Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why not running Linux or Windows on AROS?

...because it's deadly slow! But, besides this, the good news is it's been possible for some times, thanks to the Bochs emulator Fishy_Fis released some months ago. An emulator which required some little tweaking, but that will be included - already configured as usual - in the next release of Icaros Desktop, which is scheduled really soon. Bochs will come with two disc images with FreeDOS and DLX Linux already preinstalled. You won't probably do so much with them, we know, but they at least demonstrate that running other operating systems' software on AROS is possible, thanks to emulation. Unluckily, Bochs is not a "virtualizer" like many other virtual machine solutions (like VMware and VirtualBox, for instance), but a complete PC emulator, with all the drawbacks (one for all, speed) this can mean. Another limitation will be the need to use image disc files for storing files: current version of Bochs can't handle partitions directly. So - in the end - you'll be asking: why including it into the distribution, if it's still alpha software? For two reasons: the first, demonstrating once again that AROS is getting more and more complete, with a wide range of applications, and the second to hit a nail on virtualization under AROS. I'd really love that someone would port open source version of VirtualBox (adapting it to AROS limitations, or enhancing AROS at the point to be able to host another OS without many drawbacks), or at least QEMU. Who will be so brave to do this?