I travel nearly every week to my clients’ offices. I have recently become quite keen on the idea of videoconferencing with my wife and children each night, as a means to span the miles between us. Skype is the software I’ve settled on, as the most promising open-source competitor (Wengo) didn’t instill much confidence. The firm I work for blocks Skype installation through its use of McAfee’s enterprise product — a fact which makes me a saaaad panda! (If this turn of phrase is foreign to you, might I suggest viewing the South Park episode from which it emanates?) (Tangentially, my firm is also staunchly anti-open source, as evidenced through our open source software policy — a fact which makes me an equally bereaved bear!) I digress …
The solution to my predicament? Sun’s brilliant VirtualBox open source virtualization package running the latest Ubuntu release — currently 9.04 (or “Jaunty Jackelope,” as they call it). The installation of VirtualBox took a bit on my lappy, but it went fairly seamlessly. The only hitch was that the installation of the VirtualBox Host-Only Network adapter in Windows XP SP3 broke my wireless networking. (It may well have broken all networking, but I didn’t try plugging a cable in to check.) The solution to this was fairly simple — disable the newly installed adapter! It seems that VirtualBox doesn’t need this adapter enabled in order to provide the virtual OS networking. (I’ve no idea what this adapter is used for at the moment. Perhaps I’ll figure this out as I work with VBox a bit more.)
The only Ubuntu image I had lying around was a Hardy (8.04) disc I burned some time ago. I added a new machine to VBox, installed Ubuntu from the disc, updated to Jaunty using apt, and installed Skype from the Medibuntu repository. So, I’ve got a virtual Jaunty up and running and, I must say, it is bloody fantastic! Good show, Sun!
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