VirtualBox & More
Presented to SCOUG March, 2008
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
rather than at virtualbox.org itself, which does not even seem to
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
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
links at the
site are all dead or
abandoned, unless you like to torrent. An alternate download site I
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
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
Some interesting comments on gOS can be found at
Help with 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
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
This all makes me wonder if there will eventually be a 2.0 edition
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
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