Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Aug 2007 17:06 UTC, submitted by Dan Warne
Microsoft Microsoft showed its new 'Softgrid' technology today that allows apps to run as if they were inside a second copy of Windows. But unlike traditional virtualisation apps, there's no second Windows desktop getting in the way. For example, Microsoft showed Office 2003 and Office 2007 running side-by-side, even though they can't actually be installed on the same copy of Windows. Initially, the technology is for corporate users only, but it has huge obvious benefits for home users as well. First steps towards this?
Order by: Score:
klik2
by maxjen on Thu 9th Aug 2007 17:40 UTC
maxjen
Member since:
2007-07-15

Cool: http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/2920
"klik2 brings the era of "application virtualization" to the Linux platform. (In case you do not yet know: this is a topic that is going to be hyped very soon on the proprietary MS Windows platform -- and it indeed does solve quite a few problems which are prominent and widespread there)."

Reply Score: 7

RE: klik2
by DeadFishMan on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:27 UTC in reply to "klik2"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

They were predicting the future.... LOL!

Although I am not a big fan of Klik, you sir deserve a +1 for coming with that one!

Reply Score: 2

disadvantage
by mkools on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:07 UTC
mkools
Member since:
2005-10-11

I deploy and work with Softgrid a lot, it's a great product but it has one very big disadvantage.

Let's say you virtualize Office 2003, if you want to use Adobe PDF within Office 2003 you have to virtualize it together with Office.

Softgrid is only used for exotic applications that have no connection to other applications, if it has it becomes pretty useless, so that's why it's never recommended to virtualize applications like office, acrobat reader etc.

Reply Score: 2

Nothing New..
by sieb on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:19 UTC
sieb
Member since:
2005-07-06

Altiris SVS anyone? Been using it for a while now. Now owned by Symantec, so there goes any buyout option by MS. ;)

http://www.altiris.com/Products/SoftwareVirtualizationSolution.aspx

Edited 2007-08-09 18:20

Reply Score: 2

OS virtualization
by butters on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:28 UTC
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

In other words, this is Microsoft's somewhat belated OS virtualization solution, like Zones, Jails, and OpenVZ. The author of the article seems to be drawn mostly to the fact that containerized clients share the host window manager. But this is how all existing OS virtualization solutions work.

There is no "Windows within a Windows" going on here. A single Windows instance powers all virtualized clients. Therefore, this can't be used to bridge XP/Vista compatibility issues, for example. The advantage of this setup is isolation and manageability.

The marketing angle is similar to the direction of the rPath project, which was recently featured here:

http://www.osnews.com/story.php/18312

It drew only 4 comments, one of them being my rant on the improper use of hardware virtualization in place of OS virtualization. So this would be the rPath vision of software delivery implemented in a more technically sensible manner.

Well, sort of... While free software implementations of virtual image creation leverage the existing package management systems, Microsoft's approach appears to use a kind of keylogger for system configuration. It tracks and memorizes the steps taken to setup the software on a fresh Windows install so that it can replay them later to create virtual images.

Since streaming is cooler than downloading, that's how Microsoft intends to deliver the virtual images to clients on a corporate network. It's not clear how well streaming works for a system image as a opposed to sequentially-accessed media. It would seem to make more sense to network-mount (i.e. SMB2) the images and use caching.

All in all, though, I'm glad to see that OS virtualization is being properly employed to solve real RAS problems. Neither the technology nor the use-case is new, and the implementation details include some frightening and strange aspects, but the vertical integration will be best-of-breed. A brief hackathon could bring similar functionality to Solaris or Linux.

Reply Score: 4

Comparision of 4 products
by modicr on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:30 UTC
modicr
Member since:
2005-09-20

Here is a comparision of Altiris/Symantec SVS,
Citrix Application Streaming Feature,
MS SoftGrid and Thinstall VS (in PDF file):

http://www.virtuall.nl/articles/ProductInformation/PQR%20-%...

Regards, Roman

Edited 2007-08-09 18:33

Reply Score: 3

meianoite
Member since:
2006-04-05

http://www.osnews.com/permalink.php?news_id=14412&comment_id=117455

By the way:
www.sandboxie.com

Dirt cheap and works quite O.K. for my needs. Found it last year when I was looking for a cheaper alternative to Altiris SVS as sieb just mentioned.

Haven't tried hard sandboxing games that use DirectX or OpenGL, though. Installing UT2004 inside a sandbox didn't work.

Reply Score: 5

Huh?
by sappyvcv on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:37 UTC
sappyvcv
Member since:
2005-07-06

For example, Microsoft showed Office 2003 and Office 2007 running side-by-side, even though they can't actually be installed on the same copy of Windows.

How come I have them both installed then?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Huh?
by modicr on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:38 UTC in reply to "Huh?"
modicr Member since:
2005-09-20

Do you use Word 2003 and Word 2007 simultaneously?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Huh?
by sappyvcv on Thu 9th Aug 2007 22:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Huh?"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

I have. I usually use Word 2003 and Excel 2007 simultaneously.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Huh?
by n4cer on Thu 9th Aug 2007 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Huh?"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

Outlook is the application that cannot be installed from multiple versions of Office at the same time. The rest of the Office applications don't have this issue. When you install O2k7 along with O2k3, you have to either leave the 2k3 version or upgrade to Outlook 2k7.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Huh?
by superstoned on Fri 10th Aug 2007 09:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Huh?"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

Or he uses Crossover Office on linux or OS X, where you can install Office 97, 2000, 2003 and 2007 at the same time if you wish ;-)

All in all, I think it might indeed be true now or soon - wine brings better windows compatibility to linux and Mac OS X than Microsoft itself will be able to provide with Vista!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Huh?
by sappyvcv on Fri 10th Aug 2007 14:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Huh?"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

That's true. I just kept Outlook 2003 since I absolutely need it at work.

Reply Score: 2

Re: "this"
by Luminair on Thu 9th Aug 2007 18:47 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

In your "this" link you suggest starting the userland anew and using virtualization to provide backward compatibility.

That is what makes sense these days. Systems are fast and virtualization overhead isn't as much of a concern. A future version of windows may pursue this -- just include a virtualized Vista in the background to maintain compatibility.

But SoftGrid is only sort of barely the same thing, I think. It's more like Thinstall ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_virtualization_development... ), or part system-level and part application-level.

IMHO the future is with standalone ("portable") applications that require nothing but the large, standard OS files. In the Windows world there is a growing community of people "Thinstalling" applications for use. klik2 also looks to follow this path.

Meanwhile part of the Linux community is still trying to solve the problem of managing how an arbitrary number of interdependent application files interact with each other (package management).

To me the solution to the packaging and security problems seems obvious: package large standard application libraries (java, mono, ...) with the OS. Build individual applications with their own given versions of the small libraries. This restricts big library compatibility testing to the few big libraries, and small library testing is done by the developer who packages his app with the libraries that he knows work.

Multi-user environments are the only hitch. I'd have each app use its own individual config file unless a switch is flipped for it to enter multiuser mode, which would store the config data elsewhere.

Then you use one of these fancy virtualization techniques to show a copy of the OS to each application. Like with klik2 and the AppArmor profiles, each app is then monitored and eventually only allowed what you know it should be able to do. This can be done before the app gets to the user -- a governing body can make sure that each popular application has only the minimum necessary access.

Ubuntu and Linspire have the program installation and removal GUI down. MacOS has the "single file application" thing down. Every OS has some version of application virtualization. Put it all together, folks.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Re: "this"
by KenJackson on Thu 9th Aug 2007 21:29 UTC in reply to "Re: "this""
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

Build individual applications with their own given versions of the small libraries. This restricts big library compatibility testing to the few big libraries, and small library testing is done by the developer who packages his app with the libraries that he knows work.

That sounds vaguely like the approach taken by PC-BSD. It also seems to obviate the need for the libraries at all. It seems foolish to go to the effort of separating code into DLL files (or SO files) if only one instance is ever going to be loaded at a time. (Maybe that's what you meant by the large, standard OS files.)

Reply Score: 2

Simple unix solution to this
by Ford Prefect on Thu 9th Aug 2007 20:55 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

is called "chroot". I don't know since when it exists.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple unix solution to this
by Doc Pain on Fri 10th Aug 2007 19:06 UTC in reply to "Simple unix solution to this"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"[Simple unix solution to this] is called "chroot". I don't know since when it exists."

The chroot utility has been introduced in 4.4BSD ca. 1992/1993.

Reply Score: 2

X11 Forwarding
by intangible on Thu 9th Aug 2007 21:09 UTC
intangible
Member since:
2005-07-06

Yay! MS finally got around to implementing X11 forwarding to run apps in a virtual machine on the host!

Albeit, they did it in the most proprietary and round-about fashion they could devise.

Reply Score: 1

RE: X11 Forwarding
by n4cer on Thu 9th Aug 2007 23:43 UTC in reply to "X11 Forwarding"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

MS' version of X11 forwarding is Terminal Services/Remote Applications. Softgrid applications execute on the client machine.

Reply Score: 5

chroot
by SpYkEs on Thu 9th Aug 2007 22:16 UTC
SpYkEs
Member since:
2007-08-06

is this kinda the same as a jail? it has me confused but sounds like just an app running in its own enviroment seperated from the main os.

Reply Score: 1

RE: chroot
by Doc Pain on Fri 10th Aug 2007 19:13 UTC in reply to "chroot"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"is this kinda the same as a jail?"

Not quite. chroot = change root directory, jail = imprison process and its descendants. These techniques exist since ca. 1992/1993 (chroot) and 2000 (jail) respectively.

"it has me confused but sounds like just an app running in its own enviroment seperated from the main os."

Judging from the article's content, it looks to me like an MICROS~1 like implementation of something similar to UNIX's jail. So it seems to be a bit more than chroot... but I'm not quite sure, I'll have to examine the source code. :-)

Reply Score: 2

ha!
by zhulien on Fri 10th Aug 2007 05:23 UTC
zhulien
Member since:
2006-12-06

that's funny that MS needs special software to make it so you can run multiple versions of a program on the same PC at once. have they ever heard of making them non-reliant on each other in the first place? perhaps letting you choose where you want to install it and actually running 100% from there with no reliance on other rubbish?

Reply Score: 2