Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thinking Inside the Box

I'd make a reference to thinking outside of the box here, but then I'd have to punch myself in the face and take a few showers to rub the stench of buzzwords off of me.

Larry Swank

Despite appearances, my disdain for buzzwords and phrases is not the true subject of this post. I'm actually here to talk about my new toy on my desktop: VirtualBox, from the fine people at Sun Microsystems. What is VirtualBox, you ask? It lets me create virtual machines inside my Linux desktop environment.

What's a virtual machine, you ask? Without getting too terribly technical, it lets me install other operating systems on my desktop and open them on my desktop. It basically lets me have an entire second computer operating within a window.

The practical application of this is that through this technology I have made Microsoft subjugant to the awesome might of open-source technology. There are still a few things that I have to have Windows for: a couple of apps for client conerns, and software for my PDA and PlayStation Portable, to be specific. It's not enough that I want to set up a dual boot or anything like that, because that feels like I'm admitting that Linux doesn't work for everything I need. The VirtualBox ends up being the perfect solution, though; it gives me enough functionality to do everything I need, but it doesn't feel like I'm cheating on Linux or anything.

My Windows background in my VirtualBox is of Tux, the traditional penguin mascot of Linux, rampant on a red field waving a red flag behind him. Linux is spelled out in yellow with a hammer and sickle for an "x," and there's text beneath saying that Microsoft is for capitalists and mentioning the GPL, or Glorious People's License. This gives me untold glee every time I look at. I'm sure that fact says something about me, but I honestly couldn't tell you what that might be.

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