Linux under Virtual PC 7

October 03, 2006

Over the weekend I spent too many hours trying to get a Linux server running under Virtual PC 7 for OSX. It was, frankly, a nightmare. I went through two distributions, different kernels, several installs, and in the end I was exactly where I started; it just didn’t work. It seemed like for each problem I solved, two more jumped out at me. Some were my fault, some were issues with Virtual PC, and some were problems with Linux itself (or the particular distribution I was using). In the end I finally got an NFS server up and running, but when I tried to mount it in OSX my system crashed, hard. Somehow this also managed to corrupt the virtual Linux server as well, to the point where it couldn’t even start the bootloader.

What I’ve love to have is a little virtual Linux server I carry around on my Powerbook and use for source control and a LAMP environment for testing changes to my website. I’d be able to access it anywhere, I wouldn’t have to worry about mixing up all those services with my day-to-day workstation environment, and it’s just a single file I need to worry about backing up. As long as I have my G4 though, I don’t think I’m ever going to get there. Part of me just wants to spend $500 or so on a nice, quiet bookshelf server for home, but I’m wondering if that money wouldn’t be better spent on a new Macbook Pro, where I could play around with some of the new Intel virtualization options and (just maybe) have better luck.

Marc Charbonneau is a mobile software engineer in Portland, OR. Want to reply to this article? Get in touch on Twitter @mbcharbonneau.