The new quad core – Linux virtualization

Being a linux guy, my system requirements for day to day tasks and even gaming aren’t huge. Plus most of my gaming is on the Xbox360 anyway. As I’ve previously mentioned here the most system intensive thing I do is virtualization. That was what made me finally upgrade. My Virtual machines were seemingly getting slower and slower. At the point I could no longer get everything I wanted done with reasonable speed, it was time to upgrade. My primary pc wasn’t the last one I bought but it was the last one I spent any real time or money on. It’s not much now, just an AMD 64bit athlon a couple gigs of ram, decent HDs and a Nvidia graphics card, nice mobo too. It’s being repurposed and will end up in my server room, doing… something.

I’ve been playing with this new pc for a week or two and finally have everything where I want it (till fedora 10 comes out). I did put on a dual boot of windows vista 64bit but I’ve only booted into it once, it’ll be going away soon.

I must do a bit of bragging though. (sorry, that’s the purpose of this post).

For server virtualization I use the Xen kernel (on headless machines). On desktop installs I use (and love) VirtualBox. VirtualBox is like VMware, Parrells or any other virtual machine server, except it’s free and thus I like it better. Almost all of my virtual work is for testing software, testing networks, testing operating systems, testing and documenting install processes, etc. But, I do have one virtual machine that I use on a near daily basis.

I can do everything I need to do on a regular basis in linux. But, not always the way I want to do it. My guilty pleasure virtual machine is stock windows XP pro install. Though I’m not sure I’d ever call running windows a pleasure. But I do use it. There are currently two programs that I prefer to use windows for. Both have similar software packages in linux, but just aren’t the same.

1) Ham Radio Deluxe – HRD is a ham radio control suite. I’ve successfully installed and used 99% of it on linux using wine. but there is one subset of it that I can’t get to work correctly. Digital Master 780, a digital communication program for ham radio. There are linux programs that’ll do psk31 and other digital modes, but I love DM780 and more specificly it’s psk propagation reporter feature.

2) Digital Photo Professional – this is the real kicker. I shoot all my photos in raw and do the first pass process everything via Canon’s Digital Photo Professional. Once the first pass is done I can use photoshop in linux with no problem or Gimp which is getting better and better by the day. I can install and run DPP on linux using wine but there are a couple of small issues which for a long processing session add up to be large issues. There are also RAW processing alternatives for linux some of which are really nice but I can’t get quite the workflow I get from DPP.

For these two reasons I use a windows XP virtualbox.

So back to my bragging. This new computer I built… with the newest virtualbox… boots my windows XP install in around 10-14 seconds from the moment I press the button. 🙂 Hit full screen and you can’t tell you’re on a virtual system.

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