I have a friend that plans to buy a new shiny computer in couple of months. Today, he asked me a question, which I could’nt give a satisfactory answer. Here is the deal.
He is an (soon-to-be) an interior-arhitect. He is open to idea of using gnu/linux operating system. However, there are some proprietary software that he won’t give up like autocad, google sketch up. Because, he spents lots of its time 3d modeling and rendering etc.
His new computer will be a performance computer, for work purposes. He wants to protect his files and projects against virusus. He wants to keep them safe. Also, he does’nt want to constantly having to switch between operating systems (in case of a dual boot system).
I really don’t know much about virtual box and wine usage. But, I guess using wine would’nt be 100% productive and compatible to software, which is an important concept for my friend.
IMHO users who are unwilling to give up using a specific proprietary software application, and who are not interested in dual booting should stick with the Operating System that best runs their favourite proprietary software. In this case: MS-Windows.
IME it is perfectly possible to run the must-have, no-substitute apps in a VM. I’d suggest also trying a XP VM in VMWare player (with vmwaretools installed, of course), my experience with it is that it works better than VBox (personal opinion, YMMV). Wine won’t run autocad after version 11 IINM.
That said, at work my partner uses google sketchup (the pro/paid-for version) under wine (from 11.3 repo) and we both run bricscad classic 32 bit for linux as our main cad app - 2D only, the licenses cost US$ 275 on promotion, 3D version is in the plans - as our main cad app (only had to add the mesa-32 libs). We tried Ares Commander, which is a full-feature (i.e., with solid modeling), very well done CAD for linux, but found it too slow with large files. There’s also Draftsight, from Dassault systems, who announced a free linux version soon (2D only).
Performance wise, Bricscad is very brisk ( if you’ll pardon the pun), ggsketchup is kinda slow but usable. In the VM ggsketchup runs faster.
There is always a penalty in performance, either with wine or a VM, but we can live with that. What your friend have to understand is that he’ll trade some (excess) performance for reliability and security (and no update/shareware/antivirus nagging).
He shoud try it with an open mind. If he insist of same performance he won’t have it.
P.S.: My partner is a windows user at home (too lazy to learn something new), but has no problem with linux at work, in fact he prefers it (he feels safer and legit).
ken yap wrote:
> Use Windows but stay away from M$ software like IE and Outlook. Instead,
> use FF, Chrome, Opera, Thunderbird, etc.
it should be possible to run MS and his required work programs inside
a VM running on top of Linux…but, that might take a level of IT
capability he does not have (yet), so i agree with the other: use what
that said, here is a great article on how to migrate from Windows:
With VMWare Player, installing XP in a VM is really easy. I think VBox is not difficult either. The complicated parts were adding shared folders (in vmware), usb support (in VBox) and tools (the drivers and enhancements package for the client OS), as these were the “paid for” differentials, initially in VMWare. With the competition from VBox, VMware included shared folders and tools update in the free-to-use Player.
Regarding difficulty, if you can install XP in a computer you can do the same in a VM.
I would suggest dual-booting just to learn Linux and find the Linux software he needs to replace the Windows programs and continue to use Windows for all of his work for now. And then when he is comfortable with Linux and has found the software he needs make the jump to Linux.
Regarding the change from AutoCAD to BricsCAD, there’s a good guide here.
The linux version - bricscad classic - doesn’t have solid modeling, although it display solids and have all the pseudo 3D capabilities). For that you need ares commander (natively) or bricscad/ares commander/draftsight for windows in a VM.
That’s how I started, but for work dual-boot is very time consuming, inefficient. The VM approach fixed that.
A different approach with no performance loss would be to use two boxes, one with linux and another with windows, two monitors, vnc and one keyboard and mouse, but that is more complicated to set. And in these days of multiple core processors it’s not all that much anymore.
Indeed speed is a key point, although before I chat about speed, I should note that if one is using a VM one is not free from the update/shareware/antivirus nagging as long as one is running in the VM. A VM can catch a virus just as easily as a direct install. The difference with a VM being that the underling OS (Linux) is safe, and backup of a VM is relatively easy. (just copy the entire .vdi file every week or so to an different location, and restore as need be).
I do note the impact of not running as fast as possible can have a bigger impact on people’s psych than what one may initially predict. My wife recently purchased a new PC with no OS (well there was a 30-day trial win7 install that she quickly deleted). It is a fast PC (a core i7 860 with 6GB of RAM). Her previous PC (that ran winXP) was a 32-bit sempron-2600 (ie very slow in comparison). She installed openSUSE on this new core i7 860, and put winXP in a Virtual session (being very generous in the VM resources she gave winXP).
But in the end, winXP in a VM was too slow for her. Now it was the same speed (or possibly marginally faster than what it was in the Sempron-2600) but she kept thinking she had a Core i7 with 8 cores and there was no way she could stand having the same speed she had previous with her old PC. So she ended up installing winXP direct on this Core i7 860 and she ignores Linux now. The VM session was psychologically too slow in comparison to the speed she knew she could get with a direct install.
IMHO despite the excellent arguments and suggestions, if one can not leave their MS-Windows proprietary apps behind, then they should stay with that OS.
I do like the suggestions, that other Linux ‘similar’ apps should be tried instead of the proprietary MS-Windows apps.
On Sun, 09 Jan 2011 06:36:01 +0000, yasar11732 wrote:
> But, I guess
> using wine would’nt be 100% productive and compatible to software, which
> is an important concept for my friend.
That’s a somewhat faulty assumption. WINE isn’t emulation (in fact, it
stands for WINE Is Not an Emulator). In fact, I remember years ago
running comparative performance of NeverWinter Nights (a Windows game) on
identical laptops, one running Linux+WINE and one running Windows 2000
(or maybe Windows XP, it’s been a few years), and the Linux+WINE
performance was actually better than native Windows.
That’'s not to say that you’ll see that with every program, but
anecdotally, it’s possible to get better performance of Windows apps than
on native Windows.
The question you should be asking is if the applications he needs will
run under WINE or if he can get good enough performance under a
virtualization solution. If he can, then great - if not, then a dual-
boot solution might be the best option.
Not if, like here, the VMs do not have access to the internet. We don’t use IE or e-mail client or install shareware. If by any rare eventuality we get a virus or the VM breaks - which never happened in the 3-4 years we’re doing this- we just restore an “original” image from a backup DVD.
The key point to security is to use the VM only for what you really really can’t do in linux. For us this amount to three structural design apps, none of which require internet access. So, no AV installed, no need for a firewall, no automatic updates enabled. And it is as safe as it can be.