Re: Win4Lin vs. VMWare (Was: Re: Win4Lin futures)
From: John Thompson (john_at_starfleet.os2.dhs.org)
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 10:17:37 -0600
On 2004-02-28, Kenny McCormack <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Just out of curiosity, how does Win4Lin comare these days with VMWare.
> I checked out Win4Lin a couple of years ago, and it didn't seem to be the
> real deal (basically, seemed to be in about the same league as Wine).
I have both here: Win4Lin v.5 and VMware v4 and thus am in a position to
directly compare them.
Win4Lin only supports Windows 9x/ME; VMware can support almost any x86
type operating system. I have NetBSD, Win2k, Win2003, RedHat-7.3, and
Solaris-x86 installed in VMware here.
Win4Lin does not support USB devices; VMware does.
Both support a very wide variety of Windows software and are quite
stable. Much more compatible and stable than Wine, in my experience at
least. But don't expect to be able to use high-performance games in
either Win4Lin or VMware.
Win4Lin is very lean and resource efficient and runs Windows programs at
or near native speed and with minimal impact on other processes running
on your system. VMware is quite resource intensive and is very noticably
slower than running in a native Windows session. My whole system slows
when VMware is running, but I don't have a cutting-edge system here
(PIII-600 with 384MB RAM).
Win4Lin stores its data using your linux filesystem, making it available
to you independently from the emulation software. Ie, if you create
documents using some Windows program you can directly access those
documents from linux. VMware uses a "virtual disk" for its Windows
filesystems and the contents are only available via VMware. If you want
to use, say, a PowerPoint you created in VMware on your linux system, you
have to transfer the document from the virtual disk to a place where linux
can use it. VMware includes a samba implementation to make this easier,
and newer versions support "shared folders" so this isn't quite as onerous
as it used to be. You can also tell VMware to use an existing Windows
installation as a "raw disk" but this requires some jumping through hoops.
You have to set up separate Windows "hardware profiles" for the native
and emulated sessions and remember to select the proper one when you boot.
You must also disable linux' access to the Windows filesystem while using
VMware otherwise severe (as in "unrecoverable" -- been there, done that)
filesystem corruption can result.
Win4Lin is relatively inexpensive. VMware is quite expensive.
In my own use, I tend to find Win4Lin to be my preferred Windows
environment under linux. I only really use the VMware Windows
installations for specific tasks that Win4Lin can't handle -- USB support,
Win2k exclusive software).
-- -John (JohnThompson@new.rr.com)