I am writing this post from Ubuntu 7.04, running as a virtual machine (VM) with VMWare Player on top of my home Windows XP box.

Installing it was pretty simple: first, I downloaded and installed VMWare Player (it's free). Since the Player can only run ready-made VM images, one has to be created or downloaded for it. While it is possible to create a VM from a fresh Ubuntu .iso file, it is simpler to just download a pre-created image. The one I've got is "Ubuntu ultimate 1.4" from VMWare's Virtual Appliance Marketplace. It is a 850 MB dowlnoad containing a fully installed Ubuntu 7.04 image with a bunch of programs and utilities.

The most challenging part was to get the Internet working on the VM. I played with various options for almost two hours, and in the end the setup that worked is:

  1. Set the "Ethernet" icon on VMWare Player's toolbar to Connected, through NAT. Since I have a wireless network adapter on my host PC, I understand this is the best option to make everything work. When working through NAT, the guest OS uses the same MAC and IP as the host, and the amount of configuration to be done is minimal.
  2. In Ubuntu, enable the wired network connection that's there by default. This can be done, for example, by opening the Network settings (System -> Administration -> Network), placing a V near the wired connection and making sure it's DHCP. VMWare somehow bridges this wired connection through a virtual Ethernet adapter it creates on the host, right to the real adapter and hence to the internet.

My first impression from the Gnome desktop that comes by default with Ubuntu is WOW. It looks really good, and works smoothly. I'm more used to KDE, but I think Gnome is more popular and supported now, so I'll stick to it.

There are quite a few challenges left, such as sharing a folder between the host and the guest. This is not trivial, since VMWare Player doesn't allow the simple folder sharing of other VMWare products, and it has to be done via the network. I'll report my progress on this and other stuff later.