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Copyright 2019, Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group. OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA

March, 2008


VirtualBox & More

Presented to SCOUG March, 2008

by The Fox

Any demo by Jerry Rash is an event not to be missed, as the March 15 SCOUG meeting proved yet again. Jerry is our resident Multimedia Guru and Professor of Cool Hacks. He put the OS/2 - eCS port of Virtualbox through its paces for us. (Perhaps the best quick overview of this OS emulator is to be found at VirtualBox rather than at virtualbox.org itself, which does not even seem to mention OS/2. For those who may have missed the news, Sun Microsystems acquired Innotek -- the developer of Virtualbox -- fairly recently. Let us hope that is a good thing for our tribe, or at least not a bad thing.) Instead of spelunking in vain at the Virtualbox site, curious eCS users should head directly to Paul Smedley's OS/2 Ports to obtain a copy of the Host (Client) port for our platform. Of course, you would also need a Guest OS, such as XP or the Linux distro of your choice, in order to try it out.

If you recall the Serenity demo of SVISTA at SCOUG, about 3 or 4 years back, Jerry's demo made for some particularly interesting comparisons. SVISTA, our answer to Virtual PC, really wanted very fast iron with tons of RAM. The requirements of Virtualbox appear to be noticeably more modest. Among other things, Jerry had VBox emulating XP and XP apps inside of eCS, in order to stream YouTube video. That could make it a viable alternative to wherever project ODIN left off. And it seems there is a possibility of having VBox drive the hardware directly (not without certain risks . . .), which may lend capabilities never available under ODIN. On the downside, currently, is that some VBox pieces -- like sound support -- are not yet in place, though development is continuing. (We are indeed fortunate to have folks like Paul Smedley working on these projects.)

So, whadda ya want to drop into VBox, for emulation purposes, beyond the obvious ? Later in his presentation, Jerry mentioned the new gOS. The "g" is either for "green" or Google -- it links to some Google-related items -- depending on who you ask. One of the newer, said-to-be "more accessible"  Linux variants, it is based on Ubuntu 7.10, and I think Jerry said it made only modest demands on the hardware.

But "accessible" is always a rather relative term, when it comes to Linux and the uninitiated. Having previously fiddled a bit with things like Knoppix and eLive CDs, some -- like myself -- may find it kind of like being plunked down in the middle of Irkutsk, during a blizzard, with no map. The icons were tiny; couldn't find much, couldn't do much. It makes you appreciate the genius of the Workplace Shell interface all the more: just about anyone who used DOS / Win 3.x / Win 9x could find things they could do right away in OS/2, and begin picking up a lot of the rest without extreme difficulty.

In any case, you have to smile at the animated icons at the bottom of the gOS 2.0 desktop that balloon when you mouse-over them. Getting to that point may be a bit of a challenge, however. The download links at the Think gOS site are all dead or abandoned, unless you like to torrent. An alternate download site I found at pixelamigo seems to have an ISO that does not match up with its MD5 sum. Later, I read numerous reports online that this live CD just won't boot on most Award BIOSes (unfortunately, the most prevalent type), due to a bug in their build, which was my experience as well. If you like a challenge, there is an alternate build at gOS Rocket Linux 2.0 Ultimate Edition. The challenge comes from the fact that it is in the form of seven 100 meg. RAR pieces that you must download from Rapidshare, and then stitch back together yourself before you can burn it. This build is described as having a better applications lineup, and it will boot directly on an Award-based system. I ran it, managing to reach the internet with it by means of Firefox, one of a few included browsers. Later, I quickly managed to crash this Rocket, trying to do something else: "Enlightenment Error. This is very bad. Enlightenment SEGV'd.", etc. Yes, we could all use some enlightenment. Or, you could try the prior version at gOS 1.0.0

Some interesting comments on gOS can be found at Help with gOS and gOS: A lot of Buzz with no Substance.

Incidentally, one of the attractions of these Linux thingies is that they are "live" -- i.e., self-contained, not requiring any installation. After a couple of near-mishaps with other live Linuxes, I've gotten in the habit of unplugging the power to my hard drive(s) before running the cd, to rule out any chance that it may try to "play with them," adversely.

This all makes me wonder if there will eventually be a 2.0 edition of our own eCS Demo CD ? I certainly hope so. Anyway, thanks again to Jerry Rash for another intriguing presentation.


The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA

Copyright 2008 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group. OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.