Last week, an online buddy of mine told me that he’d use Linux more often if he could run Windows Live Writer in it. I had to agree, there are many different blog editors in Linux, but once you’ve gotten used to using Live Writer, you’ve been spoiled and won’t want to use anything less satisfying.
After a bit of searching around online, I finally figured out that the best solution might be to run a full copy of Windows inside a virtual machine. Then I’d have the best of both worlds within easy reach. After trying it, I discovered that it works quite well. In fact, this article was posted from Xubuntu Linux, using Windows Live Writer.
I decided to use VirtualBox as the virtual machine server, because it’s open source, but mainly because it’s already in the Ubuntu Software Center. Installing it was as easy as searching for VirtualBoxand marking it for installation.
An old, unused copy of Windows XP was my choice for a guest operating system. I was familiar with the steps needed to set that up, but if you need help, you can find a great tutorial on installing XP in VirtualBox at Linux Journal.
After I had XP running the first time, I did have a few problems. I kept receiving warnings that I didn’t have the Automatic Updates enabled. Since this was virtual machine, I really didn’t want it to update. If I had any problems, I could always use VirtualBox’s snapshots to return to an older state when needed. I finally opened XP’s Services manager and turned off the Automatic Updatesand the Security Center.
You can launch the Services manager by clicking Start, Runand then typing services.mscinto the run box (without quotes).
I also noticed that I couldn’t copy and paste between Linux and Windows. I found out that I needed to install the Guest Additionsin XP. You can find these in the VirtualBox Devicesmenu while the virtual machine is running.
Once you have Live Writer installed this way, you are ready to blog with ease, no matter what flavor of Linux you’re using. If you have your own favorite blog editor, let us know in the comments below.