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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People seem to be forgetting a couple of important factors with app teleportation:

1/ External references:
If an app is expecting a specific file / directory structure. For example:
* Photoshop / PSP with it's dozens of filters, FX and masks held as plug in files.
* Or sound editing software with it's dozens of VST(i) audio plug ins.

You'd have to copy the GFX plug ins / VST folder (depending on the example) along with the app - which could violate copyright law (in terms of VST(i) plug ins, a lot are worth hundreds of £££ per softsynth / effect bank) and have several hundreds of MB of data to instantly "teleport".
This simply is not doable on either a legal nor technical point of view (legally you can't have several copies of active software so, from a technical perspective, you'd have to move the data from one platform to another each time you "teleport"

Another issue is:
2/ software that expects specific hardware:
* CD burners expecting a CD write,
* BACS software expecting a smart card & reader,
* video conferencing expecting a mic and (web)camera.....
and so on.

So in short, I think the only workable applications for teleportation are for kind of apps that's (for the most part) already available via the interweb cloud (webmail, Google Docs, etc).
Thus we end up back at a bigger question: how much do you trust organisations like Google with your personal data?

Teleporting whole OSs doesn't negate hardware dependencies, but it does resolve point 1/ of this (now lengthy) post.


Thinking about it some more: X tunnelling through SSH is probably the closest we have to Thoms dream on current technology.
However I'm not sure how easy it is to transfer an active application from one SSH -X session to another.

Edited 2009-12-01 10:58 UTC

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