VMWare Server 2 – Confessions of a newbie
The download was a snap. I installed it on my Windows XP laptop, and also downloaded the User Guide. I had to read this manual and was able to create a Windows XP VM for myself. I downloaded Java, Apache and mySQL and had my setup running on the first day. Felt great about it. I have not worked with UNIX since over 10 years and the VM gave me the freedom to experiment without switching machines. I downloaded Fedora 9. It took over 3 hours to download the ISO image.
I have begun looking at Linux with different eyes now. WIndows has its quirks and 10 years of training have made it second nature to use it – warts and all 😉 This was perhaps the first time that I really appreciated the value of the packaging that Microsoft provides. My initial attempts at installing rpm’s caused them to be installed in their preset “default” locations and I could not find the installed software on the system. UNIX experts may well laugh at my predicament. Believe me, I have not appeared so hapless and felt helpless (until I installed Ubuntu and felt witless, but THAT is another tale about building stronger character).
The X-windows interface runs very slow within VMWare Server 2. I had to read several man pages on Google using the pre-packaged Firefox browser, various README files to set up shell variables, PATH’s, CLASSPATHs, etc. I was taking copious notes to ensure that I could repeat this feat if needed again. On the second day, the apps finally began to run. While Linux may be ready as a desktop/server OS, I can see why it has not gained widespread commercial adoption on the desktop. The standardization of packaging for apps supported on it is absent. – Linux developers have been trained to deal with this and I could struggle through this first experience and got things to work but most non-techies require a single click installer and expect magic to happen.
I should have read Chapter 9, Preserving the State of the VM, otheriwse I would not have experienced “Chapter 11” crash and insolvency. Through force of habit, I snapped my laptop shut at the end of day while the VMWare Server 2 was running. This caused the virtual machine to crash and Ieft it in an unrecoverable state. This is a “known” and documented behavior and here I was, seemingly the only person on Earth who did not know about it. RTFM – what a dumb thing not to do!