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Short Question
Has anyone had success virtualizing multiple command line tools in Windows?

In a previous SU Question I asked how to setup isollated work envrionments. The over all answer was to virtualize the application. I have done just that using Cameyo with moderate success. I have ran into a few issues that I hope that this question will shed light onto.

Note that I am not sold on Cameyo, it just happens to be the only tool I have tried. If there is a better FREE tool out there to use I would be more than happy to try it.

Issue 1
The GUI portions of the virtualized applications work well using Cameyo, but the embedded compilers that were install along with the GUI install cannot be located. I suspect this is because the tools are embedded into the executable and there for not on the system path or even visible on the file system.

Issue 2 (more generic)
I have tried to install multiple apps into the same virtualized application (Cameyo seems to support this) in order to have a single work environment to maintain. It appears that none of the applications are aware of one another. If I were to install each tool in it's own virtualized application I believe it would only increase these issues.

To clear up some of the comments:

  • We use several different IDEs (most embedded targets force an IDE on you).
  • The IDE's I am attempting to virtualize are all Windows only.
  • It is critical that we be able create the same code (generate the same CRC) no matter which developer builds it. This must hold true across time as well.
  • If each of developer installs N programs, it runs the risk of installing a wrong version (ie 4.2 instead of 4.1) which may or may not generate the same code. Even if the user installs the correct version, if they are running different flavors of Windows it could still cause issues.

I have seen most of these issues already with an embedded compiler, so to me it's beyond paranoia and a real problem that I need to address.

share|improve this question
Trust me on this, save yourself the trouble and use a virtual machine. There's no point in simulating a virtual environment, it will cause more headaches in the end - just create an actual virtual environment and be done with it. – Breakthrough Aug 30 '11 at 15:20
This is what my boss and I were discussing yesterday afternoon. If there was a *INX solution I wouldn't even bother asking and just run a VM for each tool chain. However since the embedded software world is so tightly coupled with Windows licensing, and more importantly distribution, for other team members becomes complicated. I would really like to know the best way to handle this. – Adam Lewis Aug 30 '11 at 15:25
@Breakthrough: The previous comment was meant for you. I was going to ask if adding an 'at'user name made a difference, but the site just told me it did when I tried to add two users to be notified. – Adam Lewis Aug 30 '11 at 15:43
AFAIK, you can run VirtualBox on *NIX. I had a look at your previous question, but I'm wondering, why do you need entirely separate registries for the compiler (embedded or not)? Doesn't the IDE you're working with support multiple projects/workspaces, or is the issue that you're working with multiple IDEs? – Breakthrough Aug 30 '11 at 15:47
@Breakthrough: See my edit. Yes the IDEs do support multiple projects (which I make use of). Having their own registries keeps windows updates, other installers, malware etc... from changing a known good tool chain. – Adam Lewis Aug 30 '11 at 16:20

IIRC, there's a free version of Altiris SVS floating around for software virtualization. (legally) You may have to dig a bit to find the latest version, since Symantec doesn't make it easy to find. It should let you do what you want though.

share|improve this answer… you can get SVS here - DOES do what is needed, but the free version is personal use only. – Journeyman Geek Aug 31 '11 at 1:06
@Journeyman Geek: Thanks for the link. Forgot that it was personal use only, but if it works that well it might be worth licensing. – afrazier Aug 31 '11 at 12:30
np. I was hunting for SVS/SWV for ages, and came across it by accident while researching another question here. Its the best at what it was, pity symantec made it so hard to find – Journeyman Geek Aug 31 '11 at 13:40

Another option, if you're using Windows 7, is to combine it's native VHD boot and differencing disks to have a multi boot solution.

share|improve this answer
The issue here would be it's not portable. Also having to reboot just to use a tool chain would be quite annoying over time. I use Parallels on my Mac to avoid this very issue. Thanks for the input though. – Adam Lewis Aug 31 '11 at 14:04

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