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Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 Removes Linux Support 481

Psykechan writes "MSFN has got themselves a beta of the new MS Virtual PC 2004 which should be out at the end of this year. Most notable in their 'fixes' is the removal of Linux, BSD, Netware, and Solaris from the supported OS list. They may still work, they just aren't supported. We all thought that this would happen after MS bought Connectix but this just makes it official."
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Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 Removes Linux Support

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  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:05PM (#7308423)
    Why bother buying it at all then? if you really can only really test Microsoft OSes with it now then I can't see that being of much use to anyone.
    • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:09PM (#7308445)
      It nice for web developers. We really need to double-check our work on MSIE Win. VPC is portable and it allows onee to cut back on unnecessary hardware. I don't need a damn PC in my house. ;)
      • You can buy another virtual PC product that will allow you to test many operating systems other than Windows, so for once Microsoft have produced a rather feature-less rubbish product, all in the name of monopoly protection.
    • Web developers! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The only way to test on multiple versions of IE is with multiple Windows installations. You need a seperate install to test IE4, IE5, IE5.5 and IE6. Gotta love OS integration.
    • by PsyQ ( 87838 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:12PM (#7308465) Homepage
      Ummm.. Because it allows Mac OS users to run Windows applications? What other application does that (reliably)? SoftWindows has died, SoftPC had the same fate and RealPC is completely destroyed. Did you even consider that before posting?

      The only hope now lies in Bochs [], an open source PC emulator/virtual machine thingy. Currently it's quite hard to configure and has very low compatibility with existing x86 OS's, but at least it somewhat works and the source is out there.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Bochs isn't THAT hard to use. The wx based GUI is actually pretty good. I managed to go from knowing nothing about it to installing a copy of Redhat under it in about 4 hours. Seems to me the only weakness is the speed and the level of documentation available.
      • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) * on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:30PM (#7308583)
        Bochs will never replace VPC as long as Bochs is written in "pure" platform neutral code. VPC works as well as it does because of platform-specific optimizations done all over the place, both in C code and in assembly. This can break compatibility(such as with the new G5), but it's the only way to get enough speed to be useful, otherwise it's going to be like trying to use MAME to run Windows(MAME of course is also pure, but it can get away with this because the environment it emulatates runs at a fraction of the speed of the host).
        • by redhog ( 15207 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:51PM (#7308700) Homepage
          Uh, that's why thee's a Plex86. Plex86 shares some code with bochs for the emulation of secure features of the processor and of extenal hadware, but executes ring code natively in ring 3 on the processor, just as VmWare.

          Anyway, I can't see why anybody would care about this VirtualPC M$ junk, when VmWare is out there and compatible with everything except OS/2 (I've checked, and it doesn't work, and OS/2 does not work unde Plex86 either, and there, I got some more debugging info, OS/2 uses a bit in CR2 that none of these vitualizers have caed to virtualize...(But ATM, I can't remember which bit...))
      • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:36PM (#7308942) Homepage Journal

        it allows Mac OS users to run Windows applications? What other application does that (reliably)?

        When Windows applications are themselves reliable, we can fault the maker of emulators and hardware for problems. When the hardware maker is bought by M$, it will soon be junk.

        I'm sure the previous poster considered the dearth of x86 hardware for Mac. He seems to think that x86 hardware for Mac is more useful for running Linux, BSD and other free software than it is for running M$ junk.

        What this means is that Microsoft is moving to put in barbs to mess with anything but Windoze. That these barbs will mess windoze too is not their concern because Microsoft cares even less about Mac users than they care about their own users. They have always done this kind of thing and they always will. The next challenge is the Next Generation Security BIOS which will lock everything but M$ out of commodity hardware. If it's not under M$ control, it won't make money for M$ and M$ can't tollerate that. Wierd, screwed up, agressive and paranoid but true, M$ has and continues to repeate their desire to run everyone's computer.

    • by Mwongozi ( 176765 ) <slashthree@davi[ ... g ['dgl' in gap]> on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:19PM (#7308511) Homepage
      Although this is a pretty depressing state of affairs, don't be so damn naive. 99% of Virtual PC users run Windows on it, and nothing else.
      • That might be true, but the major uses of VirtualPC (for PCs) that I've heard about are:

        + MS-DOS for old games. (Connectix even marketed this)
        + OS/2 for legacy applications.

        I think most Linux users of virtualization prefer Linux as the host OS and Windows as guest with VMWare, since they are usually migrating from Windows -> Linux and not the other way around.
      • Might as well drop the VirtualPC moniker and call it VirtualWindows/Mac.
        • Re:Name change (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )
          No, because that would be MS achnowledging that there's something out there besides Windows for PC, which most people currently are unaware of. Windows == PC already.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:27PM (#7308563)
      I use Virtual PC 5 on Windows at work to build & test Dephi & Java software. We get an enormous amount of control over the build and test enviroments by configuring the virtual machines exactly as we want them and enabling Undo Drives; the configuration can not change so we're 100% sure that the same setup is always used. This is much better than our current setup where I have to strugle to maintain four machines, especially the Delphi machines.

      We went for Virtual PC because it was cheaper than VMWare (By quite some margin, I might add).

      However we've already been shafted by the Connectix - Microsoft handover; we bought VPC 5.0, and when we wanted to upgrade to 5.2 they're no longer available. All we can get is a 5.2 trial, or the 5.0 we already have. The Virtual PC page at Microsoft also used to say VPC 2004 would be released in November; now it says "End of 2003". Bah!
    • You can use it to a)check the restore feature of your enterprise backup system, and then b) test security patches/system changes on something that closely resembles a production environment.

      Doesn't sound useless to me. (But I'm still sticking with VMware. ;) )
    • Actually not true (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sterno ( 16320 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:30PM (#7308908) Homepage
      My office uses VM Ware right now as a testing environment so we can try multiple versions of windows with our software. Still, there's obvious demand for a product that runs Linux and windows side by side, so it is clear here that Linux support is being removed because it's Microsoft.

      Expect MS to bundle this into their dev studio to try to lock out VMWare and further reduce the ways to run Linux.
      • by blixel ( 158224 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:41PM (#7308978)
        Expect MS to bundle this into their dev studio to try to lock out VMWare and further reduce the ways to run Linux.

        No - it can't be. Just the other day Microsoft was saying [] that it's bad to lock people into a single vendor.
      • Re:Actually not true (Score:4, Interesting)

        by leabre ( 304234 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @06:58PM (#7310483)
        I have already puchased VPC 5.2 for win before MS bought them. I use a different guest (or a differencing drive at least) for each of the web browsers so I can test how my web sites look in different browsers (including browsers on Linux). That was the purpose I bought it. It's cheaper than buying a new PC and more convenient than swapping hard disks.

        Now, if they don't officially support Linux anymore, I take my chances and would personally rather not take chances in using it in that manner anyway.

        What this means for me is a) buy a new PC, b) deal with swapping drives, or c) dump another $349 on VMWare. I purchased VPC over vmware in the first place because during my evaluations, VPC was more reliable, stable, and faster. Many have argued me on those points the in my scenarios, VMWare wasn't up to the task. Of course, now they have version 4 out so that may be different.

        I'm dissappointed but once I heard MS bought VPC, I knew this would happen. It is just way too convenient to run Red Hat 9 in a VM and test and make changes to the web site in the host OS without leaving the guest.

        I guess VMWare will be getting my money in the futre. Of course, I"m MSDN so now I get VPC as a part of the subscription. So I'm paying twice.

  • by attobyte ( 20206 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:07PM (#7308432)
    Well their not a monopoly. I am glad the DOJ put the smack down on them.
  • Linux support (Score:4, Informative)

    by zephc ( 225327 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:08PM (#7308436)
    is still in there, you select "Other" in the hard drive image set up, and just have to format the image yourself, rather than VPC doing it for you. End of discussion.
    • Re:Linux support (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:39PM (#7308624) Homepage
      Linux support is still in there... End of discussion.

      Did you even bother to finnish reading the Slashdot story? It says: "They may still work, they just aren't supported."

      So yes Linus still works, at least to some extent. It is NO LONGER SUPPORTED. It may fail in some way, and don't expect any help when you trip over some way in which does fail. It will most likely not work at all with in a future version, it may even fail after applying the next bugfix/patch.

      You cannot safely continue using Virtual PC for Linux, BSD, Netware, or Solaris. Merely applying a patch becomes a game of russian roulette. Not only might it kill the system outright, it could silently cause curruption. Unknown silent curruption is often far more damaging than outright failure.

    • Re:Linux support (Score:3, Insightful)

      by antiMStroll ( 664213 )
      The point of the summary was that the Microsoft-released version of the Connectix product minimized OSS support, as many predicted when the sale was first announced. That's exactly what happened. Even as partisan an organization as the Microsoft Software Forum Network glumly admits:

      The first thing we noticed was the removal of Linux, BSD, Netware and Solaris from the Guest Operating System Wizard list, which was bound to happen to Virtual PC in the hands of Microsoft.

      • And how is it at all surprising that OSS gets no official support from MS? While it is still in there, MS will be damned if they note that an x86 emulator actually supports an OS *other* than Microsoft's own.
  • I'm sure.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuintari ( 47926 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:08PM (#7308437) Homepage
    I'm sure if they do still work, it won't last, they'll soon end up on the "doesn't work, so don't try" list. And any attempts to fix it on the linux end, will result in many changes to the vpc to make them all annoying futile.

    but I am in a captain obvious moment right now.
  • Inform the judge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leomekenkamp ( 566309 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:10PM (#7308449)
    Maybe someone could inform Kollar-Kotelly or whats-her-name? To me this is a clear case of a monopolist buying a company and killing support for alternate products.
  • They need it to support older versions of Windows. Easier to create an emulation layer than to maintain backwards compatibility.

    Or maybe they just wanted to kill a nice migration tool. Why would they do that?

    Microsoft's concept of "choice" is like the "managed democracy" of Putin's Russia.
  • by fsterman ( 519061 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:10PM (#7308455) Homepage
    Just like Sony with the Virtual Game Station & Bleem! Cast. Sony sued the bejesus out of Bleem and Connectix. Connectix won and the Bleem ran out of funds. M$ decided to cut straight to the chase. Lets not forget what happened to Bungi after it's acquisition by M$, the games already in production got behind, especial on the ports, and nothing big has happened since then.
    • Just on a side note... Can anyone think of a company that has partnered with Microsoft and profited from it? Just curious.
    • Lets not forget what happened to Bungi after it's acquisition by M$, the games already in production got behind, especial on the ports, and nothing big has happened since then.

      In the case of Bungie and Halo it wasn't that the ports got behind. Halo's primary platform was the Mac, work on the PC version was also ongoing but not as far along. When MS bought Bungie effectively all development work stopped on the PC and Mac and they ported it to X-Box and finished development there.

      So much was planned for th

  • Migration (Score:5, Funny)

    by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:10PM (#7308456)
    From the MSFT web site:

    Microsoft Virtual PC is a powerful software virtualization solution that allows you to run multiple PC-based operating systems simultaneously on one workstation, providing a safety net to maintain compatibility with legacy applications while you migrate to a new operating system.

    After saying that, it would be kinda embarrassing to mention that it supports Linux.
  • Since VMware runs on Linux, is it possible it might run on Mac OS X too?

    Just a thought.
  • Isn't this anticompetitive behaviour? Helloo...justice department!?

    • Perhaps if it was completely broken, the DoJ would have as case, but as long as it unofficially works, then no one is going to be able to prove anti-competitive behavior just because they dropped official support for a competing OS.
    • I'm sorry, secretary Ashcroft is currently playing dress-up with Justicia and is unavailable but true to our philosophy of lean government for the good of the people we outsourced that case anyway I can connect you to the person who is now responsible for it, it's a certain Mr. William Gates would you like to talk to him now?
  • by Polyploid Pimp ( 712609 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:16PM (#7308500)
    Check out the following statements about Virtual PC for Mac from the Microsoft site []: "It has a great Mac OS X user interface and it takes advantage of the stability in Mac OS X."

    Are the guys at MS indirectly saying that Windows is not stable? Seems they could be finally saying it!

    Also, if Virtual PC supports Mac OSX, couldn't it also support some of the BSDs since OSX has at least some BSD components underneath?

  • this is interesting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:17PM (#7308505) Journal
    This is pretty interesting, considering the recent anti-trust grumblings.

    I think a lot of /.ers are collectively saying, "I told you so."

  • by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:24PM (#7308542) Homepage

    Let's think about this for a moment.

    It's obvious the MS has started treating Linux as a serious competitor. For most people, Linux doesn't offer everything you need... there's a great deal of commercial content-creation software that only exists for windows or mac, that Linux cannot now, and probably will not for a long time, be able to touch.

    So here's a product, that allows your customers to go ahead and run the competitor's software too, and all without you losing a cent in OS or Software revenue... Why not let it continue to work?

    • "So here's a product, that allows your customers to go ahead and run the competitor's software too, and all without you losing a cent in OS or Software revenue... Why not let it continue to work?"

      Why not? Because when users have more opportunity to run Linux, regardless of the current circumstances, Linux software can gain more support in the future. The problem with Linux so far is that its a very specialized operating system compared to the breadth and abundance of software for Windows. The developer

  • So why the hell would Microsoft actively REMOVE Linux support when it was already a feature / part of the program?

    Are they thinking that if they leave Linux support in, people who perhaps don't want to risk deleting partitions or something might 'try' Linux out and maybe even like it? Sheesh.

    Isn't it just cutting your nose off to spite your face?

    Oh.. and what will happen when you try and boot a Linux CD on this now anyway? As it is just supposed to be a Virtual PC ala VMWare, will it just crash the kerne
    • Re:Why bother!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Detritus ( 11846 )
      At Microsoft, long-term strategy is more important than short-term profits, or customer needs.

      When Microsoft dropped their participation in the joint IBM-MS OS/2 project, they didn't just stop developing for OS/2, they killed all of their OS/2 products, ripped out existing support for OS/2 from all of their development tools, made gratuitous changes to Windows 3.1 to break Win-OS/2, and started using DOS extenders that were fundamentally incompatible with OS/2.

  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:28PM (#7308568) Homepage Journal

    MS removes features in beta, release it and gauge reaction. If highly negative, say "That was only a beta" and add the support back. If no reaction, then go ahead with plan.

    The prophet has spoken.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:33PM (#7308595)
    From the FAQ:

    Q. Why is there a delay between the end of sales for Connectix Virtual PC for Windows and the start of sales for the Microsoft version of Virtual PC?

    A. Development work takes time, and we want to ensure a quality product for customers. Much of our development focus is on improving the security of the product so that it meets stringent Microsoft standards.


  • Mac Compatible? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:35PM (#7308607) Homepage Journal

    The biggest question--I'm assuming that VPC still sells better to Mac users than Win users, anybody know?--is whether VPC 2004 will run on G5s. These screenshots are apparently of a VPC for Win build.

    I'm guessing no--VPC for the G5 is apparently going to be a huge undertaking. It remains to be seen if MSFT is willing to do it at all.

    Do people really buy this for Win? Why on earth? If you have XP would you want to install a virtual 2000 or 98? Maybe for development reasons? Maybe for Linux--but now even that is deprecated. What's MSFT's strategy for VPC? Could it be that they just wanted to make it that much harder for Mac users to interoperate, or is that simply tin-foil hat reasoning?
  • Ok, so they removed Linux support from the Virtual PC software. Well why on earth should I care? - For one thing, as other comments have pointed out, there are other products in this field anyway, and for another, on just about any PC that I could run Linux through a virtualisation layer such as this, I could run Linux natively, surely? I mean, dual booting is possible on Wintel boxes, and I've never had that much to do with Macs but I've always been under the impression you could do the same with anythin
  • by katorga ( 623930 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:36PM (#7308612)
    MS tried to buy VMware and did not succeed. They intended to halt support for Vmware on linux. Instead they bought Connectix and plan to bundle "virtual PC" capability into Windows server in order to kill off the VMware market. Flat out, too many folks are consolodating wintel servers into VMware sessions running on top of Linux and MS does not like it.
    • by warmcat ( 3545 ) * on Saturday October 25, 2003 @03:39PM (#7309315)
      VMware is not just for consolidating servers, last week I used it for the first time and was able to lose having a Windows machine for legacy apps for the first time. There are still two apps I need to use that Wine can't cope with, this is a really nice and fast solution. $299 for VMware makes sense because it allows everything to live on the one 3GHz laptop here, its a radical simplification.

      Another interesting point is that Windows XP running on Linux via VMWare is defanged somewhat security-wise. I only need to use IE inside the VM for Windows Update, for all other browsing and email its on the native Linux OS, which is prettier than XP anyway with KDE. The .EXEs that can run under Wine (or Crossover Office more precisely) I run on Linux. So the VMware VM is a two-app ghetto that will never run anything else.

      If you have legacy apps in Windows, VMware is the answer, the parent could easily be right.
    • VMware Buyout (Score:4, Interesting)

      by headkase ( 533448 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @05:00PM (#7309751)
      If it get's to the point that VMware knows it's dead in the market, maybe people could buy out the software and turn it into open source like they did with Blender.
      I wonder how much support for this would exist within the OSS community?
  • vmware's ESX [] supports Linux.
  • by BitGeek ( 19506 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:43PM (#7308647) Homepage

    I've been boycotting Microsoft for some time due to their dishonest, FRAUDULENT and unseemly activities.

    But this pisses me off. Not that I use VPC much, but I do have a licensed copy.

    No more.

    I am now going to Pirate VPC and do my best to make sure pirated copies of VPC show up on as many forums and distribution points as I can find.

    I've had it with Microsoft extorting money from schools for Windows licenses for every Mac they have. I've had it with Microsoft spreading lies about its competitors. I've had it with the Justice department going after MS for stupid anti-trust when straight Fraud and Theft charges are just as appropriate. And I've had it with the low moral, arrogant, incompetant Microsoft employees that are responsible for the Seattle half of the dotcom bust with their poorly run (and no longer running) companies.

    I'm a Mac user, and I just became a Microsoft enemy. I believed that this was a free market and Micrisoft was allowed to compete, and anyone who bougth their stuff was just a fool. But this is it. This isn't a criminal activity-- they can make their software fail to run Linux and suck a little more... but buying the only x86 Emulator on the market and then hobbling it just pisses me off. ITs not enough that they have %90 market share-- no, they have to piss all over us.

    Well. That's it. This means war.
    • I am sure that Beoing up and leaving the state, leaving thousands of jobs vaporized has nothing to do with the unemployment rate in Seattle. Nor does Microsoft hiring at a steady pace every week.
    • Yeah, good idea, if you don't agree with the prices of things in stores you should just steal 'em.

  • Is there anything for Mac OS X that lets you run virtual machines on it like VMWare does? I'm not talking about emulating x86 stuff, but just letting me boot - say - a PPC Linux distribution in a window under Mac OS X, running on the native processor and capturing interrupts.
    • by demon ( 1039 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:04PM (#7308771)
      The developer of MacOnLinux is supposedly looking at hacking it to run in OS X, so you can run OS 9 and OS X inside MacOS X. There is some preliminary support in its codebase for running a Linux kernel inside the virtual machine, and with appropriate changes to a kernel, it could use a virtual drive, and run a full Linux install, inside the virtual machine. Unfortunately, you can't use an unmodified kernel. You'd have to have support for the MOL block device interface - it doesn't try to pretend it has an IDE interface. MacOS and OS X load drivers at boot (OS 9 loads them out of OF ROMs) to support it, so it's pretty much transparent there, but it might be slightly more involved with Linux.

      If you know what you're doing, he would probably appreciate the help. If not, don't overwhelm Samuel with "ooh, I heard you're gonna do this! whenwhenwhenIWANTITNOWGIMMEGIMME!" This is open source, and he's contributing to the community, so be nice to him, he's doing you a favor by trying at all.
  • by rf0 ( 159958 )
    Max OSX is built on BSD and the software doesn't offically support BSD. Isn't that just a bit weird?

  • PC == PC running Windows

    It's kinda like the old "Mac vs. IBM" mindset, I guess. There are still Mac people who refer to it as IBM, which I find very cute.

    Just use VMWare. It's better than VirtualPC anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And it seems everyone will be able to get it for a small fee. MSDN free of charge.
    See t icleID/40618/4 0618.html

    There is site where some guys from MS are doing some weird stuff: they are actually acting nice, asking everyone to be as hard on them as possible, so they can make a better product.
    See blog titled "How to hate Microsoft" written by one of their employees. px

    Giving pre-beta1 out for all to see,
  • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
    Why emulate an x86 machine on a mac and then run linux? why not run a native ppc version of linux? the only disadvantage of this would be the inability to run x86 binaries, seeing as some programs are only available as x86 binaries.. Which makes me wonder why there isnt a PPC version of em86 (em86 allows the Alpha to emulate an x86 processor and run x86 binaries alongside native alpha binaries)
    Windows however, cannot run natively on a mac, NT3/4 used to have a ppc version available, but i dont think that ev
    • Why emulate an x86 machine on a mac and then run Windows? Why not run native Mac OS X versions of Office and other software?

  • you have got to be kidding me
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @02:21PM (#7308855) Homepage
    VMware is a horrible hack to get around a few problems in the IA-32 architecture that make clean virtualization (like IBM's mainframew VM) impossible. Does the Opteron make things any better? Can you run a 32-bit OS under a 64-bit OS on the Opteron?
  • With Windows legendary vulnerability, instability and mysterious performance anomalies, I wouldn't want to run Linux on top of that house of sand for anything but a trivial application.

    Perhaps in the long run, Microsoft is doing Linux a favour.

  • calm down people!
    You can download the trial from microsoft, and it still has options for running all the fun stuff (AKA linux, solaris, BSD). So they pulled the support. Big deal! The whole net is our support!
    Look, any simulated X86 architecture that runs windows will by default run linux.
    It's what we've been doing all along, right?
  • Devil's advocate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by extrarice ( 212683 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @05:22PM (#7309848) Homepage Journal
    Why is Microsoft evil for not specifically coding support for other OSes in VPC? I can understand the outrage if Microsoft specifically coded routines in VPC that would specifically target non-MS OSes and prevent them from running. But from what we know, this is not happening (yet). All they did was cut back on some features while improving others. As long as Microsoft is not actively and purposefully putting road blocks in VPC to prevent execution of non-Microsoft OSes, then what have they done that is illegal?
    Microsoft should not be allowed to purposefully interfere with competitor's products, but they should not be forced to purposefully support said products.

Loose bits sink chips.