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Friday, February 03, 2006

Take #2: Ubuntu

I eventually found out that VMWare and Mandriva (the successor to Mandrake) don't quite play well together -- there's no easy way to get VMTools installed, and without that, mouse and video performance is bad. Based on a few recommendations, I'm trying Ubuntu instead. So far, I've managed the necessary incantations to download and install Sun's JDK 1.5 but I've been annoyed by performance issues, even with VMWare tools installed.

Things run very, very slow, even at modest (1024x768) resolution. The mouse can't keep up with my, I click and drag and it see the move too soon after the click and starts to do a select area. You have to click the mouse, hold it still for noticable fraction of a second, then drag. My students will lynch me if I foist this upon them ... especially considering that this is on my monster Alienware system.

Based on some recommendations on the web, I'm updating to the 686 kernel right now, to see if that helps. The Mandriva install was much easier and more performant, but people say that Ubuntu is the one. So much to learn ...


jesse said...

I've tried out a lot of different distros (still not cool enough for gentoo ;)), and ubuntu has been by far the best experience for me.

I would highly reccomend upgrading to the dapper drake repo, which is accomplished by editing your sources.list via `sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list` and then replacing all instances of breezy with dapper. (ie :%s/breezy/badger/g )

Also, the sun jdk performs like crap on linux. You should definitely use ibm's. It's much faster.

P.P.S, be sure you have the "restricted" repo enabled, if you do it will install the correct native video driver for your system (theoretically), which will cause another dramatic performance increase.

hehe...Doesn't sound quite as easy, but you'll be super l33t. ;)

Anonymous said...

After reading your last blog about VMware I decided to test out isolating my development enviroment in the VM. I installed ubuntu and I was impressed with the performance. Hopefully you can get this figured out.

Kofa said...

There's a pre-built Ubuntu image for VMware Player at http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/vm/ubuntu.html
Maybe you could check out that and see whether it performs well. If it does, try to figure out how it's configured.

James said...

Ubuntu? Doesn't that still use those archaic rpm things? Gentoo is neat. :) But I haven't tried it as a VMWare image.

And no matter what distro you use make sure you configure X for use with VMWare.


jmaasing said...

I played with Ubuntu in WMWare and the performance is not too bad. I just did a default install (breezy badger), installed JDK1.5 and eclipse and it works fine. Sometimes the screen redraw is a bit slow but not nearly like Howard describes. So at least it is possible :)
And no, Ubuntu does not use RPM, it is a debian and has a pretty nice package manager, at least compared to slackware which I usually run :)

Jim Van Fleet said...

For what it's worth, I've had experience in several distros on VMWare before using my first distro (Ubuntu) natively. A lot of Ubuntu's benefits come from the facility it has with hardware identification-- a problem that isn't as important on VMWare. I think you should look around for your purposes...

Anonymous said...

Ubuntu is just a bad mock of Debian --although not the worst--. I've been in the linux hype since 1996 so I've tried almost every distro that has come available during all this time. That's why it is fair from me to say that Gentoo is the best distro ever. I have Gentoo as host OS and WinXP Pro as one of my guest OS with VMWare using 256MB, works REALLY good.