VMWare Workstation – Advancing to Middle School
After a few days of learning how to set up a virtual machine using VMWare Server and losing it all, I talked to Harvey Su, my colleague steeped in UNIX lore. He got me one of our corporate VM Workstation licenses and I recreated my environment on Fedora 9 in a much shorter time (I did not have to download the large Fedora image over the Internet this time around). The paid VMWare Workstation product seems far more mature and is noticeably more “user-friendly” than the free VMWare Server product. The X-Windows interface responds much faster, downloads are noticeably quick, I can suspend my laptop and the VM saves its state, restoring it when the laptop restarts. The integration with Windows is also snazzy. You should use it, it is really cool.
Now Harvey is a big open source fan and he cajoled me into provisioning our application on Ubuntu, a skinned down, install-as-you-need, version of Linux that seems to be in favor with seasoned UNIX developers. Harvey has been toying with deploying our application as a managed service on the Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud (ec2) and had found pre-packaged Ubuntu and mySQL Amazon Machine Images (AMI) offered on ec2. He wanted me to become familiar with the Ubuntu environment. Another 2 hours to download the Ubuntu Server 8.10 ISO and I started installing Ubuntu Server, which has no GUI. It was a character building experience!
I am glad I did not have to deal with Ubuntu over twelve years ago, when I used to drink 10 cups of Peet’s French Roast or Major Dickason’s Blend a day, brewed at my desk on my personal Bodum French Press and was perpetually irascible and on edge. I would have broken something – the monitor, my office chair, my hand or my foot. I did not have the time to go out and buy a copy of Ubuntu for Dummies, I am sure it would have helped, but I did feel like one while I was going through the experience of installing it, apt-getting all the packages, dealing with rpm’s for apps that had to be installed on Ubuntu, make depend failures and getting make to work. I must have done everything wrong that could possibly be done wrong but I had Harvey by my side and he was very calm, patient and steadfast in his missionary zeal to convert me into a lifelong Ubuntu fan (“Paul, you’ll love working with a pureOS”, I can almost hear a hushed ethereal choir and chimes riniging everytime he says this).
Needless to say, giving up coffee and becoming a parent have both helped me find a sense of balance and I was able to appreciate the stunning job that the open source community has done of putting together a professional distribution that works, once a novice user gets everything right! I was glad that I retained my composure throughout and thanked Harvey for this experience at 2 AM when we parted. I would recommend the experience of installing Ubuntu Server to anyone who wants to measure their own self control – great Linux distro, just don’t subject neophytes to it without a Harvey Su at their side.
Oh, we were talking about VMWare Workstation, well it just works. It ROCKS!