Random Wisdom

Tag: linux on windows


by on Jan.19, 2006, under How To ..., Linux, Software

Recently, I needed to use Umbrello but didn’t have access to a workstation that had it installed. And since I’m stuck with a Windows PC, I thought I’d take a look at the KDE-Cygwin project. It seems that they’ve stopped working on the project since there is a better alternative: Cooperative Linux. It’s basically a modified Linux 2.6.10 kernel that runs on Windows — kind of a like a virtual machine but it’s different — it’s definitely a lot faster. Here’s a snippet from the coLinux homepage:

Cooperative Linux is the first working free and open source method for optimally running Linux on Microsoft Windows natively. More generally, Cooperative Linux (short-named coLinux) is a port of the Linux kernel that allows it to run cooperatively alongside another operating system on a single machine. For instance, it allows one to freely run Linux on Windows 2000/XP, without using a commercial PC virtualization software such as VMware, in a way which is much more optimal than using any general purpose PC virtualization software.

The project page had a preconfigured Debian image and so that’s what I’m using at the moment. The native X server does not work though — so the Cygwin based X server is needed to diplay all the GUI stuff.

Getting it installed was a piece of cake. The Wiki site for coLinux has a lot of helpful info.

Once the basic text-mode linux is up and running (must be able to reach the host via the network), we need to run some commands from the cygwin shell. First run

$ cygserver-config

to configure the cygwin server and then start the server with:

$ cygrunserver -S cygserver

Then, we need to set

$ export CYGWIN=server

And then start the X server in rootless mode. The easiest way is to just make a copy of the startxwin.bat file and then edit it to change the options to XWin.

Once the X server is running, we need to run “xhost +” from the xterm that had popped up. Then, we switch over to the coLinux console and run:

$ export DISPLAY=<ip of windows host>:0

And that’s it! Now you have a fully functional linux distro! I would have gone for a Fedora install but couldn’t find a proper image.

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