Sunday, August 19, 2007

Forget Cygwin and VMware, run coLinux

Until a week ago I would have said that Cygwin was the best available way to hybridize Windows and *nix. I was relatively happy with my xterms and ssh. But that was all that I could use it for. Running X applications compiled for Cygwin was unusably slow. So I had to use VNC to connect to run X11 apps. Well, I no longer have Cygwin on my machine, it has been replaced by Cooperative Linux.

I don't know what rock I've been hiding under for the past two years but I had not heard of Cooperative Linux until a few weeks ago. Cooperative Linux is a recompilation of the Linux kernel as a Windows executable. All of the native posix commands get remapped to the Windows kernel. And it's fast. It's unbelievably fast. Once the kernel is running, it can run native Linux binaries. In other words, you can boot your Debian/Gentoo/*buntu/etc. distribution while in Windows without any binary recompilation a la VMWare or Virtual PC.

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