So even though I was initially seeing if I could run an XP sandbox inside Sun’s VirtualBox, I’ve ended up using the Ubuntu VM more than I thought I would. I know I already said this but I really am impressed with the performance. I’ve got it installed on my main machine and on a laptop. They’re both decent machines (4-core or 2-core Pentiums), but I didn’t expect flicking between the VM and XP to be so smooth and for the operation of the VM to be so quick.
Yeh I’m gushing, but there you go.
I ended up re-working a bunch of Linux scripts I already had for backing up my websites locally, which I’d originally written when I was using a Debian machine, then changed to work under Cygwin, migrating that to an XP batch file using a different version of rsync. So now I back the files up to a filesystem inside the VM, tar them up and move them to a directory outside of the VM (using the Shared Folders feature, which works really well).
I have some weird issues with permissions on the Shared Folder, the ‘root’ directory permissions of the mount point are r-xr-xr-x, subdirectories are fine (rwxrwxrwx). Can’t work out if that’s me being dumb, Ubuntu being annoying or VirtualBox being crazy.
I wonder what performance would be like if I changed to Ubuntu as the host OS, with XP as the guest. I wonder if Lord of the Rings Online (the only real game I play) would run smoothly.
I’ve messed with a straight Debian VM (using the latest test version of Debian) and that runs pretty well, but since Ubuntu is Debian under the covers, with a better look (the default Debian fonts are ugly compared to Ubuntu) I don’t think I’ll be keeping it.
So far the VM’s been pretty stable, I managed to crash it running dosemu inside it when I started Wing Commander II. But I guess I can live without that 😉