CyberTech Rambler

July 10, 2006

Ed Bott’s trouble with VM (Updated 2000 GMT)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 4:02 pm

Ed Bott of ZDNet has a lot of problems installing Linux on his machine. However, the pain might just be unnecessary as he tries to install Linux using a Virtual Machine.

He tried to use this as an example of how unfriendly a Linux installation, or more specifically a Ubuntu installation is. In fact, he went out of the way to point out he tried this because he gets comments saying Linux is ready for the mainstream.

Except that, the struggles he documented are problems he has with his Virtual Machine, not Linux. The problem he describe is his virtual machine did not have the proper driver install or is supplying Ubuntu with the wrong information about his computer’s setup. If this were a blog to complain about the Virtual Machine not supporting Linux properly, it will pass with flying colours.

The rest of the article is a derogatory comments about Linux. Reading this article given me the impression that he has an axe to grind from the beginning. Not being able to figure out and discounting Virtual Machine to me is simply bad tech blog writing. I certainly hope that he is overqualifing himself as a “moderately experienced Windows user”.

He says Linux installation is as difficult as installing Windows Vista Beta. He meant it as a derogatary remark since the Linux distribution he use is “Release” quality but Windows Vista is “Beta” quality. However, a closer inspection shows that he meant the experience of installing both is the same AFTER taking into consideration his installation experience is severely degraded by his problems with his VM machine. This implies that Ubuntu installation process is at least approaching that of Windows. A actual plus for Ubuntu.

One last jab: Why not he put the CD in and try Ubuntu as a “Live” CD. This will easily demonstrate whether is it his VM that is not up to the job or is it really Ubuntu that is the problem. All these at no risk to his computer.
Dear Mr Bott, save yourself the trouble of trying Linspire to test commercial distribution coz it is not worth the paper you write on. First of all, your problems are likely to be VM related. Go blame your VM vendor. Then there is the problem of why choose Linspire and not any of the mainstream commercial distribution?

(Update) In an answer to a comment saying that what he is doing is not what a typical user will do, Ed Bott conceded that he is running a PC “manufacturered” by his Virtual Machine software. He use this to argue that his Virtual Machine represents the typical user’s PC. He knows it is an emulation, which is the crux of the arguement against using a Virtual Machine to test any installation. When things have have to be “emulated”, it is not a true representation of the underlying hardware, in particular, his Virtual Machine vendor has to understand and emulate how each Operating System reacts with the hardware. His vendor uses the hypervisor system that aims to throw as much operation to the hardware as possible, but it is not possible to do this for all possible operation. Thus, the vendor have to target the VM at individual operating systems. His problem with video configuration for example, is a good example of what problem a VM can throws at it user. His title is “You do not understand VMWare” actually demonstrate that he, Ed Bott, does not understand VMWare, not the original poster.


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