Friday, May 27, 2011

Using VMWare to test software for bugs

I earlier posted instructions on how to create virtual machines to run other operating systems on your desktop. Another advantage of virtual machines is that they can be used to test software for bugs or virii. If you've ever downloaded beerware and wondered if it would infect your computer if you ran it, installing it on a VM can (mostly) keep your computer from getting infected. At least, the VM might get infected or hosed. If that happens, simply power off the VM and delete the files.

Another way of running software you don't necessarily trust is by running it in Wine. Wine is not an emulator, technically. It allows you to run windows programs in linux. If you have a Linux VM built, go ahead and install Wine in the software center. Then copy your executable to the linux box. Right click and select open in Wine environment. It'll run just like windows.

There are many options for Wine. One being that you can map lettered drives in the Wine environment to physical locations in the Linux file system. There's a huge learning curve in regards to permantly mapping Windows file shares to the linux file system. I'm still wrapping my head around that. Perhaps when i figure it out i can write a 'windows user's guide to mapping windows file shares in linux' article.