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Old 17. Apr 2009, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
FrankO
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 275
Default Want to try Linux in Windows?

I have been looking for an easy way to integrate linux software in Windows. I started with a virtual machine and Ubuntu, but transferring files from the VM to Windows turned out to be too tricky to be worthwhile.

I then used Cygwin for quite some time and was happy with it, but it takes quite some time to set up and the packages are sometimes quite old. Nevertheless, it let me use Xfig and Octave, which was what I needed it for.

However, recently two new programs have come to my attention (both are based on coLinux). andLinux is the first I tried. It is based on Kubuntu and integrates very neatly with Windows (I use XP Pro SP3) and could be updated from any Ubuntu repository. This means you can install any Ubuntu-compatible package you wish and keep it updated.

The version I now use is Portable Ubuntu. The advantage here is that the installer sets up a portable distribution, which may then be copied onto a flash disk or to another computer without further installation required. Once running, you have a small floating task bar from which you can launch the installed packages. If something irreparably breaks, you simply delete the folder and start again. It is important to create a larger disk image though. Simply compare and follow the instructions at Draptik's blog and at the documentation at the software's homepage. Once that is done, you can upgrade your Portable Ubuntu to v8.10 (or 9.04 next week) or install all the packages you wish. You can access your C: drive via /mnt/C/. If anyone can figure out how to add additional drives, please post the solution here.
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