Gaël Varoquaux

Tue 04 March 2008

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Supporting our users under Windows

Many of our users use Windows. I don’t, I use Linux, but I completely respect people’s choice to use the OS they want, as I expect other people to respect my choice. As Prabhu also run Linux (and MacOS X), this means I should sometimes roll up my sleeves and try out Mayavi under Windows. As my laptop came with a Windows installation that I did not entirely nuke, I have the option of booting under Windows. For me this is a tedious process: I don’t know anything about Windows, I loose all my beloved programs and have to struggle with non-Posix concepts.

To ease my pain, and make it easier for me to run Windows, Dave Peterson has been pushing me to run a virtual machine. VMware is able to boot an existing partition, and I installed it tonight (trick: Ubuntu users, add the “partner” repository). After fighting a bit with VMware and Windows, I was finally able to start the existing windows install in a virtual box. Then, I was stopped by a stupid activation dialog. To make a long story short, it seems that MicroSoft doesn’t want me to use Windows on a real machine and on a virtual machine at the same time. The canonical solution is to buy a new Windows license, but this I won’t do. I dislike Windows, and will not be forced to buy license. It is not (only) a question of Money: I have already spent more than that for me free software activities, but the idea of being coerced in spending more money on Microsoft products just to support Microsoft products simply doesn’t fit.

If somebody has a clever way of getting around this problem, and
allowing me to legally use a virtual machine for Windows, I would be
very grateful.

Edit2: See also the blog post of Bryce Harrington on the same topic for Inkscape.

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