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XPLinux -- Running Linux on Windows with VMWare and Xming

As most people reading this blog probably know, I've decided not to upgrade to Vista. I would need a new computer and really have no need for one, other than to run Vista. I have, however, upgraded to 1 gig of RAM over the weekend and this has finally allowed me to run Windows and Linux together on one desktop.

The picture above shows my current "XPLinux" desktop. I'm running Kubuntu Feisty Fawn in VMWare virtual machine with 384 meg of RAM and displaying Linux windows (like the KDE panel at the top) by using plink (from PuTTY) to connect to the VMWare virtual machine over my home network and display Linux programs on the XMing X-Server I have running on Windows. I run the KDE panel which lets me start any other Linux program I want to run.

Now that I have 1 gig of memory, this works well. I have VMWare set to be friendly in its RAM use (the default is to be very unfriendly) and allow Windows to lower its RAM allocation if I am running Windows software than needs more RAM. The X-forwarding is a bit slow for running graphics programs -- but Windows has the best graphics programs around, so this is not a major loss. Other Linux programs display more than fast enough for regular use.

The best thing about this setup is that the X-Server is running on Windows, so the windows Linux Programs display on my Windows desktop interact with other programs as if they were a normal Windows program. Clipmate works with copy/paste to a Linux program. My Autohotkey macros work in Linux programs. Etc. Windows and Linux work together to form an almost seamless whole. Thanks to VMWare Tools running in the virtual machine, Linux programs even have easy access to my Windows data files on my hard drive.

If you are interested in Linux, but need the ease of use of Windows and access to Windows software. An "XPLinux" set up like this will allow you to have the best of both XP and Linux together on one machine.

I will probably be mentioning a few interesting Linux "software gadgets" on this blog in the future.

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Comments

Good work I was just setting up the same for my pc except I was using cygwinX instead of xming and some my gnome-panel has windows decorations. I like how yours doesn't have any. If I can remove them it would be great.

That's one of the reasons I used KDE instead of Gnome when I set this up. I couldn't get Gnome to look right. I've since converted to running Linux as the primary OS and XP in VirtualBox's seamless mode. Gnome works great this way, which should not be a big surprise. This is a better setup than my old XPLinux -- but probably would not be if I were much of a gamer.



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