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Old 01-03-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Small distro as a "Dashboard"

I've asked in a few places, and not gotten responses, so I hope you guys can help.

I'm building a new PC and want it to be flexible and versatile. Here's my plan...

I want to install a very small distro to be used as my native OS. I'll have a nice PC with decent specs* so a tiny OS seems like underkill, but bear with me.

I plan to run multiple OS's for various reasons. Mythbuntu for DVR work, Win XP for those times I need it, and Ubuntu as my main desktop OS. I won't always have all three running at once, but it could happen.

The reason I want the small primary OS is so I can use it as a dashboard for launching other OS's as virtual machines. This means that all my work will be done on VMs, though I could do simple web browsing on the little distro.

<<But why, Jeff?>>

Well, on my current old PC I recently had to re-format and re-install an old Ubuntu version because, for whatever reason, Gutsy wouldn't run well on my machine. I ended up starting from scratch because I couldn't upgrade from such an old distro, and I couldn't use the new one. So I figure that if Ubuntu is on a virtual drive, I can replace it, archive it, delete it, or whatever, without disturbing other stuff on my hard drive. Plus, I won't have the dreaded dual-boot system (sounded good at first, but I don't want to reboot to do a task in Windows).

There are obvious advantages for Windows. I can go back to a clean install or early snapshot with a few mouse clicks. Lord knows I'll use that!

So here's the small distro I found. It comes bundled with Virtualbox and Compiz Fusion, so it seems like a good simple base for my proposed system.

Am I being stupid here, or does this sound workable?

*AMD dual core 3.2GHz, 2-4GB RAM, 750GB HDD (add more later if needed), and a 512MB Asus graphics card on a nice Asus mobo

I'm documenting my planning here...
Old 01-03-2008, 03:59 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Stroud, UK
Distribution: Kubuntu, Debian
Posts: 149

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It sounds quite reasonable, but remember that Virtualbox doesn't support direct3d, so no games in Windows.

I think your best bet is to choose an O/S (I would recommend (K)ubuntu) and just run Windows as a Virtualbox, or use Wine/Crossover Office/Cedega to run your windows apps and games.

There is (apparently) a version of VMWare that supports direct3d, but you'll have to look around for this.

Hope this has been some help.
Old 01-03-2008, 06:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fuzzyworm View Post
no games in Windows.
MMKay. I can live without that. I'll be 50 next year, so games aren't a big part of my computing agenda (I really want to get a new version of Chessmaster though).

Thanks for your input. I really expected to be shot out of the saddle and told I was being stupid.

I really think that a minimal boot, followed by multiple VM options, can make for an unbeatable system that can do everything, while still running operating systems that aren't bloated and bogged down with excessive crap.

Besides, if it doesn't work out I'll always be able to go back to a more traditional system.


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