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2003 09 09

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A testlab service

When I was working at a company building websites (sorry—marketing instruments :) being, amongst other things, the guy in charge of a small test lab, my brief was to test sites under development in a small range of browsers and OSes. The range was somewhat limited by available time and hardware resources, even though I was using VMWare.

This service could have helped out there: Browsercam. Not to be used throughout the development cycle, but definitely at those points where the cross-browser clause would be put to the test, this is an excellent alternative to having a battery of machines or some fancy Virtual Machine setup. At their monthly subscription rate, it is a steal.

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Virtual Machinery dilemma

Whilst on the subject of Virtual Machines, I came accross this Open Source one: Bochs. This puts me in a dilemma.

I have always been very supportive of VMWare, on account of them being absolute pioneers in this arena. Having said that, although the price tag of USD299.00 is readily justifiable by any business that knows what to do with the product, it is a little steep for the hordes of personal users. It still is a lot cheaper than buying another PC, but most people I know are merely using it to avoid dual booting unpleasantries.

An Open Source alternative like Bochs might be just the thing to fill that particular gap. Big question is: how does it perform with regards to usability, stability and speed? Also, VMWare has some killer networking helper applications that Just Make Things Work. From the looks of it (I haven't studied the documentation in great detail yet) Bochs is depending quite heavily on the capabilities of the host OS. Fine on Linux, not necessarily so fine on Windows.

I can't readily think of another time when I had difficulty choosing between taking the freebie (to put it mildy disrespectfully) or pay for the quite possibly better product.

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Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Our friends in Redmond are developing a Virtual Machine product. They have bought it by gobbling up Connectix. Since MS have a habit of throwing their weight either behind or on top of any technology that threatens their monopoly, I fear that the Wonderful People (tm) of VMWare might be in for a rough ride.

Something to note: The quoted reason Microsoft are not releasing Virtual PC for some time:

Development work takes time, and we want to ensure a quality product for customers. Much of our development focus is on improving the security of the product so that it meets stringent Microsoft standards.

I'm sorry, but I will have to go and lie down for a bit now, while I try to think of even more possible jokes about what 'stringent Microsoft standards' would be for security. :)