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Re: VM image to promote Debian within the neuroimaging community

On 2007-04-13 16:55, Michael Hanke wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm thinking about creating a virtual machine image for VirtualBox to
> promote the use of Debian among neuroimaging scientists. The target
> audience are Windows-users currently using cygwin-based ports of
> available Linux/Unix tools, or even worse win32-only stuff just because
> they have/want to stick to Windows as their OS.
> I think VMs are superior to Live-CDs for this task as the VMs can be
> used as a living Debian system that can be further customized. In
> contrast Live-CDs always feel like a snapshot of a certain system that
> one has to live with.
> I want to use VirtualBox, because it is freely available and only
> requires little configuration. Besides the usual features of its
> competitors it offers two interesting additions.
> 1. It can run 'headless' and provides the video output via an integrated
>    RDP server that can be accessed over the network.
> 2. It can mount folders/drives on the host system even without a network
>    setup.
> I want to use Debian etch as operating system and use as much available
> packages as possible. The desktop choice would probably be XFCE, because
> it require little memory which could be important if the VM host doesn't
> have much RAM installed.
> I plan to setup a single user (root only via sudo) for that all relevant
> apps are fully configured to give a nice works-out-of-the-box feeling.
> I'd like to keep it as close as possible to a standard Debian system. I do
> not intent to create yet-another-distribution, but a usable example
> installation of Debian etch.
> I'd be glad to hear your comments. I'd be especially interested in
> information if a similar project already exists and what I can do to get
> the highest benefit for the Debian project.
> Thanks in advance,
> Michael

Hello Michael,

I've done something similar with PC-BSD under Parallels:


The same Parallels image works under both Mac and Windows.  I would hope the 
same is true to VirtualBox.

I agree that VMs are much nicer to work with than Cygwin.  The main limitation 
in a VM guest OS is going to be graphics speed, which will be a big issue for 
3d apps like SUMA, Caret, and Freesurfer.  This is the one good reason I can 
think of to use Cygwin instead of a VM.  If there's a way to give the guest 
OS direct access to the video hardware, or at least get reasonable 3d 
performance (which I've not seen yet), we'll really be in business.



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