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Around two days ago I saw someone working on a computer and alt-tabing to different OSs. Basically he had 3 "screens", one with Fedora, one with Windows XP, one with Mac OSX. How is that possible? I dont think it was a virtual machine.... sounds friggin awesome though.

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migrated from Jun 10 '10 at 17:42

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

watch the language, not tolerated on Superuser... – studiohack Jun 14 '10 at 1:30
What do you mean by 'language'? Edit: "friggin" is a curse word? o_O – Cenoc Jun 14 '10 at 1:41
ya, it is in my's called "coarse"language...notice everyone else's posts, they are clean, English... – studiohack Jun 25 '10 at 4:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

From my OS X system I connect to Win systems with RDP and to Linux with VNC, X11 or NX. If it's running in full screen, you don't see a difference. Same works from any other host OS as well.

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Multiple OS's from one console...

A) virtualized. You can run sessions full screen, looks seamless. You thought he wasn't doing that, though, and you mentioned a Mac, so unless he was running a Mac it's probably not it (virtualizing it is possible, but can be a royal PITA and is against Apple's licensing)

B) KVM-multiple systems were running "somewhere" and the KVM is either hooked up physically (so each of those systems were, for example, under the desk) or over the network as an ethernet KVM. Keyboard hotswitches could be used to switch among systems.

C) remote control software. VNC, Remote desktop, etc. running as fullscreen sessions give the illusion of multiple systems on one desktop.

Those are the ways I know of that one system can "run" multiple platforms/OS's at once.

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It could have easily been a KVM switch where it was only switching Keyboard and Mouse. You can bind different keys to switch between computers.

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Re: serverfault question? probably not. – Bart Silverstrim Jun 10 '10 at 16:22
I'd give it the benefit of the doubt just because the only people I know with remote sessions popping up like mushrooms are admins & maybe one of my developers :-) Might fit better on superuser though. – voretaq7 Jun 10 '10 at 16:35

In addition to Sven & Mitch's answers, we had an admin at my last place who was very fond of X2X and X2VNC. I also currently use full-screen VNC sessions on some of my spare Spaces desktops on OS X.

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