Computer Diary

    "Yes, we can."

    Barack Obama
    4th November 2008, Chicago, USA

    Here my little rant and praise place, where the daily experiences of my programming work are expressed. I publish them with the idea that others might find it useful and benefit from it.

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    UNIX Man on Windows 7: VirtualBox + Ubuntu + LXC
    last edited 2013/12/14 07:40 (*)

    I code nowadays (2012/11) on a bunch of laptops (with 2nd screens attached) which run on Windows 7 (Win7) mostly - with one keyboard and mouse controlling 2-4 machines using Synergy package.

    Win7 is suitable for basic works, but in the moment serious programming is required, a real UNIX is required. I used to install (UNIX framework for Windows) but switched now (2012/10) to (VB), which I virtualize an entire LINUX/Ubuntu Server Edition (12.10) box with.

    Once it's running and up, I use PuTTY to ssh/login into the virtual machine, and I follow up and install LXC:

    % sudo apt-get install lxc lxc-utils
    % sudo lxc-create -t ubuntu -n ubu00
    % sudo lxc-console -n ubu00

    and you will see an actual login:

    Ubuntu 12.10 ubu00 tty1

    ubu00 login: |

    Virtual Machines (LXC) within a Virtual Machine (VirtualBox)

    LinuX Containers (LXC) is a lightweight LINUX virtualization approach with little demands on the CPU unlike other approaches such as or KVM ; and therefore it is possible to run LXC containers within a VB-box:

    • Windows 7 (e.g.
      • VirtualBox (with "Bridged Network")
        • LXC Host (e.g.
          • LXC machine 1 (e.g.
          • LXC machine 2 (e.g.
          • etc.

    or Windows7(VirtualBox(LXC Host(LXC machine 1, LXC machine 2,..)))

    The computational overhead of LXC containers to its host is minimal, as LXC is just process isolation, all using the same LINUX kernel.

    As a sidenote, the Open Source Software (OSS) performs along the commercial competition like VMWare Player , only apprx. 6% difference, VMWare Player slightly faster.

    LXC framework on Ubuntu 12.10 provides various templates:

    • altlinux
    • archlinux
    • busybox: 2MB small functional LINUX system
    • debian: works right away (apprx. 300MB)
    • fedora: requires yum to be installed first (apprx. 485MB)
    • opensuse: requires zypper to be installed, failed to compile due immature 'cmake' mess
    • ubuntu: works flawlessly (apprx. 310MB)
    • ubuntu-cloud: works flawlessly (apprx. 670MB)

    Additionally you can clone existing LXC containers, e.g. I created

    • ubu00 as default Ubuntu, and
    • ubu01, ubu02 are cloned from ubu00,
    • alike with deb00 etc.

    I personally prefer LINUX flavor due the solid package manager, and installing the usual components is done quickly, e.g.

    % sudo apt-get install screen lighttpd mysql-server mysql-client mongodb samba
    With a decent equipped laptop (e.g. 3GB RAM, 2 cores, 2GHz) a reasonable responsive LINUX box with LXC-based virtualized sub-machines is possible, ideal for development (e.g. CMS like / / or ) and testing configurations intensively.

    Update 2012/11/30: I began to work with server hardware, where I was creating 40 LXC machines, and start and stop them in batch, and I noticed larger amount of LXC do not start and stop reliable as of Ubuntu 12.10, e.g. out of 40 about 1-7 machines fail to start or stop (lxc-stop hangs actually) every 2nd or 3rd time of starting or stopping. So, it's good for experimenting, but for production it seems not yet ready. A quick solution is to put a sleep of one second before starting the next container. I will issue a bug report addressing problem.

    Update 2012/12/21: Nested LXC and juju cloud framework: LXC in Ubuntu 12.04 , useful overview and details.

    Kubuntu 8.1 as guest on VirtualBox MacOSX host
    last edited 2009/02/24 13:38 (*)

    Kubuntu 8.1 as guest on MacOSX with
    I do intensive graphic work with scripting, e.g. I manipulate .svg files and call inskape on the command-line without GUI, and let it render/export a PNG from a manipulated .svg file, using perl.

    It took quite a while to

    % sudo port install inkscape

    it really took 2 hours on my MacBookPro 15" Duo Core. I thought, to install Kubuntu 8.1, with the famous unfinished KDE-4.1, on a , and mount nfs there, and share the directories where those rendering of SVG to PNG is required.

    This turned out to be a very fast solution . . . as I was able to install a "server" installation quite fast:

    % sudo apt-get install tcsh openssh-server screen wget inkscape

    is about what I need on a server without X11 . . . and installed within a 1-2 minutes.

    So, even I installed on MacOSX 10.5.6, the virtual machine with Kubuntu (or Ubuntu) seems another suitable alternative to have special apps which aren't ported (yet) to MacOSX. The X11 support under MacOSX is sufficient for me.

    VirtualBox vs VMWare Fusion on MacOSX
    last edited 2009/03/23 20:28 (*)

    I require to test some of my web-sites with IE6 and IE7, unfortunately. For that reason I began to use open source (2.1.4), and compared it with the trial version of VMWare Fusion (2.0.2) for MacOSX:


    Fast install, WindowsXP SP2 CD I have is for corporate installs, no enter of serial - once installed (apprx. 20min) it boots, and I upgrade from IE6 to IE7. I duplicate the disks beforehand using VBoxManage, just cp the .vmdk doesn't work, you require to use that helper program.

    I booted the guest system with Kubuntu 8.1 (Linux) a few times, after 4 days, the VirtualBox guest didn't boot anymore, not even the BIOS splash screen showed up, blank guest screen. I had to . . . reboot the host machine, then the Virtual Box worked again - not really convincing. As I found out, and pointed out, VirtualBox on MacOSX as host seems a bit behind stability of VirtualBox Linux host.

    VMWare Fusion

    Install goes not as seamless as with VBox, I end up entering the serial by hand, finally it booted into XP. It appears faster, has nice feature of "Unity" where the root window of the desktop of Windows XP is hidden, and the application window of IE6 or FF3 appear as application window on the MacOSX desktop, nice feature I thought. But after 1-2 hours using it, the virtual machine became slower and slower, in particular when I started two VMware instances, one IE6 and another with IE7, it slowed down the host machine so much, it almost became unuseable and unresponsive, while top didn't reveal who the culprit was, no huge cpu load neither swap busyness. That wasn't convincing, so I dropped VMware Fusion.

    Site Note: is one of the worst web-sites I discovered the last months or years, the site is full of links leading "404 - page not found", and uses third party web-sites, like for feedback, which do not work, incredible. High end virtualization software, but a bad web-site to sell it . . . incredible.

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    Illustrations and graphics made with Inkscape, GIMP and Tgif