Home > OS News > Computer-in-a-computer Idea Gains GroundComputer-in-a-computer Idea Gains Ground Eugenia Loli 2003-11-10 OS News 40 CommentsSoftware giant Microsoft and start-up VMware are bringing closer to reality a technology for running multiple instances of an operating system on a single computer.About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 40 Comments 2003-11-10 6:20 am Haven’t mainframes been doing this for over a decade… 2003-11-10 6:34 am a startup? They probably been one, but established since 1998. A sloppy (see comment of Phil) written c|net article dubbed here. 2003-11-10 7:16 am after Connectix/VirtualPC … VMWare …. 2003-11-10 7:38 am This is OLD technology. Ziff-Davis is pulling someone’s chain with this sort of story – Linux has had its vserverhttp://www.13thfloor.at/vserver/s_release/v1.00/FreeVSDhttp://www.freevsd.org/and UMLhttp://user-mode-linux.sourceforge.net/index.htmlfor several years running, and the other related technologies for even longer.I don’t see what the fuss is all about – sure, Microsoft, Johnny-come-lately style, has joined the band, but it’s been playing for a lot longer than Microsoft has been in existence. 2003-11-10 8:52 am “bringing closer to reality” “soon” “hopes to use”? whats up with that? I’ve been using VPC on Mac, and Vmware on Linux for -years- now..Is this something different? Or is MS just claiming to have invented something again? 2003-11-10 9:03 am as usual, whenever micro$oft announces something, the hungry press tends to believe that micro$oft invented it, or that they do it be$t vmware’s been doing this for years! and of course the mainframes for decades already! and even stuff like gameboy/SNES/playstation games have been running virtually inside PCs with specialized software like good ol’ bleem, zsnes, snes9x and connectix vgs 2003-11-10 9:25 am Of Course! It’s only recently that PC’s have been fast enough to do this well, and when the market/industry leader sit up and take note, so do the press! 2003-11-10 9:38 am Years ago you could run the Amiga and Mac OSes simultaneously on the same 68040 based computer. 2003-11-10 9:46 am …VMWare ESX server is currently pushed by IBM for use on their 16-Way boxes (x440/x445) for server consolidation. Typical that everyone jumps on it saying it’s “new” only when Microsoft poke their oar in. 2003-11-10 9:53 am Haven’t mainframes been doing this for over a decade…Until very recently the z/VM was the only way to run Linux on IBM’s zSeries mainframes. IBM claims the technology has been in development for 30 years:http://www.vm.ibm.com/linux/ 2003-11-10 10:35 am Microsoft is so funny… They haven’t done a thing to VPC really. oh, they added support for more than one ethernet interface. Aren’t we all impressed now?VPC 2004 doesn’t look much different from good old VPC 5.x, so I really don’t see how this is going to change the computing world. It’s been here for years… What? Unless Microsoft does something it doesn’t exist?? lolThat seems to be what they’re saying. Just like Al Gore inventing the internet. lolOf course I doubt any of us are suprised. It’s what Microsoft does. They buy something that’s been around for a while and then claims it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. They also don’t seem to be able to do anything original, rather they buy and steal their products.But enough ranting about Microsoft. We’ve already heard it all before eh. lolI’m just waiting for the day they stick pieces of Linux into Windows and talk about this nifty opensource / commercial OS they’ve put together and what a revolution it is. Of course that Mac OS X thingie never existed, yeah… lol 2003-11-10 11:37 am In the short term, there could be some good in this for vmware if they play their cards right. Whatever MS comes out with will get alot of press exposure, no matter how lame and old-news it is. Since MS is hardly changing anything, when VirtualPC comes out, reviewers will want to do a head to head with other products and VMWare should encourage it. VMWare beats VPC by a 100 miles because of the different ways they handle the virtualization. So alot of ppl who havent heard of VMWare before, will now know it as the software that is alot faster and better than Micrsoft’s. 2003-11-10 11:44 am I always thought (since VPC runs on the mac) that it acutally emulated the x86 chip, while VMWare does virtualisation… Is this wrong? 2003-11-10 12:59 pm bill ‘flintstone’ gates is reinventing the wheel on and on and on….😉 2003-11-10 1:08 pm I can’t see the value of running 2 OS’es on the same machine at the same time via software. I have a Powerbook to run mac OS/software and a Windows laptop to run windows software. I could never figure out the facination with emulation. Understand i am all for the hardware partitions that HP uses to split up a box to run native CPU versions HP-UX/Windows/linux. Lindows? Wine? VirtualPC? run native! 2003-11-10 1:34 pm I’ve been running a small database server for years on an emulated PC. Backing up is a snap since the “hard drive” is just a file. Upgrades and repairs to the physical hardware are a non issue because the emulated OS always sees the same exact configuration. Ever try upgrading a Win 2k box? Can anyone say UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME? 2003-11-10 1:48 pm First off, we’re talking not about 2 OS’es,but about as many OS’es as you can eat (or rather, your hard disk!). Run everything you ever wanted to run on that Powerbook: Windows, Linux, SkyOS, BSD, whatever.Second, there is no real computer to worry about, just disk images. If your windows gets infected with blaster, just chuck it into the trash and resume with your backed-up Windows disk image. Or discard the changes.Third, you can try out everything before you go to real hardware. Ever wanted to partition a hard disk like Attila the Hun? 2003-11-10 1:50 pm Benefit of Multiple OS’s:If you are a multi-platform software / system developer this tool is pretty key. If you develop on the Windows Platform, you can test your software against a default installation of Win95, win95b, win98, win98se, WinMe, Win2k, WinXP, etc to see how compatible your software is.Of course you could just examine what libraries your software needs and which of those come with the platform you are targeting, but that would require reading. 2003-11-10 2:02 pm “First off, we’re talking not about 2 OS’es,but about as many OS’es as you can eat (or rather, your hard disk!). Run everything you ever wanted to run on that Powerbook: Windows, Linux, SkyOS, BSD, whatever. ”Not entirely true. BeOS, for instance, supposedly has trouble running in VMware without doing some timing hacks. I would not be surprised to hear that other operating systems had similar issues. And expect VMware to start choking when something like Longhorn comes out and starts putting major load on video hardware.That said, however, VMware is quite excellent as an application testing platform, provided the app isn’t 3D.-Erwos 2003-11-10 3:06 pm I think some people are forgetting that there are 2 VPCs.The Mac based VPC is an emulator, its aim is to allow Mac people to run Windows just like SoftPC used to. It will be slower than native Windows or MacOS, don’t think its was mentioned in article, not very interesting compared to…The VPC for Windows allows for developers, not ordinary users to run multiple Windows versions rather than maintain multiple PCs for testing SW. Its esp good if the OS being tested is unstable, to install, just drag a new image file to HD and boot it.Actually it would be kind of nice if every OS was delivered as an image and every plain PC without OS had a simpler version of VPC/VMWare in bios. That way there wouldn’t be any driver issue. But Linux+VMWare is as close as that will come, but too expensive for casual use. 2003-11-10 3:41 pm Remember that there is always a strategy behind any commercial software product, except for software that is unsuccessful.They want users of old products like Win9X to upgrade to their new product line.Microsofts new product line is more flexible because it is built upon a software layer which it decoupled from the operating system layer. The code you write in .Net is translated into an intermediate language and than the IL is interpreted, so that line by line, it is translated to machine code and executed.At any rate, the software solutions that you build in .Net will run with ‘hopefully’ no modification in a future product line so long as you have the proper components installed, which makes it easier for Microsoft to move forward with their customer base.The Windows software developer (Win32) is obsolete because the primary focus is on busnesses, and ‘making businesses mobile with IT’. The solution developer should only target the .Net framework so that his application will be compatibile with the future product line. With VMWare the solutions developer does not have to target Win9X users because they can now run the new product line AND the old one. 2003-11-10 3:49 pm Just like Al Gore inventing the internetAhhhh. Can we please put this to rest. He NEVER said that. NEVER. Someone somewhere along the line (i’m guessing it was a conservative pundit, actually I believe it may have been Ann Coulter, and who can trust what that psycho says anyway?) changed the quote to say “invented” which in fact he never said. Al Gore is the one who pushed for funding to make the Arpanet into the Internet. If it wasn’t for him you wouldn’t be typing misqoutes into a forum right now. 2003-11-10 3:55 pm To reiterate, if you love the Microsoft product, than you should not try to be backward compatible with the old product line because VMWare does this for you, it enables the users of the old product line to upgrade so that they can run .Net applications. If you are a solutions developer this means that you do not have to target the old product line, you should only target the .Net framework and make users of the old product line mobile with VMWare. 2003-11-10 4:02 pm The operating sytem run by VMware is the software layer, and VMware itself is an interpreter that is underneath the software layer that it exectues. 2003-11-10 4:11 pm What Al Gore said (CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer):During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.So, yes, he did say it. Al Gore did do something to help its growth, but in no way did he take “the initiative in creating the internet.” The simple fact is that he exaggerated his role, and what politician has never done that?http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000/tr…Now, can we please leave Ann Coulter and the vast right-wing conspiracy out of this? 2003-11-10 4:57 pm “Software giant Microsoft and start-up VMware are bringing closer to reality a technology for running multiple instances of an operating system on a single computer.”VMWare is doing it by actually creating an innovative product. Microsoft on the other hand is doing it by writing a check from Bill’s fat wallet and then after purchase stripping out the innovation. (Linux support for you slow pokes) 2003-11-10 5:36 pm Actually they’ve been doing it with os/390 for a long time. I’m not an expert on the technology but you can divide the system into lpars very easily. I worked at a hospitol for a few years and they had one production lpar and a couple of development ones on a single machine. Cool stuff, but the idea and the implementation have been around for a long time. 2003-11-10 5:48 pm As in creating legistation to help the growth and funding of the virgin internent by the federal goverment. He never said he “invented” it just that he took “the initiative in creating the internet” via a bill passsed in congress because others would not step up and lobby for it at the time. I love how people twist words and imprint their own opinions and ideas onto them. 2003-11-10 6:46 pm MS does have something to do with it. Do you think they will allow a non-windows os on the system. 2003-11-10 7:32 pm He never said he “invented” it just that he took “the initiative in creating the internet”…I suppose that depends on the meaning of “is”, eh?…via a bill passsed in congress because others would not step up and lobby for it at the time.What he did was a good thing, and I myself conceded as much — in no way however can it be construed as “creating the internet.” He exaggerated, perhaps carelessly, perhaps wilfully, I don’t know and I don’t care. Every politician does, and any attempt to argue that Mr. Gore didn’t exaggerate, becomes an exercise in assigning new meaning to words, and removing long-standing connotations. 2003-11-10 7:35 pm Microsoft doesn’t invent technology, instead they take an idea and create a market for it. Microsoft would assume too much risk if they invented the technology. The inventions that they choose to market always are applied to a strategy to sell their product. I think that their goal is to have a flexible architecture and than have as many people as they can get to migrate to it. 2003-11-10 8:31 pm Instead, it usually waits for someone else to actually IMPLEMENT the idea, and then they either:(1) purchase that company or the rights to that product (as was done with DOS, Word, Excel, Visual Basic, SQL Server, Internet Explorer, Visio, and now VMWare), or(2) create a functional clone of the successful product and use their strength-of-presence in the desktop space to drive the original from the market (as is being done with Windows Media Player). 2003-11-10 10:55 pm That start-up part is real funny. May as well call Microsoft or IBM a start-up too. Just because someone is blissfully ignorant of a company, doesn’t mean that it is a start-up when they blip on your radar.I haven’t touched the Bochs project in years, because when VMWare received a $12 million grant from Microsoft. This little news item appears to have been google-washed. Now the news say this “start-up” company is competing against this monopoly… snicker… snicker… What is it called when two companies co-operate, but make a public appearance that they are competing? 2003-11-10 11:42 pm He never said he “invented” it just that he took “the initiative in creating the internet”…Exactly. I remember watching him say it on TV. Too bad it’s still a false statement, whether he said he created the internet or just “took the initiative in creatiing” it. I do miss Al, though. 2003-11-11 1:36 am Al Gore is now taking the initiative at Apple Inc.. I’m glad he’s at Apple and not running the country, because now he can only screw up < 3% of the world 🙂 2003-11-11 2:52 am Vint Cerf would beg to differ.http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/20000…You guys know who Vint is, right? Right? 2003-11-11 7:44 am bochs was around in a fairly complete form in 1996, because it was on the cdrom in my copy of the second edition of Tanenbaum’s “Operating Systems : Design and Implementation”. 2003-11-11 1:31 pm Back in my Tech support days i used to support a application called Mathcad. At the time they had a really bad Mac port of the software(ever see dll’s in the extension folder? mathcad had them..yeah that bad) This guy calls complaining that he can’t get the mac version to run properly. Turns out that he was running a Mac OS 6 or 7 emulator under Unix then trying to run Mathcad. Of course we didn’t support that configuration but the question that kept floating around my head was why in the hell would you want to do what he was doing anyway? 2003-11-11 2:06 pm I always thought (since VPC runs on the mac) that it acutally emulated the x86 chip, while VMWare does virtualisation… Is this wrong? though i never use VPC, since it’s a VMWare competitor i believe it’s also a virtualizer. if it were a chip emulator, it would be mostly unusably slow like Bochs. (I’m not bashing Bochs at all though). 2003-11-11 2:13 pm I can’t see the value of running 2 OS’es on the same machine at the same time via software. …you know, i used to run 2 boxes at home (1 is RH73 and the other is Win2k) and used to think like the above too, until:a) I need to take some screen captures of the Redhat installation for supplementing a documentation I wrote. I did this once without VMWare, by replacing /sbin/init with a tee-like program to capture the anaconda output. Pretty painful;b) My room feels too hot and noisy with 2 AMD boxes; I could invest on a silent fan or liquid cooling system, but…;c) I want to run RH9 too (and now, also Fedora Core 1, and probably Gentoo or Debian or something else);And besides, with software like VMWare you could do cool stuffs like freezing your running Linux OS and unfreeze it again tomorrow or whenever. Linux hasn’t supported hibernation AFAIK but by running it under VMWare it feels like it does.