VMware

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet VMware image with tools

The long awaited Vivid Vervet has arrived and makes its debut on traffic tool as a VMware image. Just go to the download page and fetch it.

Is it worth it? This is the typical question that arises since some years when a new Ubuntu distro lands on planet Earth. The user interface got strange, outright alien. We think that Ubuntu still shines as a solid distro with a huge package size in the repositories. Additionally this Ubuntu appliance has the VMware tools installed. So yes, it is worth it.

What exactly can you expect from the UI? It is still the same Unity thing that comes with a terminal-like start menu. You have to guess the program’s name, type in a few letters and select from a large list that possibly doesn’t include what you wanted. On some machines this is awfully slow. Ubuntu needs graphics acceleration and at least older VMware hardware combos don’t offer that.

If you plan to use this VM image as a tool box, a frame work for using the vast Linux tools, you are probably better off with looking at Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

The terminal tool that searches for your utility also peeks into the Internet and comes up with search results from a very commercial Ubuntu site. In our version this “extended” behavior is turned of. We also disabled some window animations.

As a conclusion, this VMware image is somewhat usable with a fast machine. But nonetheless, the simple start menu of Lubuntu and its absolute swiftness is what tool users probably want.

Dubuntu – the Dodo-Ubuntu

We have just released our latest Ubuntu VMware image, the Raging Ringtail, and are pleased to report here some of its idiosyncrasies.

So, for a better blog reading experience, you should download our Ubuntu 13.04 image and run it with your VMware Player. Of course, you can also install it directly onto your machine or run Ubuntu’s Raging Ringtail live-image without altering the hard disk.

If you chose to try the VMware image, go first to System Settings, which is hidden under the icon with the cogwheel. Then select Privacy and enable “Include online search results”.

This setting is by default enabled and was only disabled by us for the sake of making this VMware image at least somewhat tolerable.

For starting an application, the new Ubuntu requires its users to type the first letters of its name into the Dash.

The Dash?

Right, that’s sort of a modern DOS embedded into a Linux desktop.

Let’s say we want to burn a disk. Shouldn’t be a difficult task, and it isn’t. Difficult is something else and that is finding the application that can do the job. The new Ubuntu desktop, called Unity, requires you to sift through so and so many installed apps to guess which one could burn a disk.

In this case we relatively quickly see Brasero disk burner at the beginning of the list of all installed programs. Good that Brasero starts with a “B”.

However, that’s only for beginners. The really cool way of starting it would be to already know the applications name and enter the beginning of it into the big search pane at the top.

All right, let’s do that. We are going to type in ‘bra’ to get a bit faster to our link to the program. So, here is the interesting result that we will get:

ubuntu-1304-bra

As we see, the smart Dash indeed finds the Brasero program. But it also finds something else.

Really smart.

Even better, we are presented with the choice to extent our disk burning journey and see some more 20 “results”.

It looks like Ubuntu aims to be the ad-financed DOS of the third millennium. Or in other words, they seem to go the way of the dodo. At least they try it really hard.

You think otherwise?

Right. We do the same. At least we hope otherwise.

Instead of their main Ubuntu, the Dodo-Ubuntu, already known as the Dubuntu, you could try our newest Lubuntu image and all will be fine.

Lubuntu vs Ubuntu in VMware images

The newest Ubuntu creation, nicknamed the Quantal Quetzal, is in VMware images a bummer. Ubuntu chose to concentrate their development efforts on the code line that expects working 3d hardware acceleration and emulate it in case it is not there. That causes in virtualized systems a slow motion effect. Seldom something happens and most of the time the system seems to stand still.

Download the Ubuntu 12.10 image, click the upper left button and type “term” into the Dash. These four letters will appear one after the other with an amazing speed! Can’t remember that I have ever seen something like that in production systems of modern times.

Compare that to the Lubuntu 12.10 VMware appliance and you feel like a swallow that used to be an elephant trying to fly with its ears.

The main Ubuntu distro has also strong ties to Amazon, it seems. After typing in the first four letters of the application you want to start like “term”, you will be greeted, after a respectful pause, of course, with some books that you could buy. The nice thing here, as the Ubuntu team sees it, is that these books have already price ribbons on it. You get completely informed about this world by the new cloud-Ubuntu!

All right, enough bashing for today. Lubuntu seems to be the Ubuntu of the future and perhaps that’s okay.

VMware images with a classic desktop

What is Ubuntu with a better usable desktop? One answer to this heretic question is Linux Mint! And here we have the Swiss knife distro as a Mint 13 VMware image with Xfce and Tools. Mint aims to be the complete out of the box experience with all tools, addons, codecs, and plugins already installed. On top of that our image has also the VM Tools integrated.

Why did we chose Xfce? Linux Mint comes today with:

  • Mate, a fork or successor of Gnome 2 that preserves the qualities of this era. Simple desktop and classic start menu.
  • Cinnamon, a fork of Gnome 3 – the Gnome Shell – but with additions that make it actually usable. A shell alone seems not to be enough and the Mint team is not alone with this opinion.
  • LXDE, the lightweight desktop that is also remarkable swift.
  • Xfce, which is also lightweight and swift, but perhaps a bit more mature than LXDE.

And that is also the reason why we chose Xfce for the Linux Mint image. A swift and stable desktop that adheres to classic principles.

Here is a list of all current top distros canned into a VMware image from Traffic Tool that have an ergonomic desktop:

  • Lubuntu 12.04 LTS with VMware Tools has the fine LXDE integrated. This one is an image of the original Ubuntu distro, officially supported by them for five years and using the same repositories as the main distro. There is just one difference, and that is the replacement of the dreaded Unity desktop with LXDE.
  • Mint 13 with Tools convinces with its completeness and mature Xfce desktop. Linux Mint is built on top of Ubuntu and shares roughly the same contents of the repos. This one has also the five years of Ubuntu support.
  • Mageia 2 comes with KDE and a strictly hierarchical start menu. It is a descendant from Mandriva Linux and a completely free open source project. Instead of the Debian/Ubuntu repos it uses its own RPM-based package repos. Essentially that means it inherits the ease of use from Mandriva, but shakes of its commercial drawbacks.
  • openSUSE 12.2 has also KDE and is one of the grand old distros that is still around and the favorite of many.
  • Debian 6 with VMware Tools is a few month older and uses the Gnome 2 desktop. Stability and security are combined with a desktop that can actually be used in this VMware appliance.

On Distrowatch Mageia takes currently the second spot while Ubuntu comes in third. Remarkable, but there is a reason. Try it yourself and compare the Ubuntu 12.04 image with our magic Mageia 2 VMware appliance and you will most likely understand why Ubuntu had lost ground.

Debian 6 image with VMware Tools

To make things complete with regard to current major Linux distros we have here the Debian 6 VMware image ready to download. It also includes the VMware Tools, which is a bit tricky for Debian.

This is a fine virtual appliance and it really doesn’t hurt that much that it has seen some more moons passing by. It uses still the classic Gnome 2 desktop and convinces immediately with its simplicity.

For fans of 3d animation we have the KDE version on top of openSUSE 12.2 that can be also classified as being usable.

The default Ubuntu 12.04 image is also equipped with the VMware Tools, but it has a severe drawback. It comes with a strange desktop named Unity, a development of the Ubuntu team. Similarly strange is our Fedora 17 VMware image with the Gnome Shell on its desktop.

These are two great distros, without any question, but what about the terrible user experience of a command line garnished with huge icons?

So, finally we decided to offer of the current top distros also the LXDE based Lubuntu 12.04 image and the Mint 13 image with xfce. Both come with VMware Tools and both have a classic desktop with a hierarchical start menu.

The user rules and you decide what to download now!

Linux Mint 13 Maya with VMware Tools

Our newest virtualized OS is the Linux Mint 13 image that comes as a complete Swiss knife tool. It is this kitchen sink mentality that has made Linux Mint famous. On top of that are also VMware Tools installed.

For the desktop Xfce had been chosen, which is a swift and ergonomic alternative to today’s new workflow inventions. Try it and compare it to the Lubuntu image that has also the VMware Tools on board.

All in all we have now these distros of the summer 2012 era, the time around the long-term support version of Ubuntu:

No final bashing today, but the recommendation to just download all of them. These are the top distros and they come with a variety of new and old desktop ideas. Some of them have also VMware’s tools integrated. So, this is quite a good basis for contemporary virtualization experiments.

Lubuntu 12.04 VMware image

To make things as complete as possible for the latest Ubuntu VMware images with long-term support, we have assembled also the Lubuntu image with VMware Tools. This has all the good features of the standard Ubuntu image with VMware Tools, but instead of Unity it has the LXDE desktop installed. This relatively new desktop environment uses the classic and ergonomic design, which is best described by one word, and that is simplicity.

Instead of torturing the poor user with a command line style main channel of communication – the Shell – it simply uses the good old hierarchical start menu. You can still browse the system easily for all installed applications. LXDE has another big advantage. It is lightweight and swift.

For comparison download also the newest Fedora 17 VMware image, which comes with the Gnome 3 Shell, and the KDE based openSUSE 12.2 image. Then you have some main desktops virtually running on your favorite machine and it is convenient to make up your mind regarding the new workflow metaphors.

Right now there is also an Xfce Linux Mint image in the making. Keep an eye on our VMware area and stay tuned! Or even better, subscribe to this blog…

OpenSUSE 12.2 VMware image

Our newest tool is the openSUSE 12.2 VMware image featuring the KDE environment. You really should check this one out. KDE offers still a usable desktop. It may exaggerate gimmicks like 3d effects, but the basic logic of the integration of all components and their presentation to the user is sound.

Sadly, it is really hard to say the same about Gnome and Unity, the desktops of some other famous distros.

KDE has also better tools covering more aspects of daily work. This desktop system shines with its configurability and for specific wishes the config tools are simply more complete than those of Gnome and Unity.

For those who like to compare things, we suggest you download these three top Linux distribution VMware images:

  • The openSUSE 12.2 VMware appliance with KDE. This one is a really complete tool with all utilities and apps that are useful and demanded for daily work.
  • For lovers of the command line experience we have the latest Fedora 17 VMware image. This tool comes with the Gnome Shell.
  • Finally we recommend the five years of support enjoying Ubuntu 12.04 image with VMware Tools. Unity is the desktop for this one and it resembles to some extent the Gnome Shell.

All three are, of course, great Linux systems and their different user ergonomics may still bear some new ideas in the future for the interaction of human and computer.

Sometimes you have to go a step backward first, in order to advance some steps later. By the way, that is also the basic idea of this traffic tool site…

Fedora 17 VMware image

We just released the Fedora 17 image in our VMware Tools section. Fedora is a mature and highly polished Linux distribution. It is available in different “spins”, flavors with different desktops.

For this VMware image we chose the default version, the Gnome 3 desktop. That is the one that replaced the start menu with its new desktop metaphor and workflow invention called Gnome Shell. The spirit of this invention is sort of back to the roots, which seems to be in this case DOS. This whole journey could be labeled “the revenge of the command line” or similar.

Is the Gnome Shell a retro grenade?

While there are alternatives that probably match the average user’s needs better, we went for Gnome this time, because it is still the most often downloaded Fedora flavor.

The world is paradoxical.

Another interesting choice would be LXDE, sort of the swift and lightweight cousin of Gnome with the classic hierarchical start menu combined with a simple desktop.

For the future we are planning to offer VMware images with LXDE also. Xfce is another possible option. And then there is Linux Mint with its various attempts to escape the shell. We are going to keep an eye on that distribution. In other words, we are going to offer also Linux Mint downloads in the near future.

Ubuntu VMware image 12.04 with tools

As promised, we have installed the VMware Tools into the long-term support image that is already online. VMware Tools allow basically to interface better with the host and the rest of the real world.

Features of VMware Tools:

  • Shared folders connect the file systems of host and guest system.
  • Drag and drop between host and guest in both directions.
  • Copy and paste between host and guest also in both directions.
  • Shrinking of the virtual disk. This tool is especially interesting if you want to snapshot or backup an image in order to use it as a well defined starting point.
  • Synchronize the clock between host and guest. Without the synchronization tool both clocks are drifting apart over time. Strange, but true.
  • Desktop integration allows to have windows of both systems in the host system.
  • Fast network driver for, guess what, faster virtual networking.

There are other features, some of them being experimental, but the above are the most interesting ones.

Go ahead and download the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS image with VMware Tools. Having both versions, with and without tools, pays off, as both have their merits:

  • The image with the tools has some added functionality, which is often absolute necessary.
  • The other one without the VMware Tools can be updated easier. Updates from the Ubuntu server often break part of the VMware Tools. It is possible to reinstall them, but that has its own quirks.

For more information about our stance on the modern user interfaces visit the main page of our VMware area and you will find that we like the classic designs more.

I just want to start a tool and now I have to type in “editor”? That sounds like computing done in the sixties.

Right, no post about current Linux distros without some bashing. The consequence is simply that we are going to offer also VMware images with LXDE and from Linux Mint spiced with Cinnamon.

A visit lately at Distrowatch revealed that the rest of sophisticated tool users seem to think similarly. Linux Mint made the 1st spot and Ubuntu came in only third. Second was Mageia.

The reactions? Reading these defenses of the Gnome and Unity teams are nothing more than irritating. On the other hand, their message sounds like a joke, albeit a bad one.

According to these UI designers, people seem to want the command line back!

Of course, combined with a way too small font, so that it is outright health-damaging to work with a computer nowadays. Looks like it is high time for somebody to fight these dark forces and bring back the light to us, the oppressed tool users.

Why? It seems to be necessary. We are not only tool users anymore:

Ubercreative developers of the new desktop metaphors seem to force computer users into the role of being a tool themselves, so that we have two tools sitting in front of each other. The computer on the desk, that’s why this thing is also called desktop, and the user on a chair to which he is chained by the computer.

This dipole is a tool chain!

All right, enough bashing for now, but this was today’s attempt to remind somebody out there that we are human…