Virtual Virtualization Pains

Since I only have one desktop PC for my use, I was not about to be crazy and re-format it with OpenSolaris for my project. Software and hardware have come a long way from the days where you had to have multiple partitions to boot to in order to use different operating systems. Nowadays, virtualization is only a few software downloads and maybe a growing pain or two away. Not only will virtualization allow you to run a different operating system inside of your regular operating system, but it’s also a cool trick to do at parties. Honest.

I had some previous experiences with virtualization:

  • VMware Workstation [Was just becoming free around the time I tried it]
    • Option overkill for what I wanted. Since this was the first time I had used virtual machines it scared me away a bit. VMware is the gorilla of virtualization from what I’ve seen and heard from smart people.
  • Microsoft Virtual PC [Free from Microsoft]
    • The easiest setup-and-play experience for any Windows-friendly operating system (Windows, DOS, OS/2). Running Windows within Windows is amazing on this; you have complete clipboard sharing, native display settings, shared folders, host device usage (printers, USB, etc.)… it’s pretty sweet. But it wouldn’t cut it for OpenSolaris. To be fair, things may have changed and perhaps OpenSolaris would’ve worked on Virtual PC but I wanted to try something new.

Reading some information about OOo development and OpenSolaris made me aware of another Sun project called VirtualBox. I did some research into it and it turns out to be a fantastic virtualization product. So I downloaded it (version 2.1.4) and began setting upĀ  OpenSolaris 2008.11 from the DVD I had received. Bad idea.

One of the benefits of using virtualization software is that you can “cheat” through various means when installing a guest operating system. Instead of using optical media (CDs, DVDs) you should opt to mount an ISO image (usually files with the .ISO extension) from a hard drive. This will save you a lot of time. (At the least, some time. Your mileage may vary.) It took me just under 60 minutes to perform a default install of OpenSolaris.

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