Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some love to QEMU, too...

Icaros Desktop is traditionally packed into a self-executable 7z archive which includes QEMU for Windows and two different script for 32 and 64 bit releases of Microsoft's operating system. While Icaros changed a lot in the latest 5 years, almost nothing happened to this 'external box', which allows easy testing of Icaros Desktop under Windows, albeit quite slowly. With version 2.0 of our distribution, this will change: we've moved to a newer release of QEMU (2.1.50) and we already configured it to use SB128 emulation for sound and VMware SVGA for graphics, enabling many wide screen resolutions and enhancing a little the overall experience, which will still be, unluckily, considerably slower than a installation on real hardware or on a VMware/VirtualBOX virtual machine. There is, however, an interesting development in QEMU which didn't exist in previous version: QEMU's relatively new ability to mount a directory as a virtual FAT drive. We're adding a 'share' subdirectory in our file extraction path where you can easily place whatever file you want to share with your Icaros environment, and have it shown by Icaros Desktop among the virtual drives. This shared portion of Windows filesystem will be read only: you can copy things from Windows to Icaros using it as a temporary directory (just place your files there), but you won't be able to follow the other way around. In the "corner screenshot" you can see how it works. In the backward window you can see explorer showing the content of this 'share' subdirectory, while on the front one you can see QEMU output, with the same directory shown as a lister in Dopus 5.