I Return to Windows XP and Software Gadgets Returns to Life
I've been running Ubuntu as my primary operating system since the Fall of 2007. I ran Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) as my primary OS while running Windows XP SP2 in a VirtualBox virtual machine running in seamless mode to use the Windows program I just could not live without. (Seamless mode displays the Windows desktop and the Ubuntu Gnome desktop at the same time making it look like both Linux and Windows programs are running on the same machine -- no switching between the virtual desktop and the real desktop.)
I recently (April 2009) switched back to booting in XP SP2 as I'm working on a couple of Windows intensive projects. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that the latest version of Andlinux actually works well on my system. Andlinux is a coLinux/Kubuntu 9.04 based version of Linux that runs as a process in Windows. This is much faster than a full emulator like Virtualbox. I had not been able to use AndLinux before as it would suddenly start griding my hard drive for hours on end. It turned out this was caused by Windows System Restore thinking AndLinux's virtual drive(s) were device drivers and trying to copy them into the restore area. This was fixed with the latest version of AndLinix.
This gives me the best of both worlds: XP and Ubuntu running at the same time on a single decktop. I can even set Windows to run specific file types in a Linux program when I click on them in Explorer. The screenshot below (click on it for a full size version) shows my "XP-AndLinux" desktop with both Linux and Windows programs running.
I will be staying with this setup for some months at least. It works quite well for me so far. I can run almost all existing Windows and Linux software -- including DirectX games and applications -- on my desktop without the hassle of having a full virtual machine and its overhead running. AndLinux runs as a Windows service so it automatically starts and stops with Windows. This adds a few seconds to boot and shutdown times, but is more convenient that have to start and stop VirtualBox.
During the last 18 months, I have not posted much to this blog because I did not spend much time trying new software and used little Windows software. However, now that I'm using Windows XP SP2 regularly again, I will be making more posts to this blog. I've already found a few nifty programs I will be writing about over the next few weeks. A full post on AndLinux will be one of them.