andLinux: Seamlessly Run Linux Applications on Windows
andLinux is a Linux distro with a difference. It’s based on a port of the the Linux kernel to Windows coupled with an X server and other software. In short, it allows you to run Linux software seamlessly on the Windows desktop without recompiling it or using a virtual machine.
For this overview, I choose the minimal/Xfce edition which comes in the form of a 200MB Windows .exe file. The kernel used is from the coLinux project. Apart from that, the bulk of the rest of the system consists of Ubuntu 9.04 coupled with the Xming X server and the PulseAudio audio system. File access is split into three parts: the root partition is stored in a .vdi file and files on the Windows partition can be accessed via either the coLinux filesystem or the Samba file sharing system. Make sure that filesharing is enabled on the Windows machine if you want to use it, by default, it isn't. The installation contains a quite a few options, but I found that I was able to accept all of the defaults.
Installation complete, I was keen to start experiment with this strange system.
During the setup, I had chosen to launch Linux applications by using the small icon in the control panel area of the Windows task bar. By default, this contains icons to launch only the file manager (Thunar), the PulseAudio sound mixer, a terminal, a text editor and the Synaptic package manager. These applications load up remarkable quickly, and their execution speed is excellent. It should be, as they are not running through any layer of emulation or virtualization; they are running natively on the Windows desktop thanks to the X server and the Linux kernel.
It's a weird feeling, using Synaptic on the Windows XP desktop. It ran very well.
It was a slightly surreal experience to watch package management front end Synaptic popping onto the Windows desktop. In operation it worked just like it would on any other Linux distribution. One problem that you’ll run into here is that, as this version of andLinux is based on Ubuntu 9.04, the old Canonical repository is no longer active. However, this problem can be overcome, to an extent, by altering /etc/apt/sources.list to point it to the old release repository [see this forum post]. A full update using the latest package versions in that repository worked as expected.
Firefox 3.6, built for Ubuntu 9.04 running on Windows XP. It's difficult to explain to non-geeks what's cool about that.
You can run almost any native Linux software seamlessly in this way. Even fairly big applications such as Firefox work perfectly. You can also build from source code using standard tools.
So, what are the limitations? The website warns that andLinux might not be the ideal platform for security sensitive applications due to the way in which it is implemented. The site also suggests that OpenGL games and applications may not work very well. As everything runs within a single Windows process, Linux applications can’t make any use of mutiple CPU cores. The other limitation of andLinux is that it is based on Ubuntu 9.04 and can only run software that can run on that, compounding the potential problems with security.
This raises the question of whether andLinux is a fascinating curio or something that can be used for real work. I’d say that, despite its limitations, andLinux is a handy tool. Part of its appeal is that it is so easy to use. Following the quick and simple installation procedure, you have access to Linux applications running on a Windows system, all without any further setting up of any packages and other configuration.
Given what I have seen of it in operation, I could wholeheartedly recommend it if it were updated. Perhaps some interest on the forum could help to kick-start the project back to life? I’m genuinely interested to find out why such an excellent piece of software isn’t more widely known and isn’t being enthusiastically updated, particularly as the kernel project (Cooperative Linux) is still under active development.
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide