Virtual Ubuntu

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Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 21 Mar 2013, 19:14

One of the reasons I upgraded my mother board was to improve the performance of the virtual machines I like to construct. In addition to doubling the address bus from 32 to 64 bits I increased the amount of RAM. I now have 16GB of the faster RAM around. My old system only had 4GB, and two of those had to be dedicated to the host system. Now I can allocate a full 12GB to virtual machines.

My first machine on this new system is Ubunto 12.04, the LTS distribution. I did a minimal install at first and was quite satisfied with the system response and download times. After a few days of that I decided to go all out. I upped the processor count and the RAM, installed the latest kernel, and fired it all up.

To say I was astounded is an understatement. The bulk of this Ubuntu VM is now running out of RAM instead of the virtual hard disk, which is part of my real hard disk file system. The improvement in system response is nothing less than dramatic. My virtual Ubuntu runs noticeably better than does the one I have on a dedicated hard drive of its own. I can't say why with certainty, but I believe it's all a result of the increased RAM.

I'm now thinking of ditching my traditional hard drives and replacing them with SSDs. :shock:
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 22 Mar 2013, 10:15

Hi Yogi - Many servers use SSD's for the speed, however, don't ditch the HHD's, they make great backup media!

I need to buy and use VM instead of VB, I only hear great things about it!

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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 22 Mar 2013, 11:39

VMware is the premium visualization software. It might be what you need, but I've not found VirtualBox to be incapable of doing anything I have to do. Plus, you can't beat the price. :grin:
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 23 Mar 2013, 12:36

Remember my old problem with VB? Can't expand the OS's partition!
They say the new one is expandable without many problems.
Trying to copy the Machine File to a new VB install, SHRINKS the partition back down again, so that didn't work.

I jokingly mentioned to a new computer store I have been considering switching to, that perhaps I should have them build me an 8 core computer with 8 gigs of memory. But I run no programs that can make use of more than one core at a time, and have no idea how to cluster anything. I about fell over when he said clustering would make things worse for me, as I need the separate cores, as each program I fire up, uses a different core. If one is in use, and another available, the bio's take care of making sure it uses a different core.
Don't know if he was pulling my leg or if he was accurate on this.
All of my computers are dual-core, not quad-core, because I was told the opposite by the other computer store.
Background stuff runs on one core, user stuff on one core, no matter how many cores you have available.
In the future, programs will divide themselves between cores, but not many do that at the present time.

Who to believe these days, with things changing so fast?

From my little experience with VB, I don't see a benefit to using it for anything other than running Windows and perhaps test Distro's I want to try out.

Yet I've talked to some folks who only install a light Linux OS, like Puppy Linux as the boot Distro, then they have everything else running in VB or VM, and a few have several OS's running at once. But they never give many details.
One lady said she has her web site running from VM using Mint, and even though she uses Ubuntu as her main desktop, Mint is still running in the background keeping the web site available 24/7. She has not said much more than that about her set-up, other than she has Windows XP, Win7, Debian, Ubuntu12, and Mint. Mint and Ubuntu are always running. WinXP only when she needs it for Win Only programs like QuickBooks.

Hey, I have a question. If the drivers are not available in XP for SATA ahci, if it is installed in VB, does that remove that issue, as VB is handling the file systems?

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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 23 Mar 2013, 16:31

Computer architecture is way ahead of software developers. The multi-core processors which are standard today are generally underused because the programmers don't write code for them. That was, and may still be, the case with Linux. They only used one core no matter what hardware you had. Same goes for 64 bit address and memory buses. From what I can tell the majority of programs out there are 32 bit while it's nearly impossible to buy a 32 bit machine new these days. Go figure.

I could be wrong on this, but I don't think cores of a processor are dedicated to a particular task. There may be conventions in the programming world, but a well designed program will split it's tasks equally among all the cores available. Maximum throughput is the idea there, but the clocks on most machines you can buy are so fast that it nearly doesn't matter how many cores you have. Unless you get into virtualization ...

Again, I claim no authority here, but I can tell you what I've observed. Keep in mind that each virtual machine is a self-contained computer. That is why you can run several different operating systems simultaneously. Running 4 different OSes in VirtualBox, for example, would be the equivilant of having 4 different computers running those same OSes, with one major difference. If you have enough RAM in your host system (8 GB would not be enough in this case) you can run 4 virtual machines FROM RAM. I can easily run Ubuntu with just 4GB of dedicated RAM. My old 32-bit system had 4GB but the VMs' performance was terrible because 2 of those 4 GB had to be used by the host OS. Now I have 16GB, which leaves 12GB for my virtual machines. If each OS actually used a full 4 GB, I could run 3 virtual machines simultaneously and they would all have better system response because they were running essentially out of RAM, not off a HDD. That is why I made the comment elsewhere that I'm going to be thinking hard about swapping the mechanical hard drives for some new SSDs.

VirtuaBox supports every version of Windows out there. That means it has the drivers those OSes need to run in virtual space. If you need IDE in one machine and SATA in another, it's not a problem. You can run a DOS machine at the same time you are running Windows 8, if you had a need for that. Again, it's like having separate boxes with the appropriate hardware in them. The bus structures inside the virtual machines are just so much memory space in your RAM, or virtual HD. You can also attach real world hardware to your virtual machines but everything the OS needs comes with the VM software.

I recently created a 25GB .vdi file for my virtual Ubuntu 12.10 machine. It's way more than I will need because next month I'll make a new machine for the new distro. Your particular problem with virtual disk size was solvable if you used the current version of VirtualBox. As I recall you had an older version that did not support expanding the disk space, but the newer versions do. I'm not sure what is available in Linux, but they typically lag whatever is current. In any case, if you start over, I'm here to tell you that you can defeat the default setting simply by adjusting the slider bar to fit your requirements when you create the virtual disk.

I have a question for you now. Why are you bothering with Windows XP just to run some old games? Linux comes with WINE and will run XP games better than Windows ever did. If it's because WINE is too difficult for your sweetheart to figure out, check out PlayOnLinux: http://www.playonlinux.com/en/
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby kg » 24 Mar 2013, 02:26


Yogi wrote:I could be wrong on this, but I don't think cores of a processor are dedicated to a particular task.


There is one program that I know to be an exception to that...BOINC. I have run the SETI@Home program very nearly since its inception, and under BOINC ("Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing," specifically SETI @Home), each core processes a work unit. While I've heard nothing about anything more than quad core, I know for a fact that a quad core processor will process 4 work units simultaneously (as my dual-core laptop processes 2 WU simultaneously), and in addition, the GPU (should one exist) will process an additional one. I assume that an octo-core processor would extend that to 8 work units, with an additional WU for the GPU of the card.

Since my desktop is nearing antiquity, I've been contemplating building a new one, and if I do, I want a "bleeding edge" computer once more, as this one was when I built it. It's still "adequate," but only just, and the time is swiftly approaching.
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 24 Mar 2013, 06:23

The instruction set for multi-core processors does allow for individual core addressing. I'm just saying that I'm not aware of any conventions that specify which core is dedicated to what task. I have a CPU Usage gadget on my desktop wherein I monitor my processor all day long. Core 1 is always humming away. The load on the other three cores varies widely depending on what programs I'm running at the time.
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 24 Mar 2013, 10:59

Hi Yogi

I have several Windows Adventure games I purchased on CD, all of these run in wine flawlessly!

However; I have not been able to get the games downloaded from Big Fish Games to work in Wine.
A few of the older games from Big Fish worked. I think because they used a Launch Key.
I have a hunch, although I have not tested it to make sure. That current Big Fish games require an internet connection to launch them. My wife is who downloads and plays these games. They are not movable to another computer. You have to download a new copy from Big Fish, and they used to have a limit of only five reloads.

When I had a server running, I tried downloading them onto that, so they could be played from any computer. Never got that working either.

From your above commentary: If I load XP into Virtual Box, the fact that there are no drivers for SATA ahci, or networking on newer boards, that shouldn't matter. Seems to me it would? I could not print from XP in VB to a USB printer. I think that is reserved for the paid for version. However, I could print to a USB printer connected to another machine, by connecting to it via the network to the other machine. So that was a viable work around.

I have not had time to try VB on the little AspireONE722 machine. I enlarged the Win7 partition, since the frau loads so much onto the computer. Even made the Debian partition a little larger at the same time. But kept a small logical partition open for testing things on.

On my Linux desktop machines, my wife cannot tell if a game she clicks on is running in Wine or on Windows. Unless she rebooted the computer into Windows or Linux herself. Well, obviously she could tell by the Desktop. The point I was trying to make is that once a game is set up in Wine. It is just a click of the Icon to make it run. We've only had a couple of games that did something different in Wine than if run in Windows itself. Those 360 degree visual capabilities, where moving your mouse around lets you look in any direction, including up and down and around and behind. On Windows, the view was continuous, in other words, you could keep going in a continuous circle forever. On Wine, you hit the end and had to come back the other way. Have no idea why. It didn't really affect the game play. It was just an annoyance, when you could see what you wanted to click on, but had to do a 360 to get to it. A Linux users group said it was a mouse setting we had to change. However, what they told me to change was not in the mouse set-up. I hit that a Lot on Linux. Seems every install offers different features.

In Debian, on the AspireONE, that I FINALLY got the LAN working. Now the WiFi doesn't work again.
Now see if this makes any sense to you.
If I set the computer in good range of the WiFi and do a clean install of Debian using the WiFi to download and install Debian6 from a Net-Install Disk, it installs and the WiFi works, AND I can now make the settings to get to the LAN.
If I take the computer AWAY FROM the WiFi connection range, and plug in a LAN Cable, and reinstall Debian from the Hardwired connection. It installs, a whole lot faster, and the hardwired LAN works, and with settings I can get to my workgroup just fine now.

OK, do you have any idea why or what dependencies or programs I have to install after the fact to get WiFi working.
The fact I can do a full WiFi clean install and it works, tells me it's not the computer, BUT a simple Package that does not install if done via Hardwired connection. Have not found any info on-line about it.

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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 24 Mar 2013, 17:31

As you know I run Ubuntu on a virtual machine created by VirtualBox. The native GUI is acceptable but Oracle offers what they call VBoxGuestAdditions so that I can increase the screen resolution, make transparent transfers between the computer clipboard of the host and the guest, and a few other things to make the experience more natural. The additions are downloaded as an .iso file, which is by definition the image of a CD disk. It's not a physical CD, but a virtual CD that can be attached to the virtual machine and mounted by Ubuntu. The "attachment" is handled by the VirtualBox software.

My old computer architecture had a built in IDE bus. This new motherboard does not - it's all SATA now. The old system settings indicated that I had a storage device (CD/DVD} running as a slave from an IDE controller. Reviewing the VirtualBox Device menu after the VM booted clearly showed the attachment. I installed the Additions from the virtual CD and then detached it so that the IDE slot appeared empty. That is all normal and went as expected. The new system, without a hardware IDE bus, shows the same CD/DVD attachment via an IDE controller. VirtualBox software is obviously supplying all the virtual buses Ubuntu wants to see.

I do no know for sure if the same thing would happen in Windows XP, but I would be surprised if it did not.

WINE is a funny animal. It was the laughing stock of the Linux world a couple years ago, but today it's well behaved and easy to use. There are still quirks to be aware of, but I think most of them can be understood when you realize WINE is a virtual machine implementation of Windows. Since they are prohibited from using all the tricks Microsoft can use, I'm sure you will run into some shortcomings. I never have yet. I think Java, for example, could be a problem in WINE. They say you can go all the way back to DOS, but I'm sure you will run into driver problems when you do that. I'm using WINE to emulate WIndows 7 and have yet to find a problem.
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 24 Mar 2013, 17:38

I'm sorry Gary but I don't have an answer for WiFi. It is troublesome to use here in my command and control center along side my wireless network. I use a Cisco (Linksys) router and disable Microsoft's WiFi. Ever since I did that I had no conflicts of interests. To be honest with you I don't know the difference between WiFi and Wireless networks. Apparently I don't have to know because it all works fine here without WiFi. :mrgreen:
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 25 Mar 2013, 11:38

Hmmm, I thought WiFi simply meant Wireless Fidelity.
It was originally proprietary (owned by WiFi Alliance), but I though now it was the same as saying Wireless Networking, only shorter and more popular to use.

I talked to a fellow yesterday. I die hard Windows user! Who does use Linux for some things.
He could not get any version of Linux, Debian or RedHat based, to work wirelessly on the Aspire 722.
However, by running Linux in a Virtual Machine on Windows 7, everything worked just fine, including sound.
Doing the same thing, running Linux in a Virtual Machine on Linux, he had the same problems, no wireless, no sound and a new problem, video lock-up.

Oh well, it works fine in Win7 and now that I finally gained access to my hardwired LAN's through the wireless connection, I guess If I want to connect to use it, I'll just use the Win 7 and save the Linux install for my writing work.

Maybe by next year the new Linux kernels will have support for Atheros?

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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 25 Mar 2013, 12:11

To my very great pleasure, my Hewlett Packard laptop runs all three versions of Linux over my wireless network. I have three additional Linux systems on flash memory cards, and they too work effortlessly on the wireless network. My virtual machine is wired because that is how the host is connected. All I can say is that it is possible for Linux to connect to a wireless network, and I'm clueless about why the Aspire would have problems.

WiFi is a wireless protocol standard supported by the WiFi Alliance and the IEEE 802.11 standard. It's a generic term for connecting to a WLAN, Wireless Local Area Netowrk. Thus it is correct to call any wireless connection WiFi. Unfortunately, just because there are standards out there, that does not mean everyone has to follow them. Only those devices which can affix the "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED" trademark have been certified to meet the standards. To be honest, I don't know if Microsoft complies or not. I do know their WiFi connection software has given me problems in the past causing me to lose my connection. It could have been Microsoft, or it could have been the network adapter. The fix, however, was to disable the Microsoft software. I didn't even install it in my current Win7 machine. I think the only time you may need Microsoft's WiFi software is if you are using their game box to access the Internet. The point is that there is WiFi software, and there is compliant WiFi software.
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 26 Mar 2013, 09:39

Hi Yogi
Yes it is WiFi Certified! (or should I say it has a sticker on the computer that says so?)

Some interesting oddball features about the Aspire is you have to have NetBoot in Slot #1 in the Bios Boot and Enabled.
Excluding all OS's for the moment. When you first boot the Aspire, it looks for the Wireless network. Upon finding it, it will then boot whatever OS is on the HD (or DVD if next in line in the boot order).
If the machine is out of range of a WiFi router, you will see DCHC followed by a . every second, until it gives up looking for a WiFi connection. Then it will say, No Wireless and begin to boot and bring up Grub and the lead OS.
If I boot into Win7, I get connected to the WiFi and it shows all those in range and their power levels.

I may have been wrong when I said a Debian 6 install from NetInstall DVD worked.
In thinking back, I may have had the Cable still plugged in.

Surfing the web shows that everyone with the Atheros Wireless, since 2009 to present, has had problems.
Those that do offer fixes, the links are all dead to the repositories to get an older Kernel (which was newer at the time).

I made posts several places and have not found anyone who has WiFi working on the Aspire One 722 Atheros. And only a few with Broadcom and they have constant freezes.

One thing I don't understand at all is: If the bio's themselves can find a live connection, and Windows can find several connections. Why can't Debian find a single one?
I have loaded different drivers, only to find the one they say is for this (168c 0032) machine (driver ath9k) is broken.

I know Linux is Free and everyone who works on things for it or Volunteers. But one would think after 4 years, the problem would be fixed.
What is missing in the Debian world, are step by step instructions on how to do something, not designed for Geek.
Everything I find, usually requires a Masters or PhD in computer science to understand.
And MAN pages, well, they might as well publish them only in Greek, as the English versions make no sense at all.

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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 26 Mar 2013, 11:45

I find it very odd that BIOS would take on the duty of finding a network access point. Normally it only looks for available devices and starts them up. Then it points to the OS boot loader and is out of the boot process from that point on. When BIOS runs the network adapter card drivers, a list of networks may very well be revealed. However, it's usually up to a human to pick which one it wants to connect to. This selection is generally stored somewhere in the OS software after BIOS has dropped out of the boot loop.

Then again Aspire is a NETbook. It's only purpose in life is to handle Internet activity. If it can't handle WiFi, then obviously there is a shortcoming in their software/firmware. Maybe that's why netbooks are not very popular these days. :mrgreen:

Just out of curiosity, I fired up a Debian 6.0.7 OS that I have on a flash memory stick. The laptop has no hardwire Ethernet connection. After the OS booted I got a balloon help message informing me that wireless networks are available. Sure enough me and all my neighbors were listed. So, at least on my HP lappie, Debian seems to know what it is doing. If you tell me where to look for the drivers, I can check to see what I'm running and pass that along to you.

Perhaps my biggest gripe about Linux is the lack of support. There are a million (no exaggeration) web sites out there with self-proclaimed experts, but there is no standard. Each distro plays by different rules and each person using that distro has their own set of problems/solutions. Then, if a solution is miraculously discovered, it's only a 50% chance that the driver is available, and only half of THOSE drivers are functional. I suppose it's gratifying to solve a particularly difficult problem, but a college education isn't enough. You have to be able to walk on water as well.
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 27 Mar 2013, 12:33

Hi Yogi
We had a critique group meeting and another fellow there had an older Aspire 524 or something like that.
He originally had all the same problems I did. He solved it almost the same way I think I had figured out.
By using the Debian Net Install Disk, and leaving the LAN cable disconnected, it found the WiFi and installed.
Then he had to figure out how to get the hardwired LAN working, with almost as much difficulty.

We had no electric this morning, they informed us by letter it would be off from 9 til noon.
It went off and 9:02! Have no idea what time it came back on, because I took that opportunity to run to the computer store to look at what's new. This is a different store, younger crowd of tech's. I've spoke to them before, and they could have saved me a few bucks on my 300 dollar computers, by beating those prices and with a little higher quality components.

In any case, they can build a computer with a water cooled CPU (forgot the specs, but they were high), 8 gigs of higher speed RAM than I currently use, a powerful graphics card, 4 times better than I have, and that could handle 4 monitors and hdmi and other things. Price can vary from 650 bucks all the way up to 8 or 9 hundred bucks, depending mostly upon whether I use one or two CPU's.

The thing about what he was showing me was interesting. What I currently do using 3 separate computers, he could do the same thing using one computer and 3 monitors. And they have a special frame fitted with 4 monitors on display that he showed me how I can open something on one monitor, then grab it and slide it to another monitor. With everything being on the same computer, I don't have to use a shared folder to transfer things from computer to computer and can just move them to different screens by moving the mouse.

I think in reality, all four screens are used as a single monitor and the Window you are looking at is shrunk down to 1/4th size so it fits on a single monitor. At least, that's what it looked like when he moved his mouse around.

Although it was cool, it wouldn't work for me, as the monitor I look at when I'm working is inside my desk, under glass, like the TV news desks.
One thing he offered to do, that no other shop has ever offered to do before, was he would come over to my office, take a look at what I have and how I work, and if I make a commitment to spend at least 1 grand. He would set up my office, using whatever existing equipment I have and have everything up and running with only one day downtime.
He would prefer I went with a RedHat based distro, but he's fine with Debian or Mint too.

As far as moving up to a "Blade" computer (I think he called it), for me, that would be more than ridiculous overkill, no matter how I looked at it. And I wouldn't know how to work it, if I did have it, hi hi.....
However, if I wanted to really waste a lot of money, he could build independent computers into a rack system, at least that way I wouldn't have so many boxes piled up in my office.
The only thing is, if he sets me up, I can't go messing with stuff, because I will surely break it, then complain at how much he charges to come out and undo my messes.

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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 27 Mar 2013, 13:56

In Ubuntu the option to switch to one of 4 desktops is standard. I discovered that it is as you noted with the four separate monitors. It's really all one monitor segmented into four sections. In Ubuntu you can only look at one desktop at a time. That might be a down side for you. Four separate monitors would allow you to see all the desktops simultaneously. I see no reason why you need so many computers and agree it all can probably be done inside one machine. Or more than one virtual machine. Red Hat is the industry standard, if there is such a thing as standards in the Linux world. I think it's the only Linux distribution that is enterprise worthy.

I'm sure there are more efficient ways to accomplish what you are doing, and the new geek in town would certainly want to use all the latest equipment. I kind of like the thought of having a computer/network engineer at my disposal, so that part would not be bad. However, would he also be willing to remove your old equipment and recycle it? Does he have a gondola big enough? :lol:
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 28 Mar 2013, 11:03

The frau (today is her 65th birthday by the way), makes sure I keep disposing of my older computers. Many of them are donated to a fellow who fixes them and passes them on to others.

I usually keep 6 desktops available in my lower panel, on each computer.
I have been using three monitors up until only a few months ago, now I'm only using two.
The one inside my desk I keep at 1024x768, even though it is a wide screen monitor.
The one on top of the row of computers in front of me on the other desk, is used in wide screen mode, but split to show two windows instead of one. So technically, I can still have my three separate working pages open all the time.

The word processor I'm entering data into (writing) is inside my desk.
The text I am rewriting from is on the upper monitor, left half.
And the editors notes of the changes he wants are on the upper monitor, right half.
Sometimes I split that right window into an upper and a lower window, so I can have a copy of the outline visible.

Now on the computer in my desk. In workspace 1, I have the document I'm working on. Workspace 2 is a Thesaurus, 3 is a Dictionary, 4 and 5 are sections of a conventions rulebook. Workspace 6 is usually not used, unless I need to pop online to look up something. But I have research links on the upper monitor in workspaces there.

I use a KVM switch to jump to a computer that is not connected to the internet, where I have volatile information, including accounting, time tracking and a few other necessities of doing business.

How I originally ended up with 8 computers in my office (now down to three), is actually very simple.
I buy computers (and most peripherals) in pairs and set them up identically.
Mainly because I cannot afford downtime. And I use both of them daily.
When I talk about my main computer, I'm actually talking about two separate computers, with a KVM soft-switch.
I do all of my main work on computer 1, but use computer 2 for my secondary work.
This way I know both are working just fine.
Since they are set up identically, it doesn't matter which one I happen to be on.
Sometimes, the only way I can tell which one I'm on, is by folders or documents I leave on the desktop.

When a computer gets too old to handle what's new, or one of the pair break, traditionally, I would buy a new pair.
Often, when a major OS changed, like from win95 to win98, I kept the old win95 machines intact and bought new win98 computers. Both of the old win95 machines were still working just fine. In fact, they were working perfectly when I gave them away. They were just painstakingly slow compared to the XP computers I was running.

Needless to say, once I upgraded to newer computers, and got them set up, the oldest computers were repurposed, usually just for data storage. However, with the advancements in computer technology over the years, such as better sharing, and higher speed LAN's, the need to use extra computers was fading fast.

Keeping computers in pairs was an old habit of mine, borne of necessity, but no longer reasonable.

What broke me from keeping so many computers (besides the frau ordering me to get rid of some), was the fact I did switch to Linux. I'm sure it may be possible to do what I do on Windows. If so, I never found a convenient way. I am totally spoiled having six workspaces, two panels and KVM's.
I no longer buy computers two at a time! But I do buy them more frequently now.
My frau does not want a new computer, because she runs windows, and cannot move installed programs from one computer to another. Namely her games, which must be reregistered, with a limit of 5 times, and all the hassles of setting up a new windows machine.
Linux on the other hand, all I need to do is copy my /home folder from the last computer to the next, and everything is there, just as on the other machine. And/or I can simply go to Synaptic and click on all the programs I use and hit the word Apply, and they are all there for me. Then I can copy their settings folders over to the new install from the other machine.

FWIW: The oldest of the three daily use computers in my office, is only 512megs of memory. Not enough to play facebook games, hi hi..... 2gig AMD CPU, 320 gig HD with 4 OS's installed. This is the one I use for my accounting and volatile data work. I have to manually plug the LAN cable in to go online for updates.
The other two computers, my working pair, are both ASUS Mobo's with AMD CPU's a 5200 and XII 250. The 5200 did have 4 gigs of RAM, but I took 2 gigs out to build the XII 250 machine. Because I never used the swap space, 2 gigs were plenty for my use. Both have 500 gig HD's, however I only use 75 yo 100 gigs for an OS. So the rest is technically wasted.
My external drives are what hold all of my datafiles. They are both 500 gig HD's mirrored and I also have the 2 Terrabyte NAS in hot swap RAID. I don't trust the NAS one iota! If the controller card goes, everything is lost. Except I do have backup of everything, local in two buildings and out of state.

Although I could get by with a single computer. I will probably always have at least two fully functional and nearly identical to each other. One never knows when something is going to break or die.

When I used to do a LOT of commercial desktop printing. I spent one heck of a lot of money to buy what is called a "Crash Printer." I could only afford just one. But it allowed me to get all of the work out in only a few minutes. To be safe, I always kept on hand several parts that could break or wear out. Including imaging drums and belts, which are expensive components to buy. It was Saturday afternoon, and I had all the bulletins for six area churches being picked up in about an hour. The printer broke down. I found out a week later, that a computer board in it went south and had to be ordered.
To put it bluntly, I was out of business and would have a lot of customers very angry at me.

The best I could do was send one of my employee's around to the Office Supply stores and buy me all the Lexmark ink jets they had in stock. They were slow, but with so many of them, I could break the print jobs up to each printer.
We actually met deadline, although several of the customers had to come back later, or we delivered the bulletins to them.
I got rid of the crash printer and purchased 25 Lexmark ink jets and rigged them to feed from a gallon jug of ink.
It was a funny sight to see them running with the hoses jerking back and forth with the printheads. The covers removed and the case cut to give room for the hoses not to snag.
We set up an old computer as a print server. Thanks to an employee with programming experience, all I had to do was send one copy from the work computer to the print server, then tell the print server how many copies I wanted. The program the lad wrote would look to see how many printers were online and divided the work equally between them. Usually it only used 12 of the printers at a time. But I could select to use 1 through 12, so we kept 24 connected and one on the shelf as a backup.
The total cost to buy and set up two banks of Lexmark ink jet printers was less than the cost of the imaging drum for the crash printer. And I never again had to worry about a printer failure. The odds of 24 printers going south at once are infinite.

I currently keep two matching lasers, not that I do all that much printing anymore. It seems, just when I am in a pinch, something stops working on one. I wish they would standardize laser toner cartridges between machines. That's where the biggest investment actually is. And when I change machines, I often have two sets of unused cartridges.

You have a nice day Yogi!

TTUL
Gary
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 28 Mar 2013, 14:56

They say that if you think the solution to a problem is simple, you don't understand the problem. :mrgreen:

I'm sure that I don't understand the problem. I'm thinking the solution to your multiple desktop needs is in virtual machines. Virtual machines are portable and can provide all the backup you would even need to recover quickly from catastrophic failure. It's also sensible to have backup hardware when the mission is critical. I can understand why you buy things in pairs. I would probably have a high performance computer with three cinema screen monitors on my desktop and as many virtual machines as it would take to separate the tasks. No hardware switch would be necessary to go between system/desktops.

Be it Linux or Windows an image of the OS is a necessary element of any disaster recovery scenario. I'm pretty sure that copying an .iso of your system to another machine would be a piece of cake assuming the target machine has the minimum memory in which to exist. I've not tried it yet, but my guess is that your wife's Windows environment can be imaged and then simply copied to an equivalent or larger capacity hardware setup. The beauty of images is that the need for registration and setup is eliminated.

Off line backup is critical, and you are doing the smart thing by using off site storage. I think we talked about multiple backup schemes in another thread. I suppose backing up the backups would require more machines, but all that could be rack mounted and off in some other room.

My mind boggles with the image of 24 "modified" printers being fed by gallons of ink jugs. :woot:
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Kellemora » 29 Mar 2013, 09:43

My son used to have a photo of my print room hanging on his office wall.
Wish I had a copy of it before he moved twice. It was a sight to behold.
It wasn't very pretty either! Just plywood shelves on gray steel angle irons.
And with the tops off all the printers and part of the cases cut away, it looked more like a scrap yard, hi hi.....

I'm going Monday to look at an 8 core machine with 4 gig graphics card, 16 gig RAM, and I think he has it connected to a 6 monitor bank? He built it for a guy who does video-graphics work.

If I understood him correctly, he's using a light Ubuntu for the base OS running VMware with Ubuntu12, Win7 and MAC OSX Mountain Lion as the primary program for the graphics work.

I'm driving all the way up there just to see how he can be running all of the OS's at the same time.
The part I don't understand at all, is how can he be using EG: MAC OSX doing is work and using a Win7 program on another monitor at the same time. I'll know more come Monday night or Tuesday when I check in.

A system similar, with 8 core, but only 2 gig graphics and 8 gigs RAM, twin monitor, is probably still out of my price range.
I need a new lawn mower first, hi hi..... And of course, the frau wants a new car too!

Oh, one last thing, yes running in VM makes it easy to move from computer to computer.
And I think I see the logic of having all of the OS's in a VM so you can quickly switch between them, rather than dual or triple boot a machine.

One store says it's better to run VMware on Win7 and another says LUbuntu.
But both say, you need two Win7 licenses, one for the OS on the computer, and another for the OS installed in VM.
Which is why the second guy says to install VM on Linux.

TTUL
Gary
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Re: Virtual Ubuntu

Postby Yogi » 29 Mar 2013, 10:57

Windows licensing is a consideration. Each instance of Windows must have it's own license. I've also discovered in the past that if your motherboard has more than one processor on it, you need a license for each processor. That fact is what made me choose a motherboard with single processor capability but with multiple cores.

If cost is an issue for you, then using Oracle's VirtualBox would be preferred to the high priced VMware products. There are slight differences, but from what I hear they are not worth the added costs.

I have always run Linux as a guest on Windows hosts, and I don't know if there is a downside to reversing the roles. I can see that there could be a performance issue given that Windows is such a resource hog, but given enough hardware power I suspect that can be made negligible.
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