Windows Home Server in VMware Fusion 3

I set off on a quest to get the home backup / media server / remote access solution Windows Home Server with Power Pack 3 running inside of VMware Fusion 3 running on top of Apple OSX Snow Leopard (10.6).

Why, you ask? Simply because I thought I could… and it works good with traderush so please don’t ask me if is traderush legit A little while after downloading the Windows Home Server trial, it became apparent that there was no selection for this operating system. No matter, I thought, it’s based on Windows Server 2003, so I should simply be able to select that, right? Unfortunately not that easy. First, the hard disk type selected by default by VMware Fusion is SCSI. Without a driver disk (virtual floppy), you’ll have no luck. Also, the amount of memory available doesn’t meet the Windows Home Server requirements.

My method?

Try these settings:

– Windows Server 2003 Web Server

– No “easy install” settings

– 512MB RAM

– Remove the default HDD

– Add an 80GB IDE HDD

– Make sure the ISO is mounted

Things seem to be working at this point.

Hope this helps someone, I trawled Google and the Fusion forums with no luck.

Distro of the week: Berry Linux

Up until a few years ago I was getting fed up trying to show Japanese friends that linux was a viable option to Windows XP SP2, because the input method that Linux used at the time quite truthfully stank. The conclusion was that with an English keyboard, Windows was the way to go because of the (then) fancy Japanese input method applet.

Later on, I found out about Berry Linux, a Japanese LiveCD distro based on RedHat/Fedora that can easily show off Linux and allow users to do things like compose email that Japanese people can actually read (common problem on Windows), and surf the web in Japanese by default, instead of having to manually choose codepages and the like, which frustrates must computer users (if they haven’t already given up).

Berry Linux got an update today (to version 0.75), and now supports fancy-pants XGL – which I’m sure you’ll agree kicks Aero’s behind quite handily (footily?). If you’re trying to run Berry Linux Mini as a virtual machine you’ll get a console instead of X and you’ll lose the XGL capabilities, so I’d recommend testing it on a physical machine instead of a virtual machine – it’s a LiveCD so it’s quite safe to do so.

Berry LinuxBerry LinuxBerry Linux

Here’s a feature rundown taken from the Berry Linux site’s English page (corrected a few typos):

    Common Features:

  • Support for Kernel-2.6. ALSA, ACPI, selinux.
  • Overlay Filesystem Support.
  • XGL, 3D Desktop, support.
  • Berry Linux is not necessary to install. (Root partition is in the RAMdisk using initrd, all commands are operated by being transfered from CD-ROM)
  • It can install on Windows without parting partitions to use Setup.exe or install.bat. (Using squashfs/cloop/loopback device)
  • It can install to your hard disk on Linux. (Use Berry Linux Installer or Copy under /BERRY/, and set up LILO or grub)
  • Berry Linux can boot from USB-HDD/memory.
  • Berry Linux uses WHIZ, a very sharp Kana-Kanji conversion system. (WHIZ Project)
  • If you push the windows key, and show the K-Menu.
  • Automatically recognizes USB storage, and show icons.
  • Berry Linux uses free Japanese True Type Fonts.
  • Berry Linux uses bootsplash when booting.
  • Berry Linux uses DHCP to connect the Network. (If you’d like to use PPPoE, you should setting up it on the Terminal)
  • It’s possible to save personal setting.
  • Red Hat Fedora compatible.
  • Using new technologies.
    Berry Linux’s Features:

  • You can listen to mp3 using BMP/XMMS, and play DVD/DivX using MPlayer, XINE and Kaffeine.
  • You can edit files of Microsoft Word, Excel by OpenOffice(TM).
    Berry Linux Mini’s Features:

  • Minimum Linux environment is available by using Berry Linux Mini.
  • Its file size is very small. (148.0MB)
  • It’s light. Because of the Window Manager is Fluxbox.
  • You can enjoy comfortable Linux environment.
    Berry Linux Server’s Features: (Published Berry Linux Mini as alpha version)

  • Build the Linux Server easily.
  • Minimum Server Linux enviroment is available by using Berry Linux Server.
  • Its file size is very small. (161.3MB)
  • It’s light. Because of the Window Manager is WindowMaker.
  • You can enjoy comfortable Linux enviroment.

    To do:

  • Support Software Suspend.
  • Support Captive NTFS.

You can grab Berry Linux from the SourceForge page or the Berry Linux main page – but I’d recomend using SourceForge if you are in North America as it is much faster.

Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 3 on VMWare Server

More and more people are turning to virtualization these days. One of the main reasons is in order to test pre-release, beta, or alpha software. When it comes to Linux, the operating systems are in a state of constant flux so there’s always something new to test. People routinely want to test beta versions of KDE and Gnome and other desktops before comitting, or simply want to see what features are in development.

We’d previously written an article about installing Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft Knot 2 (it IS a long name) on a Mac Mini, so to do the same would be batty. Instead, this guide covers testing the newest Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft Knot 3 on Windows XP using free (as in beer) virtualization. This guide would also apply to anyone testing on various flavours as well, as long as they can run our free virtualization software: VMWare Server 1.01.

Setting up the Ubuntu virtual machine in VMWare server is very easy (click the pictures for larger versions):

Connect to your local VMWare Server installation if you run it locally, or connect to your remote VMWare Server.

We’ll select “typical” for this virtual machine as VMWare Server includes a configuration for Ubuntu already.

And, speaking of which, here it is! Make sure to select the plain “Ubuntu” option, unless you are running a 64bit host, and downloaded the 64bit version of Edgy Eft knot 3.

Name your virtual machine and select the location. The defaults should be fine here but feel free to tinker.

I typically use bridged networking, but for added obfuscation you can use NAT (which creates a virtual network based on your host’s network connection). You could also select host-only if you only want to be able to contact the host operating system. In fact, if you really wanted to make sure the machine is isolated from the wiki wikid web, don it with a nice tinfoil hat and disable networking completely. Ubuntu won’t be happy, but it looks pretty nice in a tinfoil hat.

8 GB of diskspace is fine for testing.You’re not going to be leeching full seasons of Lost… at least we hope so.

Since we opted to allocate diskspace now, VMWare Server will start creating the 8GB file. This can take some time depending on your computer’s hardware. In my case this took a few minutes – I use SATA2 NCQ hard drives and have 2GB of RAM. Your mileage may vary.

You now have a default virtual machine set up, but it will need some slight tweaking in order to install Edgy Eft Knot 3 as fast as possible. Click on “edit virtual machine settings” and remove the floppy drive – we don’t need it. Set the memory to at least 512MB, but it really depends on your total amount. Since I have 2GB total RAM on my host I select 1GB normally. Edit the CDROM settings and point it at your Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 3 CD image. Click “OK” – we’re set for lift off.

Press start and drool over the new llivecd boot screen. Note the reflection on the logo. How original.

Now we’re at another original boot screen – the progress loader. Note the gradient progressbar, and the Crystal-esque Ubuntu logo. Reminds us of 3 years ago, doesn’t it precious? Yes, yes it does.

We’ve landed at the desktop. You may stop here if all you wanted was a secure browsing solution with no cookies and passwords to worry about. Should we wish to continue, our mission involves double-clicking that obvious “install” icon. Let’s go for it.

This is an easy 6 step process. Step 1 – select your language.

Step 2 – Select your location or timezone.

Step 3 – Select your keyboard layout. I normally recommend you test the layout just in case. We’ve typed in “blandname” here for demonstration purposes. You may wish to try typing “Ubuntu”, but nothing else lest ye be stricken down.

Step 4 – Identify yourself. This information will be used later in life to incriminate you. Be choosy with naming and passwords. Harry MacDonald that means you! Try typing in something other than your real name here – it works, I promise.

Step 5 – We’ve pre-allocated our diskpace, so no need to worry about this one. Just click the “forward” button.

Step 6 – There really isn’t a step 6. The Ubuntu team has decided to waste our time by confirming the already tedious and easy task. Onward, ho!

Installing – took me 30 minutes. It may take you an eternity, but with hardware prices where thet are, I seriously doubt it will take you long to be rolling with a virtual Edgy Eft install.

The eternity has passed, and we’re going to reboot. Don’t forget to disable or otherwise change the CDROM settings so you don’t end up installing again – that would be embarassing, right?

There you have it – the pretty login screen. Note those options. XDMCP looks very intriguing doesn’t it? We’ll get to that later…

And presto! What have we got here? Firefox 2.0b1 – Bon Echo Beta 1! Try it out and see what you think, I’m impressed so far to be honest.

So that’s it, you now have a working Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft Knot 3 test virtual machine (edit: let’s make the name longer). And it weren’t hard neither! When Knot 4 comes out you’ll be able to do it in your sleep. If not, well we’ll see you searching for it again.

Where’s my Mac BIOS? (How to get into OpenFirmware Easily)

A lot of people these days appear to be under the impression that Macs have a BIOS, which is unfortunate because they actually have something much better – Macs have OpenFirmware. This is true for G4 Mac Minis, PowerBooks, iBooks, iMacs, eMacs, and Dual G5s… I could go on and on.
I got most of this info from experience and the Apple Developper Connection – if you’re not a member yet, sign up, it’s free.

You can get into OpenFirmware using this key sequence:

CMD-OPT-O-F

In detail, this means using two hands, holding “command”, “option” and “f” on the left and “o” with your right hand. Do this while booting your computer and you well hear two chimes. At the end of the chimes you will be greeted with an

On my G4 Mac Mini, for example, I can hold down the power button for roughly 10 seconds and I will hear the chimes – this should work for iMacs as well.

The OpenFirmware prompt that looks like this:

ok

0>

Congratulations, you’ve accessed your “BIOS” you switcher!

Now that we’ve passed this glorious milestone, we have some work to do. After all you came here for a reason right? (and not just to click on the ads, wink-wink nudge-nudge)

Some useful commands that save me time and time again, and enable reparation of the G4 Mac Mini:

Boot your Apple computer using the default boot device:

0 > mac-boot

Boot your Mac using the inserted CDROM at the yaboot directory for linux CDs:

0 > boot cd:,\install\yaboot

To eject a CDROM from your Mac:

0 > eject cd

If you have any other OpenFirmware tips to share, feel free to comment!

Installing Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 2 on a Budget Mac Mini

I’ve introduced this before but I got off to a really bad start and I appologize. So here’s the follow-up. Not only is Edgy Eft 2 quite stable, it also installs just fine on a Mac Mini, it simply doesn’t recognize the Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard yet. You can easily get the install running using a USB keyboard, however, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Edgy Eft Knot 2 is the newest release from Ubuntu, and is compatible with the budget Mac Mini G4s. Ubuntu 6.10 supports wireless on the mini as well as sound! OK now that we have you hooked let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1 – Grab the release

You’ll want to either download the CD image or start scraping the torrent (in my case the torrent was faster but YMMV)
Once you have the ISO, verify the MD5 sum in order to make sure it’s OK. If you used bittorrent, you should be fine as it will calculate the hash as you go.

Step 2 – Burn the CD Image

This part is pretty easy, but if you run into trouble Ubuntu actually has a fantastic guide to burning CD images – it comes highly recommended.

Step 3 – Start the installation

This part is pretty simple if you have Macintosh keyboard. Other keyboards can be problematic. To boot from CD using an Apple keyboard, just hold “C”. If this doesn’t work, and you downloaded the ISO but didn’t verify the MD5 sum, chances are you have a bad download or a bad burn (or both). You’ll want to verify the MD5 sum now! If it passes we know we have a bad burn – so burn it again. Of course if the MD5 sum failed, you’ll want to download again – I’d recommend using bittorrent of course.

Step 4 – Post Install

The install is actually pretty easy and straight forward but we’ll need to tweak a few things in order to get what we want out of this version of Ubuntu. After all, we want wireless right? (By the way – sound should work just like the liveCD, as well as previous versions of PPC Ubuntu) Follow the screenshots below which shothe whole procedure. I’ll be making a slideshow soon – subscribe to RSS and it’ll come.
Gallery:

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Review: Parallels Compressor Server

I have recently purchased Parallels Compressor Server because I work with virtual machines on a daily basis and also because it is CHEAP. At $179 this is very affordable software, even for someone on a budget – like me. Why purchase the software? What Parallels Compressor Server does is pretty complicated, but it comes down to one thing: if you run a Windows XP SP2 or Server 2003 R2 virtual machine (VM), Parallels Compressor Server speeds it up insanely. It removes unwanted services, temp files, files you’ll never need in a VM, and the same goes for drivers. Parallels also tunes things like network drivers in order to take full advantage of the virtualization.

Installation is a snap. It’s pretty much next, next, next through the Windows client installation. You enter your key, and are allowed to make a CDROM image for later use with the VM. Use you have finished, you boot the VM using the CD image and start the process (which can take some time). Parallels Compressor Server does it’s magic, and you reboot. HUZZAH! Faster VM just like that.

Conclusion – you may run a free virtualization platform – but how fast is it? For $179, Parallels Compressor Server is a steal.

No disclaimers needed – I am in no way affiliated with the software, I’m just that impressed.

Access Your Computer’s BIOS

UPDATE – Many people have asked me to write an article about accessing a Macintosh BIOS, so here it is!

I helped a friend out today who wanted to reinstall Windows on his Dell laptop. When he inserted the CD into the drive and rebooted, the computer still booted into Windows and would not boot from the CDROM drive for him. Having seen this many times before, I told him to change the boot order so that he could boot from the Windows installation CD. Since he was unsure of how to do this, I have a feeling that most people would be stuck were they in the same situation. Here are the most common keystrokes that will get you into your BIOS. Once you are there, change the “boot order” or “boot sequence”, so that the CDROM is the first item. Once that has completed, save the changes and exit. Presto! you can now start the installation and proceed with glee.

Phoenix BIOS (older)

  • Ctrl+Alt+Esc
  • Ctrl+Alt+F1
  • Ctrl+Alt+S
  • Ctrl+Alt+Enter
  • Ctrl+Alt+F11
  • Ctrl+Alt+Ins

Award BIOS

  • Ctrl+Alt+Esc
  • Esc
  • Del

AMI BIOS (most common)

  • Del

IBM BIOS

  • Ctrl+Alt+Ins F1

Compaq BIOS

  • F10

Dell BIOS

  • F2