using Windows in VM
Dennis E. Hamilton
dennis.hamilton at acm.org
Sun Mar 4 09:45:05 PST 2012
For QA purposes, Windows on a VM works well for me, even on a native Windows system. I don't need to be able to build the product in a VM.
The VM lets me run and test beta level software in VMs without touching my production systems and I can do a lot of user-level testing, troubleshooting, and bug confirmation. It is easy to capture screen shots of (portions of) the VM displays for documentation and issue-reporting also.
I can also access a lot of material via sharing folders and drives from the host to the guest system, making it easy to transfer files around to verify interchange or import/export problems. I do have enough Windows licenses to keep several of those VMs erected. I wouldn't consider attempting development and building projects as big as LO that way.
One opportunity for such simple QA is the Windows 8 Community Preview, which seems to run in VirtualBox just fine. It is a way to see what happens with installs of OpenOffice-lineage software for Windows and to anticipate any adjustments that will be appropriate for future releases of OOo-lineage software. There is no need to purchase licenses for the CP release and multiple installs are allowed.
An even easier case for VM use is installing varieties of Unix and Linux that run on x64/x86. The license situation is much easier for those open-source/free distributions. I'm becoming fond of Zorin OS for that purpose, although FreeBSD and OpenBSD are good ones for some of my needs as well.
I find that VirtualBox is the ideal VM for this variety of cases.
A case that nags me a bit more is needing to make sure I have retained older development tools that will still work when impending Windows SDK and Visual Studio versions will no longer support construction for Windows XP and earlier. I may eventually need VMs to run those as well. That's obviously not going to work for complex builds such as LO and Apache OO.
From: libreoffice-bounces+dennis.hamilton=acm.org at lists.freedesktop.org [mailto:libreoffice-bounces+dennis.hamilton=acm.org at lists.freedesktop.org] On Behalf Of Bjoern Michaelsen
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2012 04:05
To: libreoffice at lists.freedesktop.org
Subject: Re: using Windows in VM
On Sun, Mar 04, 2012 at 11:30:08AM +0100, Cor Nouws wrote:
> I have the idea that it might be useful to consider encouraging devs
> on Linux to use Windows in a VM.
> I know that some of the devs are actively using Windows build
> environments, but also that others haven't even a running Win OS to
> check certain issues.
> Setting up a VM is not a big deal, and if needed the Board could
> step in paying for licences.
> It would make checking / communicating on certain issues much
> easier. Checking yourself is more direct and often not much more
> work than commenting that you cannot, and hope that others will shed
> some light on it etc. Well, I could continue with listing other
While that is all true, I wonder if it really hits the core of the problem. A
developer would usually want to go fixing the bug and for that he would not
only need a LibreOffice install, but instead a whole development environment to
make debug build of effected libraries etc. And even with such a setup the
build times are much longer and the deployment is much more clumsy than on
It would only be worth it if we not only have licenses, but a ready-to-use VM
image with a complete windows build environment. That might also help to get
traction with Windows developers new to the project. However, it is also a lot
of work -- not only to create it, but also to keep it up to date.
Getting the resources for that task (setting up a image with a complete build
env) is the tough one here IMHO.
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