Linux programs on Windows? Yes! The magic word: andLinux

Again a post which is not really related to OpenSuSE at all, but for people still living in the Windoze world...

Maybe you stumbled upon really nice programs while trying out some Linux distribution, but you can't get away from Windows (yet) and still want to use some of those nice programs? Here is the solution:
andLinux offers you a complete Ubuntu Linux within Windows. The nice thing is: it is not a virtual machine (i.e. a second "PC" starting in your main machine) but rather a running service in Windows which speeds up the whole thing quite a bit.

I've installed the andLinux kde version on my office Windows Machine. I didn't want to have it started automatically so I chose "run as service manually" in the install options. (Just a note: you'll need 4.5 GB of free harddisk space for the KDE version!)

You can exchange data with it most recommendetly via "Samba" - for all newbies: this is the part in Linux which can communicate with the Windows File Share System. To use this feature, you need to create a Share for the folder you want to exchange date with linux (most likely: your private data folder). Create a user with username and password and share the folder for this user (don't use blanks in the share name) - these data will be asked for during the install routine of andLinux and enable it to communicate with Windows

First impression: after having clicked the "Start andLinux" startup button in the associated Start-Menu entry, nothing happened.
The reason was my firewall: andLinux installes a virtual network device called TAP-Colinux and all the communication with windows runs over the TCP/IP-protocol. So tell your firewall to accept any traffic on that network device and from and to the IPs: (linux host) and (windows host). There is also the sound server called pulseaudio and the X-Server called Xming which need entire network address to the addresses mentioned before. You will also have to enable network access to "menu.exe" which communicates with the embedded linux via TCP/IP.

Now you can open any program in this nice little kde-launcher-menu installed by andlinux and running in the task bar, or if you prefer, open a console (see the andLinux start menu folder) and launch stuff from there. By using Synaptic you can install whatever package you like from the ubuntu

All that being very nice, I was still unhappy that e.g. the kde-menu and the Xserver Xming started on system boot up and not only when I wanted to use andLinux, so I edited the startup script "start andLinux" (i.e. C:\Programme\andLinux\srvstart.bat) to the following content and removed Xming and the kde-menu from the startup by using msconfig.exe (you should be familiar with that, otherwise don't fiddle with it!)
start C:\Programme\andLinux\Xming\Xming.exe :0 -dpi 85 -clipboard -notrayicon -c -multiwindow -reset -terminate -unixkill -logfile Xming.log
net start andLinux
cd C:\Programme\andLinux\Launcher\
start C:\Programme\andLinux\Launcher\menu.exe

Note: the first lines beginning with "start" until "Xming.log" are actually ONE line.

Just to let you know, in case you see strange characters e.g. by using Kate or Kile in Windows: the standard code page used for the German Windows is ISO 8859-15 (which you can set being the default for the programs mentioned).

BE CAREFUL: there is a security issue: every program is in standard run as the root user in andLInux, which means, you (or somebody else having access to your machine) can quite heavily damage the installed andLinux system by accident). There is in principle a way to change that in the wiki of andLinux, but it seems rather complicated and I didn't want to fiddle around with it so far.


Sebastian del Valle said...

Thank you for this. I've used it before and I loved it, and now I couldn't remember the name and google didn't want to help me at all. Instead I found lots of references of an older project named LINE, which was abandoned about 5 years ago.

Are you still using this? have you found something better?

Sebsatian del Valle

avocadohead said...

I found AndLinux looking for a way to use KDE stuff on Windows, and as far as I remember, there weren't many viable alternatives. Beta1 was released in April, so it's still more or less active. I was really enthusiastic in the beginning, but it proved rather unstable, especially in the presence of a non-continuous WLAN connection.
I hardly ever use Windows nowadays, so I left the research to daWuzzz - maybe he wants to do a follow-up.

DaWuzzzz said...

Well, I use the andLinux beta1 on my office machine here and now. Unfortunately as avocadohead already pointed out it is not entirely stable, the underlying linux kernel is bitchy sometimes especially at startup time. If it runs, it runs kile and kate more or less stable, and those are the apps I mostly use.

I haven't found anything else like this project so far. Mostly I guess, because most of the Linux nerds like we have a dual boot environment anyways.

avocadohead said...

Check out KDE on Windows. A sizeable part of the KDE 4 suite runs OK on Vista (blogged it).