October 16th, 2012

abstract butterfly

virtual machines

Lately I spend a fair bit of time learning about Linux by running Linux distros on virtual machines. A friend over at twitter, @lopta, told me how vmware.com has a virtual machine creator called the VMWare Player. It took just a few moments to download and install this. Then I picked up a copy of Linux Format magazine, which included two DVDs of popular Linux distributions. I have been loading different versions of Linux to see how they work for me.

I have been able to load Peppermint 3, Debian and Puppy from the disk,as well as Damn Small Linux (aptly named as the .iso file [the file with an image of the operating system] is only about 50 MB. My efforts to load Ubuntu and CentOS have not worked out as well. Thus far, I find Debian the easiest distro to use out-of-the-box, as it comes with a variation of the Mozilla browser that is fairly up-to-date, as well as a large group of available packages (programs). I like the way that Damn Small Linux loads nearly instantly, but I am having trouble finding a browser to easily load that will let me watch youtubes and the like. Puppy Linux is also pretty easy to use, but its browser is too out-of-date for youtube, and downloading/installing a better one has not turned out to be a walk in the park. The differences, thus far, though, are more about user ignorance than the systems themselves. It's been fun learning about Linux via free virtual machines.

Like always, it's the the little traps for the unwary that get one. At first, I was having trouble getting the virtual player to install .iso files. Then I learned this was because my winzip file was altering them.
I told winzip "stop" and the problem cleared up. It's these little silly things, and not the conceptual things, that always get my teeth on edge as I learn.