Mono Appliance for VirtualPC

With the release of Mono 2.4.2 we are introducing an appliance image for Virtual PC. This makes a lot of sense for Mono as one of our favorite target user groups is .NET developers looking to get an application running on Linux. Many of these developers use Virtual PC.

All three of our appliance images (LiveCD, VMware, and now VirtualPC) contain exactly the same packages, etc. In fact our .vhd is actually just the .vmdk from the VMware appliance built in SUSE Studio and converted using qemu-img (requires a recent version, possibly unreleased). And actually the .vmdk we provide boots just fine under other VMs such as QEMU and VirtualBox. Linux can be nice that way.

We hope this will make Mono even easier for .NET developers to use but you may want to use VMware anyway.  The VirtualPC appliance has some problems:

  • There are no "VM Additions".  They exist but they are not open source and IIRC the ones that exist don't work on a recent Linux. So no handy stuff like drag-and-drop or mouse-in-mouse-out.

  • Things can be a bit slow / choppy at times.  This clears up after a while or maybe after a reboot.  Not sure what's going on there.

  • We added some kernel parameters to make things run a little better: noreplace-paravirt i8042.noloop clock=pit. Joseph Hill dug these up on the Internet somewhere.

  • On the new Windows Virtual PC (the one for Windows 7) you don't get a network device by default.  As far as I can tell we're the only project shipping a .vmc configuration file with our .vhd anyway so the expectation seems to be that you will configure your own VM.

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