Common Dilemmas[]

<Gniarf> As with Linux and Perl, there is more than one way to do many common tasks under coLinux. Given a choice - like use rather X or VNC - the answer is that you can do both, if you know how. each choice has its pro and con. I try to list some here :

Which distribution ? Gentoo or Debian ? or Fedora or Slackware or some other ?[]

  • Pick the one you are most familiar with, if any.
  • Debian package system provides you with pre-compiled applications, Gentoo would force you to compile them, like X, then KDE if you want to use KDE - you will spend many HOURS just in compilation, and eat much disk space. On the other hand, you can easily tailor those compilations to take advantage of your specific CPU, and to eliminate needless code bloat, which can make everything run faster. Gentoo's build-from-code approach can also give you access to new updates faster than with other distributions.
  • If you have the mind of a developer and want to eventually build coLinux from co Linux, pick the Gentoo distribution, as people are currently more used to build coLinux from Gentoo than from Debian.
  • Currently there are some issues if you pick a coLinux release using kernel 2.4 (like colinux 0.6.1 from sourceforge) and a Gentoo release dedicated to kernel 2.6 (moving the devices from /dev/cobd0 to /dev/cobd/0). You can get around those issues but it can prove challenging if you never touched a command line before, so better stick to Debian until you feel more at ease.

My coLinux IP ? DHCP or fixed IP ?[]

  • Whatever works, really.
  • The Debian image comes preconfigured to use a fixed IP.
  • The Fedora image comes preconfigured to use a fixed IP.
  • The Gentoo distribution comes preconfigured to use DHCP.
  • Using DHCP, the network should be ready to use.
  • Using a fixed ip, you would have to use something similar to :
  • ifconfig eth0 netmask
  • route add default gateway
  • echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf
  • If you reboot Gentoo, check that /etc/resolv.conf has not been overwritten by another program or daemon.

Which Windows file system ? FAT32 or NTFS ?[]

  • FAT32 has a inherent limitation of 4 Gb : no bigger files than 4 Gb, never ever, period.
  • Therefore image files are limited to 4 Gb under FAT32.
  • Debian can fit in 1 or 2 Gb, even with many applications (hint: apt-get clean).
  • If you want to use Gentoo in a serious way (including rebuilding coLinux), and since emerging applications implies compilation from sources, you either have to use a bigger image file like a monster 10 Gb one, therefore use NTFS, or use several 2 or 4 Gb images files mounted on various location (/usr, /var ...) so you can still use FAT32
  • Even if FAT32 is mentioned here, coLinux won't work on Windows 95, 98, ME. use Windows 2000, XP or 2003.
  • Don't forget that its an option to run coLinux off its own harddrive partition, which isn't limited by the windows filesystem, and will give better performance anyway.

How to connect Windows and coLinux ? Tap, winpcap, bridged, NAT, router, sharing connection with ICS; loopback adapter ?[]

  • If you want to keep coLinux hidden from the world, TAP is the way to go. With this one you can safely relay data between it and the windows host without the need for encryption.
  • If you want coLinux to act as a completely independant machine which "just happens" to be virtual, winpcap (bridged) is the way to go. Outside computers will see a network hub with two machines connected to it.
  • If you want other machines to only see one machine (the windows host) but still allow coLinux to connect to the world, then ICS (windows Internet Connection Sharing, which is a form of NAT (Network Address Translation)) is the way to go. Connections from coLinux appear to be normal connections from the Windows host.
  • You can combine TAP and winpcap for a nice setup (as seen on the networking page) where TAP is used for a private connection between windows and colinux, and winpcap is used for colinux's public communication. You can then carefully configure certian coLinux services to be limited to the TAP connection, such as opening X apps on an X server running on the windows host.

Which way to display X applications ? a X Window server under Windows or VNC ?[]

  • Speed and ease of use depends on several factors, and the applications being launched. subjective, to say the least.
  • Some applications doing a lot of window refresh feel more responsive under VNC.
  • If you choose VNC, you need to install a Window Manager (wm) in coLinux, like KDE (kdebase) or xfce4 or another one... (sawfish, whatever).
  • On the other hand, the VNC viewer is pretty straighforward, self-contained and pretty small.
  • If you choose the other way, you have to install a bigger and more complex piece of software, a X Window server. The one supplied with Cygwin is free, some like X-Win32 are commercial pieces of software.
  • If you want a real X-Server and don't want to spend much time and memory to Cygwin try XMing:
  • Note that you can export either the whole desktop or separate X Window clients as separate windows under Windows. You can not do that with VNC.
  • If you know that you don't want use the KDE desktop or another window manager, but just clients like xterm and Mozilla or xchat, then install just those clients and the required dependances, then stick with a X Window server.
  • If some X applications like xkobo fail to start in VNC but works in a external X Window server, add some font packages like xfonts-75dpi.
  • If KDE fonts in VNC look ugly, ditto.
  • If you're using gentoo, try "emerge nxserver-freenx" and get a nx client for windows from (more info: ).

Best way to access Windows files from coLinux or coLinux from Windows ?[]

  • Since coLinux 0.6.2 it´s probably the CofsDevice.
  • For people having already either a web server or a ftp server under Windows (like Apache or FileZilla), the answer is obvious, thanks to ftp (or sftp for secure access) and wget.
  • Samba with smbfs and smbmount works fine but may be slower than expected.
  • KDE provide a cheap way to access Windows shared drives with a syntax similar to smb://username@WINDOWSMACHINE/sharedfolder in Konqueror.
  • If you only need to copy files as opposed to making them continually available, then the command-line secure copy, *scp*, gives you the ease of cp with the security of ssh; however when windows is involved, scp will be easiest to perform while using cygwin and if done from the windows side.
  • A better option than scp is to use openssh's built in sftp (Secure FTP) daemon. If you're already running openssh on colinux, you just need a client (and Openssh must be set up to allow ssh2 connections, which is a good idea anyway.) Now for the client, both SCP and SFTP can be supported using PuTTY's spinoffs, pscp and psftp, downloadable at (Putty's also a good thing to have.) SCP will copy a single file to or from the colinux VM, while sftp can transfer multiple files in sequenceand is slightly slower as it needs to wait for packet confirmation, while SCP does not. SFTP also supports resuming a transfer, perhaps if a connection is interrupted (But since both OSs are running on the same CPU, this is doubtful) while SCP does not support resume. There are also other clients available for this. Both PSCP and PSFTP are command line programs. If you're more comfortable with GUI programs under windows, you might want to try WinSCP (which does SCP and SFTP) available at Both Putty and WinSCP are free software with source available. For more information on the differences between SFTP and SCP, see -- Hope this helps someone. -- Kamilion
  • scp, sftp... then I shall say rsync (available via Cygwin for instance).
  • <boots> I concur--rsync is probably better than sftp (since it also has great compression) for large volumes or sets of files, but I still think scp is fine for casual copying.

Gnome or KDE ?[]

  • Remember that you can use some applications outside of a desktop context, like Konsole.
  • Also many X applications like xterm or Mozilla are not bound to a specific desktop environment.
  • Install both and see which one you like more
  • Also remember that programs based on GTK+ are NOT necessarily GNOME environment programs, as GTK+ is actually the Gimp Tool Kit, and not the GNOME Tool Kit as many people seem to think, however, GTK+ is used as GNOME's primary toolkit, but for most programs, the rest of GNOME is unnecessary. -- Kamilion
  • GNOME tends to have easier to use, but less powerful software (with few exceptions) while KDE tends to be more difficult to use, but is more powerful. -- Anonymous

MassTranslated on 25 Dec 2004.

MassTranslated on Sun Apr 23 17:35:54 UTC 2006