How to Run Windows Live Writer in Linux

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.

wlw-in-linux

virtualbox_logoI 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).

services

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.

vb-guest-additions

There are two versions of Windows Live Writer. One version is for XP, while the most current version is for Vista and Windows 7.

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.

Oracle Rolls Out The First Beta Version of VirtualBox 4

VirtualBox, one of the best ( and my personal  favorite) virtualization applications has just gotten a new lease in life. The developers of VirtualBox have uploaded the first beta version of their next major release, VirtualBox 4.

One of the notable changes seems to be the way features are going to be available.

As of version 4.0, certain features of VirtualBox are shipped as part of external packages (extpacks).

As of now there is one such extension pack, the PUEL extension pack which features support for USB 2.0, RDP server and the PXE bootloader with E1000 support. It would seem like Oracle intends to ship only one version of VirtualBox, with extra (closed-source ?) features added on as extra packs. And given the way Oracle has acted previously it wouldn’t be surprised if some paid extrasget tacked on.

Some of the new features included this major release include:

  • Support for resizing existing virtual hard disk images ( Finally!)
  • Support for copying files into guest filesystem
  • Support for auto-update of Guest additions ( Windows only, as of now)
  • Intel HD Audio is available as one of the audio hardware on the guest.

For a detailed list of changes do check out VirtualBox forums. You can grab the downloads from here.   And as with any beta software don’t use it in your production environment!

How To Install VirtualBox 3.2 In Ubuntu

VirtualBox 3.2 was released a couple of days back, as Oracle VirtualBox 3.2, with some exciting new features. It has not yet come to the official Ubuntu repository, but you can install it from the VirtualBox Repository. Here is how to do it:

  • Open the Terminal/Konsole. (In GNOME Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. In KDE, bring up the KRunner with ALT+F2 and type “konsole“.)
  • Open /etc/apt/sources.list for editing with the command:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Note: If you are in KDE, replace gedit with kate in the command above.

  • In the file source.list, add one of the following, whichever is appropriate:

For Lucid (10.04):

deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian lucid non-free

For Karmic (9.10):

deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian karmic non-free

Save and exit.

  • Install the GPG key with the command:
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  • Now update the software source and install VirtualBox 3.2 with the commands:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.2
  • Finally install dkms with:
sudo apt-get install dkms

Test The Latest Ubuntu Builds Using TestDrive

When I want to try out the latest build of Ubuntu for changes, I usually have to download the 700 MB image file and install it in a virtual machine. However, with the Lucid development going ahead in full flow, it can sometimes be troublesome to  repeatedly  download the 700 MB image and install it. However, Dustin Kirkland, a developer from the Ubuntu Server team, has come up with a very handy tool called TestDrive to solve this problem.

TestDrive automates the process of downloading the image and installing it in a virtual machine. Another great feature of TestDrive is that it does not download the full 700 MB image file once you have downloaded it. It uses rsync in the subsequent downloads to get only the parts that have changed. This drastically reduces the download size which means faster download and more bandwidth saved.

Installing TestDrive

Before you start using using TestDrive, you need to have either VirtualBox or KVM installed. If you do not have them this is what you need to do to install them:

  • Open Terminal (or Konsole if you are using KDE SC).
  • To install VirtualBox, execute the command:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose virtualbox-ose-guest-source virtualbox-ose-guest-utils dkms

  • In case you want KVM not VirtualBox, execute:

sudo apt-get install kvm

After you have either VirtualBox or KVM installed, you can now get to installing TestDrive.

If you already are running Ubuntu Lucid, you can install it using the command given below:

sudo apt-get install testdrive

If you are in Ubuntu Karmic or lower versions (upto Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron), you will need to add a PPA as TestDrive is not in the official repository.

To add the PPA in Karmic, execute the command given below in the Terminal (or Konsole):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:testdrive/ppa

To add the PPA in Jaunty, Intrepid and Hardy, follow the steps below:

  • Open the source.list file with the command (replace gedit with kate if you are using KDE SC):

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

  • Add the following two lines in source.list (replace <version> with jaunty for Ubuntu 9.04, intrepid for Ubuntu 8.10 and hardy for Ubuntu 8.04) and save and close.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/testdrive/ppa/ubuntu <VERSION> main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/testdrive/ppa/ubuntu <VERSION> main

  • Add the PPA’s signing key with the command:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 4D1BAE55

After adding the PPAs install TestDrive (in both Karmic and other versions) using the commands:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install testdrive

After installation, you will find TestDrive under Applications -> System Tools -> Testdrive in GNOME and Applications -> System ->Test Drive an Ubuntu ISO in KDE SC. After running you can enter the what you want to try out – Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Desktop etc. You can also enter a custom URL if you desire.

TestDrive

Run Android OS on Your PC With VirtualBox/Live CD

Quite sometime back, we had written a tutorial which showed you how to run Android OS on your Windows based PC. Now Softpedia has reported about an Live CD distro for EEE PCs and other x86 (32-bit) platform. The Android-x86 project, is a project to port the Open source Android OS to work on a x86 platform.

The Android-x86 distro is based on Android 1.6 aka Donut and uses the Linux kernel version 2.6.29. The distro also supports Wi-Fi connections and provides users with a GUI for Ethernet configuration.

Here are some screenshots of the Android-x86 distro running on Sun VirtualBox.

Android OS Bootscreen

Android OS Home Screen

Android-x86 Features

  • Kernel 2.6.29, KMS enable
  • Wifi support with GUI
  • Ethernet configuration GUI
  • Better disk installer
  • Power Suspend/resume (S3 mode)
  • Battery Status
  • Software mouse cursor
  • Mouse wheel
  • Support netbook native resolution
  • Audio (ALSA)
  • V4l2 Camera support
  • External monitor support
  • External storage auto mount support
  • Support external keyboard
  • Proxy settings
  • Debug mode with busybox
  • Bluetooth

To install and run the Android-x86 OS on your PC, download the ISO file (198MB) and follow the instructions in this post, to run it with Sun VirtualBox. You can also burn the installation to disc and then use it to install the Android OS on your PC.