Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

18 Jan 2009


There are plenty of nice things about open-source living, there are alas a few not so nice things.

For a few years I've used virtualisation systems to run legacy and test systems. I started with Qemu which ran legacy Windows systems well enough where WINE wouldn't do.

When I was planning my new home server I was planning to use Xen to host several virtual systems on it so I could partition them up from each other. Alas Xen didn't work on AMD64 in Debian Lenny at the time so I never got round to using it.

As I'd use Qemu/kqemu for a while I thought I'd try that out. I set the system up quickly enough but there wasn't and easy way to NAT the machine, so I gave up.

I then had a go with Sun's VirtualBox tool which has a really slick GUI interface and is easy to NAT. I've run a virtual SSH server now for a few months. Instead of SSHing to my home server, I SSH into a virtual machine which makes me feel a little safer.

Recently a bug in VirtualBox has driven me mad, the container starts but as the virtual machine starts running the container explodes and it locks the machine up. Not so good.

I've had fresh look at Qemu to find that it now has an easy way to NAT, so I'm going back to that for a while. At the same time Xen is now available for Lenny/AMD64.

It's annoying at times to have bugs, but at least they do actually get fixed without being forced to pay the original vendor extra money. I've also got at least three pretty mature alternatives to do pretty much the same thing - each has their own advantage and disadvantage but the differences give options. Unlike closed source solutions they even share code, while competing.