On my previous Windows Vista laptop, I used to run Portable Ubuntu Remix for Windows, which is based on coLinux, like the similar andLinux. This worked fairly well with limited system resources (a Ubuntu 08.04 VM with 256 MB RAM on a 2 GB 32-bit Windows Vista host). It allowed me to quickly port my development efforts from Windows to Linux, or just to have a "real" (vs. just Cygwin, which I have, too) Linux system available while on the road.
Now, I've moved to a 64-bit Windows 7 laptop with 8 GB, but unfortunately coLinux has not been ported to 64-bit yet, and it doesn't look like this will happen soon. Even though most 32-bit software "just works" on Windows, coLinux wouldn't because of its kernel driver. So, it seems like the preferred approach (cp. Running Linux inside Windows XP, ie no dual booting, What is the most efficient way to run Windows and Linux at the same time?) doesn't work any more.
My best idea is setting up a 64-bit Ubuntu 12.10 VM in VirtualBox, but despite Seamless Mode, I'm afraid the integration with the host Windows OS won't be as smooth as with Portable Ubuntu (which uses Xming for displaying the windows), and I have to constantly fiddle with the Host key to move between both worlds.
How do you tackle this?
- Does any (preferably free and non-intrusive) virtualization solution handle the host integration better?
- Or should I just boot into non-GUI mode and launch X applications through SSH with Xming?
- What are your sizing recommendations for the guest OS (assuming just some terminals, editor, and compiler)?
- Would a specialized minimal Linux distribution be better suited for running with little resources?