Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Nov 2009 23:45 UTC
Oracle and SUN Yesterday (today if you're in the US), Sun released the latest version of its virtualisation solution, VirtualBox 3.1. Among speed improvements and other smaller features, the biggest news is that Virtualox 3.1 introduces something called teleportation: you can move running VMs between machines - servers or clients, different architectures, different host operating systems, it doesn't matter to VirtualBox. Coincidentally, this reminded me of an idea I once had about moving running applications between machines.
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Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Exactly. Think about this one, for instance.

I watch my television series on two computers - I have an HTPC in my bedroom as well as my living room. They both draw from the same storage space. OFten, however, I won't be able to finish watching an episode on f. ex. my bedroom HTPC before I go to sleep - so I pause. Wouldn't it be handy if instead of having to remember where I left off and scrub until that point on the other computer, I could just drag the video player to the other machine, preserving its state?

It sounds very handy to me, but it would probably require a heck of a lot of work, and I'm not sure if it is a desirable enough a feature.

Edited 2009-12-01 09:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Tuxie Member since:
2009-04-22

Theoretically it could work, but as the hardware capabilities will change underneath the player during playback you'll probably have to configure it for the lowest common denominator and the limitations of VirtualBox. That means no hardware accelerated playback, no multichannel audio or AC3/DTS passthrough, no LIRC, etc. To make those things work would properly, as you say, would require a heck of a lot of work.

A much easier thing to implement would instead be a backend/frontend split where a shared backend could have many frontends.

Reply Parent Score: 1

umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Wouldn't it be handy if instead of having to remember where I left off and scrub until that point on the other computer, I could just drag the video player to the other machine, preserving its state?


Uh, seems like it would be a lot simpler if you could just drag a "bookmark" from one machine to the other... afterall, that's all you need.

So far, you're making up some pretty simple scenarios to support the notion of moving a virtualized app across multiple machines... if both machines contain the same software already, all you need to drag is the data in its current state. That data could contain the current settings/state of the app and it could pick up where it left off.

I'm glad you threw in the case of "shared storage" here, because that would have been my main sticking point on any concept of dragging a running app to another machine - what if the resources are missing. Every app has different needs, what if a DVD you're playing from is in the desktop and you want to continue watching from the laptop...

I think it's a solution looking for a problem, personally. If anything, I think you should be pushing seemless movement of application state from one machine to another. It seems nobody really focuses on this concept these days, because it's assumed you'll finish a given task on the machine you're currently using.

I suspect a machine without any local storage is the most likely to support such a notion in the future, so look for it eventually on ChromeOS ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

mjmoran Member since:
2005-08-13

There was actually a research OS out of Spain called Plan B that could do just as you described. I think it was based off of Plan 9. There were some videos floating around that were very impressive.

-Mike

Reply Parent Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Exactly. Think about this one, for instance.

I watch my television series on two computers - I have an HTPC in my bedroom as well as my living room. They both draw from the same storage space. OFten, however, I won't be able to finish watching an episode on f. ex. my bedroom HTPC before I go to sleep - so I pause. Wouldn't it be handy if instead of having to remember where I left off and scrub until that point on the other computer, I could just drag the video player to the other machine, preserving its state?

It sounds very handy to me, but it would probably require a heck of a lot of work, and I'm not sure if it is a desirable enough a feature.


You want X11 with XMove. Start an X app on PC1. Then XMove it to PC2 and carry on. Then XMove it to PC3. And then back again.

Granted, the actual execution of the app always happens on PC1. But the display, which is all you really need to worry about, occurs on PC2, then PC, etc.

All it takes is a network connection. Works quite nicely. And if you add in NX for better network response, it can even work across DSL and dial-up links (although not for full-motion video at those speeds).

Reply Parent Score: 2