),
-) CodeWeavers's Crossover Office, http://www.codeweavers.com/products/office (WINE with some extra support for MS Office applications)
-) CodeWeavers's Wine Preview, http://www.codeweavers.com/technology/wine (an MIT/X11-licensed variant of an earlier WINE release tweaked for stability, and with an improved installer)
-) CodeWeavers's Crossover Plugin, http://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover (WINE variant for x86 Linux to support Web browser plugins such as QuickTime)
-) TransGaming Technologies, Inc.'s WineX, http://www.transgaming.com (another WINE extension for x86 Linux, with enhanced DirectX support, primarily for 3D games)
-) the Bochs Project's Bochs, http://bochs.sourceforge.net (software environment for any CPU family emulating an entire x86 CPU, common I/O devices, and BIOS),
-) and Drew Northup's Plex86, http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/plex86 (software environment emulating on x86 a virtual x86 session),... %-%
  1. the numerous ways of remotely running Win32 applications from
I maintain a listing (http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/linux-info/vnc-and-alternatives) of options in the latter category.

(?) Thank you all for your answers to my question. I actually do appreciate the time most of you took to give me alot of information. To answer some of your questions: Yes I do have an expensive machine. I've an 80GB HDD partitioned NTFS so, although I have the space, I'm not going to repartition to install LINUX nor buy another HDD. I've 512MB of RDRAM with 566MHZ FSB & a 2.27GHz P4. (Yes, I'm a hardware geek). I can understand your pro LINUX position but frankly, hardening the security of a server from the command line is difficult, but you can't beat free, now can you?

Anyway heartfelt thanks for your time and effort.

Imrahil O'Belalas

Copyright © 2003
Copying license http://www.linuxgazette.net/copying.html
Published in Issue 90 of Linux Gazette, May 2003
HTML script maintained by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

[ Table Of Contents ][ Answer Guy Current Index ] greetings   Meet the Gang   1   2 [ Index of Past Answers ]